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Thursday, February 12, 2004

 

This nonsense from Robert Brandon, of the philosophy department at Duke,
"If, as John Stuart Mill said, stupid people are generally conservative, then there are lots of conservatives we will never hire. Mill's analysis may go some way towards explaining the power of the Republican party in our society and the relative scarcity of Republicans in academia."
has been floating about for a couple of days, but no one seems to have pointed out the egregious error in a field where this guy should have some professional competence.

The quote is,
Stupid people are generally conservative
not
Conservative people are generally stupid.
The chair of the philosphy department, and he can't figure out how a logical premiss works or construct a legitimate syllogism? Jeez Louise.

Update: From Blogfonte, the last word:
The truth is, Mills is right, the quote is right, the conceit is well-founded.

The stupid should be conservative.

Not in the sense of Republicanism or policy or ideology or any of the rest of that sordid, sticky wad of snobbery that our poobah intended, of course. But in the sense that the best political strategies for the intellectually deficient or cerebrally challenged are conservative, change-adverse strategies. The stupid don't think quickly, or nimbly; they lack the resources necessary to work their way through the traps of the clever. The dim and lackwitted are particularly susceptible to the ploys of the snake-oil salesman or confidence-men. A system in motion is ever so much harder to comprehend than one set in stone, in tradition, in stasis. Change is difficult to predict. Change is *hard*. Change is dangerous to the stupid, because they need more time to react than the better-equipped, the best and the brightest.

The stupid should be conservative, because change can kill the unwary.

Which is, of course, why most stupid people are Democrats. They should be. It's this decade's conservative party, after all.
Didn't expect that flash of light at the end, did you?

posted by Kelly | 2:18 PM link
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