Barack Obama

Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on Obama's Egghead Presidency


In her latest column at The Daily, Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia explains how the Obama administration has further discredited the role of intellectuals in American politics. As she writes:

Why do intelligent people consistently make such a hash of things? Because they are smart enough to talk themselves into anything. Ordinary mortals don't engage in fancy mental gymnastics to reach conclusions that defy common sense. But intellectuals are particularly prone to this. Hence Bush's brilliant foreign policy team used the apparatus of the state to search for evidence connecting Saddam Hussein with the 9/11 attackers, which its superior ratiocination told them had to exist.

The great hope from Obama was that he would be different. That his thoughtful, professorial demeanor would prompt him to look for policies that worked — not push a preconceived agenda. In fact, when he took office, I hoped that he would be an "empirical president" who dispassionately considered the evidence from all sides before making decisions. One's preferred position might not win every time under such a president, but it would at least have a shot, something that people outside Bush's ideological kin never felt they had.

But Obama has been infinitely worse.

Read all about it here.

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  1. I just don’t accept the “egghead” label with any prominent member of this administration, including the president. I know plenty of idiots with similar backgrounds.

    Too many dumb moves; too many instances of not understanding complex systems.

    1. This. They were certainly a highly credentialed bunch but we know how much that means.

      1. It is more of an indictment of our particular intellectual class than intellectuals in general. Our entire intellectual class believes nonsense. Look at Elizabeth Warren. She is a tenured professor who believes absolutely silly things. And she is rewarded for that silliness.

        1. Its the Ivies. They suck. They think that they are smarter when all of life’s experiences say otherwise.

          Unless you are Ryan Fitzpatrick.

          1. Harvard, Dartmouth, and Yale are indeed intellectual black holes, but they’re not the entire Ivy League. Places like Cornell, Princeton, Penn, and Brown are powerhouses of the hard sciences still.

            1. ie, the places that most people are surprised to find out are in the Ivy League.

            2. I considered going to law school at Cornell. It’s a quality school.

    2. It takes someone of intelligence to understand when that word does not apply.

      It does not apply to Obama or his appointees. They are obviously gross incompetents.

  2. In fact, when he took office, I hoped that he would be an “empirical president”

    In Obama’s defense, “imperial” is awfully close to “empirical.”

    1. Empirical–having the quality of turning a republic into an empire.

  3. Intelligentsia does not equal intelligence. Preening intellectuals are usually the dumbest people ever.

    1. I HATE the Drake.

    2. still lost in Eden?

  4. In fact, when he took office, I hoped that he would be an “empirical president” who dispassionately considered the evidence from all sides before making decisions.

    What led you to believe this would happen? There is nothing, absolutely nothing, in Obama’s history prior to 2009, particularly in his IL legislature or Senate career, that would lead one to believe he was anything other than a spotlight-hogging speechifying attention whore. He never ran anything bigger than a Senate office.

    1. Maybe the association with Bill Clinton, with a similar educational background and air of intellectualism, and who came closest to the “empirical president” ideal.

      1. I guess we can just discount that Clinton was a governor before he was president?

      2. What was empiracal about the Clinton Presidency? He was just as much of a dopey leftist his first two years as Obama. The only difference was Clinton had Tom Foley as speaker rather than a stark raving lunatic like Pelosi. So Congress tempered Clinton’s worst instincts rather then encouraged them. And then after the 1994 elections Clinton went to the center out of survival instinct not any particular belief.

        Yeah, Clinton was politically luckier and more astute than Obama. But I can’t see how he is more empirical.

        1. Don’t believe me. I was forwarding CompuServe emails in ALL CAPS about Vince Foster and Hillary’s secret ties to Colombian drug dealers.

          1. Oh wow, dipshit has shown up to crap all over every post and prove the need for a registration system.

        2. When his first two years weren’t working, Clinton was able to change directions. So empirical as in, derived from experience rather than from thought experiments.

          1. That is true. Clinton was not nearly as hard headed as Obama. He was willing to do the right thing if circumstances pushed him there.

            1. Hard-headed? No. Clinton, unlike Obama, was an expert at keeping his finger in the wind and then going in that direction, with the personal charisma to pull off his blatant pandering and position-changing.

            2. The Oval Office is great for impressing the babes.

              1. And the fatties, too.

                1. Chubbies…we call them chubbies.

                  1. they’re fucking fat.

          2. This is certainly true, but Clinton had the huge advantage of entering office just as the biggest economic boom in the history of the world was on the horizon. The coming of age of the Internet and the opening of the Soviet bloc and Chinese markets were massive economic sea changes that Clinton had zilch to do with. If the economy had still sucked in 1996 no one would consider him a genius politician.

            1. That’s something that needs to be repeated over and over.

    2. Mostly just wishiful thinking, since he was going to be president and there wasn’t crap I could do about it.

    3. spotlight-hogging speechifying attention whore

      So Obama is rectal? Shit, now it all makes sense!

  5. Threadjack!

    Meshuggah + Dream Theater = Textures, aka A band that Chock full of awesomeness.

    1. That’s awesome, can’t wait to get home so I can check that out.

  6. Rule by intellectuals?

    The Simpsons did it.

  7. The owner of the company I work for is a Cornell graduate. He’s a ‘smart guy’ who talks a good game. But that still hasn’t stopped our company from having extreme financial issues in 2008, or from him hiring less-than-qualified candidates for vp-slots, or from investing in less-than-profitable technologies, or creating overpriced goods for small markets. But we’ve also had some home-runs that keep the whole enterprise working.

    We’ve suffered from these bad choices, but at least those decisions only effected the company (and by extension, the employees), not vast swaths of the economy and society.

    Sometimes I look at corporations and end up just amazed that they manage to stay in business.

    1. Oh, yeah. I’ve got my own stories about corporate idiocy….

      But when it comes to Dalmia’s piece, as usual with her, my reaction is an unsettled partial agreement and an urge to nitpick. Too often she seems to base her pieces on out-of-context anecdotes or a view of history that’s too narrow.

      First, Quayle’s gaffe was due to him relying on a school-supplied flash card that misspelled potato. That doesn’t entirely exonerate him, but still. Second, the trope of Democrats being the party of intellectuals and the GOP being the party of dummies goes back at least to Adlai and Ike. (Though it’s beyond me to see how anyone could think the fellow in charge of the D-Day, among many other things, was some sort of dunce.)

      1. And of course the most legitimate intellectual we have ever had as President was Woodrow Wilson who was a disaster on every level.

        And yeah, calling Eisenhower stupid is well pretty stupid.

        1. Indeed, Wilson so discredited the word “progressive” that progressives started calling themselves “liberals,” swiping the word from limited-government types. It was only the discrediting of the word “liberal” in the ’60s and ’70s (and forgetting about Wilson) that led to the return of “progressive.”

          1. In some ways intellectuals have gotten better. At the turn of the 20th Century they believed in racial theories and eugenics. Today they just believe in green job unicorns.

            1. Why do you think those people are “intellectuals?”

            2. john uses “they” way too much…just like union guys when speaking about mgmt

          2. Uh, 21st century “progressives” are the intellectual descendants of the socialists of the early 20th century, not the Progressives of that era. They both wanted to use govt power to further their ends but the similarity largely ends there.

            1. I think there are more than a few similarities, but nevertheless, my point was about the nomenclature. But it’s true that the Wilson-era Progressives were consciously trying to counteract the attraction of socialism, while today’s progressives are just socialists under a nicer-sounding banner.

              1. I don’t know, they remind me more of Wilson than Debs, to be honest. Debs, I would disagree with vehemently, ideologically. Wilson, in contrast, was just a snake. I could see myself working with Bernie Sanders on some shared point of policy much more easily than I could imagine with working with any Kennedy or Clinton or Krugman or China-worshipping, NYT-reading dipshit.

      2. Yeah, ole Ike had to have something on the ball to systematically mass murder as he did, including the german POWs.

        1. Speaking of people believing nonsense. The US never systematically murdered German prisoners. The death rate among German prisoners was less than 5%. And many of them were treated so well and liked it here so well they married American girls and stayed in the US.

          Few things annoy me more than fucking Nazi sympathizing paleocons.

          1. It’s weird. Why make up stuff when one can point to the shameful mistreatment of the Cossacks as a gift to Stalin

            1. That was Roosevelt and the State Department. And yes, ours and the British turning over Russian nationals and Russian POWs to Stalin was a real crime. One of the worst in American history.

              1. In some cases, the people turned over were not even Russian nationals, they just happened to have great-grandparents who were.

            2. And we didn’t think much of those deals, either.

          2. Few things annoy me more than fucking Nazi sympathizing paleocons.

            How about neo confederate libturds.

          3. There’s a bit in one of Ambrose’s books where a bunch of black soldiers traveling through the South are eating in a parking lot while German POWs are inside taking their lunch break from harvesting

          4. What about the Dresden air raids?

        2. That’s been pretty thoroughly discredited. Lots of German POWs escaped from post-war POW camps, so the figure for those taken in and officially released are quite different, but that doesn’t mean the disparity equates to dead prisoners.

          1. Also missing the reality that many german soldiers fought through almost certain death against the Soviet lines in order to surrender to the Americans.

        3. “Yeah, ole Ike had to have something on the ball to systematically mass murder as he did, including the german POWs.”

          Repeating lies doesn’t change the lie. It just makes you a liar.

          1. This is why LM went into the filter.

  8. Of course intellectuals in the PRIVATE sector are brilliant Galtian Overlords, unfailing captains of industry!

    1. No they are not dipshit. Most CEOs have practical degrees in things like math and engineering from state schools. Idiot Ivy League intellectuals invest government and the media much more than the private sector.

    2. At the very least, they were smart enough to stay away from the Public Sector.

      That’s enough for me.

      1. but “they” luvs em some sweet tax love & subsidises fm uncle sam

        1. When you’re a dipshit with nothing to post, why just make up stuff.
          Who knows? Maybe someone reading is as stupid as you are.

    3. I can avoid bad decision-makers in the market. I am forced to abide by bad decisions made by the Enforcers-in-Chief.

      1. Not True! If you hate government so much, move somewhere else!

    4. Maybe not, but the idiots in the private sector can’t mandate that I buy their product and finance their stupidity.

    5. I think White Indian got through his backlog of comic-books and HAS RETURNED!

      1. [AG]rarian Utopia [AG]ain! R[AG]e {AG]ainst the Machine, White Injun!

  9. O/T: Behold, the inner workings of the hive mind:

    Mindful of the cold weather coming, protesters have a “winterization committee” to prepare for the season.…..6163.story

    If this is what a society created by “over educated” twits would look like – where the most mindless of tasks like making preparations for cold weather and dressing appropriately are determined by committee – then we as a society are in some very deep shit.

    1. It is like a real life Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, only we can’t put these people on a spaceship to another planet.

    2. Naw, that’s not it.

      This is straight out of the union playbook.

      Unions learned that people don’t like to do stuff like show up and participate in picket lines.

      So they make up a huge number of bullshit “committees”, because once people commit to be part of a “committee”, that reinforces their commitment to showing up and doing shit tasks.

      “No, honey, I really HAVE to go today – I’m on the winterization committee.”

      It’s stupid, but collectivists burned big parts of three continents with this shit from 1931-1945. I bet that they had LOADS of stupid committees at Auschwitz.

      1. No offense, but that seems to lack complete explanatory power.

        The Committees of Correspondence were committees.

        The Declaration of Independence was written by a committee (which reviewed Jefferson’s work and made changes).

        The Constitution was written with help from committees.

        And as for Hitler, he didn’t govern by committee. He either let his subordinates in different agencies fight it out, or he imposed his own solution (or Solution). I grant that the Wannsee Conference was a committee. But the seizure of Czechoslovakia, for instance, was not a committee decision.

        1. The most amazing success I’ve ever seen come from a committee.

    3. My favorite:

      There is a makeshift kitchen and library and celebrities from filmmaker Michael Moore to actress Susan Sarandon have stopped by to show support.

      I imagine they stepped out of their limousines just long enough to get a whiff of Hippie Stank, and then scuttled back to their Manhattan condos.

      1. *skitter

        G-D dyslexia.

    4. Winter is coming.

  10. I’ve known many people that were quite capable of learning many, many things, and yet they never actually understood any of them.

    Makes for well-educated idiots.

    1. They are not even well educated. Go talk to them sometime. See what they actually know about history or science. It is appalling the kind of nonsense they believe.

      1. As an engineer (aka nerd, geek, etc) I bump into many amateur scholars that have read about lots of cool technology, scientific discoveries, and other geeky things that completely misundertand everything they’ve ever read.

        Clinton surrounded himself with policy wonks. Obama is surrounded with policy wonks that don’t actually understand policy.

        1. I am a complete history geek. And I am amazed at how little people actually know. I am talking educated people here. They either don’t know it or they believe something completely untrue. Worse still, they draw lots of lessons and arguments for current day policy from all the nonsense they believe.

          And in the guys you talk to defense, science is hard. And most popular science books are wrong. You really have to be careful what you read. I say that as a total physics and history of science geek.

          1. History is taught in public schools by teachers without relevant degrees from books with flagrant errors according to lessons plans driven with political motivations.

            If you don’t have the desire to read history on your own, you will never understand the subject.

            1. If you don’t have the desire to read history on your own, you will never understand the subject.

              Which is exactly why progressivism is the perfect ideology for people whose relentless self-assuredness completely makes up for their lack of intellectual curiosity.

            2. Almost everything I know about history, I learned outside of classrooms from my own reading and through discussions with other history buffs.

              And at 50 years old, with all the college and personally motivated reading under my belt, I’m still amazed at how little I know. It one of the big reasons I’ve never really understood progressivism. Michael actually nails it I think.

            3. History is taught in public schools by teachers without relevant degrees from books with flagrant errors according to lessons plans driven with political motivations.

              One of my clearest memories of high school was my history/US Govt. teacher explaining that the Second Amendment protected the right of states to form a militia, and in Ohio, that militia is the State Highway Patrol.

          2. And most popular science books are wrong. You really have to be careful what you read.

            There are widely-used physics textbooks that are wrong. The school I went to used Giancoli’s textbook for the first two years of physics, and it was only years later that I found out the explanations of several phenomena were totally wrong: he claimed that resonance was responsible for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse and for microwaves being able to cook food, and that ice is slippery because of a thin layer of liquid water on top of it.

      2. Ditto with the history, but the one thing I am grateful to my history degree for (it sure as hell hasn’t gotten me any damn jobs in the history factory) is that it’s rare for things to be absolutely “known” further back than a hundred years or so, and not always even then.

        For example, you say people believe a lot of stupid things about history, but if you keep up with the academic journals, historians disagree about shit constantly. History isn’t something that’s written in stone, a litany of “one damned fact after another”, as the famous quote goes. It’s constantly being revisited, revised, and argued over as new evidence or new interpretations of existing evidence come to light.

        Some things which we simply accept as fact today may seem foolish to future generations of historians.

        1. ^^ The above was supposed to be in response to John’s comment at 2:46 below.

        2. That is true. And our ideas of history, especially distant history change. But I am not talking about debating whether the fall of the Roman Empire was an unmitigated tragedy or a return to normalcy like the post Soviet Eastern Europe.

          I am talking about believing things like FDR created the middle class. And Reagan reversed the entire great society. Really crazy stuff like that.

          1. I figured that’s what you were talking about, but as a history buff I couldn’t help but nitpick.

            A great example was the discussion going on in an earlier thread just today about the actual quality of life and social status of the builders of the pyramids. As new scientific analysis is done on diet, years of life, medical care, etc., our whole perspective on that radically changes (as compared to what was believed, say, 50 years ago).

    2. My fifteen year-old daughter has a friend who is a straight-A student. She takes AP classes and attends a good high school in the area. Does very well on standardized tests, too.

      She didn’t know that California is a state.

      1. Depressing as that is, it is not surprising.

      2. What did she think it was?

        A reality tv show set?

        1. Another country.

          1. Incidentally, I think she knew where it was. It must be part of NAFTA or something.

          2. We’d all be better off if it was a different country.

          3. “Another country.”

          4. Maybe she’s an antifederalist?

            1. Personally, I think she and her family are Canadian spies.

          5. It is certainly another reality … which is kind of like another country.

          6. She didn’t know that California is a state… [she thought California was a]nother country.

            Well, there are 57 of ’em, after all.

            Okay, that was cheap.

      3. In the early 90s, while I was deployed for Desert Shield my wife was traveling from Alabama to Montana (where we were moving upon my return) and my teenage sister went along for the ride. Somewhere in the Midwest sis asked my wife if they were going to go through California on the way. I’m a little embarressed by that.

      4. I can forgive girls for not knowing any geography.

        Boys learn geography because there are maps in books about war.

        Where are girls going to see maps?

        They might learn about the geographical features of the kingdom of Fakeolandia when they’re going through their princess phase, but that doesn’t help you learn real geography in the same way that, say, idly musing about the best invasion routes to take out Canada would.

        (To vote for this entry in the Most Sexist Post by Fluffy Yet contest, press 1. To hear the next entry, press 2.)

        1. How does anyone not know that California is a state?

        2. 1

          Anyway, has there ever been a war with battles taking place in California? Maybe the Mexican war, but I thought most of those battles actually took place in Mexico.

          1. A few in California, but I don’t think they were key ones. There was the Battle of San Francisco, where the defenders tried to drive off the Americans by hitting them with their handbags.

  11. Why do intelligent people consistently make such a hash of things? Because they are smart enough to talk themselves into anything. Ordinary mortals don’t engage in fancy mental gymnastics to reach conclusions that defy common sense. But intellectuals are particularly prone to this. Hence Bush’s brilliant foreign policy team used the apparatus of the state to search for evidence connecting Saddam Hussein with the 9/11 attackers, which its superior ratiocination told them had to exist.

    What crap. Everyone is subject to confirmation bias: smart people, dumb people, and journalists too.

    I have yet to read anything from Shikha that I would consider well reasoned.

    1. And I don’t recall Bush ever claiming or trying to prove that Saddam was connected to 9-11. The entire Iraq war was based on the UN resolution and his WMD program.

      And yeah, large masses of ordinary people can believe crazy and even dangerous things, see the French Revolution and Nazism for examples. Sure they are egged on by intellectuals. And the intellectuals are usually early adopters. But the ordinary people buy it too.

      1. My weary brain remembers the Bush administration pouring enormous effort into showing that Saddam had WMDs. The general public came to the conclusion that Saddam was tied to 9/11 on its own. The Bush administration made no effort to correct that because it helped to maint political pressure to take on Saddam.

      2. I disagree. Stupid people are seriously subject to confirmation bias.

        Smart people are supposed to know that they’re subject to confirmation bias. So we can blame them for falling for it.

        But I don’t believe you can say any given cohort is more or less prone to confirmation bias.

        1. Smart people, because they know they are smart and thus have an ego, are less likely to realize they are the victims of confirmation bias.

          1. I’m sorry, John, I love you, but

            [citation needed]

            1. If you know you are a victim of confirmation bias, you will change your view. The nature of confirmation bias is that the people suffering from it don’t know they are suffering from it. Who is more likely to be that way someone who isn’t confident in their views or someone who is?

          2. I spend a lot of time as an engineer to figure out if I fucked something up because of a bad assumption.

            Some careers punish confirmation bias pretty effectively.

            Others reward it.

          3. Exactly. This will be the first, last, and only time I quote Rand approvingly, but: Check your premises. Be as ruthless in examining your own arguments as you would in your opponents.

          4. “Smart people, because they know they are smart and thus have an ego, are less likely to realize they are the victims of confirmation bias.”

            Which makes them imbeciles — the opposite of “smart.”

    2. I think she’s saying that intellectuals are particularly prone to confirmation bias, which I would agree with.

      1. I disagree. Stupid people can fall prey to spectacular fits of confirmation bias.

        Smart people are supposed to know that they’re subject to bias. So we can blame them when the fall prey to it.

        But I don’t believe you can single out any given group of people for being subject to confirmation bias.

        Talk to any person on any subject on any day, and you’ll almost always see them engaging in some form of confirmation bias.

        1. Of course it’s common, but intellectuals are extra good at it, because they can apply their brains and education to the task.

          (Off-topic: Why the hell does one frigging page of H&R involve loading, sometimes v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y, around 1400 items? Tell all those ad networks to replace their obviously tired server squirrels.)

    3. Intellectualism has brought about every disastrous human endeavor we’ve ever seen. See Eugenics.

      What people don’t understand is that here is a vast difference between being educated and being smart. One != the other.

      Some of the dumbest people I have ever met hold a Ph D, yet those are the ones interested in “shaping” our society towards their view of Utopia, and many are willing to abide any policy to see that it happens.

      1. What was disastrous about eugenics? The principles behind it are well established. All kinds of domesticated animals have been bred to optimize certain characteristics. What makes humans unique?

        1. Many domesticated animals are also raised for food. Sometimes, their skin is turned into clothing. What makes humans unique?

  12. But modern intellectuals, having abandoned honest inquiry for unabashed activism, must themselves bear some blame for the backlash.

    Shikha actually makes a good case for disdain for intellectualism pretty early in her piece.

    1. She did say “hoped.”

  13. #1 “Ordinary mortals don’t engage in fancy mental gymnastics to reach conclusions that defy common sense”

    #2 ” I hoped that he would be an “empirical president” who dispassionately considered the evidence from all sides before making decisions”

    #2 is in direct contradiction with # 1.

    1. She did say “hoped”

      *shakes fist at squirrels*

  14. Oddly enough, it was college and Philosophy (which I have a minor in) that drove me away from ‘intellectualism’.

    Most of the arguments seemed more akin to discussing ‘how many angels can dance on a pinhead’ than any kind of real-world solution. Perhaps that’s why I enjoy working on cars, making electronic gear, fixing stuff, or even programming. At least there is a sense of actually doing something productive.

    (BROAD BRUSH ALERT) Of course Marx, through his rank ideology, managed to kill more people than you can shake a stick at. So you can say that about intellectuals – they are good at creating destruction.

    1. Interesting – I almost minored in Philosophy and Religious Studies just b/c I enjoyed it and took a bunch of classes. Still do pleasure reading in that area.

      But – yep – gearhead – cars, motorcycles, boats, fixin’ shit around the house, assload of tools in a rollaway in the garage. Maybe it’s a function of growing up/living in rural Michigan?

      My buddy the carpenter and I have a theory – he prefers to NOT do manual work around the house because that’s what he does all day at work (finish carpenter), and I LIKE to do manual work around the house because I’m in an office/on the computer all day (Evul Manager Person).

      Perhaps it’s a way to achieve some sort of balance? Dunno.

      Also, hot rods and motorcycles are fucking cool, and I REALLY like driving fast, so there’s that….

      1. I’m being driven in that direction myself. Been behind a computer (nearly) my whole working life, and am now stocking up on motorcycle repair manuals.

        I’m having to teach myself because none of my friends are gearheads, and it’s surprisingly hard to find things like cheap night classes or learning annex courses on small engine repair here (I live in an affluent city, so their continuing education options don’t feature such plebian pursuits).

        1. I built an entire small block 355 chevy engine by just using a book. And yes – it ran on the first twist of the key. I did the timing, setting the valves, installation, etc without any help beyond a friend to help put the engine in.

          My thought at the time was – if all the ‘dumb’ kids who took shop could handle this kind of stuff, why not me?

          1. “My thought at the time was – if all the ‘dumb’ kids who took shop could handle this kind of stuff, why not me?”

            Suffice to say, there are few more obviously and visually ‘logical’ contraptions than an IC engine.
            But some of those kids did nothing other than memorize the book, and when things didn’t look like they did in the book, they were in trouble.
            Anyone who simply ‘logics’ their way through the process is far better prepared to wrench than the alternative.

          2. What man can do (with a few minor exceptions) another man can do.

      2. Almanian, don’t know if you recall from an earlier thread months ago, but we share some DNA. Anything with a motor is cool, and driving fast…If God is a comedian, then I’m almost certain NOT to die in a car accident.

  15. ratiocination

    I had to look that up – I thought it was a misspelling at first.

    Son, I am impress.

    Damn you and your superior vocabulary, Shikha Dalmia. Damn you…

    1. Yeah. I looked it up too. It should definately be a drink word.

      1. That’s a good one. I think the first time I saw it was in a review of Atlas Shrugged that called it crack-brained ratiocination, and I naturally immediately stole that.

  16. Obama has been “infinitely worse” than Bush? Wow. Even in my full-throated rage over the health care stupidity, I would limited it to 5000x worse. Or maybe even just 2500x. Obama did kill bin Laden.

    1. Actually, Navy SEALs killed Bin Laden

      1. No, it was Obama himself.

        1. No, he was watching TV on the other side of the world with Hillary.

          1. Micro-managing from afar.

          2. He controlled the drone that killed bin Laden. Using a Kinect.

            1. As someone who’s thrown a Wii nunchuck at a TV by accident (thankfully a CRT) I can sympathize with his boo-boo.

              1. It’s a special LAUNCH button on my special Blackberry….

  17. Is is just me or is Shikha a closet progressive? Look at these statements:

    “Hostility toward the philosophes is not unique to Americans, of course. It was the ancient Greeks, after all, who executed Socrates because his philosophy conflicted with their piety. Likewise, there is an element of fear among religious conservatives that the intellectual project as such ? not any particular brand of intellectualism ? is inherently subversive to their settled wisdom.”

    That sounds like “they like to cling to their guns and religion.” No Shikah, it’s not that conservatives and others don’t like intellectuals, we simply CHOOSE what intellectuals we like and which ones we reject.

    You may not like Ayn Rand, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Mark Levine, and John Stossel, but to me they are far greater philosophers than Nietzche and Rosseau.

    In fact, when you get down to it and see how Rosseau was responsible for justifying some of the atrocities of the French revolution, you see that maybe it’s ok to pick and choose when it comes to the people you follow.

    Then again, Shikah is the kind of girl that can’t tell the difference between being a citizen of the United States, a legal resident, and paying a sales tax. According to her, illegal aliens should get in-state tuition because they buy stuff. Funny, international students also buy stuff, but they don’t pay in-state tuition even if they have rich parents that own a home in America.

    1. Maybe if it’s a glass closet.

  18. Perhaps Dalmia is simply trying to reach out to disaffected progressives who actually bought the Obama hype machine, but if she really had any hope that Obama was indeed smart it serves to discredit her in a severe way.

    The fascade of intelligence is so engrained into society today. People mistake knowledge for reason. Obama seems like the type who has a pretty good reservoir of factoids and knows about past events etc. But his reasoning and logical faculties have never seemed particularly acute to me. Granted, in the soundbyte culture, its difficult to fully gauge a public figure’s intellect, but it seems that many people who I’d expect to know better confuse a vast lexicon and an ability to draw on a large mental database of past events for true intelligence.

    I like to pick on engineers in a sort of jealous way. Engineers generally have the most logic oriented minds (albeit that their logic is often quarantined to their field of choice, they can sometimes fail to see the logic of economic realities etc). They may be completely incapable of structuring a coherent sentence in some circumstances, but their smarts shouldn’t be in question due to that. So why do we assume that the guy that can formulate a coherent sentence (disregarding the many “ums” for argument’s sake) is somehow the model of rationality?

    I have a lot of friends and relatives who consider me smart/intelligent. Although I am flattered and do believe it true, I feel that too often they’re thinking I’m intelligent because I speak well, write well, and have a good knowledge of the facts which I talk about (and for the most part the honesty to admit when I’m in over my head on certain subjects). I happen to think my reasoning is sound as well, but in most cases I’m perceived as bright not because of the logical soundness of my conclusions as much as the accurate stored knowledge which I use as the antecedents in my rationale.

    1. Your friends find you articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy?

      1. Just articulate and bright. Aside from that I am a beastly man with hair in all manner of places where no hair should exist on an attractive man, and the one place where hair ought to exist its depleting faster than Solyndra’s finances.

        1. Are you without Negro dialect, except when you want one?

          1. I listen to some a y’all!

      2. He’s like a fairy tale!

    2. There is a difference between being clever and being smart. Politics constantly confuses the clever act for being able to turn a phrase with genuine intelligence. And further, smart people can be wrong. There is a difference between intelligence and wisdom.

      1. Yeah, you can roll an 18 intelligence and get only, like, a 6 wisdom.

    3. I love how everyone thought he was a genius because his elocution was cleaner than Bush’s. WTF?

  19. One v , ignorant, and now. Fuckin smartphones.

  20. Ah the wisdom of stupid people, what a debt we owe to it.

    Maybe you guys are just stupid and that’s why the “eggheads” are against you.

    1. Don’t forget, smart or stupid, if you support Bloody Barry you are a simple warmonger.

      1. We’ll get more war from the other guy, I promise.

        1. Are you suggesting you would support the other guy if you believe you get even more of the same?

          1. I’d never support a Republican.

        2. Oh, oh!
          Shithead makes empty promise! Stop the presses!

    2. Ah the wisdom of stupid people, what a debt we owe to it.

      Well, the poor are pretty ignorant and we owe a shit-ton of debt thanks to them, so yeah, you’re probably right.

      1. The poor started 2 phony wars and gave trillions of dollars in giveaways to the rich and big pharma?

        1. Oh, oh!
          Shithead tries brand new strawman!
          Stop the presses!

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