12.30.2010

Mental Capacity?

Discussing the GOP's lack of initiative regarding immigration reform, someone recently said that if Republican's don't move on it soon it'll be because "they have real problems with their mental capacity." Comments like this are a dime (penny) a dozen (a thousand, really) on forums and blog threads all over the inter-web. The only reason I bring it up here is because this didn't come from some disgruntled elderly and staunch Democrat who just discovered how to email or the youthful ramblings of some 20-something liberal who knows it all.

No. This is the language you hear on the Congressional floor, specifically Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. (Of course, this isn't a counter attack against Democrats - the roles could easily have been reversed.) Why is it that the discourse has devolved to useless statements like this? More importantly for Mr. Harry Reid - how does he think this kind of statement will actually generate some kind of constructive response from Republicans? What exactly was the scenario he envisioned when he formulated his speech.
Reid: "You better fix this, or you're dumb!"
Republican 1: "Oh - you may be right, Mr. Reid, we'll get right on that."
Republican 2: "Yea, we've been sluggish and you sure showed us."
No. Not going to happen. If anything the exact opposite will happen - and it won't be because Republicans "lack mental capacity." 

Actually

They may lack mental capacity after all (every one of them, that is) - but not in the manner in which Mr. Reid is implying. OpenCulture.com just published their Best of 2010 and reminded me of this great illustrated guide to Ph.D.'s by a professor at the University of Utah. I'll post the entire thing. I think it's relevant.:
Imagine a circle that contains all of human knowledge:
By the time you finish elementary school, you know a little:
By the time you finish high school, you know a bit more:
With a bachelor’s degree, you gain a specialty:
A master’s degree deepens that specialty:
Reading research papers takes you to the edge of human knowledge:
Once you’re at the boundary, you focus:
You push at the boundary for a few years:
Until one day, the boundary gives way:
And, that dent you’ve made is called a Ph.D.:
Of course, the world looks different to you now:
So, don’t forget the bigger picture:
Keep pushing.
It's kind of like the elephant and the blind men parable I mentioned before. It's too bad Congressional leaders don't have the capacity to contain all human knowledge. Instead they all have to have different pieces of a puzzle and figure out the whole picture together (and what to do about it) in a cooperative manner.

Recognizing and identifying that handicap in all human beings is important, but blaming an individual you have to work with for having that handicap should be obviously counter-productive. Aren't we taught this in elementary school or by our parents? 

4 Intelligent Comment(s):

Abner said...

Jeremy, to answer the final question you pose in this blog entry: No, politicians were not taught this in elementary school or by their parents because politicians are the demon-spawn of the machine! They have no parents (or souls for that matter) and, as they are hatched at electable age, they never attended grade school. Just kidding...but srsly...
Anyway, good post and I dug the diagrams o' knowledge. A cool way to look at things! I really need to get back into political debate and finish out non-violence discussion and tackle your communist manifesto. *coughcough* I mean...manifesto. (: WoW addiction + WoW expansion = hiatus from irl. I'll get back sometime!

Jeremy Corbally-Hammond said...

Take your time man. Thanks for the comment!

Michael said...

Well put Jeremy. I completely agree that there is a relevance of knowledge - that just because someone knows how to perform a brain operation does not lend them extra credibility when trying to build a skyscraper or write a trade agreement.

I cringe everytime I hear someone say people only disagree with them because they're stupid - and it's not just the left http://www.frugal-cafe.com/public_html/frugal-blog/frugal-cafe-blogzone/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/ann-coulter-book-cover-199x300.jpg

I thinka better explanation for right-wing opposition to more immigration is that the GOP has a lot of protectionists. The left does to, but the minority status of most of the immigrants is enough to overlook that view here.

Jeremy Corbally-Hammond said...

You're probably right, Michael. At the very least, it's a contributing factor.

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