A vote for President.
About four or five months ago, on a whim, I asked Tiarnan, four, an unexpected question.
“Who is smarter?” I began, catching his attention by the suddenness of my question.
His curious eyes peered up at me, in expectation.
“Daddy, or the President of America?”, I continued.
“Daddy!”, he said without even a millisecond of hesitation, as if nothing else could possibly be true.
It was sweet to hear his certainty, but then his certainty led me to reflect: not only was it most likely to be true of me, but true, too, of millions of people around the world. There are almost certainly enough people smarter than President Obama, to populate a very large country with…yet, he is President, and they are not. Is this right? Is this wise?
The question here is: should the President of America (or any other nation) be among the brightest of the bright? From the point of view of understanding the issues and making wise decisions, I would say that the brighter they are, the better. Obama has, for instance, in my view, made decisions that show a lack of moral intelligence: he just doesn’t grasp the issues deeply enough to see the essential moral problems of the questions he is called upon to answer…so he gives immoral answers (Google my prior posts on Obama and ethics). However, there is one problem: leaders have to lead – and, in practical terms, people don’t tend to follow someone who is too much brighter than they are – because they just don’t understand them.
The rule of thumb is that a leader should not be more than 30 IQ points smarter than the led, to permit effective communication. This certainly holds in the case of Singapore, for Lee Kuan Yew admitted in one interview on TV that his IQ was in the 120s…this would place him above average and still able to communicate to his followers, but does mean that he is most certainly not the brightest of the bright. He is just good enough to guide a majority of people – which is all you need in politics.
So, Obama has a brain. Yes. However, it is not the best of brains. It is an adequate one – one that allows him to bring to him, the greatest proportion of the electorate. Were Obama much brighter, he would probably have not been elected, for his way of thinking would be too opaque and unreachable to his electorate. Thus, America will have to be satisfied with Obama, the above average. Unless the electoral system changes, there will never be an “Obama the genius”, in American democratic politics.
That is why the world is the way it is. The very bright sit at home and wonder at the stupidity of the decisions made by politicians who are only bright enough to do their jobs, moderately well, at best. The very bright rarely get the chance to play a role in such arenas, simply because of the way they communicate with the world. Only if we moved away from the present form of democratic governments, would this ever be likely to change.
Until then, little children the world over, can rightfully declare their Daddies to be cleverer than the President of the United States – and in many cases, it would actually be true.
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I also write of gifted education, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, megasavant, HELP University College, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, Malaysia, IQ, intelligence and creativity.
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