One of MH's favorite authors is Victor Davis Hanson -- farmer and professor of classics, conservative political pundit and military historian. What's not to love (other than his excessive enthusiasm for the Iraq War?)
He recently wrote a column that, in a much more elegant way, touches on some of the same themes as our recent piece on Democrats being smarter and more sophisticated than Republican stumblebums.
A sample from Hanson:
I spent nine years as an undergraduate and graduate student — three at UC Santa Cruz, four at Stanford University, and two in Athens, Greece. In that near decade, I met all sorts of supposedly brilliant professors, undergraduates, and graduate students in the humanities — Ivy-League Ph.Ds, whiz-kids with Oxford and Cambridge degrees, Rhodes Scholars, famous archaeologists, accomplished classicists and historians, well-know humanities scholars, and Oxbridge Dons with landmark books on history and philology. In addition, the last five years I have worked at Stanford again, and often have met another array of brilliant entrepreneurs, in fields as diverse as finance, law, medicine, engineering, and computers.
I contrast all this with growing up my first 18 years in southwestern Fresno County on a 120-acre tree and vine farm, where for most of my life I knew only neighbors who worked the soil, and survived the tough environment of the local schools. And then once again from age 26 to my mid-forties, I farmed as well as taught, and so I had a good idea of what the highly educated did during the day, and what the farmers and small businesspeople did on weekends and late afternoons.
Two conclusions I drew from all of this. While civilization advances on the shoulders of the educated, it is carried along by the legs of the muscular classes. And the latter are not there by some magical IQ test or a natural filtering process that separates the wheat from the chaff, but rather by either birth, or, as often, by their preference for action and the physical world.
Second, I have seen no difference in intelligence levels between those who inhabit the world of the physical and those who cultivate the life of the mind. That is, the most brilliant Greek philologists seemed no more impressive in their aptitude than the fellow who could take apart the transmission of an old Italian Oliver tractor, fix it, and put it back together — without a manual. And I knew three or four who could. The inept mechanic seemed no more dull than the showy graduate student who could not distinguish an articular infinitive from an accusative of respect.
Take a wild stab at how Hanson applies his insights to the current political field...