Who's Dumb? Who's Smart?
October 26, 2000
In their desperation to defeat Dubya, the Power Elite is using their ultimate weapon.
They're calling him "dumb."
And the sad thing is, we're so dumb we're buying it.
So let's look at how we measure "smart" and "dumb" and what those ideas have to do with the presidency.
First, let's keep a couple of things in mind. George W. Bush was elected to two terms as governor of the second largest state in the union. He governed a diverse population with huge problems of immigration from Mexico, Central America, and other states in the U.S. During an era when other Republicans were trying to make hay out of resentment of foreigners and affirmative action, and when Democrats were capitalizing big time on partisanship, Dubya built bridges to Hispanics, Blacks, and Democrats with such success that his reelection was by a landslide.
Dumb guys don't do that.
Whatever definition of "dumb" is being used by, say, Michael Kinsley or David Letterman, it's a definition that includes "being able to govern a state that is bigger than most countries, and doing it in ways that nobody could have predicted."
So where do they get off calling Dubya "dumb"?
What Do Grades Measure?
They love to point to Dubya's goof-off record in college. He didn't get good grades.
Think about that for a minute, people. Dubya is dumb because he didn't get good grades?
What do "good grades" mean? They mean that you read and followed all the directions. You turned in all your assignments on time. You did not offend any teachers.
In other words, you either cared very much about the subject matter, so that you studied and did the assignments and passed the tests out of love of the pure knowledge ...
Or you cared very much whether the teachers approved of you, and you complied with all their instructions so that you would get the reward of those good grades.
Or you got into the competition thing and had to beat all the other students and get to be top of the class, the winner, the champeen.
And make no mistake. It takes a degree of intelligence to do any of those things. In fact, I'd say the intelligence required to get good grades is ...
Average intelligence, and extraordinary hunger.
But a lot of very, very smart people are annoyed by school, can't bring themselves to stick to a curriculum that is, let's face it, really dumbed down, and above all, can't care a fig for what the teachers think of them. As for competing with other kids, who cares?
Their bad grades show lack of interest. Noncompliance. Rebelliousness. Or even, sometimes, intelligence.
Keep in mind that I got very good grades. Because I cared about some subjects, I got along a lot better with the teachers than I did with most students, and above all I cared a lot about being top student. So I'm not speaking as some resentful outsider. I am a certified Smart Guy.
But I went on, you see. I didn't go straight into grad school. I actually worked at a real job (well, magazine and book editing, but it was almost real) before I went back to grad school.
Fatal error. Because I came back with a very different set of priorities. I no longer cared about the grades. I cared about the subject matter -- except when I didn't. I wanted the respect of the teachers -- except when they were idiots. And as for the other students -- heck, they were still saying things like "Will that be on the test?" and "Oh, don't take his class, he's a hard grader!"
I woke up. A lot of those kids were kind of ... well, dumb. Or at least their approach to education was dumb. They just absorbed whatever was going to be on the test and spat it back when asked. They loved to pontificate to each other about the things they had just learned, but almost nobody ever actually questioned anything, and when I did, most of them looked at me in utter bafflement. What was I talking about? More important, why was I talking about stuff that wasn't going to be graded?
And they were getting doctorates. They were going to become professors. They were absorbing everything they were taught, questioning nothing, and then going around showing off how smart they were because of all the things they "learned."
Now, that was in an English Department. You can get away with that in an English Department because there's no actual subject matter. You can reinvent the whole thing every few years and squeeze a whole new crop of dissertations out of the same old books and poems, and nobody ever dares to point out how empty the whole exercise has become because if they do, all their doctorates, all their credentials as certified Smart People, will become worthless.
In a lot of fields of study, education is a bubble. Nobody dares to pop it, because they all get so much mileage, socially, out of pretending that it all means something.
There are fields of study where things actually have to work. In math, in computer science, in physics, in engineering, the numbers have to crunch. In biology, either the antibody works or it doesn't. Science and applied science -- there's still a degree of rigor required, and those who try to fake it are often caught.
But on the edges of science, and in the humanities and arts, there is so much shameless fakery it would embarrass the barker at a sideshow.
And it is precisely in this area, where grades and degrees are entirely about being glib and compliant, that Political Correctness has become the religion du jour, the established church of American academia.
Political correctness can't withstand even a moment's rigorous examination. I mean, feminism and gay activism require that you simultaneously hold completely incompatible ideas about human sexuality: For the feminists, you have to believe that gender roles are caused entirely by the culture surrounding you, so that altering the culture will transform the horrible mistreatment of women. While for the gay activists, you have to believe that gender roles are entirely genetically determined and cannot be altered in any way by the choices and experiences of the individual.
No rational person can possibly think about these ideas and then believe both of them with equal fervor.
But that is precisely what is required of the politically correct.
And today, the ultimate test of whether you are "smart" is political correctness.
If you have misgivings about abortion, or think that Clarence Thomas was telling the truth, or wonder if the northern spotted barn owl is actually a separate species from the completely unthreatened southern spotted barn owl, or wonder if society might not benefit from having most children raised in secure families with two parents of opposite gender -- well, you're obviously "dumb" because you aren't complying with the things the teacher taught.
The assumption is that if you don't follow the catechism of academic culture in every particular, it must be that you were too dumb to learn it. It never occurs to them that maybe you were too smart to swallow it.
Just ask the politically correct about "global warming." Ask something like, "Where's the evidence?" They'll natter along merrily, but in fact, it will soon become clear that their "evidence" is that ... well, everybody just knows.
Even genuinely smart people get sucked in, just because everybody they know believes the same things and so it doesn't occur to them to question them. I actually had a very smart man, one that I have learned much from, tell me: "They presented the evidence about global warming to a panel of scientists and they concluded that global warming is probably occurring."
I had no idea how to answer him. Because this was so stupefyingly self-refuting that there was no way I could answer it without going back to the basics of what science is.
In science, you don't take a vote. You don't go to a panel of experts. You design experiments, then report the data you collect and assert whatever conclusions you believe the data sustain. Then others offer alternate explanations and perform their own experiments and, eventually, the explanation that better fits the data wins out.
But nobody has done this with global warming. Indeed, they have done the opposite. Such "evidence" as there is in support of global warming is ambiguous at best. Furthermore, there is no evidence at all that (1) global warming is caused by human activity, (2) global warming is not part of a natural climate cycle, or (3) human actions can arrest the process of global warming.
In other words, we know nothing about whether global warming is happening, whether it is caused by humans, or whether it can be stopped by humans. It might be happening, but it is deeply dumb to shape public policy and demand public sacrifices to deal with a problem which may not be happening and whose cause or remedy we do not know.
The very fact that even the believers in global warming had to resort to assembling a completely unscientific panel of experts is proof that they know that whatever they have is not science.
Yet global warming is part of the politically correct religion of academia, spoken of with every bit as much blind faith as the dogmas of any other religion. It is unquestioned; those who don't believe in it are assumed to be dumb. Whereas, in fact, those who believe in it are, not necessarily dumb, but exceedingly credulous.
It's all about faith, and loyalty to the in-group.
They have no choice. Being Certified Smart People is very important to these folks. They don't dare prick anybody's bubble because somebody will prick theirs, and then the truth will be revealed.
Now, please don't misunderstand. Not everyone with a doctorate is dim-witted. Not all professors are dumb as mud. But the vast majority of people in academia, outside the few remaining rigorous sciences, and apart from the rare rigorous thinkers in the other field, give at least lip service to the hodge-podge doctrines of political correctness and do not question them. In other words, whether or not they're actually dumb, out of loyalty to (or fear of rejection by) their community, they willingly act dumb.
If this were confined to academia, perhaps it might be tolerable. But it is not. Because in recent decades, degrees in journalism have become a requirement of those in the news business. So now all our reporters and commentators have to pass through journalism departments, which are absolutely controlled by the politically correct. So in order to become a reporter, you have to either (1) believe in it or (2) be an expert in not offending those who do believe in it.
As a result, we have a college-"educated" press corps that either has or pretends to have utter faith in the dogmas of political correctness. They all prove their worthiness to be considered Smart People by jeering at all those who do not believe in those dogmas. Only instead of calling them heretics or apostates or infidels, the way the old religions do, they call the unbelievers "dumb."
It's their worst word. Because it expresses their worst fear -- to be exposed as dumb.
Well, you're exposed. Some of you really are smart, but you turned off your smartness when you declined to question rigorously the nonsense that others around you believed in. When you began using the term "homophobe" for anyone who even questioned the utterly unproven assertions of the politically correct about the nature of homosexuality, when you applauded at the vicious smear campaigns launched against decent and, yes, smart men like Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas, when you accepted the idea that laws putting people in jail for silently praying near abortion clinics were not a violation of the Bill of Rights -- well, folks, you may be smart, but you turned off any intellectual rigor or intellectual integrity when you swallowed these things whole, without protest, without question.
You decided it was better to be called smart than to be smart.
And that is pretty dumb.
When journalists and academics (including law school academics and the lawyers they spawned) called Dubya "dumb," this is what they mean:
He doesn't believe in all the stuff that Certified Smart People believe in.
And they're so afraid that he might actually get elected, that someone Not Of Their Group might get control of the White House again, that they are becoming quite vicious in their assertion that Dubya is too stupid to govern.
Even though he has successfully governed Texas.
In other words, even though we already have absolute proof that Dubya is not too dumb to govern, the politically correct are perfectly comfortable in asserting that he is too dumb to govern, because they long since abandoned the old idea that their beliefs ought to have some relationship to actual evidence.
But who's dumb? The person who swallows the mutually self-contradictory, unproven dogmas of political correctness and repeats them with blind faith? Or the person who treats the whole house of cards with the contempt that it deserves and simply goes about using common sense to try to make things in the real world work a little better?
Look at Al Gore. There's your "smart guy." So eager to impress the teachers that he'll fib his little brains out to make a good impression. So needy of approval and a sense of belonging that when, as a senator, he held hearings on global warming, he deliberately suppressed or undercut all opposing evidence, even though the very fact that he thought this was necessary proved that he knew the case for global warming could not be made on its merits.
In short, a man with no intellectual integrity. A man who needs approval from Smart People the way Bill Clinton needs sex with fresh women.
That's why Al Gore's "smartness" makes him a lot more dangerous in the White House than even Bombin' Bill -- because at least Bill wasn't asking Monica to tell him how to run the country.
You know what? Not only do I think we need to keep a "smart guy" like Al Gore out of the White House, I'd also like us to get some newspapers started in every city that will actually report the evidence rather than just what Smart People have concluded we need to hear. And I'd like to see the power to hire faculty at tax-supported universities taken away from faculties that hire people according to their compliance with the ignorant dogmas of political correctness.
I've seen just how "smart" the Smart People are. And when we buy their newspapers or take their classes, we're not just wasting our money. We're dumbing down our minds.
Come on, you ornery Americans. It's time you saw through the smoke and mirrors. These Certified Smart People don't know anything at all. When it comes down to it, most of them don't even believe the stuff they so fervently proclaim. The moment they actually think about it, the ones among them who are really smart get this funny look and say, Oh, I guess I never thought about that, and then they talk less at faculty or editorial meetings for a while.
These Smart People have spent the past thirty years performing huge experiments on the American people with ghastly results. Now, for the first time, they have a chance to elect a man so dumb and/or emotionally needy that he is completely under their control.
Don't let them do it. They've experimented on us and our children long enough.
Let's elect a "dumb guy" who actually knows how to cut through the smoke and govern with decency and common sense.
Because the only people who really deserve to be considered "smart" are the ones who know they don't know much, and so take a great deal of care before they lead other people into unknown territory.
Whereas the Certified Smart People have a long track record of taking us into completely uncharted lands, armed only with maps they made up out of their own imaginations. And when anybody points out that the landscape doesn't look anything like what they said it would look like, they scream and accuse them of not having read the map carefully enough.
Here's a pretty useful rule: You don't know any answers until you've asked the questions.
Dubya is the kind of man who asks questions because he knows there's stuff he doesn't know.
His accusers, on the other hand, question other people's beliefs all the time -- but it never even crosses their mind to question their own. That makes them deeply, irredeemably ignorant, with an ignorance that can never be relieved because they reject the possibility that they might be wrong.
I don't mind being led by a blind man who knows he's blind, and so feels his way carefully through the darkness.
But I sure don't like being led by blind people who think that they can see.
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