- Donald Trump (2/23/16)
I am not anti-Republican. I am very much open to a smart conservative, but playground rhetoric does not a President make. The ironic strength of Trump’s candidacy is that many of his supporters don’t give a shit about substance. Why analyze when people only want to hear egoist adjectives? Why debate when name-calling feels so much more satisfying?
The crux of Democratic Capitalism is the dependency on intelligence for a Nation’s success. This makes education the single most important thing in American society. Is American intelligence regressing? Has pride in intellect diminished? Or is it that the influence of the intelligent is diminishing? Is knowledge losing power?
For societal progression, intelligence needs to be synonymous with competition. Who can be the smartest? Who can win a debate or spelling bee? Who can get an A on their final draft? Who can make it to the next level of math? Who can get into the best university? Not, who can be the most cursory?
The thing that kills me about many of the political conversations happening between the two parties around the country, both on TV and in everyday life, is that there is often no depth to critique of candidate. It’s a constant resort to all-flaws-are-equal. As Jon Favreau (former speechwriter, not the director) tweeted recently, there’s “a constant lack of proportion, perspective and context.”
For instance, Trump says to ban Muslims from entering the country, and Hillary takes political donations from Goldman Sachs. These two things don’t just cancel each other out. They need to be criticized separately, with varying degrees of criticism. One is beneath the intelligence of what we would expect from a ten-year-old, the other is a product of a life of influence and power in politics.
Hillary deserves her criticisms on transparency, consistency, special interests, and hawkishness. But these are different criticisms than not knowing what the nuclear triad is, or saying Japan and South Korea should have nukes, or that global warming is a hoax because it still snows.
Hillary’s problems are, life-of-political-power problems. Trump’s problems are, are-you-smarter-than-a-fifth-grader problems. It’s the difference between someone who knows the ins and outs of the job but lies to you to get elected, and someone who knows nothing about the job but skirts all substantive questions by appealing to American insolence and the ease of adolescent arguments.
All minds in some manner want simplicity and leisure. However, post-internet, we are at a turning point in our cognitive evolution. Not only do we have an exponentially increased platform of information, our collective intelligence must utilize that information in order to meet the needs of our immediate future. In this new era, the American voter sealed the stamp on our cognitive state of emergency when a black man became President, from the birth of the modern Tea Party to Donald the Birther. The fact is, we can’t afford to be dumb.
Why are we so dumb? Is it the economy, stupid? Has collective intelligence dropped with economic incentive? When wage disparity increases, college graduates start making less, edging closer to the average income of non-college graduates. This literally lowers the value of the degree. Pride fades. Incentives fade. Aspirations fade. A mist settles on the majority. The information is there, but the inspiration is not.
The internet is humanity’s information collective. When the inspiration for research does strike us, anything can be found, but anything can also be believed. There is no omniscient curator, no source-check police. The curation that rules the brick and mortars has been stretched into oblivion with the global expanse of the new medium of library that is the internet. Moving forward, America will be as successful as its citizen curators.
We’re slow out of the gate.