How Stupid Are We?

by TOM MCLAUGHLIN April 20, 2012

"Sometimes societies become too stupid to survive," wrote columnist Mark Steyn last Saturday.

I cannot get the line out of my head. He was talking about America's steady march to bankruptcy which, if it goes on much longer (like past November), will become irreversible. Has America become too stupid to survive? It would be an easy case to make.

We have a congress with the lowest approval ratings in history. Fewer than 10% of us agree with what our representatives are doing down there in Washington. The people answering the pollsters' questions, however, are the same people who vote them in every two to six years! What does that tell us about ourselves? Answer that. Are we stupid?

Clearly, President Obama and his campaign operatives think we are. Either that or they're stupid, and it wouldn't be difficult to make that case either. Last Thursday, columnist Charles Krauthammer quoted our president speaking in September, 2011:

Warren Buffett's secretary shouldn't pay a [higher] tax rate than Warren Buffett. . . . And that basic principle of fairness, if applied to our tax code, could raise enough money [to] stabilize our debt and deficits for the next decade. . . . This is not politics; this is math.

But it's not math. It simply doesn't add up as both Krauthammer and Steyn emphasized last week. Both demonstrated mathematically that if the "Buffett Rule" were to collect taxes from wealthy Americans as the president proposes, it would take centuries to offset even one year of Obama's deficits. So the president's claim is either politics or stupidity, but it's certainly not math.

My liberal friends - and I do have some, believe it or not - fervently believe President Obama is highly intelligent. For me even to suggest that he may not be makes them think I'm stupid. But consider this: Just a few weeks ago, President Obama said it would be "unprecedented" for "unelected" US Supreme Court to overturn his Affordable Care Act which most people know as "Obamacare." That's just flat wrong. So why would he say it?

Four possibilities:

One - he's stupid, because he doesn't understand how the US government has worked since 1803's "Marbury vs Madison."

"But he graduated from Columbia and Harvard Law School where he was editor of the Law Review!" my liberal friends exclaim. That means he can't be stupid, right? He must be brilliant or he never would have gotten that far, right?

We cannot see President Obama's college records. He won't let us. Why? Did he get admitted to the Ivy League through Affirmative Action because he's black? Where's the evidence that he's intelligent? I haven't seen it. Is reading well from a teleprompter evidence of intelligence? Not to me. I've met too many Ivy League graduates whose intelligence is underwhelming. Of President Obama's profound intelligence, I remain profoundly unconvinced.

Two - He's a narcissist who believes his press clippings and thinks he can't be wrong.

Three - He's trying to bully the Supreme Court into voting for the constitutionality of his biggest "accomplishment" - the so-called "Affordable Care Act." You know - the one we can't afford because it's costing twice what he said it would. A more suitable name would be the "Unaffordable Care Act." By calling Supreme Court "unelected" he's trying to stir resentment by suggesting to American voters that these "unelected" justices might take away their healthcare.

Four: It's politics. Obama was forced to admit last week that the "Buffet Rule" is a gimmick that won't do much to reduce the deficit, but he keeps saying "the rich aren't paying their fair share" because he's already planted the idea in feeble-minded voters that it will. And, he knows stirring up class warfare will help him in November. He believes America is stupid enough to buy it all. If he's right, he gets reelected.

That's the biggest part of President Obama's campaign strategy. He has no plan to reduce the deficit. Instead of reversing our march to bankruptcy, he's accelerating it. If he wins, I guess I'll have to accept that Mark Steyn's fear is realistic: America may have become too stupid to survive. Contributing Editor Tom McLaughlin is a (now retired) history teacher and a regular weekly columnist for newspapers in Maine and New Hampshire. He writes about political and social issues, history, family, education and Radical Islam.  Email him at


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