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AUTHOR: Thomas Sowell

FORUM: National Review

LENGTH: 717 words

THESIS: "To create a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs"

FLAWS OF SMART PEOPLE: ignoring facts, falling for the tricks of other smart people, not understanding that "a gift for clever phrasing ... can be a fatal talent"

AND ANOTHER THING: government spending is bad

BAD THINGS SMART PEOPLE HAVE DONE: the Great Depression, the Vietnam War, the Third Reich, Argentinian economic disaster

DANGEROUS SMART PEOPLE: Frankin D. Roosevelt, a large portion of the Lyndon Johnson administration, Adolf Hitler, W.E.B. Dubois, Juan Perón, Barack Obama

CONCLUSION: Barack Obama is smart. Barack Obama will turn our country into "the world's largest banana republic."


It was, after all, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s brilliant “brains trust” whose policies are now increasingly recognized as having prolonged the Great Depression  of the 1930s, rather than ending it. The U.S. emerged from the Great Depression only when the Second World War put an end to many New Deal policies ... Many crucial things in life are learned from experience, rather than from clever thoughts or clever words. Indeed, a gift for the clever phrasing so admired today by the media can be a fatal talent, especially for someone chosen to lead a government.

Make no mistake about it, Adolf Hitler was brilliant. His underlying beliefs may have been half-baked and his hatreds overwhelming, but he was a political genius when it came to carrying out his plans based on those beliefs and hatreds ... Politically brilliant and charismatic leaders who promoted reckless government spending, among whom Juan Perón was only the most prominent, managed to create an economic disaster in a country with an abundance of natural resources that had been spared the stresses that world wars had inflicted on other nations in the 20th century.

Someone recently pointed out how much Barack Obama’s style and strategies resemble those of Latin American charismatic despots — the takeover of industries by demagogues who never ran a business, the rousing rhetoric of resentment addressed to the masses, and the personal cult of the leader promoted by the media. Do we want to become the world’s largest banana republic?

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