A possibly severe case of intellectualism
What we have been seeing worldwide, from India to the UK to the US, is the rebellion against the inner circle of no-skin-in-the-game policymaking “clerks” and journalists-insiders, that class of paternalistic semi-intellectual experts with some Ivy league, Oxford-Cambridge, or similar label-driven education who are telling the rest of us 1) what to do, 2) what to eat, 3) how to speak, 4) how to think… and 5) who to vote for.
But the problem is the one-eyed following the blind: these self-described members of the “intelligentsia” can’t find a coconut in Coconut Island, meaning they aren’t intelligent enough to define intelligence hence fall into circularities — but their main skill is capacity to pass exams written by people like them. With psychology papers replicating less than 40%, dietary advice reversing after 30 years of fatphobia, macroeconomic analysis working worse than astrology, the appointment of Bernanke who was less than clueless of the risks, and pharmaceutical trials replicating at best only 1/3 of the time, people are perfectly entitled to rely on their own ancestral instinct and listen to their grandmothers (or Montaigne and such filtered classical knowledge) with a better track record than these policymaking goons.
Indeed one can see that these academico-bureaucrats who feel entitled to run our lives aren’t even rigorous, whether in medical statistics or policymaking. They can’t tell science from scientism — in fact in their image-oriented minds scientism looks more scientific than real science. (For instance it is trivial to show the following: much of what the Cass-Sunstein-Richard Thaler types — those who want to “nudge” us into some behavior — much of what they would classify as “rational” or “irrational” (or some such categories indicating deviation from a desired or prescribed protocol) comes from their misunderstanding of probability theory and cosmetic use of first-order models.) They are also prone to mistake the ensemble for the linear aggregation of its components as we saw in the chapter extending the minority rule.
In the process, he has evidently come rather close to classifying a rather nasty and mostly terminal disease, which I'm going to simply call "intellectualism" for brevity.
As Dr. Taleb points out, sufferers of "intellectualism" are marked by an entirely unearned and totally unjustified sense of intellectual superiority that makes them exceedingly dangerous to their fellow man when given positions of power and influence.
If you happen to come across an IYI in real life, the recommended treatment usually seems to be a severe beating (with boxing gloves, of course- you don't want to go catching the dreaded disease yourself, after all).
- Subscribes to the New Yorker [False]
- Never went out drinking with a minority cabbie [True]
- Attended more than one TEDx talk or seen more than two on YouTube [False]
- Voted for the Hilldebeast, and argues that anyone who didn't is mentally defective [SERIOUSLY False]
- Has a first-edition hardback of The Black Swan [False]
- Usually confuses science with scientism [False]
- Advocates the removal of dictators because reasons without stopping to think about the consequences [used to be True, not anymore]
- Historically wrong about: Stalinism, Maoism, GMOs, Iraq, Libya, Syria, lobotomies, urban planning, low-carb diets, gym machines, behaviourism, transfats, freudianism, portfolio theory, linear regression, Gaussianism, Salafism, dynamic stochastic equilibrium modeling, housing projects, selfish gene, election forecasting models, Bernie Madoff, and p-values [um... True in 5 out of 23, I suppose...]
- Member of a club for traveling privileges [True]
- Uses statistics without knowing how they are derived [False]
- Goes to literary festivals whenever in the UK [False]
- ONLY drinks red wine with steak [True]
- Used to think fat was harmful, doesn't anymore [True]
- Takes statins because a doctor told him to[False]
- Fails to understand ergodicity [False]
- Doesn't use Yiddish words even in a business context [False]
- Studied grammar before language [False]
- Never read a whole bunch of highfalutin' authors' works [True]
- Never gotten drunk with Russians [True]
- Never gotten completely shitfaced, full stop [True]
- Doesn't know shit from shinola [False]
- Doesn't understand the difference between a "pseudo-intellectual" and an "intellectual" [False]
- Mentioned quantum mechanics at least twice in conversations which have nothing to do with physics [False, as far as I know]
I nail 8.3 out of 23 possible identifiers, so apparently I am more than a third Intellectual Yet Idiot.
(And I also get my face punched in on a regular basis, which I suppose means that I'm self-medicating.)
It takes rather more than just a high IQ to impress me. I've known and worked with plenty of smart people in my time. Brains alone are not impressive; what people do with them is what determines whether or not they are worthy of respect.
I also happen to have a Master's degree from an Ivy League university- and not in some fluffy-bunnies-and-unicorns subject either.
The IYIs of the world have suffered a number of stunning reversals of late- well, stunning for them, wonderful for us. They were totally blindsided by their own ineptitude thanks to the well-documented Dunning-Krueger Effect.
The critical question is whether these numpties are going to learn from their failures. But then, we've all seen these people flailing around in the days since the God-Emperor's victory, so we know the answer to that one already.