>What is it to be smart? Posted on August 24, 2010 by thebigqs 8 comments > I know this picture has little relevance but I couldn’t resist putting it up. You’ve got to give credit to a good advert once in a while. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading... Related Society Theory
>The dictionary has it as "intelligent and shrewd". However, in common usage it's not only used to mean intelligent. Your level of intelligence is pretty much set at birth. Yet your wisdom and experience or 'street-smart' can also earn you the title 'smart'. If someone says something is a 'smart' move they don't mean "wow you must be clever to figure that out". It could be that you've simply seen someone taking the move before. So basically being smart means you are intelligent, wise and/or experienced, depending on the context within which the word is used.
>Banging picture although i don't know how it works as an advert.Basically the idea of 'smart' for me is doing what is best for yourself (charity and morality aside for a moment).I pose the question in the contect of political thought and voter demands.Many times people who aren't educated or eloquent are written off as stupid if they hold views that are out of favour, e.g. racist views.But these people may be doing exactly what is best for them, and so i think it is arrogant of the educated classes to call them stupid and ignorant.This is the context i would like the debate to consider, not the abstract idea of intelligence.A case in point was the BNP debate on question time.One of the guests said that immigrants to the UK were the cream of the crop and many were doctors, engineers, or highly skilled/educated people.I'm sure the ones who are living in St. Johns Wood are, but for the BNP voters, many of the immigrants living in their poorer socio-economic environment are unqualified labours or at the very least, competing for unqualified positions.Therefore, is it not 'smart' for people from these strata to become BNP voters ?It's also my point in regards to direct democracy. Rob has contended that you need skilled/experienced politicians to give the commoners direction. But surely the commoners know what is best serving their needs, at least in general ?
>No democrat would ever completely disagree with your answer. It's why we have and support democracy, because we believe people are "smart" enough to choose who they want to lead them/write laws on their behalf.On the other hand is it smart for people to vote BNP? Generally I would say no. There is an argument in that the rising popularity of the BNP did force the politicians to focus more attention on immigration, which should have happened beforehand. So there democracy fulfilled its function. The line for me is between voting for them and voting them into power. Imagine a case where BNP had come runner up in seats all over the country but not won one. That would serve the country well for it would focus the efforts of other politicians on what BNP voters were complaining about, without giving BNP the power to send the UK back into the Stone Age, which they would if they got into power.I wrote this during the General Election campaign:"Let's have a look at BNP policy:- Deport all the two million plus who are here illegally; (this means spending millions on tracking everyone down, and casting asylum seekers out such as the poor boy who clung to the bottom of a bus to get out of his home country in Afghanistan where his parents were killed and he was chased with the sound of bullets ringing in his ears – yes a real example)- Deport all those who commit crimes and whose original nationality was not British; (this means deporting a Middle Class Doctor who's lived here 20 years just for forgetting to wear a seatbelt)- Review all recent grants of residence or citizenship to ensure they are still appropriate; (this means deporting legal immigrants)- Offer generous grants to those of foreign descent resident here who wish to leave permanently; (how much will that cost? And who will pay the employer who loses his prized members of staff?)- Stop all new immigration except for exceptional cases; (this means talent can only leave the country and not enter it; it would incentivise businesses to leave)- Reject all asylum seekers who passed safe countries on their way to Britain. (personally I count it an honour that so many people want to come to Britain but that is not the point. How do you define safe countries? And what if those other 'safe' countries refused them? I am sure if Griffin actually spoke to some of the people who have tried seeking asylum in places like Turkey, Greece, the Balkans and even France as I have, he would realise that it just isn't true that they are safe there. Many may be, but what would you do in their shoes? Would you risk a year or so of your life in Greece only to get chased out after settling down, or would you come straight to Britain where you know the rule of law applies?)In short BNP policy would be very costly to the economy and although it would lower immigration it would do it the wrong way: by making people not want to come here. Instead we should be encouraging other countries to take more immigrants/asylum seekers, and implementing economically viable policies to lower immigration."The simple fact is that most BNP voters don't know what BNP policy is because they don't read their manifesto. The BNP Party is led by racists, and the economic ramifications of their policies have not been thought through. People hear that the BNP are against any more immigrants taking their jobs and they jump on board.So it can be smart, but it's generally not. Indeed to say it's smart for those minority of people who do vote BNP you'd be saying it's not smart for the majority who don't (I'm talking about voters within the same neighbourhood here).
>Well I piqued your interest a little too much with the BNP example i think.But at the risk of turning this back into a debate on the validity of BNP's views, i'll answer some of the points you made.I will list the points you raised and mark them with a "helps" english people living in poorer socio-economic areas with immigrant populations, and "doesn't help" said people.Remember that this is from the perspective of a lower socio-economic Englishman who disproportionately competes for jobs and resources with immigrants, than does his more affluent compatriot.It is not a decision on the overall effects on BNP policy.The point here is to establish if the voter is 'smart', not the BNP.So,1. Deport all the two million. Helps. reduces level of competition for jobs and thus increases wage levels for those jobs.2. Deport all those who commit crimes and whose original nationality was not British.Helps. reduces crime levels.3. Offer generous grants to immigrants to leave.Doesn't help. Economy couldn't afford it on a large scale and a small scale would have little effect in lessening the labour pool.4. Stop all new immigration except for exceptional cases.Helps. Besides the job market which I've gone on about, it also reduces demand on infrastructure and competition for resources such as housing.5. Reject all asylum seekers who passed safe countries.Helps. As above regarding jobs, housing, other resources.Now from the view of the affected parties noted earlier, this seems like a 'smart' vote to make.You will probably contend that the BNP would do such a terrible job with the economy etc, that the vote would actually become ironic, in that in seeking to make their lives better, the BNP voter actually made it worse.However all political votes are cast on the basis of improving the current situation, yet not every party can be considered to have achieved this. Why hold the BNP anymore accountable than the other parties who have caused large damage to their countries (Thatcher and her dismantling of the unions, for example).
>So just to reiterate, it seems that the BNP voter has done the 'smart' thing for himself and that the 'educated' view of the BNP voter being stupid and ignorant is off-the-mark.
>Sean, I think someone shouted at her to take a picture of that nice pussy there. Oooh matron.More seriously, I pretty much agree with Rob, other than that 'smart' is essentially an idiomatic word and thus pretty hard to define. I disagree that 'smart' depends on your social situation, though the consequences of being smart (i.e. the decisions you make) may vary. 'Smart' is more than rigid IQ, but the application of that along with experience, wisdom and certain personal qualities, but I don’t think the qualities of being ‘smart’ or the processes involved in ‘smart’ thinking vary in any situation (though obviously ‘smart’ decisions do).Personal qualities include intellectual curiosity and resulting lack of dogma, an Augustian willingness (nay, desire) to 'audi partem alteram' (hear the other side), rigorous appreciation of nuance and interrogation of available information. Although a smart person is voracious in pursuit of new ideas and interpretations, she does not blindly follow authority, but endeavours to understand and critique ideas for what they are, not for who once held them. To be 'smart', in short, is to be genuinely open in an intellectual sense.It is, however, more than this. It is also an intimate and strategic appreciation of causality and the probabilities of life and given situations, derived from both experience (this – thoughtfully-applied experience – is a nice starting definition of wisdom) and rigourous, open and spontaneous analysis of an unfolding situation (see above). Smart people are, in sum, great and ingenious problem solvers. You can see this in great politicians and chess grandmasters alike, but also in many sportsmen not renowned as being great traditional intellects (the strategy involved in a mountain stage of a cycling Grand Tour, or the positional and anticipatory sense required of a good holding midfielder, is deeply 'smart' by my definition).In 2009, following the extraordinary performance of Gail Trimble on University Challenge, there was a general debate (typically worried and overcompensating in undertone) over whether such shows really test intelligence. The answer is, of course, yes; in a way. Intelligence, apparently, can be 'crystallised' (stuff we've learned – the date of the battle of Agincourt and so on) and/or 'fluid' (partly how you use what you've learnt, but more generally skills of critical thinking, analysis, strategic thinking and so on). I would consider (and again I emphasise the subjective nature of the term) 'fluid' intelligent smart; it is more dynamic, inherently useful and ingenious. It is for this reason, as well, that I admire world class snooker players more than I do members of the Eggheads team, but that's just me.FYI: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7907861.stm
>1. a. Characterized by sharp quick thought; bright. See Synonyms at intelligent.b. Amusingly clever; witty: a smart quip; a lively, smart conversation.c. Impertinent; insolent: That's enough of your smart talk.2. Energetic or quick in movement: a smart pace.3. Canny and shrewd in dealings with others: a smart negotiator.4. Fashionable; elegant: a smart suit; a smart restaurant; the smart set. See Synonyms at fashionable.5. a. Capable of making adjustments that resemble human decisions, especially in response to changing circumstances: smart missiles.b. Manufactured to regulate the amount of light transmitted in response to varying light conditions or to an electronic sensor or control unit: smart windows.6. New England & Southern U.S. Accomplished; talented: He's a right smart ball player.—Interestingly, these defintions (especially 1, 3 and 5) seem to agree with my interpretation of smart as dynamic and adaptive applied intelligence, rather than the static (crystallised) intelligence of knowing lots of things.
>Yes I agree with Ross. The thing is you don't vote for the BNP if you've got the qualities Ross noted above:"intellectual curiosity and resulting lack of dogma, an Augustian willingness (nay, desire) to 'audi partem alteram' (hear the other side), rigorous appreciation of nuance and interrogation of available information"Of course there are exceptions, but I've not yet met a BNP voter who's read all the mainstream manifestos and the BNP one. They're therefore not 'hearing the other side'.In addition, I would contend with some of Sean's notes about how much BNP policies actually help. Businesses don't look to hire immigrants until they've had an advertised vacancy for about 3 months, which means that locals don't want, or aren't able to do the job at hand. Although reducing immigration is desirable, stopping it altogether is simply stupid. So yes as you said Sean, I do argue that the BNP would make such a mess of the economy that they would end up hurting those they profess to help.Although I will go some way towards siding with Sean. Although I agree with Ross's answer in sum, there are circumstances where the situation rather than the actor dictate what actions are 'smart'. This is because 'smartness' is not only judged as a human characteristic, but also as a result. You can be a smart person and make stupid errors, even if you're still displaying the same 'smart' qualities. For instance let's say a really smart scientist is deemed a genius by all in his field, but one day ends up accompanying his daughter to a fashion show, and ends up making loads of remarks that are taken quite badly by those around him. According to all his experience he may have been acting in a smart way, but because he lacked the knowledge of the fashion world his witty criticisms could be deemed very much the opposite of 'smart'. I'm largely playing devil's advocate here but you could to some degree, say that 'smartness' does depend on social circumstance.