Friday, November 21, 2008

'Intellectual' leaders ...

... or is Obama the next Woodrow Wilson?

Charles Henry at Covenant Zone slices away at just how "intellectualism" is defined and perceived, vis-a-vis the recent election of Barack Obama as the new U.S. president. The general (breathless) perception among the MSM seems to be our next president is coming into office with heavy-weight "intellectual" credentials. (This seems to somehow comfort people.) But is he?

Charles Henry:

"Everything old is new again, to the new mind. I would expect that for as long as there have been leaders, there has been an accompanying argument about how to measure the intelligence of these leaders, and how to even agree on what is being measured when we talk about a leader’s 'intelligence'.

"The recent US presidential campaign brought forth many attempts to explore and possibly define terms we tend to view too narrowly, words with worlds of meaning behind them; for example, 'expertise', 'intelligence', and 'wisdom'."

Wilson, for example, was an Intellectual par extraordinaire, as a former academic. (Mr. Ivory Tower was basically responsible for the loss of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers' lives, as he dithered and dallied about taking a moral stand until he finally did.) Other presidents, however, will surprise you with the depth of their intellectual pursuits: Truman, widely seen as a "bumpkin," intellectually speaking, read Thucydides and Cicero for inspiration. (Charles Henry cites Thomas Sowell's excellent essay "Intellectuals.")

Here's the thing: We're all impressed by people who appear to be smarter than we are. We WANT our leaders to be smarter than we are. Usually, we accept the fact they're not nerds, and applaud whichever managerial skills they bring into office that will ensure enough smart people are in key positions to more or less move us all forward. But when we get a leader who's perceived as a "smart" person, we're instantly comforted, especially in these uncertain times. We approve of them in advance of their actions. (Never a good idea.)

George Bush is seen as Not Smart. AAANK! Outta here. Obama is seen as Smart. AHHHH! Instant gratification.

Well, as anyone who has microwaved a so-called gourmet dinner can tell you, it never tastes like what we expect it to. It's nuked, for one thing. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

If you ask me, true intellectualism is not probing history and knowledge down to the quark level. It's knowing how to surf life, with all its demands and complexities, such that you are reasonably happy, spiritually fulfilled and other people are better off because you've helped them live their own lives -- and having a constant, and unsated, curiosity about life itself.

This is how I will measure president-elect Obama -- not on his intellectual "credentials."

And it seems to me he's got a lot to learn from Bumpkin Truman right there.


Colonel Neville. said...

My dear funky compadre:

Ah, thanks for the thumbs up. The Hicks thing has made me boil as you can see. Check the bulk of that bastard? Gee, they DO have a nice weight training gym and great food in Guantanamo.

And his venal bankrupt stupid phony Dad! Ugh!

Yes, Mr Bush is "stpid" and yet he's a fully qualified JET pilot with a C avg from Yale & Harvard. Gore was an E, D F avg from one Uni & in the very subjects he now preaches on...Yukky.

Well, you and I Eowyn, know indoctrination and fraudulent posturing is not our fate. I thank God and Socrates!

All the VERY best kid.


Colonel Neville. said...

Dear Eowyn:

Regards the "Outrage-O-Meter!". Yes, I know exactly what you mean.

I've found when the mind and soul is overloaded, if I express loudly what I know, casually, forcefully, effectively and with a laugh, to anyone, everywhere and anytime, I feel much better...

It lets off a lot of steam and you get surprisingly good feedback... or I do physical activity.

Martial arts say, or flattening car wrecks with a bulldozer or biting into a baseball bat. There's also embroidery and reading about flowers.

All the best from your friend, the rather pissed off Colonel Neville.