04 April 2017

Politics and Stupidity

Vox reports on a Poll stating that 'a full 74 percent of Republicans surveyed — believe it’s “likely” or “somewhat likely” that President Donald Trump’s offices were wiretapped during the 2016 presidential campaign.'  Vox then says 'it’s not because they are “stupid” or willfully ignorant.'

I call bullshit.  If you can't figure out when a person who lies constantly is lying, you are stupid.  Consider the following oft-repeated lies from one person:

  • Obama was born in Kenya.
  • The Mexicans will pay for the wall.
  • My health care plan will reduce costs and raise coverage for everyone.
  • Obama wiretapped me.
If you can't figure out for yourself that those lies are lies, you are stupid.

The reporter, Brian Resnick, also normalizes the Republicans and Trump.  "It infects liberals too. When Gallup polled Americans the week before and the week after the presidential election, Democrats and Republicans flipped their perceptions of the economy. Nothing had actually changed about the economy. What changed was which team was winning."

But that is not at all the same thing.  To create an equivalence, you need to find a person that is repeating a set of obvious lies over and over again, and then show that Democrats in general are willing to believe one of the more recent lies.

It seems probable that Mr. Resnick is using ambiguous definitions of "intelligent" and "stupid" to draw his conclusions.  A much better article of his sheds some light on this.

If you break down "intelligence" into more granular and well defined concepts, you can then make more convincing statements.  In particular, Mr. Resnick means to say "It's not because they haven't memorized a lot of facts".  But "It is because they are not curious as to what the truth is."

Where I come from, rote memorization is not a sign of intelligence, but curiosity about how the world works is a sign of intelligence.  It is true, as Resnick says, that "To be curious, you don’t need to be a genius."  But it is also true that to be a genius, you must be curious.


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