The dumbest column of the week

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Yes, I know it's only Tuesday. Doesn't matter. Nobody is going to out-dumb former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, who used his Washington Post column today to complain about intellectual snobbery.

Gerson pegged his column to President Obama's recent statement that "Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now … and facts and science and argument [do] not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared. And the country is scared."

Gerson then gets the stupid started by claiming "these are some of the most arrogant words ever uttered by an American president." That's an astonishing claim, given that I doubt one person in a hundred would contest the assertion that "facts and science" do not "win the day all the time," or that people don't always think clearly when they are scared.

Gerson does contest it, though, writing "Human beings under stress are not hard-wired for stupidity" because that "would be a distinct evolutionary disadvantage." Is Michael Gerson under the impression that humans -- or any other species -- have completely finished evolving and contain no traits that present an evolutionary disadvantage? That would be an odd belief. (Note also that Gerson changes Obama's completely uncontroversial statement that humans do "not…always think clearly when we're scared" into an assertions that humans are stupid. But even that strawman proved too formidable an opponent for Gerson.)

Anyway, none of that is the really dumb part. The really dumb part comes after Gerson calls Obama an "intellectual snob," then writes:

Not that there is anything wrong with this. Some of my best friends are intellectual snobs. But they don't make very good politicians.

And that's when I should have stopped reading. Barack Obama, as you may remember, is the president of the United States. That, pretty much by definition, makes him a "very good politician." And that clinches "dumbest column of the week" honors for Gerson.

The Washington Post
Michael Gerson
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.