David Goodhart On Overvaluing Smarts

By Andrew Sullivan, Weekly Dish

The British writer talks about the moral tensions of the modern economy.

David Goodhart is a British journalist. In 1995 he founded Prospect, the center-left political magazine, where he served as editor for 15 years, and then became the director of Demos, the cross-party think tank. His book The Road to Somewhere coined the terms “Anywheres” and “Somewheres” to help us understand populism in the contemporary West. We also discuss his latest book, Head Hand Heart: The Struggle for Dignity and Status in the 21st Century.

You can listen to the episode right away in the audio player above (or click the dropdown menu to add the Dishcast to your podcast feed). For two clips of our convo — on why elites favor open borders, and why smart people are overvalued — head over to our YouTube page.

Early in the episode, David discusses how his adolescent schooling in Marxism was “a bit like how people sometimes talk about the classics as a sort of intellectual gymnasium — learning how to argue.” Which brings to mind the following note from a listener:

I feel compelled to tell you how much I enjoyed listening to your episode with Roosevelt Montás. I’m a retired lawyer in my 60s, and although I had a decent education growing up, my experience did not involve a full immersion in the classics. Hearing you two talk was like sitting in a dorm room in college — except the people talking are older, wiser, actually know what they were talking about. What a treat. I’m a pretty regular listener of the Dishcast, and this was the best yet in my opinion.

Much of this week’s episode with David centers on how our capitalist society ascribes too much social and moral value to cognitive ability. That theme was also central to our episode last year with Charles Murray, who emphasizes in the following clip the “unearned gift” of high IQ:

The following listener was a big fan of the episode (which we transcribed last week):


Categories: Education

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