We should be especially wary of politicians who make these pronouncements about subjects of which they know little or nothing. And unfortunately plenty do. It is a sign they are likely to make pronouncements about all sorts of things based on limited knowledge or, even more frequently, dumbed down conventional wisdom (excuse the tautology).

Kerry’s desire to be a bien pensant, to be “well thought of,” is quite extreme. That was partly what motivated the sixties and seventies war protestors that both he and I were. We wanted to be the cool guys. It didn’t matter if you knew anything in those days — just as long as you were cool. But that’s over. We don’t live in Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World” anymore.  Well, maybe Kerry does.

Don’t know much about history

Don’t know much biology

Don’t know much about a science book

Don’t know much about the French I took

But I do know that I love you

And I know that if you love me too

What a wonderful world this would be

Don’t know much about geography

Don’t know much trigonometry

Don’t know much about algebra

Don’t know what a slide rule is for

But I do know, one and one is two

And if this world could be with you

What a wonderful world this would be