Having set up the distinction between smart and wise people in an early blog, I thought it might be fun to put our personal top ten people who best illustrate the concept:
- Henry Kissinger for the unwise (not to say immoral) destruction of Cambodia, that paved the way for the genocide of Pol Pot, and for his role model of foreign ‘realism’.
- Alan Greenspan for the most stupid long term strategic direction ever to come out of the Federal Reserve Bank, or any other central bank since the 1930s
- Rupert Murdoch for deftly, but unwisely, creating the engine for the dumbing down and dis-unification of America: Fox News, that will destroy the very country he has made home: what in the English countryside we call sawing off the branch you are sitting on
- Margaret Thatcher for setting loose the virus of Free Market Wahhabism on the world political scene, that ultimately is doing so much to destroy western capitalism and its societies. (She gets a bonus prize for saying: ‘There is no such thing as society‘. Duh.)
- Donald Rumsfeld for having more or less invented the phrase ‘unknown unknowns’, and then proceeded to act as if they didn’t exist: almost ‘unknown unknown unknowns’.
- Barack Obama for having the political brilliance to get elected and implement some smart policy moves, while unwisely losing the political plot and handing the House to the Republicans mid-term. This example is probably capable of redemption.
- The collective leadership of the US Israeli lobby for clever, but utterly uncritical, and totally strategically unwise support for Israeli policy, that will ultimately destroy Israel, not to mention damage American interests in the middle east.
- The Tea Party (at least its smarter members) for weakening America, inadvertently helping China’s rise to global dominance. (Think about it, if you were China what better movement could you dream of to discredit the very idea of government in America.)
- The leaders of the Tobacco Industry for very cleverly re-branding smoking to kill more young women and spreading their product to developing countries very effectively, when the wise move would have been to re-orient their product as nicotine delivery without causing cancer.
- The extremely clever members of the Climate Change denial movement for their skilfully doing the work of the oil and utility industries, and in the process killing large numbers of poor people in the rest of the 21st century