Dumb, and proud of it
One mankind’s less attractive inclinations is to dismiss anyone who disagrees with one’s point of view as being dumb. Over the years I’ve had the experience of having my point of view (pro-democracy, pro-free trade) dismissed by those who favor protectionism, mercantilism, and government intervention as coming from someone who, while apparently well-read, is not all that clever, or (even worse, in their eyes), is just “too American” (i.e., ignorant and naive). To complicate matters, I’m an optimist, which in some circles is proof of insanity. Since I’m obviously biased as to my own abilities, maybe I am, maybe not.
In the political sphere, I won’t go into an in-depth analysis of the movie Forrest Gump, but the main premise of that film was that Forrest, as a symbol of the USA, had accomplished what he did out of sheer luck and naivete.
Sheer luck and naivete might be how nations become superpowers, maybe. I wouldn’t bet on it, though.
It comes as no surprise that Hitchens, whose writing I always enjoy, and several others, have come up with variations of this. One might be tempted to question the intelligence of former Trotskyists, but it’s better to take a higher ground and admire their skills instead.
So as further proof of my lacking intellectual powers, I wish I were as dumb as the man that said these words,