Intelligence tests like “IQ” don’t measure absolute intelligence, because it’s too complicated. What they do is assume that there’s a certain amount of information out there, and the smarter the person is the more of it they’ll pick up as they go through life. A person who hasn’t absorbed the convention that red means “stop” and green means “go” by, say, age 12 probably isn’t going to learn much about anything else, either.

Dave at Classical Values quotes Matt Yglesias:

It’s true that covering Emily will mean slightly higher costs for everyone whose kids don’t get sick. But this is how insurance is supposed to work.

In his reply, Dave says, in part:

Insurance is a contract designed to calculate the risk and cost of an event and allow one to pay the expected cost x expected risk over a period of time to avoid incurring a large cost at one time should the event occur, not a means to spread costs among a group of people for events that have already occurred.

In a thread about the Gulf drilling moratorium at Joy McCann’s place, “Darrell” puts up a moderately-long comment that has good points in it but frankly is a little less coherent than a person might wish, and leftoid commenter “ponce” summarizes:

Rather than address each of your paranoid concerns individually, allow me to offer you this:

Try to not be so afraid.

John Kerry gets testy about uninformed voters:

We have an electorate that doesn’t always pay that much attention to what’s going on so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what’s happening…

The Boston Herald puts up a poll about Kerry’s assertion, and readers respond:

And Dave in Texas at Ace of Spades adds:

Let’s stipulate the message is full of awesomeness.

Perhaps you’re just too stupid to sell it?

Going back through in reverse order, it’s pretty clear that Dave in Texas is right. Remember, we judge intelligence by how much of the information that’s available the subject manages to pick up and use. The reasons for objecting to Democratic policies and proposals like Obamacare are information that’s available, and whether or not they’re valid is irrelevant to this point: somebody who’s smart would have picked up on those reasons and know what they were, and demonstrate that by addressing them. John Kerry doesn’t do that, so it would appear that he doesn’t know what those reasons are, and Herald readers conclude, entirely justifiably, that he and other Democrats don’t have the brain power to apprehend the reasons.

That’s a demonstration of long-term intelligence (or lack thereof, perhaps). “ponce” makes no attempt to even address “Darrell’s” points, and since several of those points address things that would be genuine causes of apprehension (at least) if true, the only thing we can possibly conclude is that “ponce” didn’t understand the points themselves. “ponce” can’t read for information, only for emotional content, and that’s all the reply covers.

Matt Yglesias is a spinmeister and skilled generator of “talking points”, but his worst enemy wouldn’t accuse him of lying, at least not Type I lying (direct contradiction of fact). It seems a little odd that he would make a false-to-fact statement like “this is how insurance is supposed to work”, because Dave is absolutely correct: in that context, it’s not how insurance works. But note that Dave’s explication of how insurance does work is a little complicated. The sentence is long and has several independent and independent clauses, and understanding it requires knowledge of some basic concepts (“contract”, “cost”, “risk”) that Dave doesn’t spell out. That’s because “insurance” is inherently a good deal more complex than “it pays for stuff” — but that information, the way insurance works, isn’t new; it’s out there in society and has been for a long time. Anybody who hasn’t absorbed it can be assumed not to have the brainpower to pick it up.

Here we have three examples that lead us to believe that leftoids are stupid — Yglesias has lived to his mid-thirties without absorbing a common basic concept; “ponce” can’t read a fairly short exposition and direct a reply to the points it makes; and John Kerry can’t pick up on things that are ubiquitous. They’re thick as bricks, dumb as posts. If you wander ’round the blogosphere you can get voluminous confirmation of that. Go to any leftoid site, and what you will find (especially in the comments, but often enough in the main articles) endless repeats of bumper-sticker slogans short enough for dumb people to memorize, without any accompanying expansion or analysis, and often enough not even apposite to the main subject. In the usual case, you’ll also find ignorance of the fine points of the English language that would shame an immigrant.

This is what’s so infuriating about leftoid claims that they’re smaaht and should be put in chaaahge of everything in the World. It’s demonstrably not true. If President Obama were really as bright as he’s claimed to be, he would absorb the objections and counter-arguments of his opponents and modify his own rhetoric to match. This is not to say that he would change his policies or his intent, only that he would adapt his language to the environment he’s operating in. He hasn’t done that despite having plenty of time; the only possible conclusion is that he can’t — that he, like the rest of the leftoids, is stupid.

Concepts like “insurance”, “investment”, and “capital” are inherently complex, but we depend on them to keep our industrial society running, just like we depend on understanding of equally complex concepts like “gravity” and “entropy” to build and maintain machines. Turning society over to the direction of people who can’t understand or internalize current conditions or basic concepts is a sure way to incept a disaster.