The other day, a friend waxed eloquent about a university psychologist whose social Darwinist views corroborated her own belief in the hierarchy of intelligence with respect to race and nationality.
This is old news. The world is full of people and groups who think they are smarter than everyone else. If it weren’t for all those stupid people (not us, of course), we would be living in paradise. The world is over-populated with all those stupid people, who have more babies than they can support. Those babies grow up to have low IQs, with the IQ test the gold standard of the intelligentsia’s rating scale for smarts.
Everyone knows academics and scientists are smarter than everyone else, and that’s why the ivory tower elitists can’t pay their own way. That’s why they need grant funding, alumni funding, football proceeds, and tuition so high students will be paying off loans for the rest of their lives. They are smarter than the Central Intelligence Agency and the 16 or so other “intelligence” agencies in the US, who are too smart to share information with each other so self-sabotage and bungle so many of their missions.
They may be clever, but they are not smart. If they were smart, they would have figured out how to teach stupid children to read and write, stop wars, feed the hungry, and prevent disease.
What is intelligence, anyway, a thinking person might ask. The IQ tests measure such a narrow range of skills, that assigning so much power to them can’t be smart. Do they measure spatial skills, social skills, organizing ability, musical comprehension, imagination, creativity, or common sense, talents unappreciated so unrecognized and undeveloped?
Where does this fixation on this abstract notion, “intelligence” come from? Why are so many people seduced into believing the absurd notion that intelligence can be measured and codified? I’m willing to bet some of the world’s acknowledged smartest people couldn’t make it five minutes in the woods without a government grant.
Is the government “intelligent,” then? I figure it must be pretty smart to get all its citizens to pay taxes to fight wars and buy laws that impinge on freedom. Darwin’s notion of “survival of the fittest” presumed the “fittest” were the strongest, most cunning, or most ruthless. Is that intelligent, then?
Maybe all the self-proclaimed “intelligent” people are insecure so need that label for social status. Is it intelligent to pretend you know more than you do, or to refuse to admit when you are wrong? Is it intelligent to cheat at cards or on a test, even if you don’t get caught?
I’m not smart enough to know the answers to these questions.