Wednesday, January 21, 2004

The "Stupid" Factor
OK, this is really old, but I wanted to get it up here anyway. The Seattle P-I carried a column in which the writer ascribed Bush's popularity to stupidity.

It's the "Stupid factor," the S factor: Some people -- sometimes through no fault of their own -- are just not very bright.

It's not merely that some people are insufficiently intelligent to grasp the nuances of foreign policy, of constitutional law, of macroeconomics or of the variegated interplay of humans and the environment. These aren't the people I'm referring to. The people I'm referring to cannot understand the phenomenon of cause and effect. They're perplexed by issues comprising more than two sides. They don't have the wherewithal to expand the sources of their information. And above all -- far above all -- they don't think.

Beside the fact that this is unbelievably condescending and arrogant; and beside the fact that Starkman results to name calling instead of showing the intelligence to try to understand the opposition or engage its views; there is the simple fact that his view is unsupported by the data.

According exit polls available at CNN, Gore won the no HS degree crowd by 20 points. Bush, on the other hand won HS graduates by 1%, some college by 6% and college graduates by 6%. Now, to be fair, Gore won those with post-graduate studies by 8%. However, it is not clear to me that someone who spent 6 years studying medieval German literature would necessarily have the best grasp of how the real world works.

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