John Derbyshire has some interesing thoughts on social inequality, intelligence, merit, meritocracy, and American anti-elitism.

We Americans are easygoing about inequalities of wealth, much more so than Old World countries. There is something about inequality of smarts that just sets our teeth on edge, though. One of the first jokes ever told to me by an American was this one:

A man finds an old-fashioned oil lamp on the beach. He takes it home and starts cleaning it up. A genie pops out. Genie: “I’ve been in there so long my powers are weak. I can only grant you one wish, and it’s a choice of two. I can either make you super-rich or super-smart. What’ll it be?” Man, after a moment’s though: “Y’know, I’ve always been bothered about being kinda slow. Always felt people were laughing at me behind my back. Well, no more of that! Make me super-smart!” Genie: “Done!” The genie vanishes. The man smacks himself on the forehead: “Jeez, I shoulda taken the money!”


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One Response to “Smartocracy”

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