What's Wrong with Being Cerebral?

One of the criticisms of Barack Obama is that he's too cerebral, too professorial, too intellectual. Somehow being intelligent, thoughtful, reflective, calm under pressure, analytical, is a bad thing. After 8 years of a less than reflective, less than cerebral, President, you'd think we'd want something different. No, we're told that Americans want a leader who is emotive, visceral, reactive.

So, let me ask the question: Why do Americans consistently downgrade intelligence? This despite the fact that it is America's commitment to research and exploration have set the nation apart?


Anonymous said…
My perception is that a large number of people are simply not very intellectually inclined - not stupid, just not inclined to engaged issues or other people on an intellectual level. They operate on a physical plane or on an emotional plane.

In addition there are a lot of people who have self-esteem issues in the area of intellect and when approached on an intellectual level, they shy away from the engagement and often feel under attack.

Then there are those people for whom education and things of the intellect are alien, and when approached on that level they feel either left out of the discussion or worse, they perceive that they are being spoken down to.

Honoring the intellectual diversity of the American people is a very skinny tightrope.

You shouldn't have to be an intellectual to see that Bush's "shoot first and don't bother to ask questions later" approach to leadership isn't getting us anywhere. Then again, maybe I'm wrong. Sigh.

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