In today’s world the idea that some people are smarter than others might seem shocking. Some might object.
Because some people put great store in the idea that everyone is created with the same capacity to think.
But that is not true.
All people are not equal in that regard. Some people really ARE smarter than others. I know, I know, some of you are clutching your pearls in dismay.
Now, my husband and I are no slouches in the intelligence department. But there are people in our lives who are way smarter than we are. By a long shot.
One friend is paid by his very huge and well-known corporation to just think all day. That is his job. To come up with new theories. It is a prestigious job. A great honor. He is, in fact, a big brain and in his field, one of the biggest. Pretty much two degrees of separation from Albert Einstein. Smarter than we are. Fact.
There’s a young person in our family who is also a big brain and in fact, has chops in many areas, not just his chosen field. In so many ways, he is much smarter than we are. Other young people are also thinking people who have interesting, analytical minds. Lively thinkers. Bright.
What makes someone smart?
Sure, emotional intelligence can make a difference in how that brain is applied, but for the most part, the thing that makes the difference in intelligence is the ability to think critically.
That is, a truly intelligent person can look at something without emotion and analyze the pros and cons before taking a position.
Observation. Analysis. Inference. These are the skills critical thinkers bring to any issue.
They are not likely to be swayed by scare tactics, or by today’s right-wing media outlets, because critical thinkers do not fall prey to the scare tactics these outlets use. They are able look at issues objectively. Factually. Not through their fear.
Not everyone can do that. Oh, sure, lots of folk THINK they are doing that. They aren’t.
We know this because a whole pile of not-that-smart people were convinced our presidential election results were not valid and stormed our Capitol armed and ready to do harm. And harm was done. People died. Not the Vice President. Not Nancy Pelosi. But the mob would’ve killed either. Or both.
We know this because those ignoramuses said so after they violently gained entry to the Capitol.
Yes, it swings the other way, too
Truly intelligent people are also not likely to be swayed by emotional tactics used on the left. (The left doesn’t use fear, it uses emotion and oh-by-the-way, nothing wrong with basing opinions on feelings.) If critical thinkers hold positions left of center on issues, it’s because after an objective analysis, they have formed their opinions and those opinions happen to lean that way.
(There is no objectivity in fear-based opinions. Only fear.)
That is why Rachel Maddow, PhD is someone most critical thinkers respect. They see her as a true thinker who presents facts –even if her opinions are embedded–that they can analyze. They particularly like historian Heather Cox Richardson who writes an almost daily newsletter about the history behind today’s politics: Letters from an American. (I love that a whole bunch of us who follow her talk about the column often.)
Historians have a leg up.
History is a record of something that happened. There’s often a lot of data. Real data. Fact. Not emotion. Not opinion. Not guns. Not slovenly legs-on-the-desk-in-the-Capitol disrespect.
Oh wait, am I losing the thread? Back to it.
But today’s right wing media do not care about the data. The facts. They lie.
Their followers like to say that left-leaning media also lie. Well, not really. Maybe once in a while. It’s just not their tactic. They are not trying to scare people into voting a certain way.
But for the right? Lying is the way they keep their followers scared and angry. The way they justify insurrections and repressive laws. The way they plan to recreate our world to reflect their values and beliefs. Even religious beliefs.
Now, I’m going to say something that’s going to really piss some people off, and that is that many right wing followers aren’t all that good at thinking and certainly do not critically think. They just aren’t as smart as many on the left.
Here’s some evidence:
There are only a few conservative intellectuals on the scene today. They are a thing of the past –like the late William F. Buckley, Jr. Who I never admired and completely disagreed with, but who was smart as a whip. Clever. But one or two remain on the scene. George Will, for example. Who really dislikes Trump because he can see right through him.
But let’s talk about Will for a moment. Will believes that the conservative ideology is superior to progressive thinking. He actually HAS an ideology. An intellectual basis for this thought. Oh, and actual THOUGHT.
That is not true of today’s so-called “conservative” electeds or spokespersons. There is no clear-headed ideology, no systemic, consistent body of concepts other than what serves them to gain power and control. What they have are lies and scare tactics. And many Americans are simply intellectually unprepared to see through them. They are unable to critically think.
I count all of the insurrectionists in that group, but also many people we know and interact with every day.
They can not critically think. There is no intellectual basis to their positions.
Which is why it’s such an exercise in futility to try to discuss issues with people who have fallen prey to these illogical, emotional arguments, many of which are based on exaggerations or even lies.
I am not a snob.
Ok, maybe I am , but I have already pointed out that there are plenty of people smarter than I and some of them are my friends. I bow to their superior intellects. I listen to what they say. I allow that input in. Then, if it’s a current issue, I use my own critical thinking skills to decide how I feel.
Periodically, I do swear off discussions with those unable to think critically, and then I’m drawn back into the fray.
Hope springs eternal.
Oh yes….Don’t forget my healing and grief gifts, right here.