Frank J. Fleming may be a satirist, but I think his point about not confusing “dumb” and “simple” is spot on:
[T]here does seem to be some trouble in this country in judging who is smart and who isnt. The main problem may be confusing simple with dumb.
If something is simple, then dumb people will believe it. And if dumb people believe something, then soon some conclude that smart people should believe something else. Theres a flaw in that philosophy.
Why shouldnt you touch a hot stove? Theres no complex, smart answer to that. Youll get roughly the same answer from Stephen Hawking that youd get from Forrest Gump: Its hot, and it will hurt.
But say you were going to argue that you should touch a hot stove. That would have to be a very complex answer, since it defies basic logic. And some people could run with that, talking in detail about pain receptors and the brains reaction to stimulus, and come up with a very smart-sounding argument on why touching a hot stove is a great idea.
Others will go further and mock all those ignorant people in the flyover states for their irrational fear of hot stoves and announce, The most enlightened thing to do is to press ones face against a hot stove. Those people are what we call intellectuals.
Similarly, when someone comes up with a well-reasoned argument backed by top economists that two plus two equals five, theres no brilliant way to refute it. The only response is: No, youre an idiot; its four. But if you say that, youll be called anti-smart people.
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