Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Confusing Glibness with Intelligence

(via Instapundit) Todd Zywicki has a post up at The Volokh Conspiracy in which he discusses the tendency among people to confuse glibness with intelligence or, put more concisely, "to confuse the ability to "bullshit" with actual intelligence" in the context of the presidential race. Some people may falter or say they don't know when asked a question they haven't been prepared for while some may spout off a ready answer. The latter person may actually have no idea what they are talking about but they can certainly make it sound good. Read the whole post but here is an excerpt:
"My sense is that Hoven is on the right track. Some thoughtful people simply have a tendency to confuse intelligence with the ability to be glib, or more precisely, to bs. And I think that is much of what it comes down to--if Palin doesn't know the answer to a question, she just isn't that good at making something up. Biden, by contrast, is a master bs'er, as his debate performance exhibited. As a general rule, the less informed he was about the answer to a question, the more assertive he was in answering it, such as his extraordinary answer about the legislative role of the Vice-President. It is clear that he had not the slightest idea what he was talking about, yet he just plowed ahead throwing out assertions with rhetorical flair. Classic bs. Even on issues that were supposedly in his area of expertise, such as the Constitution, he wasn't even in the ballpark of being correct. Hoven picks up on Biden's whopper of answer about kicking Hezbollah out of Lebanon, but it is pretty much the same thing--aggressive bs covering a complete lack of any clue what he is talking about."
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