Last night, I had dinner with some high-powered people including a multi-Emmy-award-winning writer and one of the world's leading experts on gender issues.
I came away, as I usually do from such gatherings, feeling that I don't fully respect their minds. Of course, that could be my own limitations precluding my appreciating them, but in my judgment, they are NOT great minds. They are wildly controlled by their apriori biases, shortsighted thinking, uninformed gut instincts, selective review of data, and fears of candor. And/or they are sophists who entertain more than enlighten, let alone be brilliant, wise, and circumspect enough to have a realistic chance of solving society's major problems.
It saddens me that lightweight thinking artists, from cartoonists to screenwriters to comedians (read Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bono, Sean Penn, and Angelina Jolie) have become greater influencers of thought and public policy than are our Philosopher Kings, e.g., Christopher Hitchens, pictured above, or David D. Friedman. or our great scientific and entrepreneurial minds, e.g. Craig Venter. Especially outside the sciences, the media anoints people as experts more because of their ideology (you almost have to be a liberal) and entertainment value than their brilliance.
Last night reminded me of my desire for probing exchanges with such people, as I've had on my NPR-San Francisco radio show, where I have done hour-long interviews of the likes of Venter, Noam Chomsky, Walter Isaacson, and Alan Dershowitz. The closest I've come in my personal life is my doctoral advisor Michael Scriven, a Renaissance man with particular expertise in program evaluation--a very important and underappreciated discipline.
Of course, such people may consider my own mind unworthy, but is there anyone you suggest I reach out to for an email exchange or interview on my radio show? Last I checked, the likes of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Ron Paul, Goethe, Jeremy Bentham, or Ben Franklin aren't available.