“What distinguishes Obama particularly is the depth and carefulness of his thinking, which renders him somewhat unfit for politics,” said Jonathan Haidt, a professor of social psychology at the University of Virginia. “He is a brilliant social and political analyst, which makes it harder for him to play hardball or to bluff.”
Obama’s strengths and weaknesses come from his high degree of “integrative complexity” — his ability to keep multiple variables and trade-offs in mind simultaneously. The integratively simple thinker — say, George W. Bush — has one universal organizing principle that dominates all others, while the integratively complex thinker — Obama — balances many competing goals.
Philip Tetlock, a professor of psychology with the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, found that politicians on the center-left (where Obama dwells) tend to have the highest degree of integrative complexity, followed by politicians on the center-right. Politicians on the far left and far right are the most simple.Oh puhleeze. The first red flag, among many in this article, is the astonishing coincidence that a professor of psychology who most likely views his own politics, and those of most of his ivory tower colleagues as center-left (this is an assumption, but fairly safe I think) discovers, to his great surprise I'm sure, that center-left politicians have the highest degree of integrative complexity. No bias here, nothing to see, just move along.
The second is this. If President Obama is so fantastically adept at "keeping multiple trade-offs and variables in mind simultaneously", why does he never integrate a shred of empirical, real-world evidence into his analysis of what government should do on behalf of the people. To the left, the good intention is the thing, results and costs never matter. And so they never ask why it is that the last time black unemployment was less than white unemployment was in 1930, which coincidentally was the last year in which there was no minimum wage law. Or why the rate of black children born out of wedlock, with all of the negative consequences that entails, has sky-rocketed since the expansion of welfare in the 1960's. To President Obama and the left, the programs themselves, and the incentives they create, are never the problem. When the programs fail, when the unintended negative consequences inevitably reveal themselves it is always external factors--racism, corporate greed, fraud, ineffeciency, not enough funding, that are the reasons for the failure. To me, this naive, ideological committment to "help people" and "solve problems" in the face of failure after failure is the very definition of a simple mind.
President Obama may be an adept politician, and skilled at advancing the causes of the left, but his mind seems pretty conventional to me.
p.s. This article, in which Dennis Prager takes note of the poisoned view of America held by a left-leaning professor of psychiatry, is just how I view the mind of President Obama. Mr. Prager writes this about his subject:
But at some point, perhaps in college, he assimilated the leftist world-view, with the dogmatic but meaningless phrases that appear in his column: “underlying forces of greed and hate”; “American imperialism”; “corporate avarice”; and “abuses of our power abroad.”President Obama has also, I suspect, assimilated the leftist world-view, and it is his inability to move past this adolescent ideology that most compromises his so-called mega-mind.