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July 06, 2010

Update 2: Brief Summer Book Hiatus With Excerpt

As part of my Brief Summer Book Hiatus, I went on my annual beach trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina with my old college buddies last week believing that would be a good opportunity to make some progress on my book.

Spending a week at the beach with your old college buddies is not as conducive to thoughtful writing as you might think. Well, as I might think.  It is, however, very conducive to waking up at four in the morning sitting upright in a living room chair with a half a glass of whiskey at your side.  This forced me to reassess my priorities in life. I mean, really, what a waste. 

Of perfectly good whiskey.

In my defense, I was a little burned out from trying to write the blog and the book at the same time and so a little break will no doubt serve to revive my creative juices.  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Regardless, I’ve included a brief excerpt from the introduction, just so you know I really have made some progress, with “progress” loosely defined.  This is actually one of my longer chapters (blogging has made it increasingly difficult for me to sustain a single thought for more than… hey, I didn’t know we still had cheese…) so rest assured, there is much more. 

That’s supposed to be a promise, not a warning:

 

Introduction

You Are a Moron

 “People like blood sausage too, people are morons.”  -- Bill Murray as Phil Connors, Groundhog Day 1

You will find most people in authority and their enablers, whether government officials, opinion leaders, or influential members of the media, operate under the general assumption that you are a moron.  There are two problems with this:

    1) It is insulting.
    2) It is true.

Now, before you get all offended, ranting on about how that isn’t why George Washington charged the Japanese on San Juan Hill to blow up the Death Star, stop and go take a look at yourself in the mirror.  Those shoes?  With THAT belt? 

And do you even own a comb?

But the problem is not that you or I or the guy across the street with the Sierra Club bumper sticker on his Range Rover is a moron (he is). After all, our individual actions tend to have finite, limited ramifications when we are making personal decisions. 

Let’s say, purely as a hypothetical, that you once thought it would be a good idea to consume four cheese enchiladas immediately following a three-mile race during which you had to stop at seven bars and chug a beer.  The only people you hurt are yourself, maybe your girlfriend.  The waiter.  Okay, the busboy too, but you get the idea.  (Hypothetically.)

The real problems begin when people believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that they themselves are somehow immune to the general human affliction of universal idiocy and should be put in charge, saving the rest of us from ourselves through the power of their superior intellect.

What do we end up with when we turn decision-making authority over to self-identified smart people, the better to organize our lives?

Sorghum subsidies.  2

This combination of conceit and power is an intoxicating cocktail for those who have imbibed but a dangerous one for the rest of us who are left to figure out how to throw the obnoxious drunk out of the house (a task made infinitely more difficult if the obnoxious drunk happens to be the federal government).

In the pages that follow I make the case for limited government from the straightforward perspective of a person who has met too many morons who are supposed to be geniuses and too many geniuses who are supposed to be morons.  I have seen small handfuls of people assume that they are so smart they can better engineer the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans than the hundreds of millions of Americans themselves.

I have seen martinis served on the rocks.

(I still have nightmares.)

In order to believe that a small group of “smart” people are best equipped to tell everyone else how to live you need to accept three premises:

1) The criteria used to choose the smart people are based on whether the people are actually smart.

2) There actually exist people smart enough that they can substitute their judgment for the judgment of 300 million individual Americans.

3) These smart people, so empowered, will act in the best interest of those 300 million Americans and not in the best interest of the smart people.

This book primarily addresses the fist two (everyone knows you make the big bucks on the sequel)…

J.

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July 6, 2010 at 07:56 AM in Books | Permalink

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Comments

Pretty good so far, though I'm not sure telling your customers that they are morons will help sales. It doesn't matter with me though ... I already knew I was a moron.

Posted by: An Average American | Jul 7, 2010 4:33:50 PM

You're suggesting that the self-aware moron segment of the population might be a small one? That would explain my traffic numbers...

Posted by: Planet Moron | Jul 7, 2010 4:48:46 PM

Figuring out how intelligent someone is sounds difficult. I'd rather just go based on a feeling for how much they care.

Posted by: Amarsir | Jul 8, 2010 1:30:51 AM

Isn't self-aware moron an oxymoron?

Posted by: An Average American | Jul 8, 2010 5:36:15 PM

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