The elitist conceit in America is nowhere more evident than in their insistence that their carefully coached and trained and practiced appearance of erudition is a powerful indicator of intelligence. That is a tradition that is no doubt based in Great Britain’s parliamentary history, in which the glories of vigorous and intelligent debate, without the crutch of a teleprompter or notes, has been for centuries an integral part of their political process.
But our current miasma of Newspeak is nothing of the sort. This crop of politicians and deep-state officials are more akin to trained monkeys or parrots, because their spoutings are nothing more than practiced catch-phrases, memorized punch lines, and have very little to do with intelligence or skill.
The 21st century version of Mengele, Anthony Fauci, is a perfect example of this. He is so far removed from real science and intellectual debate that he relies on tired tropes about vaccination and carefully worded (memorized) phrases that sound reasonable but on careful inspection mean nothing.
The Idiot in Chief is another excellent example. His brain is mush, rapidly decaying from dementia, yet he blathers on with coached phrases, remembered from his thousands of briefings over his 50 year career of failure. And when he does speak off-the-cuff, it is an embarrassing mishmash of words that mean literally nothing, or even worse, a glimpse of his true personality; that of a nasty and power hungry pol without any moral strength.
And of course they are all buttressed by the various flacks and press secretaries and spokesmen, who spend every waking hour constructing and memorizing circular sentences that evade the questions asked by the media, who also belong in this sea of memorized mediocrity.
The reality is that erudition can be signaled by speaking skill. Some of the most brilliant men in history were marvelous extemporaneous speakers. But it is not highly correlated, and many other brilliant men were decidedly plain speaking.
Here’s a little story.
My grandfather (a lifelong New Yorker) was an amazingly intelligent and well educated man. He read Latin and Greek…in high school. His college roommate and lifelong best friend was a physicist (Nobel Prize 1944) who was the chairman of the physics department at Columbia, so my grandfather and he socialized all the time.
His friend loved to throw cocktail parties, and at one of them my grandfather tried to chat with a quiet man in the corner, but was unsuccessful. He mentioned to his friend that the guy was a bit of a dud and a bore, and clearly not much of an intellect. His friend looked at my grandfather and told him not to be such a New York snob, that being glib wasn’t the same thing as being intelligent, and that the guy was Harold Urey (Nobel Prize 1934), one of the greatest physical chemists in history!