Author Topic: Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders  (Read 580 times)

xSilverPhinx

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Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders
« on: January 18, 2018, 07:45:47 PM »
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Intelligence makes for better leaders—from undergraduates to executives to presidents—according to multiple studies. It certainly makes sense that handling a market shift or legislative logjam requires cognitive oomph. But new research on leadership suggests that, at a certain point, having a higher IQ stops helping and starts hurting.

Although previous research has shown that groups with smarter leaders perform better by objective measures, some studies have hinted that followers might subjectively view leaders with stratospheric intellect as less effective.

Continues here (Scientific American)

One more manifestation of the anti-intellectualism that seems so pervasive in the western world these days? :notsure: I'd bet that, in general, those with low IQ would prefer someone like Trump, or Bush, rather than someone like Obama. I think, while people like Trump are very successful at alienating portions of the US population and offending entire countries, he is actually very successful at bringing a erm...certain kind of person...to his side. Between him and Hillary, she was the more competent leader and administrator, even with her flaws, but was lousy in the charisma department. Charisma matters more than intellect in an election, especially if a good portion of the population doesn't have much of the latter.   
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Dave

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Re: Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2018, 08:29:51 PM »
Will read that later, but wondering about the historic perspective. It was not so long sgo thst there was a vast efucational difference beteeen tge grest unwashed and the rich and aristocracy. You got advancement through who knew you in the top bracket. In the middle orders the parody of part of "The Internationale" might fit, "The working class can kiss my arse/I've got the foreman's job at last..."

The intelligent in the lower orders either fought their way up - and often firgot whst it was like at the put fsce - or became rsficslised by vsrious sovusl and political movements - not always to the benefit of their former mates.

So, for most of history, the rich and intelligent did not act well looking from below, and they still do not in do many cases. Now, education is available to many more but, well, look at the way the financial industry acts, they are all pretty well educated. Science? Ignore those qualified (and probably well renumerated) doctors who told us that smoking in no way endangered health . . . And who invented nuclear weapons?  And they can't even cure the common cold fer gawd sakes!

My father thought scientists were useless, but he enjoyed his radio and then TV, and a few other science based things (there was not as much technology around then). Stone henge was scientific; observation + theory, + experimebtation + verification. But I bet the elite scientist/priests got more fear than respect or reverence.

Scientists are still seen as part of the elite, though they come from every social level (Faraday was a blacksmith's son (like me!)). Many forget they are responsible for all the health benefits we have and for all the technology we enjoy. A thousand successes are not equal to one failure in the eyes of some - success is expected, failure is not, despite being equally human.

I don't have to explain my feelings about the Trumps of this world here I think...
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Re: Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2018, 11:01:05 PM »

I don't have to explain my feelings about the Trumps of this world here I think...

HA !   :snicker: I don't think any of us have to explain our feelings about the Trumpocracy.  We are a bigoted lot aren't we?   :thinking:


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Re: Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2018, 03:08:51 PM »
Most people don't like the feel inferior, even if they are only inferior one area. Smart people understand that they won't be good at everything, so some people will be better then them with many things. Smart people can learn to be more disarming though, I suppose that's where charisma comes in. Smart people with charisma can still do very well. Smart people that go around making sure that everyone knows how smart they are, are assholes.

It's like Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory vs. Albert Einstein. Sheldon says he's the smartest person in the room and constantly reminds people of it. Einstein said, "I am not a genius, I am just curious. I ask many questions. and when the answer is simple, then God is answering." (I shouldn't have to tell a group of atheists what he means by "god"). People liked Einstein. If Sheldon were real, I don't think he'd have any friends. Even smart people who act like Sheldon, wouldn't like Sheldon.

In the end, I think smart people would do better if they reigned in their propensity to elevate their ego to make themselves feel better about themselves.

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Re: Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2018, 11:13:13 AM »
You know, I've thought a lot about leaders over the years.  I think the greatest/best leader I ever knew was Commodore Dave Martin, who was Captain of HMAS Melbourne II when I first posted in to 816 squadron as a brand new Grumman Tracker sensor operator and Midshipman.  Several of us were given the 50 cent tour and introduced to all the senior officers leading to a five minute pep-talk from the Captain.  Terrifying in prospect if not in actuality.  However, about three weeks later I was in civvies waiting to catch a train into the city when the Captain walks up to me, thrusts out his hand and asks "how are you settling into the ship, Nick?"  I was flabbergasted.  Not only had he recognised me out of uniform, but he'd remembered my name.  He was a truly great leader.  On various Facebook forums now many others tell the same story and not just officers like me, but ordinary sailors.  Dave seemed to know every one of the 1,300 or so men on his ship by name.  He looked after his troops, and did many things to make an old World War II light aircraft carrier that was designed for the North Atlantic to be as habitable as possible.  Funnily enough, when he needed people to put in an extra effort for some reason, there was never any question.  I've never know a man so loved by his subordinates.  Later Dave was made Rear Admiral a bit later made Governor of New South Wales and then he contracted mesothelioma (as a result of his service in asbestos ridden Naval ships) and died in office.  A great loss to our nation.
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Dave

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Re: Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2018, 11:43:04 AM »
You know, I've thought a lot about leaders over the years.  I think the greatest/best leader I ever knew was Commodore Dave Martin, who was Captain of HMAS Melbourne II when I first posted in to 816 squadron as a brand new Grumman Tracker sensor operator and Midshipman.  Several of us were given the 50 cent tour and introduced to all the senior officers leading to a five minute pep-talk from the Captain.  Terrifying in prospect if not in actuality.  However, about three weeks later I was in civvies waiting to catch a train into the city when the Captain walks up to me, thrusts out his hand and asks "how are you settling into the ship, Nick?"  I was flabbergasted.  Not only had he recognised me out of uniform, but he'd remembered my name.  He was a truly great leader.  On various Facebook forums now many others tell the same story and not just officers like me, but ordinary sailors.  Dave seemed to know every one of the 1,300 or so men on his ship by name.  He looked after his troops, and did many things to make an old World War II light aircraft carrier that was designed for the North Atlantic to be as habitable as possible.  Funnily enough, when he needed people to put in an extra effort for some reason, there was never any question.  I've never know a man so loved by his subordinates.  Later Dave was made Rear Admiral a bit later made Governor of New South Wales and then he contracted mesothelioma (as a result of his service in asbestos ridden Naval ships) and died in office.  A great loss to our nation.

Good story, BN, though a sad end for a good man.

Yes, it is those officers and civvy managers who get to know their staff, recognise their weaknesses and strengths, find ways of boosting the first whilst showing confidence in the second. With a good overall boss that filters down the command structure.

I will admit to finding few, if any, civilian nanagers thst mstched thise I met in the RAF. But services bosses have different incentives and priorities, even the emergency services have a different mix to add to thise "life and death" decisions and (hopefully) disciplined teamwork pkus esprit de corps.
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Re: Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2018, 01:55:32 PM »
Will read that later, but wondering about the historic perspective. It was not so long sgo thst there was a vast efucational difference beteeen tge grest unwashed and the rich and aristocracy. You got advancement through who knew you in the top bracket. In the middle orders the parody of part of "The Internationale" might fit, "The working class can kiss my arse/I've got the foreman's job at last..."

The intelligent in the lower orders either fought their way up - and often firgot whst it was like at the put fsce - or became rsficslised by vsrious sovusl and political movements - not always to the benefit of their former mates.

So, for most of history, the rich and intelligent did not act well looking from below, and they still do not in do many cases. Now, education is available to many more but, well, look at the way the financial industry acts, they are all pretty well educated. Science? Ignore those qualified (and probably well renumerated) doctors who told us that smoking in no way endangered health . . . And who invented nuclear weapons?  And they can't even cure the common cold fer gawd sakes!

My father thought scientists were useless, but he enjoyed his radio and then TV, and a few other science based things (there was not as much technology around then). Stone henge was scientific; observation + theory, + experimebtation + verification. But I bet the elite scientist/priests got more fear than respect or reverence.

Scientists are still seen as part of the elite, though they come from every social level (Faraday was a blacksmith's son (like me!)). Many forget they are responsible for all the health benefits we have and for all the technology we enjoy. A thousand successes are not equal to one failure in the eyes of some - success is expected, failure is not, despite being equally human.

I don't have to explain my feelings about the Trumps of this world here I think...

You've got me thinking further back. :grin:

Early medieval kings and warlords that seized power were probably not the most highly educated of the group or able administrators, but they probably had enough charisma to rally others to their cause, including those who were able to manipulate the populace, such as Bishops. Religious leaders, on the other hand, were well educated. They could read, for instance, whereas many early kings could not, and probably didn't see a purpose why they should (I think Alfred the Great and Charlemagne were exceptions to the general rule). I think it did have to do with general ability though, such as martial skills to rise to the top, much like today's meritocratic ideal says that if you're smart enough and/or work hard enough you can reach your goals.   

I think most of today's "rulers" who do not hold hereditary or dictatorial power but were instead chosen or elected by their people, have to know how to "rule" or govern/administrate using soft power, which IMO requires more cognitive "oomph" than simply inheriting a position. It does require knowing how to manipulate people people and their perceptions of your public persona, though, rather than simply going all out testosterone-pumped alpha male and taking the position for yourself.

I'd argue that even networking takes some social skill, and that can be a real cognitive load for some people. So even if someone who rises to the top through knowing so-and-so isn't book smart, they would still have to be people smart. 
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xSilverPhinx

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Re: Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2018, 02:17:38 PM »
Most people don't like the feel inferior, even if they are only inferior one area. Smart people understand that they won't be good at everything, so some people will be better then them with many things. Smart people can learn to be more disarming though, I suppose that's where charisma comes in. Smart people with charisma can still do very well. Smart people that go around making sure that everyone knows how smart they are, are assholes.

It's like Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory vs. Albert Einstein. Sheldon says he's the smartest person in the room and constantly reminds people of it. Einstein said, "I am not a genius, I am just curious. I ask many questions. and when the answer is simple, then God is answering." (I shouldn't have to tell a group of atheists what he means by "god"). People liked Einstein. If Sheldon were real, I don't think he'd have any friends. Even smart people who act like Sheldon, wouldn't like Sheldon.

One thing I hate more than someone who shouldn't be trying to micromanage me, trying to micromanage me, are displays of arrogance. The two might even be related, arrogant people are trying to overpower others they see as less, just as control-freaks try and dominate another's will. Ugh. 

Quote
In the end, I think smart people would do better if they reigned in their propensity to elevate their ego to make themselves feel better about themselves.

When smart people do that, sounds like it could be counter-bullying to me. Sometimes nerds and smart kids don't fit in as well as the less intellectually endowed, possibly in part because of the reasons in the article. I agree though, it's probably not the best route to take.   
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xSilverPhinx

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Re: Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2018, 02:18:23 PM »
You know, I've thought a lot about leaders over the years.  I think the greatest/best leader I ever knew was Commodore Dave Martin, who was Captain of HMAS Melbourne II when I first posted in to 816 squadron as a brand new Grumman Tracker sensor operator and Midshipman.  Several of us were given the 50 cent tour and introduced to all the senior officers leading to a five minute pep-talk from the Captain.  Terrifying in prospect if not in actuality.  However, about three weeks later I was in civvies waiting to catch a train into the city when the Captain walks up to me, thrusts out his hand and asks "how are you settling into the ship, Nick?"  I was flabbergasted.  Not only had he recognised me out of uniform, but he'd remembered my name.  He was a truly great leader.  On various Facebook forums now many others tell the same story and not just officers like me, but ordinary sailors.  Dave seemed to know every one of the 1,300 or so men on his ship by name.  He looked after his troops, and did many things to make an old World War II light aircraft carrier that was designed for the North Atlantic to be as habitable as possible.  Funnily enough, when he needed people to put in an extra effort for some reason, there was never any question.  I've never know a man so loved by his subordinates.  Later Dave was made Rear Admiral a bit later made Governor of New South Wales and then he contracted mesothelioma (as a result of his service in asbestos ridden Naval ships) and died in office.  A great loss to our nation.


That's a cool story, Bluenose. :tellmemore: Sounds like a great leader.
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Dave

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Re: Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2018, 04:05:37 PM »
Will read that later, but wondering about the historic perspective. It was not so long sgo thst there was a vast efucational difference beteeen tge grest unwashed and the rich and aristocracy. You got advancement through who knew you in the top bracket. In the middle orders the parody of part of "The Internationale" might fit, "The working class can kiss my arse/I've got the foreman's job at last..."

The intelligent in the lower orders either fought their way up - and often firgot whst it was like at the put fsce - or became rsficslised by vsrious sovusl and political movements - not always to the benefit of their former mates.

So, for most of history, the rich and intelligent did not act well looking from below, and they still do not in do many cases. Now, education is available to many more but, well, look at the way the financial industry acts, they are all pretty well educated. Science? Ignore those qualified (and probably well renumerated) doctors who told us that smoking in no way endangered health . . . And who invented nuclear weapons?  And they can't even cure the common cold fer gawd sakes!

My father thought scientists were useless, but he enjoyed his radio and then TV, and a few other science based things (there was not as much technology around then). Stone henge was scientific; observation + theory, + experimebtation + verification. But I bet the elite scientist/priests got more fear than respect or reverence.

Scientists are still seen as part of the elite, though they come from every social level (Faraday was a blacksmith's son (like me!)). Many forget they are responsible for all the health benefits we have and for all the technology we enjoy. A thousand successes are not equal to one failure in the eyes of some - success is expected, failure is not, despite being equally human.

I don't have to explain my feelings about the Trumps of this world here I think...

You've got me thinking further back. :grin:

Early medieval kings and warlords that seized power were probably not the most highly educated of the group or able administrators, but they probably had enough charisma to rally others to their cause, including those who were able to manipulate the populace, such as Bishops. Religious leaders, on the other hand, were well educated. They could read, for instance, whereas many early kings could not, and probably didn't see a purpose why they should (I think Alfred the Great and Charlemagne were exceptions to the general rule). I think it did have to do with general ability though, such as martial skills to rise to the top, much like today's meritocratic ideal says that if you're smart enough and/or work hard enough you can reach your goals.   

I think most of today's "rulers" who do not hold hereditary or dictatorial power but were instead chosen or elected by their people, have to know how to "rule" or govern/administrate using soft power, which IMO requires more cognitive "oomph" than simply inheriting a position. It does require knowing how to manipulate people people and their perceptions of your public persona, though, rather than simply going all out testosterone-pumped alpha male and taking the position for yourself.

I'd argue that even networking takes some social skill, and that can be a real cognitive load for some people. So even if someone who rises to the top through knowing so-and-so isn't book smart, they would still have to be people smart.

Hmm, lotsa factors here! Yes, historically most rulers had something going for them, good governors, good strategusts etc. A few had religion, cusyom and law on their side (Caligula, Nero) or were just tools of ambitious men. But they all had some sort of power, from respect tp threat.

Today, in general, I think we have far more freedoms, probably than our parents even. Most of us have a democratic(?) choice of government, most of us have some freedom on speech, a degree of education, some choice of employment etc etc. We are, generally, not cowed into subission by our "rulers" (excepting Iran, Saudi Arabia etc). Few countries have a history of feudalism that came into quite modern times then morphed into totalitarianism (Russia and Cina). But we did have millennia of feudal or near feudal cintrol over our lives even in the top 1st world countries.

How much of that "conditioned" our evolutuon I wonder? Power is still seen as something to be sudpicious of by most people I woukd bet, at least power that we have had no personal contact with. Perhaps we instinctively understand politics, that runs from interpersonal to international with rather blurred barriers - we all have experience somewhere on that spectrum and project or extrapolate it beyond that experience.

Scientists though (sound of air being sucked in through pursed lips and teeth), dodgy lot them, who knows what they are up to, all them long words and big sums . . . Actually scientists do not factor on any of the "10 Most Hated Profession" lists I have found. Lawyers seem to factor quite high... We need a version of James' Burke's "Connections" to link things like the LHC, or maybe its predecessors, to actual benefit. A link could be drawn between the "blue-sky" research of Curie and others to radiotherapy or even just the ability to measue the pumping efficiency/volume of the heart from outside the body.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 03:03:43 AM by Dave »
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xSilverPhinx

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Re: Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2018, 04:30:00 PM »
Hmm, lotsa factors here! Yes, historically most rulers had donething going for them, good governors, good strategusts etc. A few had religion, cusyom and law on their side (Caligula, Nero) or were just tools of ambitious men. But they all had some sort of power, from respect tp threat.

Today, in general, I think we have far more freedoms, probably than our parents even. Most of us have a democratic(?) choice of government, most of us have some freedom on speech, a degree of education, some choice of employment etc etc. We are, generally, not cowed into subission by our "rulers" (excepting Iran, Saudi Arabia etc). Few countries have a history of feudalism that came into quite modern times then morphed into totalitarianism (Russia and Cina). But we did have millennia of feudal or near feudal cintrol over our lives even in the top 1st world countries.

How much of that "conditioned" our evolutuon I wonder? Power is still seen as something to be sudpicious of by most people I woukd bet, at least power that we have had no personal contact with. Perhaps we instinctively understand politics, that runs from interpersonal to international with rather blurred barriers - we all have experience somewhere on that spectrum and project or extrapolate it beyond that experience.

Scientists though (sound of air being sucked in through pursed lips and teeth), dodgy lot them, who knows what they are up to, all them long words and big sums . . . Actually scientists do not factor on any of the "10 Most Hated Profession" lists I have found. Lawyers seem to factor quite high... We need a version of James' Burke's "Connections" to link things like the LHD, or maybe its predecessors, to actual benefit. A link could be drawn between the "blue-sky" research of Curie and others to radiotherapy or even just the ability to measue the pumping efficiency/volume of the heart from outside the body.

Scientists are, for the most part, lousy at the dissemination of their areas of expertise to the wider population. There are too few Carl Sagans and Bill Nyes in the world to translate all the formulas and jargon into speech and concepts we can all understand. If I remember correctly, Carl Sagan was even barred from getting into the National Academy of Sciences because of his efforts to popularise science. It's a pity things are this ways because in order for people to support funding the sciences, they have to have a better idea of why they're important. It seems like a lot of people don't see that.

As for the general population, a lot of people still have some weird disdain for the method even though science gave us a lot. It's a method that seems to be steadily losing credibility, with people instead seeking and accepting pseudo-scientific and religious explanations for natural phenomena. As an aspiring scientist, I find this a little sad. And am a little desperate that willful ignorance abounds.     
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Dave

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Re: Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2018, 05:42:27 PM »
Yeah, in this country at least scientists have been trying to get the public on their side dince the days of Hunphrey Davy and Michael Faraday - who's Christmas Lectures are still  a TV favourite. There are a couple of "professors" tasked with getting the public in touch with dcience and, on the perdonal front, BBC's "The Life Scientific" series, with Jim Al Khalili interviewing nin-famous scientists from all disciplines about their work and drives, on the radio. Then there was the castaway science series (can't remember its name), the "Great Egg Race" and others.

But many of these either appealed to educated and/or already interested people or were almost "party trick" shows - rarely connecting with the everyday lives of ordinary people. "Preaching to the converted" does not spread the word that much, and it is not "the converted" we need to worry about - it's the guy watching only football or the woman watching only soaps.

But, we are probably never going to get through to those sort of people, but do we concentrate too much on their opinion? The media, no matter what they say, want the unusual, the radical, the strident - nice quiet, comfortable, non-controversial people with well educated and/or considered opinions don't attract public attention. The media live on public attention. I wonder if surveys into this ask much about the responder's social ranking, education, employment etc.
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Re: Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2018, 01:04:05 PM »
Yeah, in this country at least scientists have been trying to get the public on their side dince the days of Hunphrey Davy and Michael Faraday - who's Christmas Lectures are still  a TV favourite. There are a couple of "professors" tasked with getting the public in touch with dcience and, on the perdonal front, BBC's "The Life Scientific" series, with Jim Al Khalili interviewing nin-famous scientists from all disciplines about their work and drives, on the radio. Then there was the castaway science series (can't remember its name), the "Great Egg Race" and others.

But many of these either appealed to educated and/or already interested people or were almost "party trick" shows - rarely connecting with the everyday lives of ordinary people. "Preaching to the converted" does not spread the word that much, and it is not "the converted" we need to worry about - it's the guy watching only football or the woman watching only soaps.

But, we are probably never going to get through to those sort of people, but do we concentrate too much on their opinion? The media, no matter what they say, want the unusual, the radical, the strident - nice quiet, comfortable, non-controversial people with well educated and/or considered opinions don't attract public attention. The media live on public attention. I wonder if surveys into this ask much about the responder's social ranking, education, employment etc.

I think that kind of media is taking second place these days when it comes to popularising power. A lot of people, especially younger people, get their information and facts from the internet. A good science channel on YouTube is probably worth more than a cable show in terms of how many people it can reach and how many opinions it can influence. That's why they say that the internet is where religions come to die, for instance, and I think that there's a lot of truth to that, especially if the religious person's belief system is structured around religion's explanatory power for things that are actually in the realm of science. A curious person who is not afraid to learn how the various sciences complement each other in various fields such as biology and geology, for instance will abandon the account in Genesis for an explanation how Earth and life came to be.

But anyway...

The opinions of the general population matter because those people vote. In Brazil, voting is mandatory for everyone over the age of 18, so a vote from a less educated illiterate rural worker is worth the same as a well-informed person, and the poorer segment outweighs upper classes by a long shot. Here, politicians give out hats and t-shirts to these people and win their votes. Others just have to invest more in marketing --the more outdoors their face and name appears, the more votes they get, simply because they have more exposure. Many people don't care about the politician's goals, the kinds of laws he or she says they will try to implement, or their stance on issues such as the environment. They get a hat and think they matter. It's all very frustrating. I've given up on politics a long time ago, I vote for someone who doesn't have a chance, just so my vote doesn't go to some undeserving slime. It's a way of not participating in this disgusting mess...not that in practice votes matter here, but I won't ramble on about that.       

Which probably goes back to the original topic of this thread. Politicians who speak in a more erudite or educated manner to those less informed, or talk about implementing complex solutions to complex problems, just don't get elected. They don't even come near getting a chance. Could it because because such things just go over the heads of most, that some people feel insecure with a smarter person and think any display of intelligence equals arrogance, that very smart people have more trouble bridging the gap between them and others? I don't know.
 
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Dave

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Re: Why People Dislike Really Smart Leaders
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2018, 02:02:50 PM »
I was including the Internet in the "media" bracket, it is a "media" for disseminating news and information - as in the original use of the word (more tgan just the press and broadcast organisstions) in this field. But, yes, it's double edged again, everyone gets to put their stuff up, if it anywhere close to legal.

Hmm, "talking down", "talking level" and "talking up". Trump gets down to the intellectual level of his target audience (whether or not that is his native level). The appeal to the masses, tell them want the want to hear, as most candidates for power have done. Regardless of the truth or possible.

Who was the last president who talked "level"? Was it Kennedy, Clinton, Obama? I seem to remember Obama being described as sounding too much like an academic (which he was). I wonder if America is more "spread" in terms of understanding the global-political/economic situations in an objective way,  than most of the smaller European countries? I certainly get the impression that crossing a interstate border can be like crossing an international one. Every state has its own image of what America should be.

Yes, democracy is, er, democracy - sort of - some times . . . Was it Churchil who said, paraphrasing, "Democracy is crap, but it's the best crap there is available" ?
Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.