(As published in the Leavenworth Times, February 28, 2012. This is personal bias — I have long believed the general public is effectively stupid, as are most subsets of it.)
Psychologists have long argued about intelligence testing in humans. Various tests, such as Stanford-Binet, attempt to measure it, and scores are reported around an average of 100. Some populations have a higher average, some lower, but 100 is the assumed value. You might think that the IQ of the public itself (taken as a sort of multi-celled animal) is the same. I maintain the IQ of the public as a whole is closer to zero. Why? The smart and the stupid cancel each other out.
The behavior of the public is like that of an amoeba, which has no brain, but reacts to stimuli. For the public, stimulus is information and propaganda, and response can be measured through opinion polls and elections (the ultimate polls). The information the public receives is a bewildering mixture of truth and lies. The public has no organ to determine the validity of the information, but various portions of the public respond well to certain sources – Democrats tend to believe anything whatever said by other Democrats, for example. Almost no logic is involved.
An amoeba follows a pattern. It swims, or at least moves, slowly through still water. It encounters particles from time to time. It absorbs, then either digests or expels them. The public doesn’t swim – information flows to it, is ingested. A very small portion is retained, the rest rejected.
Amoebas reproduce by dividing. The public can be subdivided too, and the various parts continue to resemble an amoeba. Consider the United States Congress: made up of very smart people, it gives the impression that it is collectively stupid. Ideology cancels out the good that either side might do. I won’t mention the arrogance and ignorance of politicians, and the difficulty of the problems they seek to solve.
Consider Democrats: the good some of them would do is offset and hindered by the destructive ideas of the far left: Communists and Socialists. Republicans are similarly split and hampered. Establishment Republicans resist change, while the more conservative want reform.
I have a point to all this: the Republican public – the brainless amoeba — has a knack for choosing the wrong candidate for president. They are doing so again. What America needs is a determined reformer: Gingrich. The Republican amoeba appears to be selecting either Santorum or Romney. All three candidates are smart, but one is smarter and has specific plans for reform. Check their websites for detail. Santorum has offered some plans, Romney almost none. Gingrich has extensive and rather detailed plans to reform America. Gingrich is a PhD, has long legislative experience, a record of success, and a very high IQ. He has long thought about and written several books on how to improve America’s future. Romney and Santorum can’t match that. Gingrich, after a long career, has more baggage, but his faults do not lessen the abilities he would bring to the presidency.
The Republican amoeba eventually preferred Gingrich, but when negative (mostly erroneous) information dominated the stimulus, it turned away. Debates provided a boost in South Carolina, which preferred Gingrich, then the Florida public selected Romney after a flood of negative ads. The public has elevated five different candidates (Perry, Cain, Gingrich, Romney, Santorum) to first place, only to let them fade. Where’s the intelligence?
Do you need absolute proof that the public has no intelligence? Obama’s approval rating is climbing. Nearly 50% now say they approve of the job he’s doing as president. The amoeba strikes again.