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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How fair is a high IQ?

A friend posted an article on FB today, The War on Stupid People.

A quick read reveals that the author fears that intelligence is not only an innate and unfair advantage, but that the intelligent are setting up society for their own purposes.

"we have embraced the idea of a meritocracy with few reservations, even treating it as virtuous. That can’t be right. Smart people should feel entitled to make the most of their gift. But they should not be permitted to reshape society so as to instate giftedness as a universal yardstick of human worth."

Wow!  There's a lot tied up in that closing.  Maybe some day I'll care enough to pick it apart. 

For now I'll share this. 

I think there is far more anti-intellectual bias in the U.S. than otherwise.  Ask any parents who has had to deal with getting services for their gifted child, or just look at the Trump presidential campaign.

Here is the response I wrote on FB

Interesting article. It seems to have a fear based premise (that those who can't keep up are/will be left behind),which would make it appeal to those who are feeling threatened by their own current situation.
It seems to be a bit muddled - mixing education level, socio-economics and intelligence. (While related, those items are discrete.) Also, he doesn't seem to back up most of his statements with data.

Intelligence is a source of power, as is size, as is gender, socio-economic position, race, etc.. some of these things are inherent, and some are social constructs. While we can work to change the culture, do we really want to hinder those who can do great things?
Personally I'm super enjoying watching the Olympics. Even though I will never accomplish such feats, I can appreciate them, and only be a little bit jealous.

But, here is something useful to work with from the article:

"Quibble with the details all you want, but there’s no escaping the conclusion that most Americans aren’t smart enough to do something we are told is an essential step toward succeeding in our new, brain-centric economy—namely, get through four years of college with moderately good grades."

And that's something I think isn't true and this myth needs to be addressed.

We do not all have to have college degrees to be economically successful. In fact, the exorbitant cost of university means that the college educated graduate with more debt, and possibly less income (depending on major and geography) than those who chose a different route.
The culture of valuing white collar work over blue collar work has got to change.

Many people, including plenty of high IQ, do not fair well in a traditional classroom. Not all of us are cut out for college, or desk work. Add to that the fact that we have a looming shortage of necessary tradesworkers (due to an aging generation) and I think we have all the reason in the world to improve our valuation of those who work with their hands, provide necessary services, and contribute to our society.

Contrasting reads:
Harrison Berergon, by Kurt Vonnegut
Anti-Intellectualism in the U.S.
Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, by Richard Hofstadter

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