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So, you never know what you’re gonna find when you wake up in the morning and start flipping through the internet. Sometimes you find funny stories, sad stories, horrific stories, and occasionally stories so bland they aren’t really worth remembering.
And then you find stories that just really blow your mind, both by their nature and by what they could well bring about. This is one such story, and frankly I wonder if those involved never bothered to read their history, or if they are simply working from a political agenda. Probably both.
I have copied the article below.
People Aren’t Smart Enough for Democracy to Flourish, Scientists Say
The democratic process relies on the assumption that citizens (the majority of them, at least) can recognize the best political candidate, or best policy idea, when they see it. But a growing body of research has revealed an unfortunate aspect of the human psyche that would seem to disprove this notion, and imply instead that democratic elections produce mediocre leadership and policies.
The research, led by David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, shows that incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people’s ideas. For example, if people lack expertise on tax reform, it is very difficult for them to identify the candidates who are actual experts. They simply lack the mental tools needed to make meaningful judgments.
As a result, no amount of information or facts about political candidates can override the inherent inability of many voters to accurately evaluate them. On top of that, “very smart ideas are going to be hard for people to adopt, because most people don’t have the sophistication to recognize how good an idea is,” Dunning told Life’s Little Mysteries.
He and colleague Justin Kruger, formerly of Cornell and now of New York University, have demonstrated again and again that people are self-delusional when it comes to their own intellectual skills. Whether the researchers are testing people’s ability to rate the funniness of jokes, the correctness of grammar, or even their own performance in a game of chess, the duo has found that people always assess their own performance as “above average” — even people who, when tested, actually perform at the very bottom of the pile. [Incompetent People Too Ignorant to Know It]
We’re just as undiscerning about the skills of others as about ourselves. “To the extent that you are incompetent, you are a worse judge of incompetence in other people,” Dunning said. In one study, the researchers asked students to grade quizzes that tested for grammar skill. “We found that students who had done worse on the test itself gave more inaccurate grades to other students.” Essentially, they didn’t recognize the correct answer even when they saw it.
The reason for this disconnect is simple: “If you have gaps in your knowledge in a given area, then you’re not in a position to assess your own gaps or the gaps of others,” Dunning said. Strangely though, in these experiments, people tend to readily and accurately agree on who the worst performers are, while failing to recognize the best performers.
The most incompetent among us serve as canaries in the coal mine signifying a larger quandary in the concept of democracy; truly ignorant people may be the worst judges of candidates and ideas, Dunning said, but we all suffer from a degree of blindness stemming from our own personal lack of expertise.
Mato Nagel, a sociologist in Germany, recently implemented Dunning and Kruger’s theories by computer-simulating a democratic election. In his mathematical model of the election, he assumed that voters’ own leadership skills were distributed on a bell curve — some were really good leaders, some, really bad, but most were mediocre — and that each voter was incapable of recognizing the leadership skills of a political candidate as being better than his or her own. When such an election was simulated, candidates whose leadership skills were only slightly better than average always won.
Nagel concluded that democracies rarely or never elect the best leaders. Their advantage over dictatorships or other forms of government is merely that they “effectively prevent lower-than-average candidates from becoming leaders.”
This story was provided by Life’s Little Mysteries, a sister site to LiveScience. Follow Natalie Wolchover on Twitter @nattyover. Follow Life’s Little Mysteries on Twitter @llmysteries, then join us on Facebook.
Yep, there it is.
We’re not smart enough to rule ourselves. We can’t pick the “best leaders” (of course, I would wonder if “the best leaders” don’t happen to share the same views as the scientists running this study, or their backers). All we can do is pick mediocre leaders.
Of course, this seems to ignore that in the history of Democracy, we’ve had some pretty spectacular leaders. And of course, seems to ignore the success of the Democratic city/state of Athens, Greece, The Roman Republic, and the Germanic and Norse peoples who had a rather democratic society of their own, for thousands of years. Of course, the US has successfully had a democracy for the last couple hundred years, England and it’s former empire hasn’t been to shabby with democracy, France started a bit rough but they’ve been doing alright, and so on and so forth.
Of course, there will always be the Elite who think they know better, that they should rule, because they were born superior or think themselves to be smarter, more just, or any number of other reasons. You can find them just about under every rock in politics. They would have themselves be lords and ladies, kings and queens, above and beyond the masses.
Of course, they ignore that people should have the right to dictate their own lives. They think they should be able to tell us what to eat, what to drink, how to have sex and with whom, and every other aspect of our lives. We are but chattel in their eyes, a resource to drain and harvest for their own glory.
There is a good reason to “elect” those who are “incompetent” and “mediocre.” It keeps things in balance. Exceptional people are well, exceptional. They do exceptional things. Obama is an exceptional individual, and he’s created universal healthcare, created massive, massive debt, been weak before our nations enemies, and strong against those who oppose him. George Washington was an exceptional individual and he fathered in many practices that kept our democracy safe for over a century. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, started a war that tore the country apart, and put it back together again. FDR grew the government and beat the Nazis. Hitler dragged Germany from the brink of destruction to amazing heights and dragged it right back down again. Stalin took Russia from being just about the most backwater place on the planet into a superpower that could crush almost every nation.
Exceptional people can do great and terrible things. Mediocre people as a rule tend to keep things stable and about the same. This is not inherent a bad thing. Throwing yourself on the mercy of an exceptional person with complete authority to rule can take you to very dangerous places.
This, of course, doesn’t even address the quagmire of just “who is the right choice” and “what is the right way.” The scientists in the study say we’re too stupid to know what the right choice is, but can they really prove that their “choice” is really any better than mine or yours? They can’t. As for how they would determine who is the best to rule, or how to set it up, there isn’t a way out there that can’t be highjacked and corrupted, and that won’t produce Mediocrity. Look at the history of Kings on this planet. We’ve had more exceptional individuals pop up under democratic systems than we have under monarchies, because Democracy allows people to discover and choose who they want. Yes, we get some duds, but every system has those. In monarchies, those exceptional individuals are more likely to pop up outside the Ruling body, or the top level, and if they aren’t corrupted into the service of the incompetent rulers, they are killed so the incompetents can keep their power.
So leave the Democracy alone, you idiot scientists. You know not from whence you speak. You can claim to know that people are stupid, but you do not know the way of power and it’s workings.
Hmmm. I think for the most part, the author is right. How can a person possibly judge tax reform when they barely know how our tax structure works to begin with. The problem is that there is a percentage of people who can barely manage to draw breath on a daily basis, yet those are the ones who’s voices are heard the loudest.
There is only one reason that men like Rick Santorum ever got this far in the process, because there are incompetent people voting for them. When there is absolutely nothing about them that is a good idea.
Is it a matter of incompetence? Or is it really a matter of “too many people with bad idea as opinions”?
Don’t mind me, though, I define myself as “misanthrope”.
Shen Hart said:
The problem is, it’s subjective. Look at that article, they included ‘the funnyness of a joke’ as one of those things people supposedly couldn’t judge. That is entirely subjective and down to personal taste. Similar can be said with this instance – It’s subjective as to exactly what the individual voter wants from their candidate and for the country as a whole.
Big Boss said:
I completely agree with the study. In general, people are stupid. This is one reason why I just do not vote. I don’t consider myself qualified to vote because I don’t keep up with the politics, I don’t know anything about economics and I think its just shameful that a lot of people who voted for Obama, actually expected change. A lot of people vote for a candidate just because he’s a democrat, or because he’s a republican. They swear allegiance to the party and don’t know the politician’s politics. A lot of black people, hell I’d even say most, who voted for Obama, only voted for him because he’s part black. It’s very easy to see that, even for me and I’m part black. People are naive, gullible etc.