How Do We Tell The Stupid From The Smart?

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.

Neither Can I

This morning, I heard Bill Handel on KFI say that the Arizona law, despite the fact that he liked it, was going to be struck down because it clearly preempts federal law, which has sole jurisdiction over immigration. I will note, for the record, that Bill Handel is often an idiot on the law, at least when it comes to Constitutional issues like this (he may be very good on the real-estate and litigation stuff, what would I know?).

Well, the Judge who is deciding the case can’t understand this argument. And I don’t think it’s because he’s stupid. As the second commenter notes (and far be it from me to sound cynical), we have to take seriously the possibility that the lawsuit was brought for purely political purposes, despite the fact that they have absolutely no legal case. Not to mention the fact that they completely ignore “sanctuary cities,” which do in fact preempt, and even interfere with, federal law, instead picking on a state that is simply helping them enforce it.

Great Moments In Civility

..from John Stewart:

We can have animus and not be enemies, unless it’s guaranteed to trigger an applause break from an adoring studio audience. We should all try to get along and respect each other, unless you just don’t like the other person. Be nice, unless you think being a jerk will get a laugh.

And if you’ve got a problem with that? Well, I think you know the answer to that one:

Go have a nice day for yourself.

Can someone explain to me, again, why we are to look, as a shining beacon for “sanity” (let alone as a “news” source), to someone whose stock in trade is acerbic and historically ignorant cynicism and satire?

[Update a few minutes later]

“Rally To Restore Authority.” What John Stewart really stands for.

Weird Campaign Sign

We were driving through San Anselmo this morning on our way back to LA from Stinson Beach, and I saw a sign that said:

Water Board

I have to confess that my immediate thought was “Waterboard Joy Behar? Someone after my own heart.” But after seeing several more of them, and realizing that this was the heart of Marin County (where she’s probably a heroine), I finally figured out that someone (else) named Behar was running for the board that oversees local water issues.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!

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