“Brilliance is Overrated” by Dennis Prager

It’s easy to argue that intellectuals are not always the best leaders, but conservative columnist has a fresh take on this idea, and he manages to defend the highly underestimated George W. Bush:

The adulation of the intellect is one reason President George W. Bush was so reviled by the intellectual class. He didn’t speak like an intellectual (even though he graduated from Yale) and for that reason was widely dismissed as a dummy (though he is, in fact, very bright). On the other hand, Barack Obama speaks like the college professor he was and thereby seduces the adulators of the intellect the moment he opens his mouth. Yet, it is he, not George W. Bush, who nearly always travels with teleprompters to deliver even the briefest remarks. And compared to George W. Bush on many important issues, his talks are superficial — as reading, as opposed to hearing, them easily reveals.

“Bush’s nationally televised stem cell speech was the most morally serious address on medical ethics ever given by an American president. It was so scrupulous in presenting the best case for both his view and the contrary view that until the last few minutes, the listener had no idea where Bush would come out.”

“Obama’s address was morally unserious in the extreme. It was populated, as his didactic discourses always are, with a forest of straw men.”

“Unlike Bush, who painstakingly explained the balance of ethical and scientific goods he was trying to achieve, Obama did not even pretend to make the case why some practices are morally permissible and others not.”

The reason we have too few solutions to the problems that confront people — in their personal lives as well as in the political realm — is almost entirely due to a lack of common sense, psychological impediments to clear thinking, a perverse value system, to a lack of self-control, or all four. It is almost never due to a lack of brainpower. On the contrary, the smartest and the best educated frequently make things worse.

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