Faulty intelligence

It is by now bleedingly obvious that the occupation of Iraq is unraveling for entirely preventable reasons. As Noam Chomsky pointed out the other day, it takes real talent to fail so spectacularly.

Now, I realize people don’t come here for politics. But the question of how common sense can be so consistently and flagrantly hijacked by idiocy relates directly to the main theme of this weblog. While the architects of the Iraq policy (going back through the Clinton regime to George I) may not have been exactly “the best and the brightest,” they were far from stupid – in the sense that they had (with one or two obvious exceptions) the best educations money could buy. And as we all know, formal education makes people more broad-minded and tolerant, right?

What I am working towards here is a hypothesis about the relationship of arrogance to ignorance and spectacular failure. There’s more than one kind of ignorance. The worst kind comes from people who think they do know it all, who fail to recognize the limits of their own intelligence – and who refuse to listen to the councils of any higher power, be it vox populi or vox dei.

I’ll develop these ideas more fully another time. For now, check out this report from the Guardian about the march of folly in Argentina.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa.