The Problem With Smart People

The real problem with smart people is that they so frequently aren’t.

The confusion — of which we have many examples, alas — is between having a car with a really high rpm, and having a car that is on the right road. The two need not be the same thing at all.

Look at the Obamawheezer. That baby was designed, crafted, invented, implemented, promoted, urged, and force fed to us by a bunch of really smart people. And by “smart people,” I mean high rpm people on the wrong road. This does not exclude the possibility of some dumb people on the wrong road, doing their part, but in the main these were people who had briefcases in junior high school, with SAT scores that looked like they came from people like that.

Napoleon was smart, and he attacked Russia when it wasn’t springtime. So apparently this is a thing.

The trap that gets these people is the pride that wells up in them when, like Steppenwolf, they get their motor running. They head out on the highway, and the purr of the engine when they crest 85 mph just totally intoxicates them. They are so taken with this, and with the leather upholstery, and with the lady in the red dress with them, just like in the ad, that they totally miss the green sign by the roadway that informs them that we have switched rock band metaphors, and they are on the highway to hell. Making sweet time though.

The right road requires a humble heart. The Lord of that road will take any car, even a good one. But those are rare because the people who have them spend so much time admiring the interior that they forget what a car is supposed to do. They won’t look at the signs, which were put up by regular folks.

Blessed are the humble, for they shall be smart.

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Sherry
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Sherry

Pastor Wilson,
This hit the nail on the head and touched my heart.  Thank you.
Sherry

Andrew Lohr
Member

Yeah, the people with big teeth tend to bite off more than they can chew.   The people who can run their own lives successfully think they’re fit to run the lives of people they’ve never met.

Mark B. Hanson
Guest
Mark B. Hanson

Reminds me of that song by (the other) Jonathan Edwards: “He can’t even run his own life. I’ll be damned if he’ll run mine!”

Ben Bowman
Guest

Wisdom and knowledge need not be oil and water. 

Respectabiggle
Guest
Respectabiggle

This is pretty much the same thing as rich men usually only being able to ride camels on a long and winding road.
 
Or something like that.

delurking
Guest
delurking

I love the smell of anti-intellectualism in the morning.

Arwen B
Guest
Arwen B

Delurking wrote: “I love the smell of anti-intellectualism in the morning.”
“Anti-intellectualism? Really? HAHAHAHAHAHA! *Wipes a tear from my eye* Ah, that’s a good one.

David Douglas
Guest
David Douglas

“He can’t even run his own life. I’ll be damned if he’ll run mine!”

Metaphorically true, the other way:  If he runs my life, I will be damned.

Kim
Guest
Kim

This is why I love your blog.  Thanks!

Chris
Guest
Chris

Given the range of topics on which you, a smart guy, pontificate, I’m looking forward to future blog posts written from the perspective of a person who can internalize their own (very good!) advice.

Matt
Guest
Matt
Jane
Member

“Anti-intellectualism” — I do not think that word means what you think it means. I also do not think this blog post means what you think it means.

prayersofadoration
Member

To a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail.  Intelligence is a wonderful thing (I hear) but it ain’t wisdom.  The two are often found in inverse proportions.
 
Love your automotive metaphors.  There was one years ago about sitting in a car with no engine going varoom varoom.  Well, the image was memorable even if I forget the point of it.

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Just on the off-chance that Obamacare might manage to overcome its rough beginnings and become a smash success, you might not want to start crowing yet, or you may end up having to eat some crow.  History is replete with successes that started off looking like failures.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Eric the Red, do you have any concern about the deception with which Obamacare was sold to the people?  Are Obama’s blatant lies and deceptions about Obamacare worthy of praise and respect?  Do you see anything wrong with people wanting to keep their own health care plans if they choose, and also have the freedom to choose other plans on the new exchanges if they so desire?  Shouldn’t it be a 100% choice, and not anything forced on them?  Is this an unreasonable position to take?  Or is the only reasonable position a paternalistic one, where the President and the Congress know what’s best for everyone,… Read more »

Katecho
Member

It would seem that Eric the Red is a true believer.  Unfortunately, the problems aren’t just with implementation; the scheme is fundamentally unsound as a socialist wealth redistribution project.  Obamacare is not even care, it’s just mandatory insurance.  In this case, the only ones signing up for it are those who qualify for subsidies.  The premiums and deductibles of these plans wouldn’t be attractive to anyone without that subsidization.  The plan rates must factor in everyone’s preexisting conditions.  Healthy middle-class folks consider just paying the “fine” (tax), and only sign up if they should come to have a serious medical… Read more »

Giovanni Maresia
Member
Giovanni Maresia

Katecho, it’s the other way around: fine (“tax”)!

 

What do you think about this?

 

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/10/24/How-to-opt-out-of-obamacare-without-paying-the-fine
 
 

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Katecho, I’m not a true believer; Obamacare may well turn out to be a flop.  On the other hand, it may also turn out to be a really good thing once the bugs get worked out.  Anyone who has spent any time around bureaucracy knows there are always bugs to be worked out.  My point is simply that we don’t know at this time which of those is going to happen, so don’t go writing its obituary yet.  

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Dan, there are two separate issues that need to be kept separate:  Is it a good plan, and is it being well implemented.  No one is arguing that it has implementation problems, but as I just said, that’s a function of bureaucracy.  You can find plenty of corporate flops too.  As far as the deception goes, yes, I think presidents should tell the truth, and to the extent Obama didn’t, he’s got mud on his face.  At the same time, I’m not as convinced as the Obama haters that there was as much deception as they’re making out.  95% of… Read more »

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

And I also think most of the problems with Obamacare could be fixed by switching to a single payer system, which I predict within the next five years or so.

Matthias
Guest

If it weren’t for Obama, Eric the Red would likely have to pay mandatory tithes, and we can’t have that.

Giovanni Maresia
Member
Giovanni Maresia

So now the plan at Mablog, with the new darker color scheme, seems to be: “Okay, apparently I can’t stop you guys from creating fake paragraph breaks in your comments, but through color contrast I can make them look so ugly that you will desist purely out of love for all that is beautiful. Submit!”

 

Never!
 

Matthias
Guest

Sounds like he’s trying to create a single-paragraph system.

Matt
Guest
Matt

I also think most of the problems with Obamacare could be fixed by switching to a single payer system, which I predict within the next five years or so.   Well you know…back in 2009 we were all saying that this was the goal, but we got accused of paranoia for it.  But I do agree, in that the central problem of Obamacare is that it is a bad idea, that even the left, were they honest and not playing politics, would admit they don’t really like at all.  So replacing this bad idea with a better idea would indeed… Read more »

Ian
Guest
Ian

I may have something to add to this conversation. My expertise is not health insurance, but I am an actuary so I am familiar with what goes into forecasting future cost/benefits. In the end a forecasting model is all about assumptions. I think there are some fundamental problems with the assumptions related to Obamacare. I don’t think these assumptions were made in a deceptive manner, but rather because of a disconnect between those making them and the actual people who the assumptions apply to. Basically, I think there is a naiveté about the way that poorer people think. I see… Read more »

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Ian, I mostly agree with everything you have written, and that’s why I think single payer is on the horizon.  Single payer overcomes those obstacles in a way that tinkering around the edges doesn’t.  I would also agree with you that a great deal of poverty comes from poor decision making, though I’m not sure that there’s much to be done about that; people either have good judgment or they don’t, and if someone has bad judgment, there’s not much to be done about it.  I also think there’s a broader issue here, and that is that humans live in… Read more »

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Matt, Obama originally wanted single payer, but couldn’t get it through Congress, so I doubt anyone would have said you were paranoid in 2009 for saying Obamacare was simply a way station in the direction of that goal.  Frankly, one of my objections to Obamacare is that it’s the worst of both worlds; it combines the worst aspects of the free market with the worst aspects of bureaucracy.  But, that’s what happens when neither party has the votes to get what they want.

Darius T
Guest
Darius T

Eric the Red, because we have calculators and some of us know how to use them, we KNOW that Obamacare cannot be a “smashing success.”  It can have the appearance of it for awhile, but eventually everyone will recognize that the emperor has no clothes.  Immoral laws and policies never work in the end.  God made this world so that they wouldn’t.  The laws of mathematics don’t change.

Katecho
Member

The duplicity is what makes the whole thing a mockery.  Eric the Red wants to stamp out any criticism by projecting a public attitude toward Obamacare that, “we have to pass it to find out what’s in it”.  Eric wants us to refrain from pointing out the holes and see how it turns out.  But then, putting on his socialist cap, Eric confesses that he actually thinks it’s the worst of both worlds, and that it will probably fail in about five years to make way for a single payer system.  Basically, Obamacare is the Trojan Horse that it appeared… Read more »

soylentg
Member

Comrade Eric, you cannot possibly have made the statement ” But, that’s what happens when neither party has the votes to get what they want” to describe how we got Obamacare with a straight face, could you?  I mean, certainly you said that in jest, right?

Matt
Guest
Matt

But, that’s what happens when neither party has the votes to get what they want.

But what kind of compromise is this supposed to be?  In a normal compromise, each party gets something that they want, but in this case the Rs didn’t get anything (they were just outvoted) and the Ds got…what exactly?  The “pave the way for single payer” is about the only rationalization that makes sense.  Otherwise, it seems to me that the most reasonable response to a bad proposed law is to not pass it, rather than pass it just to score a win.

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

  Katecho, what you see as duplicity actually stems from the fact that I was talking about two different things, so perhaps going forward I need to be more explicit when I change subjects in mid post.  So, from the top, I think the jury is still out on whether Obamacare will be a success or a failure and neither result would surprise me.   While I think Obamacare is an important first step toward single payer, there are problems with it.  As a separate matter, I also think single payer is coming, but that will be because when the Democrats… Read more »

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

By the way, Katecho, I think you are simply mistaken on the facts that single payer will be bad policy economically.  The United States currently spends about 16% of its gross national product on health care; Europeans with single payer spend about 10% of their gross national product on health care.  That right there is enough of an economic incentive to make it happen.

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Matt,  as far as what the Republicans got for their compromise:  They managed to keep single payer from happening.  Obama wanted single payer, he had the votes in the House but not the Senate, and passing Obamacare rather than single payer got him the Senate moderates that he needed.  Don’t forget that politics is the art of the possible; you do what you are actually able to do, and then come back another day.
 

Ian
Guest
Ian

Eric, so you think if Obamacare is a failure that will give the Democrats the political clout to take over the whole system (i.e. single payer)? Bizarre logic, but I have to say it’s probably not beyond the American people to come to the same conclusion.

Ian
Guest
Ian

Eric states: “The United States currently spends about 16% of its gross national product on health care; Europeans with single payer spend about 10% of their gross national product on health care.”_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Who do you suppose produces the most advances in medical research and practises the U.S. or Europe. Do socialized industries produce more or less innovations? The “fairness” comes with a price tag.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Don’t forget that politics is the art of the possible; you do what you are actually able to do, and then come back another day.    Of course, I wouldn’t blame Obama or any D for not driving single-mindedly towards single payer, when such a drive was doomed to failure (by the Rs?  They were outvoted, so wasn’t it some of the Ds that prevented it?  Also, I thought Obama denied that he had any desire for single payer).  In fact, we can blame the Rs for doing precisely that in 2009, when they tried to flat out stop Obamacare… Read more »

Matt
Guest
Matt

The whole situation here is like if in 2003, the Rs couldnt’ get enough votes to invade Iraq, so they invaded Mexico instead as a compromise.  Well no, that’s no compromise, invading Mexico is a horrible idea that only bears the vaguest relation to the original proposition, so why would anyone in favor of invade-Iraq be all in for invade-Mexico?

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Ian, practicing medicine, and doing medical research, are two very different things.  Medical research isn’t impacted by any of this.

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Matt, the big picture is that Obamacare, despite being the worst of both worlds, was passed to get the public used to the idea of the federal government running health care.  The biggest obstacle to national single payer (which, by the way, was first proposed by Teddy Roosevelt over a century ago) was the whole mentality that government health care is socialist and of the devil and un-American.  Now that that hurdle has finally been overcome, it will be that much harder to resist turning it over to the feds altogether.  To use your war example, suppose it were deeply… Read more »

Dan
Guest
Dan

Eric the Red, if we didn’t go to war in Iraq for the following 5 reasons: 1) remove their WMD, which the whole world, including all the prominent Dems at the time, believed Saddam was hiding, 2) remove Saddam from power, since he was killing and starving his own people, 3) replace Saddam’s regime in order to build a functioning democracy in the heart of the Middle East, 4) hold Saddam accountable for thwarting all those U.N. resolutions, and 5) Saddam was an active state-sponsor of terrorism; then why do you think Bush invaded Iraq?  Was it a secret “agenda” with evil… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Eric the Red wrote: “Well, if the real agenda is to invade Iraq, then you’re right that going to war with Mexico doesn’t make much sense.  But if the real agenda is to get people used to the idea of going to war so that we can go to Iraq, then Mexico may be as good a place to start as any.” Eric is being surprisingly candid.  So single payer socialized medicine is the real agenda, and is like going to war with Iraq.  But Obamacare is like attacking our neighbors in Mexico in order to desensitize and soften the… Read more »

Rebecca
Guest
Rebecca

Gentlemen, if we could get our heads out of the Obamacare hole (and it IS a hole), please note that Pastor Wilson’s point in this post goes far beyond this beaten dead dog topic.