I heard a professor on television recently criticizing Sarah Palin. The main thrust of his criticism was that she doesn't read much and isn't "intellectual". Presumably, he considers being intellectual an important qualification for holding high office.
Is intellectualism all it's cracked up to be? Certainly, we want leaders to be well informed and capable of exercising critical thinking. The problem with intellectuals, however, is that they too often live in ivory towers, and their opinions are derived from theoretical learning and not "real-life" experience. To complicate matters, they often look down on average, ordinary people and dismiss them as not being smart enough to come to good conclusions about how to run their own lives.
Barack Obama was hailed as being so very intelligent. Intelligence and wisdom, however, are two different things. Wisdom derives from learning life's lessons firsthand, not from reading books about life. Likewise, intelligence does not necessarily lead to the development of common sense.
If you had to choose between a president who was very intelligent, but not very wise, and one who had only average intelligence, but possessed a great deal of wisdom, which would you prefer? As for me, I'll take common sense and wisdom any day over intelligence alone.
Friday, September 4, 2009
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