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  Topic: Presidential Politics & Antievolution, Tracking the issue< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Posts: 83
Joined: Aug. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 03 2008,11:37   

(I type too much and too slow...this was for Heddle and Albotrossity and started before Louis and Albatrossity responded more clearly and with less rambling.  Oh well, off to lunch)

I think you both have some points, but there are a differences between intelligence, anti-intellectualism, and emotion that perhaps aren't addressed.

Intelligenece does not prevent you from being wrong, from holding unfounded opinions, or reacting solely on your emotions.  I think we can all name very intelligent people, ones that can handle complex concepts and extract new and meaningful insights, that have acted irrationally or against evidence.  An intelligent person may look deeper into an issue than others and weigh the problems more, but that, in and of itself, doesn't mean they'll make a better decision than others.

As to anti-intellectualism, I think albatrossity has something of a point.  I look to most conservative commentators and hear intellectual as a pejorative.  'Ivory tower', 'elite' ivory league', and the like are thrown around on talkshows and the in blogosphere as a way of attack.  I don't work with the smartest people on the planet and although ancedotal, I can say without a doubt that there are people that are happy to not be a 'smart' person as they put it.  People who shun learning after college, or even high shcool.

Al Gore was thought to be too intelligent and that cost him votes.  Obama and Biden, apparently, have had the same complaint about them.  In my eyes, the anti-intellectualism that is the problem is the automatic dismissal of the opinoins and work of anyone more intelligent than yourself.  I think it comes from an insecurity about admitting someone is more intelligent than yourself.  There is an ingrained feeling of self-worth about intelligence that I think is a problem.  People seem to feel like they are less worthy as a person if someone else is smarter.  I, personally, don't believe that, but I understand the emotion.

My point is tied to the last bit, emotion.  Regardless of the intelligence of the person, emotion probably has the last say.  No matter how rational and thoughtful we are, the right situation can overcome our reason and leave us with nothing more than our emotions.  

A person that is intellectual is often seen as distant and smug, even if they have never done anything like that before.  The intimidation that many people seem to feel around intelligent people becomes internalized as a target of frustration and politicians know how to exploit it.  No group is free of this bias and people of all sorts have used it to their advantage.

All in all, you are right that an intelligent person is not inherently a good leader.  But to pretend that many vocal Bush supporters don't harbor or exploit anti-intellectual sentiments might be a bit much.

  1878 replies since Aug. 25 2008,04:17 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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