What If Our Elites Are Really Just Stupid?

 

For a number of years, I worked for a manager whose personality was extremely off-putting to many people when they met him for the first time. Often, after some odd or quirky interaction, I would have to take someone aside and reassure them that he was ok. “He’s not evil”, I would tell them, “he’s just crazy.” That explanation, I soon discovered, offered rather limited comfort.

In a 9-0 ruling, the United States Supreme Court declared that the states are not allowed to replace elections for federal office with a legal free-for-all. The 9-0 ruling is instructive, since it provides solid evidence that the decision wasn’t even a close call. The absurdity of the legal tomfoolery in Colorado, a blatant effort to preclude anything resembling an actual democratic election in 2024, was obvious to any observer who wasn’t already rabid and frothing.

What interests me most about the ruling is how it has exposed so many elites, who are otherwise eager to present themselves as knowing sophisticates, as know-nothings. And I have wondered whether these people have been intentionally gas-lighting us and are thus evil, or are they just crazy like my old boss?

It occurs to me there’s another possibility that we ought to at least consider: it could be that a lot of these elites, whose perception of themselves is so lofty, are actually just really stupid. Perhaps they are so caught up in their own imaginations that they have made themselves dumb.

The Dunning-Kruger effect is an observable phenomenon that occurs when someone combines very limited actual knowledge with a wildly inflated self-regard. Such a person, though sorely limited in actual competence, nevertheless sees himself as superior in every way. Maybe this is what explains our elites more than anything else.

Much has been made about the delusional underpinnings of the current transgender mania. It has been interesting to contemplate just how a person can become so divorced from reality that they believe their own imaginings superintend all of reality. And the truly horrifying facet of this mania is the extent to which so many people, who are not themselves transgender, have eagerly assented to the dumb idea that reality is determined by our fantasies.

Now what we see on the heels of the recent Supreme Court ruling is that maybe such stupidity is actually widespread and not confined merely to questions of body dysmorphia. Former somebody Keith Olbermann, who desperately wants to hear his own voice in the media microphone, has announced that the Supreme Court justices – every single one of them – has “betrayed democracy”. The liberal justices on the court, he says, are “inept at reading comprehension”. The entire court, on the basis of this decision, “is corrupt and illegitimate”. Not to put too fine a point on things, but though Olbermann’s expertise is in the field of sports journalism, he nevertheless conceives of himself as being far more expert in matters of constitutional jurisprudence than all the Supreme Court justices combined.

Whatever you want to say about Keith Olbermann, no one can say he is devoid of self-regard.

But Olbermann has, of course, been afflicted with diarrhea of the mouth for a very long time. We’ve all known that. One even suspects he may be the living, breathing, motivating force behind the cautionary Proverb,

“Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” – Proverbs 17:28

Like a transgender enthusiast, Olbermann seems to have taken up residence in an imaginary world in which his own personal preferences have become indistinguishable from objective reality.

But, alas, he is not alone in there.

Ever since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, evangelical big shot Russell Moore has been mad that so many of his fellow evangelicals voted for the Donald. His reaction has been a head scratcher for anyone who isn’t obsessed with Trump in any particular way. But Moore seems to have reconstructed his entire career around his anti-Trump obsessions. It’s as if Moore observed Dan Rather’s journalistic self-immolation over George W. Bush and decided it represented some kind of how-to guide.

Moore’s public take on Colorado’s machinations is an embarrassing own goal to his credibility. He presents himself in public as knowledgeable about things he actually knows nothing about. He has begun to make a habit of this, having done the very same kind of thing over Covid. If he still has any listeners or readers at this point, ones who are themselves anything other than completely credulous, they would be wise to start asking themselves what else Moore oozes confidence about, regarding which he actually knows nothing?

Right on schedule, Moore’s sometime partner on the Trump Derangement circuit, David French, also decided to set fire to the remains of his own shredded credibility. Though French himself is actually in possession of a law degree – so he has less excuse than Moore – his retreat into the imaginary world of Trump derangement seems to have left him completely addled.

Here he is commenting on the Colorado court’s original decision to bar Trump from the 2024 primary ballot.

Image

Of course, the Colorado court decision was never “absolutely correct”. It was always craven rather than courageous. That was obvious from the start to anyone who wasn’t consumed by the goal of defeating Donald Trump in the same way that Gollum was consumed by the ring of power. (At this writing, French has actually doubled-down in the New York Times, insisting that the supreme court ruling has effectively “erased part of the constitution”.)

Real Life Gwent | Forums - CD PROJEKT RED

The reader would be mistaken to take any of this as a thinly veiled endorsement of Trump. I have written before that I myself don’t believe that any political candidate is the answer to all of our problems. I think Trump did a lot of good while he was in office, and even in the face of enormous obstacles gratuitously thrown in his way. But I am not a devoted acolyte. There are others I would have preferred to win the Republican nomination this cycle.

Still, these events have left me with the impression that many of the smooth talkers and writers who speak so confidently about matters of public concern, and with such panache, are actually just idiots. Or, at least, their peculiar Trumpian obsessions have made them so.

And that’s a shame. Because what we don’t need right now is an increase in the sum total of stupidity in the world. We really don’t. But that seems to be what we’re getting.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 62 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jaimie Raskin, in spite of the ruling, declared they’d find a way around it. You know, it was just a SCOTUS ruling. Biden did that with the student loans, too. Sheesh.

    • #1
  2. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Excellent post and analysis. 

    My only comment,  embrace the power of “and”.

    Many of these elite are both dumb and evil.

     

     

    • #2
  3. Keith Lowery Coolidge
    Keith Lowery
    @keithlowery

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Excellent post and analysis.

    My only comment, embrace the power of “and”.

    Many of these elite are both dumb and evil.

     

     

    Heh

    • #3
  4. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Nohaaj (View Comment):
    Excellent post and analysis. 

    Agreed.  Outstanding.

    Keith Lowery: The Dunning-Kruger effect is an observable phenomenon that occurs when someone combines very limited actual knowledge with a wildly inflated self-regard. Such a person, though sorely limited in actual competence, nevertheless sees himself as superior in every way. Maybe this is what explains our elites more than anything else.

    Great point.  This is one of the many consequences of our credentialed class, getting expensive degrees at elite schools and thus considering themselves to be superior to the rest of us. 

    This was less catastrophic when our elite schools used to teach the strengths of Western Civilization.  But now that our elite schools teach their students to hate Western Civilization, this has gone from an inconvenience to a civilizational death spiral.

    • #4
  5. Keith Lowery Coolidge
    Keith Lowery
    @keithlowery

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    This was less catastrophic when our elite schools used to teach the strengths of Western Civilization.  But now that our elite schools teach their students to hate Western Civilization, this has gone from an inconvenience to a civilizational death spiral.

    This is a very interesting point. Something to ponder for a bit. Thanks.

    • #5
  6. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jaimie Raskin, in spite of the ruling, declared they’d find a way around it. You know, it was just a SCOTUS ruling. Biden did that with the student loans, too. Sheesh.

    It was not so long ago that the left held up Roe v Wade as inviolable precedent and established law, because it was a Supreme Court ruling.

    • #6
  7. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):
    Excellent post and analysis.

    Agreed. Outstanding.

    Keith Lowery: The Dunning-Kruger effect is an observable phenomenon that occurs when someone combines very limited actual knowledge with a wildly inflated self-regard. Such a person, though sorely limited in actual competence, nevertheless sees himself as superior in every way. Maybe this is what explains our elites more than anything else.

    Great point. This is one of the many consequences of our credentialed class, getting expensive degrees at elite schools and thus considering themselves to be superior to the rest of us.

    This was less catastrophic when our elite schools used to teach the strengths of Western Civilization. But now that our elite schools teach their students to hate Western Civilization, this has gone from an inconvenience to a civilizational death spiral.

    Absolutely.  And could that quote describe anyone better than Joe Biden?

    • #7
  8. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    David French, remember, contemplated being part of a scheme to be a President selected by the House who did not get even 5% of the national vote. 

    He is not interested in anything but power for his team. Which, it would seem, are now the Democrats. 

    • #8
  9. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Great point. This is one of the many consequences of our credentialed class, getting expensive degrees at elite schools and thus considering themselves to be superior to the rest of us.

    Members of the credentialed class believe themselves to be fully qualified to be President of Harvard or a Senior Vice President for DEI.  Or mayor of your town.  

    • #9
  10. W Bob Member
    W Bob
    @WBob

    I’ve always thought that Biden is literally an idiot. He’s just stupid. His whole career, he just figured out where the center line of his party’s positions was and stayed right there, never providing any leadership at all.

    The time when he told a citizen that he had a higher IQ than that citizen, and then lied about his academic credentials, when he asked Biden a question about his academic credentials, was so weird and childish. It’s the kind of thing an idiot who knows that he’s an idiot would say.

    • #10
  11. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    W Bob (View Comment):

    I’ve always thought that Biden is literally an idiot. He’s just stupid. His whole career, he just figured out where the center line of his party’s positions was and stayed right there, never providing any leadership at all.

    The time when he told a citizen that he had a higher IQ than that citizen, and then lied about his academic credentials, when he asked Biden a question about his academic credentials, was so weird and childish. It’s the kind of thing an idiot who knows that he’s an idiot would say.

    Yes, I agree.  He seems to give impassioned speeches that pretty much echo the prevailing view of the prevailing political winds but I don’t think he ever had an original idea.

    • #11
  12. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    W Bob (View Comment):

    I’ve always thought that Biden is literally an idiot. He’s just stupid. His whole career, he just figured out where the center line of his party’s positions was and stayed right there, never providing any leadership at all.

    The time when he told a citizen that he had a higher IQ than that citizen, and then lied about his academic credentials, when he asked Biden a question about his academic credentials, was so weird and childish. It’s the kind of thing an idiot who knows that he’s an idiot would say.

    Yes, I agree. He seems to give impassioned speeches that pretty much echo the prevailing view of the prevailing political winds but I don’t think he ever had an original idea.

    As a general rule, politicians get elected for their personalities, not their intelligence.  (At least in the modern media age).

     

     

    • #12
  13. DrewInLowerOrderAutonomousZone Member
    DrewInLowerOrderAutonomousZone
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Moore and French: two wolves in sheep’s clothing.

     

    • #13
  14. DrewInLowerOrderAutonomousZone Member
    DrewInLowerOrderAutonomousZone
    @DrewInWisconsin

    • #14
  15. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    There are two things that have really intrigued me since the rise of Donald Trump in the political arena. And it should be recognized that I was never much of a political enthusiast before that. I would say the Clintons worried me with their leans towards socialism, that I then raised my political interests a notch with the enactment of the Patriot Act and again when Obama was elected.  But Trump’s election in 2016 got my full attention shifted to the political arena. What’s behind that drastic shift?

    I was never a fan of Trump’s before the 2016 election in any sense. I knew a little about his life, that he was rich, into real estate and gambling as businesses and that he had turned into a TV personality. I was also aware that he had on occasion ventured an interest in the Presidency whenever things were really going off track, so I was a little surprised when he actually entered the race. I figured the Republican nominee would come from those others  who took the debate stage with Trump.

    As that campaign went on I began to realize that Trump was onto something. Whenever we succeeded in installing Republicans in power they didn’t actually get much of the things the people electing them wanted and that the power just shifted back and forth with an overall losing effect for Republicans. So I began to look more deeply for patterns, and did they ever show up, in spades. This said one thing to me about Trump, that he knew we were being taken for a ride,  and that has yielded a great result but it said many things about all those establishment politicians of all stripes, almost all negative in terms of service to the American people. Trump’s presence has prompted all those idiots to complete self-exposure.

    Maybe most of them are stupid or at the least simple-minded, but the leadership is evil.

    • #15
  16. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    “Sometimes I wonder if the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.” – Mark Twain

    • #16
  17. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Keith Lowery: The Dunning-Kruger effect is an observable phenomenon that occurs when someone combines very limited actual knowledge with a wildly inflated self-regard. Such a person, though sorely limited in actual competence, nevertheless sees himself as superior in every way. Maybe this is what explains our elites more than anything else.

    In the pundit class this seems to manifest itself often as something like “I can write, therefore I’m right.”

    • #17
  18. Globalitarian Lower Order Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Lower Order Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Keith Lowery: The Dunning-Kruger effect is an observable phenomenon that occurs when someone combines very limited actual knowledge with a wildly inflated self-regard. Such a person, though sorely limited in actual competence, nevertheless sees himself as superior in every way. Maybe this is what explains our elites more than anything else.

    In the pundit class this seems to manifest itself often as something like “I can write, therefore I’m right.”

    Homophone!

    • #18
  19. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    And, of course:

     

    • #19
  20. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    The Dem/Prog elites are, for the most part, herd animals.    Most are just smart enough to follow the herd and come in out of the rain.    But their SCOTUS lead up was perfect.   Knowing that this Colorado case was going to crash and burn , they rolled out the fake “it’s a lock … plain language of the Constitution… yadda yadda yadda” review.   And because they are supremely organized (the old JOURNO-LIST email group was not a one-off) that became the Left’s ubiquitous talking point.   And after hearing nothing but that from MSNBC-CNN-ABC-NYT for weeks the average person believes it.    So now that the ruling is in … the one they knew was coming all along … they switch to their “saving democracy from Trump and his hand picked judges”    It folds nicely into their abortion and J6 rhetoric.   It’s perfect.

    • #20
  21. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    The Dem/Prog elites are, for the most part, herd animals. Most are just smart enough to follow the herd and come in out of the rain. But their SCOTUS lead up was perfect. Knowing that this Colorado case was going to crash and burn , they rolled out the fake “it’s a lock … plain language of the Constitution… yadda yadda yadda” review. And because they are supremely organized (the old JOURNO-LIST email group was not a one-off) that became the Left’s ubiquitous talking point. And after hearing nothing but that from MSNBC-CNN-ABC-NYT for weeks the average person believes it. So now that the ruling is in … the one they knew was coming all along … they switch to their “saving democracy from Trump and his hand picked judges” It folds nicely into their abortion and J6 rhetoric. It’s perfect.

    How do they get people to believe that Kagan, Sotomayor, and Jackson were hand-picked by Trump?

    • #21
  22. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    The Dem/Prog elites are, for the most part, herd animals. Most are just smart enough to follow the herd and come in out of the rain. But their SCOTUS lead up was perfect. Knowing that this Colorado case was going to crash and burn , they rolled out the fake “it’s a lock … plain language of the Constitution… yadda yadda yadda” review. And because they are supremely organized (the old JOURNO-LIST email group was not a one-off) that became the Left’s ubiquitous talking point. And after hearing nothing but that from MSNBC-CNN-ABC-NYT for weeks the average person believes it. So now that the ruling is in … the one they knew was coming all along … they switch to their “saving democracy from Trump and his hand picked judges” It folds nicely into their abortion and J6 rhetoric. It’s perfect.

    You got this exactly right. That herd mentality that is hoarding all the influence and persuasion tools today resides in the 120-135 IQ range and propagandizes those voters in the 80-135 range and it works as long as they can limit the range of sources. They are very good at this.

    We need to support all those who are pushing against the monopoly of public media sources and offering new outlets for the people who are recognizing that they should think for themselves and make their own choices. We are seeing some real successes.

    • #22
  23. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    The Dem/Prog elites are, for the most part, herd animals. Most are just smart enough to follow the herd and come in out of the rain. But their SCOTUS lead up was perfect. Knowing that this Colorado case was going to crash and burn , they rolled out the fake “it’s a lock … plain language of the Constitution… yadda yadda yadda” review. And because they are supremely organized (the old JOURNO-LIST email group was not a one-off) that became the Left’s ubiquitous talking point. And after hearing nothing but that from MSNBC-CNN-ABC-NYT for weeks the average person believes it. So now that the ruling is in … the one they knew was coming all along … they switch to their “saving democracy from Trump and his hand picked judges” It folds nicely into their abortion and J6 rhetoric. It’s perfect.

    You got this exactly right. That herd mentality that is hoarding all the influence and persuasion tools today resides in the 120-135 IQ range and propagandizes those voters in the 80-120 range and it works as long as they can limit the range of sources. They are very good at this.

    We need to support all those who are pushing against the monopoly of public media sources and offering new outlets for the people who are recognizing that they should think for themselves and make their own choices. We are seeing some real successes.

    Part of the problem, though, might be that smart(er) people on the right tend to be unwilling to do their own “propagandizing.”  And let’s face it, a whole lot of people in the real world aren’t all that smart, and so making up (what passes for) their own mind may not lead to better results.

    To a significant degree, it often seems to come down to:

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    And how do you convince someone – especially someone who may not be all that bright – that “working hard, and keeping half” is actually better for them?

    • #23
  24. Old Bathos Member
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    The clever cultural Marxists force out all the thinking normals from every entity they capture.  The elimination of standards and conscious exclusion of the competent results in a replacement cadre of skill-free slot occupiers who regurgitate the party line of the moment and are entirely dependent on the largesse of leftist power.  But then the tenured morons and absurdly promoted managers look at their credentials and think they actually run things and know stuff…

    • #24
  25. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Here’s one of those new alternate sources I saw on Zerohedge.com today:

    Submitted by Drew Allen,

    • #25
  26. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):
    Excellent post and analysis.

    Agreed. Outstanding.

    Keith Lowery: The Dunning-Kruger effect is an observable phenomenon that occurs when someone combines very limited actual knowledge with a wildly inflated self-regard. Such a person, though sorely limited in actual competence, nevertheless sees himself as superior in every way. Maybe this is what explains our elites more than anything else.

    Great point. This is one of the many consequences of our credentialed class, getting expensive degrees at elite schools and thus considering themselves to be superior to the rest of us.

    This was less catastrophic when our elite schools used to teach the strengths of Western Civilization. But now that our elite schools teach their students to hate Western Civilization, this has gone from an inconvenience to a civilizational death spiral.

    it is the real live version of what happened with Google Gemini. GIGO

    • #26
  27. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    GlennAmurgis (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):
    Excellent post and analysis.

    Agreed. Outstanding.

    Keith Lowery: The Dunning-Kruger effect is an observable phenomenon that occurs when someone combines very limited actual knowledge with a wildly inflated self-regard. Such a person, though sorely limited in actual competence, nevertheless sees himself as superior in every way. Maybe this is what explains our elites more than anything else.

    Great point. This is one of the many consequences of our credentialed class, getting expensive degrees at elite schools and thus considering themselves to be superior to the rest of us.

    This was less catastrophic when our elite schools used to teach the strengths of Western Civilization. But now that our elite schools teach their students to hate Western Civilization, this has gone from an inconvenience to a civilizational death spiral.

    it is the real live version of what happened with Google Gemini. GIGO

    As I mentioned in the PIT the other day, when Google first came to public attention, they included in their mission statement the sentence “Don’t be evil.”

    Then at some point someone made the conscious decision to remove it.

    They should have just removed the word “don’t”.  It has the same effect.

     

    • #27
  28. DrewInLowerOrderAutonomousZone Member
    DrewInLowerOrderAutonomousZone
    @DrewInWisconsin

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Keith Lowery: The Dunning-Kruger effect is an observable phenomenon that occurs when someone combines very limited actual knowledge with a wildly inflated self-regard. Such a person, though sorely limited in actual competence, nevertheless sees himself as superior in every way. Maybe this is what explains our elites more than anything else.

    In the pundit class this seems to manifest itself often as something like “I can write, therefore I’m right.”

    Jonah Goldberg is the personification of this attitude.

    • #28
  29. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    DrewInLowerOrderAutonomousZone (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Keith Lowery: The Dunning-Kruger effect is an observable phenomenon that occurs when someone combines very limited actual knowledge with a wildly inflated self-regard. Such a person, though sorely limited in actual competence, nevertheless sees himself as superior in every way. Maybe this is what explains our elites more than anything else.

    In the pundit class this seems to manifest itself often as something like “I can write, therefore I’m right.”

    Jonah Goldberg is the personification of this attitude.

    Yeah, I thought about mentioning him in particular, but it didn’t seem necessary.

    But come to think of it, it might be a contest between Jonah and David French.

    Many others such as JPod are also-rans.

    • #29
  30. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    The Dem/Prog elites are, for the most part, herd animals. Most are just smart enough to follow the herd and come in out of the rain. But their SCOTUS lead up was perfect. Knowing that this Colorado case was going to crash and burn , they rolled out the fake “it’s a lock … plain language of the Constitution… yadda yadda yadda” review. And because they are supremely organized (the old JOURNO-LIST email group was not a one-off) that became the Left’s ubiquitous talking point. And after hearing nothing but that from MSNBC-CNN-ABC-NYT for weeks the average person believes it. So now that the ruling is in … the one they knew was coming all along … they switch to their “saving democracy from Trump and his hand picked judges” It folds nicely into their abortion and J6 rhetoric. It’s perfect.

    How do they get people to believe that Kagan, Sotomayor, and Jackson were hand-picked by Trump?

    Most people think they are backup singers for Taylor Swift.   We know who’s on the SCOTUS.    Most people don’t.   

     

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.