Intelligence Vs. Wisdom

Sarah Palin’s arrival on the national election scene has brought with it a rash of excitement on the right and rage from the left. Her family life, executive experience, and intelligence have been ridiculed by the left among other more personal assaults. In her defense, I’ve found myself the recipient of some of that ire. I’ve been told my degrees are worthless because they didn’t come from Harvard or similar Ivy League university. I’ve been told I’m only a “G.E.D.” for that fact and the fact that I believe in the Bible. I have been informed that only the uneducated believe in the Bible.

Whether one believes in God or not, as I do, the Bible contains within it an enormous amount of wisdom and stories from which to learn, it wouldn’t hurt them to pick one up once in awhile. However, that’s neither here nor there. An exhortation to such coming from me is not likely to persuade them because I’m a working class person, not among the educated elite who trump everyone else.

Intelligence has become such a prized commodity in recent history that it has become synonymous with wisdom, while true wisdom has been devalued as a mode for making some of the most important decisions we face in life.

Intelligence, though quantitatively and qualitatively measurable, alone is virtually meaningless. It merely signifies ability to acquire knowledge. Neither does the acquisition of knowledge signify wisdom, although, like intelligence, knowledge has become a prized commodity in the form of higher level university degrees. The more abbreviations you have after your name and titles before it, the wiser you are perceived to be.

Yet, wisdom is something more than the combination of intelligence and acquired knowledge. When Bill Maher, in an interview with Larry King, stated he thinks Americans are too dumb to be governed here about 2:48 minutes into the video he discounted wisdom as a decision making factor.

Our founding fathers are considered to have been wise men and, as such, they gave us a constitution that allows us to make our own decisions based upon our own wisdom. They didn’t believe they had a monopoly on wisdom and did not discount it in others. Our own ancestors imparted to us wisdoms in the form of adages, homilies, or clichés, many of them forgotten or discounted in the angst of the 1960s and beyond as our children are taught to discount the wisdom handed down to us from our ancestors even to those still alive, such as grandparents and parents. Reagan, for a short time, brought us back to the wisdom of our ancestors. He recognized that Americans have the intelligence and the knowledge to gain wisdom through life experience and allowed us to do so. He showed not only an abiding love for this country but an abiding faith in the wisdom that guides many of us. When Fred Thompson was asked who is the biggest threat to the United States, he replied the NEA (National Educational Association). He was right. Our schools have an enormous amount of accumulated knowledge to impart but a dearth of wisdom.

Use an adage today and a person of this generation is more likely to laugh at you than understand there’s a deeper meaning (wisdom) contained within it. No mortal being is infallible which is why our ancestors throughout history sought to convey what wisdom they possessed in such a form as well as the written word because until the last century of history, not everyone could read or write.

The left, however, would have you believe such wisdom unnecessary in this day and age. They brandish their degrees and titles while calling themselves experts, claiming that without one of your own, you’re too stupid to be able to judge properly what is true, right, or lasting; that you must listen to those who have them instead. They pretend to be infallible because of these trappings yet are so lacking in real wisdom as to make mockeries of themselves and those who follow them. Wisdom does not come from education. It comes from life; experiencing it, absorbing the greater truths hidden within the experiences, and applying them to other facets of your life, including whatever accumulation of knowledge with which you happened to be blessed.

With this pretense of infallibility, they state premises which we are expected to accept and act upon in an “acceptable” way, meaning their way. Few bother to question the initial premise and without questioning it make decisions that have far reaching long term effects.

All too often, these premises are accepted regardless of reality or real world application. As Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives have exhorted you, as I have within my own tiny sphere of influence, question each and every premise forwarded by the left. Don’t accept any without challenge and due consideration toward real world instances.

In elections past, great debate was made over grades in school, IQs, and other such indicators of intelligence but none of those discussing uttered the word wisdom. This time the popular word seems to be experience which is closer to the word that should be considered. With experience, wisdom often follows.

Great importance has also been attached to outward trappings, such as looks, age, and wealth. None of them truly matter. Who has the greater wisdom among those proffered as our choices? When you can answer this question it makes your voting choice much clearer.

It may be different times; different technologies, faster paced, or any number of other descriptions you care to use to describe now, but human nature is still the same. The wisdoms that have guided us this far can see us through the future if we reacquaint ourselves with them and apply them to our lives and government.