I have a bit of a problem. I don't know how to talk about stupidity, or how I should think about really stupid people.
In fact, already I'm having problems asking this question, because the word 'stupid' is so loaded with negative meaning, and I can't help but feel like it's mostly true.
But liberal democracy seems to depend on everyone being valued equally and their rights and opinions being respected.
So, I know an extremely dumb guy in my town who's lonely. If I treated him as an equal, I probably wouldn't be friends with him because he's got various character flaws. But if I treat him like an unfortunate product of nature, of course I'd be more sympathetic. So, should I go see him or not?
I've been mulling over your question for a while, and I'm of various minds about what to say. On the one hand, there's an interesting issue here. Sometimes we think of some people as less than fully human. We hold our usual attitudes in abeyance because we think that -- either temporarily or permanently -- they aren't fit subjects for, e.g., moral evaluation, rational criticism, or what have you. And as your remarks point out, sometimes this allows us to be more rather than less sympathetic to them. That raises some hard questions about when this sort of attitude is appropriate and about the moral costs of adopting it. That said, there's a lot more to being human than being clever, and some people of modest intellectual means have other gifts of empathy, or modesty, or perseverance or warmth... Furthermore, very clever people can have palpable character flaws. I haven't met you, and don't know you, but one might be forgiven for thinking from the tone of your remarks that you're perhaps a little...