Lots of discussion of late about smart and dumb – mostly Progs and Never Trumpers saying they are smart while Trump and we Deplorables are dumb. Let’s examine that a bit.
Real genius is rare. So rare, in fact, that it hardly ever shows up. Plenty of people are given the title these days, but that is merely a reflection of our Participation Trophy society. For instance, various pop stars have been called geniuses…which is absurd when you compare them to Mozart, who really was a genius (he started composing at five years old, guys). Now, this isn’t to say that some people aren’t very talented – many are. Some of them even approach genius…but genius has this thing about it: it isn’t bound by what has come before. That is the mark of it – when you see someone striking off in a new direction that no one suspected was there before, there’s your genius.
You can’t force genius to be – it seems to be innate in some people. They just have a mental ability (probably a combination of genetics and environment) which simply moved their mind into a new groove which we non-geniuses can’t see (but the most perceptive of us can perceive..and thus allow genius to go its way, only occasionally tapping on the breaks so the genius, in exuberance, doesn’t drive us mere mortals off a cliff). This doesn’t stop people from trying – “gifted” courses in school are a symptom of this; a genius doesn’t need a gifted course. The genius is going to go someplace new long before you even know where he’s going. Quite often, a genius is going to be a flop in school, as it turns out…not for lack of understanding, but because they understand it too well almost intuitively and are bored with it and want to move on to whatever it is that is interesting them.
How many geniuses have we had? Well, in Western Civilization (which I am most familiar with) I count maybe seven or eight in the last 300 years. Mozart, already mentioned…but also MacArthur, Einstein, Lincoln, Bismarck, Napoleon, Churchill, Van Gogh…maybe a few others. And it is a debatable subject. One man’s genius might be another man’s merely talented person. You’ll note that I didn’t include Edison…because I view him as a product of his time who took a systematic view of how to get things done; but there wasn’t a lot of “flash of genius” in his work…just a lot of hard work and persistence (which is invaluable, by the way). The bottom line is that even if you add a few more to my list (and take a few away from it), you’re not talking a lot of people. Three political geniuses in 300 years: Bismarck, Churchill and Lincoln (all three charted a course no one could see; all three were despised not merely by their opponents, but by most of their allies, most of the time). And keep in mind that Bismarck, for all his genius, was the ruin of a civilization. We’re on our 45th President, and we’ve only had one genius (as an aside, I think the only other President who might be considered a genius is Teddy Roosevelt…nearly as much of a disaster as Bismarck, but clearly a man of gigantic intellect and talent).
Most of us are not geniuses, of course. And even geniuses can be quite stupid at times. A story I once read said that Newton got himself a pet cat and cut a hole through his door so the cat could go in and out at will. In the fullness of time, this cat had three kittens. The great genius pondered this event and after profound reflection, cut three, smaller holes in the door. Most of us are average, or at least our intellect clusters around the human average (which is why its called the average). Some few are very stupid, and some equally few are very smart. We can’t rely on either supreme stupidity or supreme intelligence: it is too rare to take into account in our day to day actions. Most of the time, we just have to go forward as best we can and assume that everyone else is pretty much just like us – smart, but not that smart and thus capable of astonishing error.
The problem we have with our Progressives and Never Trumpers is that they really do believe that they are all extra smart. In the quiet of their hearts, they probably (most of them) account themselves geniuses. They assume their superior intellect and thus expect us to obey – after all, if we were smart like they are, we’d be just like them. It is nonsense – most of them are no smarter than any of us. It is almost certain that none of them are geniuses, just as it is almost certain that none of us are. That there might be a genius on their side (just as there might be one on ours) is a chance so small as to not be worth considering. And, main thing, if there is a genius, then that person (whatever side he or she might be on) is likely despised by everyone else…that is another problem geniuses have; being so intelligent and able to see things that others can’t, most people mistrust them and think they are doing something wrong (as in morally wrong). And if there is a genius on either side, that person is going to take (drag, really) there side in a direction they never wanted to go and award them astonishing victory they kicked furiously against.
Last thing on this: another thing about genius is you can’t always tell its there until after it has completed it’s task. So many people are carping and complaining, and public doubts are so stirred up, that the sheer brilliance of the course isn’t recognized until the destination is reached and everyone starts going, “wow; this is cool!” after the fact.