Monday, March 05, 2012

QotD: Tell You What To Do Edition

Borepatch made me LOL.
Seems there's some new "scientific" study that says that people are too dumb to govern themselves.

You'll be shocked to find that the scientists are from an Ivy League university. Who would have seen that coming?
How cute! I must have missed the part where I agreed to give a damn about their opinions.


Anonymous said...

I'm surprised they used the word govern. I'm pretty sure they are more inclined to use "ruled" when talking about us common folk.


My robot will obey.

Tango Juliet said...

"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority...the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

WV: isickly elograti

I'm sickly of the elograti too.

pygmy rattler said...

I'm sick of thiss "stuff"!
I live in north Florida; and I want to secede...AGAIN!

Keith said...

While I don't agree with some of the finer details of the study I think that they are correct. One only needs to look at the current crop of politicians, the state of the education system, and political tone in this country to realise that the stupid and ignorant vote in droves. This was not unseen by the founding fathers but many of the safeguards that they put in place have been removed in the name of equality. This country and others have spent the better part of the last century and this one proving that unrestricted direct democracy does not work.

Anonymous said...

"Seems there's some new "scientific" study that says that people are too dumb to govern themselves"

If we're too dumb to govern ourselves then they are certainly far too stupid to govern us. amen.

Because they are, after all, us. Without the humility.

global village idiot said...

Scientists need better p.r. This is a campaign ad for a position that doesn't exist.


Borepatch said...

global village idiot, p.r. won't help. Scientists need more humility, self criticism, and appreciation for the seductiveness of confirmation bias.

Or to shut their pie holes. That'd work, too.

Lord, I'm grumpy lately.

Anonymous said...

The truth is that Ivy League graduates are too stupid to serve in government.

Since 1988, every president has been a graduate of an Ivy League school.

Every Supreme Court justice is from an Ivy League law school.

Our problem isn't that the voters are too stupid. It is that the candidates have nothing but credentials to offer in place of actual expertise or common sense. Look no further than the acrimony within the GOP right now to see how people are resisting having another Ivy League twit (Romney) shoved down their throat, and the party hacks are fully intent on shoving Romney down our throat.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and for the record, neither a psychologist nor a sociologist are "scientists." Both fields are overrun with frauds, and the first field is heavily populated with outright perverts.

Keith said...

Unfortunately the alternatives to Mittens are rather weak. It's hard to pick from a socialist, a washed up warhorse, my crazy uncle, and captain Jesus.

global village idiot said...

Borepatch, you're quite right. I ought to have added that one of the problems with "scientists" is that they tend not to be sufficiently politically savvy to realize that a story such as the one at the heart of our discussion will come across as a really lame and tone-deaf pitch for their appointment as rulers.

It's why scientists need to stay in their own lane - implicit in the story is the belief among those who performed the "study" that attainment of political office is or ought to be as simple as when Mrs. Teasdale had Rufus T. Firefly appointed "Leader" of Fredonia in Duck Soup.

Go to youtube and see what Tom Lehrer has to say about sociology:


Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"I must have missed the part where I agreed to give a damn about their opinions."

Well, since we're not competent to govern ourselves, our agreement is obviously irrelevant.

We're simply too dumb to realize that these gods of knowledge and wisdom know what's best for us, so they have the right, nay, the responsibility, to force their rule upon us.

wv: twould orable - t'would be 'orable if we didn't let our intellectual betters rule us.

Tam said...

Anon 2:43,

"Oh, and for the record, neither a psychologist nor a sociologist are "scientists." Both fields are overrun with frauds, and the first field is heavily populated with outright perverts."

Oh, you know how they're always taking some word and sticking "-ology" on the end of it to make it sound like a science: Astrology, phrenology, psychology...

Stuart the Viking said...

I think that what these scientists have missed is that it doesn't matter what form that government takes or how the leaders are chosen. All governments are doomed to ultimately either collapse entirely or lapse into some form of tyrany. However, we recognise that government is a necessesary evil if civilization is to advance, so we continue the futile exercise (its not like we have anything better to do).

The framers of the constitution understood this. That is why they attempted to place limits on the size and breadth of the federal government. That is why they paid particular attention to protecting freedom of speech. That is why they paid particular attention to the recognise the rights of the people to keep and bear arms.

One day, sooner or later, the people are going to have to shoot it out and decide what form our next government is going to take. If you asked me 10 years ago, I would have guessed that there was no way it would happen in my lifetime. Now, I'm not so sure.


Thomas said...

You people give gun-owners a bad name.

Instead of discussing the merits of the study, all you do is throw $hit, like apes.

Another thing. I would say that from the state of the western world, it is obvious people have absolutely no clue how to run a society.

Anonymous said...


Monkey see, monkey dodo.

How's the Putin fellow working out for you these days?


atlharp said...

In reality they can only speak for themselves. Everything else is just projection. ;-)

Matt G said...

Remember, though:
Everyone here who is on the dole gets a vote.

Anonymous said...

When can we just get offa this f'ed up planet already?

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Astrology, phrenology, psychology...


Interesting they called it "Political Science" instead of "politology". It's just as fradulent by either name.

Anonymous said...

I think you have all missed the point. Successful politicians are selected on the basis that they can get many of us to vote for them. Even if we could accurately pick to the very best politician we are only picking a person who is very good at making us vote for them. This specialized skill has nothing to do with making rational decisions about running a country or even a county.

I haven't checked in your country but in our country nearly every politician is a lawyer, a person trained to bend words and to argue for the defense or prosecution regardless of their true belief.

Very few (in Australia's case none) of our national politicians are trained scientists (meaning PhD ie someone who does science making discoveries rather than just learning a lot of so called facts at undergraduate level). We may have a rare engineer.

In other words people who think about things, make rational arguments and then risk proving themselves wrong don't get accepted by the big political parties.

Contrast this with China where the majority of members are scientists and engineers ie doers not talkers.


Stretch said...

This "scientific" study will be used as justification to cancel November's election.
If you'll excuse me I have to put fresh straps on my cullender and reline my attic with foil.

Ancient Woodsman said...

Digression: I knew a darling of the sociology community, and he insisted on being called a mathematician. Nice guy...I rented his house when he was posted to China in the early 80s and frankly, he was a spot-on logical thinker and completely atypical of what you might think of a Harvard professor.

RIP Nathan Keyfitz. Nice guy. Don't call him a sociologist.

On the OP, yep, "they" do indeed see no reason to suspect or even whim that just because they think it up, it cannot possibly be wrong...and if you disagree, by default you are wrong.

Thomas said...

The research, led by David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, shows that incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people's ideas. For example, if people lack expertise on tax reform, it is very difficult for them to identify the candidates who are actual experts. They simply lack the mental tools needed to make meaningful judgments.

He and colleague Justin Kruger, formerly of Cornell and now of New York University, have demonstrated again and again that people are self-delusional when it comes to their own intellectual skills. Whether the researchers are testing people's ability to rate the funniness of jokes, the correctness of grammar, or even their own performance in a game of chess, the duo has found that people always assess their own performance as "above average" — even people who, when tested, actually perform at the very bottom of the pile.

Mato Nagel, a sociologist in Germany, recently implemented Dunning and Kruger's theories by computer-simulating a democratic election. In his mathematical model of the election, he assumed that voters' own leadership skills were distributed on a bell curve — some were really good leaders, some, really bad, but most were mediocre — and that each voter was incapable of recognizing the leadership skills of a political candidate as being better than his or her own. When such an election was simulated, candidates whose leadership skills were only slightly better than average always won.

Nagel concluded that democracies rarely or never elect the best leaders.
Their advantage over dictatorships or other forms of government is merely that they "effectively prevent lower-than-average candidates from becoming leaders."

Meaning, democracy makes sure it's unlikely the most syphilitic camel gets elected too often, therefore, one should not expect president Santorum, but rathers Obama or that Mormon average what's his name..

Seriously, people.

What issues do you have with that? Dunning-Kruger effect is old hat.

This blog pokes fun at stupid elecritters.. we have all noticed the lack of qualifications in our political leadership, the inanity of the campaigns and so on.

Merely making sure the votes of people who cannot spell 'definitely' are not counted would vastly improve the political landscape.

Of course, the best representation could only be obtained by randomly selecting representatives.

Anonymous said...

It's irresponsible "scientists" like those who give science a bad name.

The Roman Republic may have lasted 483 years or, in IMPERIAL MODIFIED FORM, 1936 years (until 1453 AD).

I'd rather be represented by someone with the character of Cincinnatus, the guile of Octavianus or Odysseus, and the "get 'er done" attitude of Julius Caesar.

In short, me!

Ulises from CA

Buzz said...

One need look back just 4 years to see the "scientists" were spot on.

We elected an unqualified, inexperienced hack because of his above-average melanin, ability to articulately recite from a teleprompter, and cause feeble-minded women to swoon in his presence.

I STRONGLY agree with the scientists for third-world backwaters that believe female genitalia were made for knife sculptors or education isn't fit for womenfolk. The problem is, even with dictators or monarchs, they still fail.

Buzz said...

(and, no, a graduate of "bitter womynz united" isn't an educated woman, just another foot soldier in the war against men and the unborn)

Borepatch said...

Thomas, most of the European Union nations (and particularly the EU itself) are profoundly undemocratic. The few plebiscites that were held on EU integration were all turned down by the populations. The elites moved forward anyway.

Europe looks to be much closer to your model of rule by scientific, rational elites that the messy American Republic. And yet the EU is a mess, in ways too numerous to lay out here.

So what happened? They took political power away from the "stupid" masses who don't know how to analyze tax policy, and gave it to a self-selected intellectual elite. That elite absolutely has the mental horsepower to understand the nuances of public policy.

And they're in more of a mess than we are.

Me thinks that there's something more to it than the Good Professors posit. Even if their Neat-o plan would give a much higher social position to Professors.

I'd propose the radical thought that you cannot address the current collapse of governmental legitimacy by disenfranchising the population even more than it has been. But I'm just a goofball, or something.

staghounds said...

Thomas is right, for my money.

Face it, we can't most of us correctly identify a life partner or profession for our own personal selves.

The problem with the "study", and with several D-K games, is that it assumes that "competence", or "funniness", are fixed and immutable things like "seven" or "sodium chloride".

Leadeship, competence, the funniness of a joke are all situational, transient, and matters of subjective taste.

staghounds said...

Parkinson is illuminating
on this issue.

staghounds said...

The ideal candidate would reply to the second question,

"Yes, Admiral Parker is my uncle. My father is Captain Foley, my grandfather Commodore Foley. My mother's father was Admiral Hardy. Commander Hardy is my uncle. My eldest brother is a Lieutenant in the Royal Marines, my next brother is a cadet at Dartmouth and my younger brother wears a sailor suit."

"And what made you think of joining the Navy?"

Given a choice between two candidates, both equally acceptable by birth, a member of the Board would ask suddenly, "What was the number of the taxi you came in?" The candidate who said "I came by bus" was then thrown out. The candidate who said, truthfully, "I don't know," was rejected, and the candidate who said "Number 2351" (lying) was promptly admitted to the service as a boy with initiative.

Former Tech said...

I tend to agree. People are too dumb to govern themselves, even the smartest of us. Of course if no is is smart enough to govern himself, they are certainly too stupid to govern others. In my more cynical moments I wonder if we should turn our government over to a good random number source. It really couldn't be much worse.