The Derb really is fearless:

Q: But there are different kinds of intelligence, aren’t there? The Bushmen of the Kalahari have their own kind, to help them survive. You, with your book-smarts and your desk-smarts, wouldn’t last a week in the Kalahari.

The Derb: That is very likely true, but if so, it belongs to the category of melancholy truths. I mean, it’s a truth that does nobody any good, and which, if you think through its consequences, will make you feel sad.

It certainly isn’t going to do the Bushman any good. If the terrain over which he exercises his keen hunter-gatherer intelligence becomes interesting to some mining company, or builder of dams, or foreign conqueror, he will be swept from it like a bug from a picnic table. His superior intelligence, however admirable it may be from a metaphysical point of view, will avail him nothing in a clash with modernity.

There may indeed be different kinds of smarts, each worthy in its own way. In the world as it is, though, the kind of smarts that gets you a coherent nation under stable government, with a fair shot at security, prosperity, good health, and comfort for yourself and your descendants, is one particular kind the kind measured by I.Q. tests.

Having lost a lot of my conservative readers, I guess I need to brace myself for losing a bunch of liberal ones. Of course, the bushman can live a full life without destroying the global climate. But that's another question.

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