Thursday, June 17, 2010


That lovable old vitriolic curmudgeon Fred Reed published yet another insightful diatribe against a small segment of humanity.  As usual, Fred has blearily managed to score a bull's eye.  Maybe a little heavier on the bull than the eye, but so what?  We're trying to drink here!

Fred offers an astute insight into the talking heads in and around the beltway, and you can read about it by clicking here.  It's an easy read, but it raised a few questions for me.

In particular, Fred states that while people in the upper ten percent IQ range are able to learn anything they like by self-teaching, the other 90% are unable to learn a subject this way; that is by buying a stack of books on the subject and sitting down to learn it.  From Fred's essay:
Denizens of this class know that if they decided to learn, say, classical Greek, they could. You get the book and go at it. It would take work, yes, and time, but the outcome would be certain.
Do you think Fred's right? If you measure the IQ range of US adults you'll come up with a bell curve.  Take a healthy slice out of the middle of the bell - say, 60% or so - and you have the average Joe.  Is our man Joe capable of going down to Barnes & Noble, buying a half-dozen or so books on a given subject and learning it? Is Joe's outcome certain success?

Fred continues and points out the flaw in the old Social Security privatization argument, but he ties it to the intellectual abilities of Average Joe.  From Fred's article:
The commentators are smart enough to invest money. I’ll guess that at least half the population isn’t.
Again, do you think Fred's right?

I don't have an answer to my first question, so I'm soliciting a few opinions.  As to the second question (investments) I have my own opinion on that, but I'm curious as to what other people think.  I'll write my own thoughts out later on.

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