…is that most of them can’t reconcile stupidity.

When smart people see a problem, they employ intelligence and common sense to determine the most effective solution.

For example, when a car has a flat tire, a smart person’s first instinct is to look for the jack and the spare. The primary goal is to get the car rolling toward a more permanent fix like a patch or a new tire.

This isn’t a scenario that requires debate about alternative approaches and theories – it’s pretty cut and dried what needs to be done.  The smart person’s response needs no further justification.

So how does that smart person respond when someone else, presented with the same flat tire, decides that the best course of action is to set the whole car on fire and buy a new one?

With confusion. Concern. Perhaps even righteous anger.  Why would someone even remotely consider doing something so extreme, when the best solution is time-tested and obvious?

Because to some people the solution isn’t obvious.  The logic that a smart person calls upon immediately simply doesn’t exist in some brains.  Those brains won’t come to the “obvious” solution without being led to it.  And that must be done gently, at the risk of creating the opposite result because they perceive assistance as condescension.

Put this in a political context and it explains a lot of recent behavior. But this presumes actual stupidity.  In politics there’s another possible answer to the “Why would they do that?” question – it’s the Watergate line: “Follow the money”.  Somebody is bankrolling an individual – or several – to act against their constituents’ and even their own best political interests. For those individuals, personal financial gain outweighs public service and image.

So maybe the guy who wants to blow up the car isn’t stupid.  After all, he made a conscious decision to serve his own greed above the common good.

The question smart people need to address is how they will choose to deal with the reality that blowing up a car is now a legitimate alternative to fixing a flat.