“I take it for granted there is really no such thing as “intelligence”. There are a million ways to be smart and no one’s smart in all of them; everyone can be slow on the uptake, and most human beings, whether plumbers or professors, will be remarkably apt at some things and hopeless at others.
But stupid isn’t dumb. Stupidity is different. It involves an element of will. This is why no one ever talks about “militant dumbness” or “militant cluelessness”, but they do talk about “militant stupidity”. The Polish science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem once tried to imagine the stupidest possible computer. It could only do one problem, 2+2, thought the answer was 5, and when anyone tried to tell it otherwise, it grew outraged and eventually, tried to kill them. It is in this sense that I we can call Bush stupid. He is a man used to deciding what he thinks is right, and then sticking to his guns no matter how insane, disastrous, or simply incorrect his premises turn out to have been. But of course this is precisely the core of what his supporters like about him. He’s firm. Decisive. A strong leader. Not like those over-intellectual flip-floppers who are always going on about how many sides there are to a problem.”