Some useful thoughts from Frank J.:
How smart do you have to be to tell if someone else is smart? Hopefully not very smart, because a lot of life — and especially politics — involves asking people to separate the bright from the dimwitted. We can’t figure out or do everything ourselves, so we need to know who the smart people are so we know whom to listen to and entrust with important jobs. But if we incorrectly think morons are smart and listen to them and put them in charge, that would be a disaster.
You could also call it election year 2008.
For some reason, many people thought certain other people — who we can now clearly see are idiots — were smart and should be in charge. So how do we prevent such an error from happening again?
Actually, it was clear to some of us at the time.
Smart people, really smart people, understand the limitations of their knowledge. The tragedy of stupid is that it renders one incapable of recognizing how little they know. One of the endearing features of Forrest Gump was that he understood his limitations. One of the most appalling features of Joe Biden is that he really thinks that he’s the smartest guy in the room (as he told one congressional witness) when it is clear that he is an idiot.
You know how I know that someone is a few ears short of a bushel in the smarts department? When they brag about their IQ. And tell us all how smart they are. To paraphrase Forrest, smart is as smart does. And fortunately, a lot of “smart” people are going to have to go out and get a real job in January, if the voters do what the polls say they will.
Kind of tough being out of work in this economy, though. Particularly when you’re not as smart as you thought you were.
[Update a couple minutes later]
OK, I posted the link and wrote the above before I Read The Whole Thing. So I wasn’t really plagiarizing Frank on the “smart is as smart does” thing (seriously, how dumb would one have to be to plagiarize from a linked article?). It’s just that great (or, errrr…some kind of) minds think alike.
[Late afternoon update]
This discussion (and Ken Anthony’s comment) reminds me of an interesting question that I read once from a conservative (probably over at The Corner). If you had to make a choice (and not to imply that it must be one), which would you rather — that your child be good, or smart? This was a, if not the, major theme of Forrest Gump. It’s also one of the reasons that people who criticized Sarah Palin for not aborting her son are so off base. I have little personal experience, but I’ve heard that sufferers from Down’s Syndrome are generally very nice people. Again, though, not to imply that there is an implicit choice.