Ignorance Is An Advantage In Politics

Is ignorance an advantage in American politics? Is it, as in the case of Chauncey Gardner and Sergeant Schultz, better to know nothing? Yes, according to George Monbiot, writer for the Guardian and author of “Why Morons Succeed In U.S. Politics.” Here is a link:


As a psychological term, “moron” is now considered offensive, as well it should be. As a colloquial term, it carries the following senses, according to the OED online:

2. colloq. A stupid or slow-witted person; a fool, an idiot. Also attrib. or as adj.
1917 R. C. BENCHLEY in Vanity Fair Oct. 47 A person entering one of these drawing-rooms and talking in connected sentences..would have been looked upon as a high class moron. 1922 H. TITUS Timber iii. 37 So this backwoods moron, even, knew something about his affairs that John Taylor did not know. 1928 B. HECHT & C. MACARTHUR Front Page II. 91 Another one of your moron blunders.

It is interesting that “moron” was acceptable as an adjective, whereas I’d be tempted to use “moronic.”

What I did not know, because I am ignorant, is that “moron” can also refer to a kind of salamander:

1774 O. GOLDSMITH Hist. Earth VII. 141 With respect to the Salamander, the whole tribe, from the Moron to the Gekko, are said to be venomous to the last degree.

At any rate, Monbiot’s claim intrigues, and by the way, I have always been enchanted by salamanders.


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