It was Bertrand Russell who said:
‘The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.’
For many people it’s a mystery why America ends up with idiots like Reagan, the Bushes and Trump at the helm. Shouldn’t one of the most powerful jobs in the world go to someone with brains?
Well, they’re only selectively stupid and may well act dumb in front of the cameras to enjoy public support. George W. Bush may well have faked a vacuous Texan accent to seem more sympathetic to the electorate, for instance. Getting elected has little to do with how good you’ll be at the job and much more to do with whether voters like you.
Imagine you’re on a boat in the mist and there are two navigators: one of them says, well, we lack enough information to really set a course, we’re not even sure where we are right now, so let’s wait and see and make a decision as things become more clear. Whereas the other says, I’ve been here before, folks we’re tired of being lost in the mist, I know where to go, follow me!
Whether or not the second navigator takes the ship into an iceberg is nothing for him to worry about. He gains the support of the passengers because he’s confident. How many dumb, thoughtless, egocentric, sociopathic leaders are in the world who get their position by virtue of charisma and confidence?
We’re all lost. We’re all making it up as we go along. If we read and think and discuss, we come to doubt our own opinions when we realise how many other perspectives there are on any given topic. When you recognize yourself as a product of your genes and culture, it’s hard to really think that you have the answer and no one else does. Hard, that is, unless you’re not that smart.
Scarecrow takes in this new information and is heartened that he might be able to do the job of president, after all. He puffs up his chest to tell an imaginary audience why they should vote for him and…can’t think of a thing to say.
Being president is a team effort.