Monday, July 10, 2006

Stupid Is...?

Last weekend I was at dinner with a fair lobbyist, an Ivy Leaguer with long experience of the law, DC and the Hill and of course the subject of the President came up. She said, as so many smart, usually clear-thinking people often tragically do, "Bush isn't stupid," to which I churlishly reacted, "Yes he is." Then I apologized for my tone, and said, "Well, maybe this gets into the epistemological question: what is 'stupid?'" Then we had more drinks.

Of course it could just be my own cultural prejudice valorizing my own interests and background, but I still wonder: the Bushites know nothing of the physical world (not having worked or built or planted there), they apparently care nothing for science, history, music, philosophy, foreign travel or literature, so, doesn't this make them stupid? Don't you have to be stupid to care nothing for these things, and doesn't ignorance of these things make you stupid, in precisely the same way sedentation makes you weak?

If one has the cunning and drive to advance one's interests, grudges and causes, at any cost to whomever, and yet not the wisdom to forebear, is one stupid? Is there always a moral component to smart?


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