Intelligence and its drawbacks

About the post below, and just in general, I’ve been thinking about how intelligence is absolutely no armor against making absurdly moronic, counterproductive decisions.

Part of it is just the Peter Principle in action: people really do rise to their level of incompetence.

But it is more than that. Intelligence seems to coagulate and actually constrain thinking in many cases — increasing its rigidity and fixedness rather than expanding the ability to explore a larger problem space and find potential solutions there.

This can be seen of late with the Mozilla Foundation and the Democratic party. Loads of intelligent people work for both organizations, but the decisions which emerge just could not be more harmful even to their own stated goals and ideals.

In both cases please note that it is not lack of knowledge of what is likely to occur as a result these terrible decisions. The DNC and the Mozilla Foundation was warned well in advance by many knowledgeable people about likely outcomes, and both did chose and have chosen to ignore, minimize, shout down and blackball dissenters.

Lack of intelligence leads to many limited stupid decisions; with intelligence, however, one has the power to make large-scale doltish decisions that harm millions and millions of people.