29th September 2009
Thomas Sowell runs a highlighter over an inconvenient truth.
There is usually only a limited amount of damage that can be done by dull or stupid people. For creating a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs.
Such people have been told all their lives how brilliant they are, until finally they feel forced to admit it, with all due modesty. But they not only tend to overestimate their own intelligence, more fundamentally they tend to overestimate how important individual brilliance is when dealing with real-world problems.
Someone recently pointed out how much Barack Obama’s style and strategies resemble those of Latin American charismatic despots — the takeover of industries by demagogues who never ran a business, the rousing rhetoric of resentment addressed to the masses, and the personal cult of the leader promoted by the media. Do we want to become the world’s largest banana republic?