Boris, you can’t say that. Despite the fact you just did


London’s colorful, shaggy-mopped Mayor Boris Johnson expressed an opinion. A highly socially-incorrect opinion.

What he said, essentially, was that a certain percentage of the population was simply too stupid to make it contemporary society.

Johnson, who is himself terribly smart, a good Tory and a crackerjack journalist to boot, offered up the observation in a recent speech that 16 percent of the population has an IQ below 85, whereas only 3 percent is on the plus side of 130. He opined further that many of those in the low intelligence group are also either unemployed, or at least underemployed in shit-level jobs and don’t stand a chance of breaking that pattern mainly because they’re not intelligent enough to cope with contemporary employment realities.

Wait, I can hear (yes, you) and many others say, and Boris has heard indictments from countless others for daring to suggest as verity something that is painfully honest. To wit: If you’re dumb you stand less of a chance of success.

Well, you might say, that’s hardly fair. No it isn’t. And there isn’t a single word in any holy work that suggests God or whatever deity you subscribe to offers anything resembling fairness. We all know people who have had absolutely awful things befall them. Good people. Caring people. And then one day they have the universal rug pulled out from beneath them. Hardly fair, that.

Other people are complete shitheads and they win the lottery. What’s that all about?

People vary. They vary in intelligence and it stands to reason that the less intelligent are going to be challenged with this life, and they probably fill the ranks of the impoverished sector quite effectively. No longer are there the bull labour jobs such people could do to earn a decent wage. Not much call for hod-carriers these days. And you can’t even say to these people: “Stay in school.” They couldn’t cope with school and they likely left early.

It’s not to say that all people with low intelligence are impoverished. Some, even with limited skills, work very hard at what they do and cope reasonably well.

And there are others with average or even high intellects who fall victim to misfortune or run afoul of drugs and/or alcohol and end up in the ranks of the impoverished.

The real point of it all, to be candid, is that life is not fair. It is a statistical fact that tall men get promoted over short ones. I’m only 5′ 9” so that left me in a shaky middle-ground. It is a statistical fact that the pretty and the handsome get positions for which the less beauty-endowed are overlooked.

I’m the same height as was the late Paul Newman, and I’m taller than Tom Cruise (most people are) but perhaps I don’t look as fascinating. I’ve noticed that Nicole Kidman did not call me up when she and wee Tom split.

I am being facetious, of course, and I am not suggesting, and Boris was not suggesting that the ghettoizing of the slow-of-study was a good thing, he was only saying it is something that we should accept as a reality as distasteful as it may be. It is a fact that society must wrestle with. It is a fact that society has always wrestled with, but doesn’t like to say. And it is a reality for which there seems to be no apparent solution.

At the same time, Johnson expressed concern for the societally poor yet intelligent people who were behind the eightball in the UK’s still class-ridden society and has suggested more scholarships should be available for poor but capable kids to attend posh private schools, such as he attended. His was Eton, by the way.

None of the rest of it is morally laudable, it just is what it is. We like to pretend, especially in western democracies, that all were created equal. Yet I suspect there isn’t a solitary one of us who really believes that is true.

And I’ll also wager there is nobody out there who can suggest a solution. Reality bites, but it is what it is.



3 responses to “Boris, you can’t say that. Despite the fact you just did

  1. I recently attended a workshop about that very subject: some of us actually ARE smarter than the average bear, and some of us are not. And it’s just the way it is, so get over it and move on. Of course, there was a bit more to the workshop than that, like how we educators can best teach those kids with the less-than-high IQs, but basically, the presenter’s message was as you say: it takes all kinds to make a world, and no, it isn’t “fair” (whatever THAT actually means), but we can’t change it so we’d better learn to live with it as best we can.

  2. Then again, you have the great success stories of people who were born into hideous circumstances and do big things and those born into privilege that spiral down to end up in prison or just end up dead from something stupid. Of course, as someone once said, “Well, we will always need someone to dig the ditches.” As an intelligent person, I’ve never understood ignorant people and they baffle me that they don’t care that they don’t know anything. I’ve seen people laugh about their ignorance. They have for some reason accepted it as a solemn fact. There is no solution.

  3. There’s a difference between being intelligent and just not giving a rat’s ass and being plain out stupid. In the first case you deserve your bad fortune, in the second…. well life just ain’t fair, waddaya gonna do.

    As my mom once told me (really! She did!): There’s only one thing in life that’s fair. They’re all going to die too.

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