Why Is Indiana So Different From Illinois?

Dana Milbank muses over the way Congressional Republicans (mis)behave compared with the way that Republican governors perform:

For a dozen years, Paul Ryan and Mike Pence were Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives and fellow soldiers in the conservative movement. This week, they parted ways: one toward temperance, the other toward extremism.

Pence chose the sensible path. Elected governor of Indiana in November, he delivered his first State of the State speech Tuesday, describing his proposed budget that, though a fiscally conservative plan, increases funds for education, job training, transportation, veterans, child-protective services, and health care for the poor.

Perhaps the answer lies where where Milbank places it: a party in power behaves differently from the same party out of power.

I’m actually more interested in something that’s only peripherally related to Mr. Milbank’s ponderings. Why is Illinois so different from Indiana? Of Illinois’s last six governors, four, three Democrats and a Republican, have been convicted of crimes after serving their terms of office or, in Rod Blagojevich’s case, having been removed from office. You have to go back to 1924 (Warren T. McCray) to find an Indiana governor convicted of a crime. Illinois governors tend to serve longer than do Indiana governors. Indiana has had ten governors over the same period during which Illinois has had seven.

Illinois’s credit rating is the lowest of any state. Indiana’s finances are on surer footing—possibly the soundest in the nation.

Illinois has the largest number of independently taxing government entities of any state. Nearly all taxes in Indiana are state taxes or, at least, specifically authorized by the state.

Geographically, economically, and demographically the two states are quite similar. Their histories are quite different.

Why is government in Indiana so sound and government in Illinois so awful? I don’t think party politics can be totally to blame. Chicago?

I’m hoping that someone who lives in Indiana or who formerly lived in Indiana can chime in and comment on the remarkable difference between the two states.

60 comments… add one
  • Beats me. My stainless steel countertops came from Elkhart, IN in about 2000. Cost of doing business, I guess.

  • The receptionist was also the welder. I thought that was cool. She loved my husband’s southern voice.

  • If you figure life is other than a mess, I figure you’re too damn rigid.

  • steve

    1)Indianapolis has never haas the same influence as Chicago has had on the state.

    2) The Indiana governor has a lot of authority. Daniels did a lot of what he did w/o getting approval from elected state reps.

    3) Maybe Indiana is less prone to prosecute? A lot of the privatization that just occurred in Indiana resulted (surprise) in supporters of Daniels getting contracts. That doesnt get prosecuted in Indiana.

    Mostly I dont know, even though I am from there. My sense is that Illinois is the outlier and Indiana is just like most other states.

    Steve

  • I don’t know if “outlier” is quite the right characterization. I can think of several other states that are, shall we say, competitive with Illinois for mismanagement. Maybe every well-managed state is the same but every mismanaged state is mismanaged in its own way.

  • steve

    LOL. I think you probably have that one right. Pretty fascinating how it stays that way also.

    Steve

  • PD Shaw

    Steve’s (1) had me thinking. Indiana is 64.9% urban versus 84.6% for Illinois. Chicago is 21% of the state’s population, while Indianapolis is 13% of its.

    But I don’t think Chicago has had influence at the state level historically. Until the 60s or 70s, state legislative districting favored the rest of the state since seats were allocated by counties not by people. Successful politicians from Chicago tended to run against Chicago politics. Mostly, it appears that Chicago wants the state to leave it alone or give it money, but doesn’t want to control the agenda for the state.

    There is a study that finds state corruption is correlated with the remoteness of a state’s capitol from its large population center. The study suggested that the newspaper reporters become ambivalent about stories that only involve the state, since the City is more important. Though I think this would seem to argue that the City would become virtuous from all that attention.

    Illinois is larger, more diverse and tends towards more spoils-system methods of compromise and building support across more divided groups. My impression is that Indiana has had less large waves of foreign immigration and its settlement patterns are less segregated than most places in the North. (Indianapolis is the least segregated city in the North, making it the most Southern city in the North)

  • jan

    The difference between Indiana and Illinois is Mitch Daniels, who was a 2-term governor of Indiana instead of Illinois Simplistic? Yes. But, if Jerry Brown were the governor of Indiana instead of CA, would the economy be as sound?

    Balanced fiscal policy, where spending doesn’t chronically outstrip revenues, does make a difference, as well as promoting even-handed business incentives, and having more of a RTW atmosphere in a state, inviting business to do business, rather than the other way around.

  • I don’t think it’s personalities, jan. Indiana’s state government was as benign and moderate under Mitch Daniel’s predecessors, Democrats Frank O’Bannon and Evan Bayh, as it was under Daniels. Unlike Rod Blagojevich, O’Bannon in particular made tough choices to cut state services in a prudent fashion during economic downturns.

  • Drew

    “Indiana wants me, lord I can’t go back there”….oh, sorry.

    Indiana has had many issues that IL has had. Indianapolis was a down on its luck place in the 70’s with a godawful downtown. All the automotive supply, RV, heavy equipment etc business went through traumas. “Da region” lost a lot of its steelmaking and supporting infrastructure in the 80’s and 90’s. The balance is solid ag.

    Look at the behemoth economic power that is Chicago. Look at its ag base. By all rights IL should be doing comparably well.

    I wouldn’t over think this. Its management and government. Chicago is as corrupt as anything since the Bulgers in Boston. IL taxes everything in sight. It is business unfriendly. It is more unionized. It simply has a tax and spend – and syphon off goodies for the pols – mentality. And business is going to IN, where the labor skills, infrastructure and business environment are better, and even the transportation dynamics are better. Would you rather have your goods trucked going N and S on I-65 and E and W on 80 or 70………..or stuck in traffic on the Dan Ryan and 294??

    Indiana is not perfect by any stretch. But its in the minor leagues wrt corruption and government intrusion via taxes and regulation and graft. Further, starting with “Unigov” under Mayor Lugar, and a concerted effort to establish itself as a sports and convention center under Hudnut Indianapolis was revitalized. Residential and ancillary business followed. (Services) The steel mills have been bought and stabilized by Arcilor/Mittal (they were always the best facilities in America after the fall of the Pittsburgh district). The auto and heavy equipment (Deere, Cummins) business has reached an equilibrium.

    Shorter: its simply a less liberal, one party and business unfriendly state.

    IL and CA are the poster children for liberal mentality and practices. (Because Chicago so dominates the rural and collar county sections read: DuPage or downstate) And both are broke, with exodus of business and historical populations. Who knew?

    Mike Pence is a frequent guest on WLS’s show with Dan Proft. Listening to Pence vs Pat Quinn is like listening to a pro vs a rank hack.

    PS – Iowa is also winning vs IL, and one has to wonder when So. WI and western MI will start grabbing a significantly larger portion of the business base. IL will always have the shining star of Chicago, but on balance the state is approaching extremis.

  • Drew

    I just saw Daves comment. That is correct, even under an Evan Bayh (for the rest of you, son of former long time Dem Senator Birtch Bayh) he was much more balanced than the pathetic series of Guvs here in IL, including a Republican and soon to be ex-con.

    There is more political balance, and therefore less free-wheeling taxation, corruption, back scratchingism…….

  • PD Shaw

    I read somewhere recently than Illinois could have raised as much money from its income tax hike by adopting Indiana’s tax system, which has fewer exemptions from taxation, such as retirement income and services.

  • The difference between Iowa and Illinois can hardly be overstated. You get a graphic illustration any time you drive between the two states. As you cross the state line from Illinois into Iowa the road goes from crumbling and potholed to pristine.

  • Taking a different tack, Chicago is one of the great and legendary American cities — on par with New York and San Francisco, in my estimation. How much does it cost a state to keep one of those going?

  • We’re not talking Indianapolis or Cleveland, or my hometown, Dallas.

  • How much does it cost a state to keep one of those going?

    To be honest I think the opposite is the case. Despite downstate mythology for more than a century Chicago has been the engine that powered Illinois. Indeed, Chicago’s present weakness may be the state’s biggest problem.

    Over the last 35 years a combination of zoning policies, transportation policies, and housing policies have worked synergistically to reduce the influence of Chicago per se. A number of peripheral cities have grown up around it: Aurora, Naperville, Oak Brook, Schaumburg, Vernon Hills, Mundelein. Those peripheral cities are more than just bedroom communities now. They have their own skylines, for goodness sake.

    But Chicago is still Chicago and I don’t think that anybody reasonably believes that, if Chicago were to suddenly vanish, Naperville or Schaumburg or Mundelein would take its place.

  • Carl Sandburg didn’t write about THEM. Or Upton Sinclair or Dreiser. Or the yellow press during prohibition.

  • I don’t think Dallas or Houston will ever have a poet like that.

  • I live in Louisiana now. We have Tennessee Williams and Robert Penn Warren.

  • Icepick

    And both are broke, with exodus of business and historical populations.

    In the case of California it’s reaching absurd heights.

    Compton, with a population of about 97,000, was predominantly black for many years. It is now 65% Latino and 33% black, according to the 2010 U.S. census.

    That quote is from an article in the LA Times about black families being chased out of Compton by Latino gangs that really don’t like black people. Give another few years and there won’t be any black people left – they’re all gonna get straight outta Compton.

    I keep wondering if black people will ever realize that they’re getting treated like a 50 cent whore by the Democratic Party. Or if they’ll ever figure out that the first “black” President has sold them out to Mexican drug gangs in the interests getting more ignorant poor people, er, voters, um, cultural vibrancy for the Democratic Party USA!

  • Drew

    “But Chicago is still Chicago and I don’t think that anybody reasonably believes that, if Chicago were to suddenly vanish, Naperville or Schaumburg or Mundelein would take its place.”

    This is absolutely correct. (As an aside, Aurora is just an old industrial town currently down on its luck but surviving because of its proximity to Chicago, as opposed to, say, Rockford. E Aurora has become largely Hispanic but seems to get along. Zero shootings this past year!!! W Aurora is actually quite nice.) The Napervilles and Schaumburgs of the world are very attractive suburbs building their own economic footprints, but without reasonable reach to Chicago…..fuggetaboutit.

    Plain and simply, Chicago drives the IL boat. But the baggage of its one party, corrupt, big city unionized and tax voracious self is becoming truley unweildy. This is a damned shame.

    The weather is not great. But I’ve lived in a mid-type city like Indianapolis. Spent most of my life in Chicago proper or the burbs, lived in NYC metro, and traveled to just about every city of note in every state except Maine and Alaska. You can’t beat Chicago. But its teatering. A damned shame.

    I can’t stand Rahm, EB et al, or Madigan and his hooligans. But I wish Rahm every best wish in pulling this plane up from its nose dive. Otherwise turn out the lights.

  • Drew

    “I keep wondering if black people will ever realize that they’re getting treated like a 50 cent whore by the Democratic Party.”

    Look at almost any income, family stability, crime etc statistic before and after the left and government came to “help.” Its a shame. If you are a liberal black academic, lobbyist, “activist” or Washingtonian you probably think its great. If you are a black Average Joe, you have been sold a bill of goods. Those who came to help only helped themselves. Its evil.

  • Drew

    I just saw this:

    “Indianapolis is the least segregated city in the North, making it the most Southern city in the North.”

    I grew up there. Admittedly that’s a long time ago. My family still lives there. I get back often. I don’t know the source of this citation, but as well travelled as I am, that would be a shocker to me.

  • PD Shaw

    Drew, I’ll find the “Indianapolis is the least segregated city in the North” citation for you. The second part was just an observation that Southern cities do not tend to be as segregated as Northern. Also, Indiana has often voted more like Kentucky in national politics than like Illinois; it was a key bellwether state when elections tended to be polarized between north and south. Its why it has had the most Vice Presidents.

  • jan

    “I keep wondering if black people will ever realize that they’re getting treated like a 50 cent whore by the Democratic Party.”

    It’s too bad African Americans aren’t privy to review their history in this country, and who did what to support and further or suppress and enable them. The democratic party, far and away, has been their enemies over the years. From 1848 all the way to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, the dems have been the party of first suppression of black rights, and now enabling them.

    From the very beginning, the 13th Amendment garnered only 23% of the dem vote to a 100% republican vote in Congress abolishing slavery. When it came to the 14th and 15th amendments firmly establishing equal voting rights, there was zero democratic support for both of these amendments. What the dems did, in retaliation, was create the KKK to discourage and terrorize blacks from enjoying their equal rights, along with other immoral devices, legislated in some states, like the poll tax, literacy test, multiple ballots, black code (Jim Crow Laws), school segregation etc.

    It’s hard to even realize that right after the Civil War republican Blacks flooded the state legislatures, only to be turned away in later years because of the dems repealing so many civil rights laws that had been passed by republicans through 1875. Had there not been such intense and brutal democratic obstructionism and bias to black’s having equal rights, in not only voting, but to schools, public access, a dignified presence in society, just think how different our society and social discourse would be today! Also, imagine how extinct the racial divide would be — without any probable need for Affirmative Action measures to tidy up the democrat’s racist past.

    Even now, it’s ironic how first the dems tried to keep blacks out of schools through segregation means. Now they’re trying to lock blacks into under-performing schools by demonizing and thwarting school reforms, such as vouchers, merit pay for teachers etc., that raise educational standards as well as opportunities.

    Frederick Douglass, the MLK of his day, said it best:

    Each colored voter of the State should say in Scripture phrase, “may my hand forget it’s cunning and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth” if ever I raise my voice or give my vote for the nominees of The Democratic Party.”

    Obviously, all of that has been forgotten in recent years, leaving one in amazement at how well the lies and scrubbed history has aided and abetted the undeserving democratic party.

  • Drew

    jan

    You in a heap a trouble now. Wait till Reynolds drives by, cites the Southern Strategy, and completely washes his hands of his beloved Democrat party’s extensive, despicable and manipulative past…….and present.

    You do know you have no standing on this; you are a racist, jan, you see? (snicker)

  • PD Shaw

    OK, Indianapolis might have been the most integrated Northern city in 2000, which I can’t find a copy. The 2010 study reports that these are the top cities for racial integration (percentage of residents living in black-white integrated blocks in the city, not the metro area):

    The 2010 rankings:

    (1) Virginia Beach, VA (41.1%)
    (2) Charlotte, NC (31.9%)
    (3) Nashville-Davidson, TN (29.4%)
    (4) Jacksonville, FL (28.7%)
    (5) St. Louis, MO (27.2%)
    (6) Memphis, TN (26.6%)
    (7) Columbus, OH (25.1%)
    (8) Indianapolis, IN (24.4%)
    (9) Minneapolis, MN (23.3%)
    (10) Milwaukee, WI (21.7%)

    (36) Chicago, IL (5.7%)
    (38) New York, NY (4.1%)
    (45) Los Angeles, CA (1.4%)

    http://www4.uwm.edu/eti/integration/integration.htm

  • jan

    Drew,

    Actually that conversation with Reynolds caused me to do a lot of reading recently regarding the details of Black history. As a kid I was taken aback by the utter cruelty of the Jim Crow laws, as described in an early social studies class. But, at that time I didn’t hone in on party accountability for these laws.

    It’s really incredible, though, to see how profoundly racist democratic politicians were for a good hundred years following the so-called ‘abolition’ of slavery, and the establishment of their civil rights, through a couple dozen laws and several amendments immediately after the Civil War. Blacks were overwhelmingly associated with the republican party,holding office as such, because it was this party who legislatively fought for their equal rights, trying to quell KKK threats/violence and voting injustices, long after Lincoln’s assassination. Consequently, it’s the dems who have put blacks back a century in self growth, and, IMO, account for many of our current day problems — especially any residual animosity Reynolds likes bring up and smear onto the republicans.

  • PD Shaw

    Would it be impolite to point out that Indiana was essentially run by the KKK in the 1920s, which had to have a serious impact on its immigration.

    The Indiana Governor Dave mentions, Warren T. McCray, was the victim of the KKK; his successor, Edward L. Jackson, should have been convicted of attempting to bribe McCray, but the jury hung and the statute of limitations saved him.

  • Drew

    “Blacks were overwhelmingly associated with the republican party,holding office as such, because it was this party who legislatively fought for their equal rights, trying to quell KKK threats/violence and voting injustices, long after Lincoln’s assassination.”

    And then dealers promised them heroin, er, Democrats promised them “social benefits.”

  • Drew

    PD

    It wouldn’t be impolite, it would be factually correct. It also would be ancient history.

  • TastyBits

    @

    … As you cross the state line from Illinois into Iowa the road goes from crumbling and potholed to pristine.

    It looks like Illinois should be an honorary member of the South. Do the slow drivers refuse to use the right lane? Are there junk cars abandoned on side the highways? Do the rest stops have armed security guards?

  • TastyBits

    @Icepick

    … straight outta Compton.

    I do not think there are very many NWA fans here.

    “Straight Outta Compton”

  • steve

    “It wouldn’t be impolite, it would be factually correct. It also would be ancient history.”

    Not really. A number of my junior high and high school teachers wore Klan stuff at school. That was in the 60s and 70s. (Ok, maybe that is ancient.)

    Steve

  • Drew

    C’mon, steve.

    Not only would it be ancient, but where did you go to school? I’m from the old Indy east side. Today a cesspool. You must have grown up in rural down state………..which might as well be Kentucky or Tennessee.

  • Icepick

    TB, that’s why I didn’t link it up. Besides, I prefer “Straight outta Locash”. And of course, Dead Mike (from CB4) wrote the song that became the President’s personal theme song.

  • Icepick

    Forget slavery. Forget Jim Crowe. Forget the battles of the 1960s. What have the Dems done for black people lately? How’s the UE-3 rate looking? How’s the home foreclosure situation looking? (I’ve seen families living right next door getting kicked out of their homes just last summer.) And what are the Dems doing for them? Well, see Dave’s post on apparatchiks for the answer. Look at Barry Half-White’s lavish lifestyle. They’re doing nothing for blacks, nor anyone else. And for that blacks vote for Dems at about a 97% clip. Why bother doing a damned thing for blacks? It’s not like Dems will get punished at the ballot box…..

  • Drew

    ice

    You are an emotional guy. I like that, and can relate. Too much of a dispassionate aura is an indicator of a robot. You bleed your emotions much like I do at times. If I may, are you black?

  • PD Shaw

    Drew, I don’t believe history exists in the past. Indiana has a smaller and more homeogensous poplutaion than Illinois for reasons of history and geography. That means Indiana is more capable of forming political concensus without the government needing to pay off and provide jobs to disparate groups.

  • PD Shaw

    BTW/ I do have NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton” CD, but I always thought that made me old. _ _ _ _ tha Police.

  • steve

    “but where did you go to school? ”

    We moved around a lot, but the period I am talking about was Columbus. Cummins Diesel and Arvin. Lots of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in town. It had the veneer of civilization.

    Steve

  • PD Shaw

    I’ve driven around Columbus and looked at the architecture — a very nice looking city as I recall. But you were South of 40, so its the South.

  • Drew

    “Drew, I don’t believe history exists in the past.” ????

    “Indiana has a smaller and more homeogensous poplutaion than Illinois for reasons of history and geography.”

    I’m trying to process this, PD. Indiana has a smaller population, but it has all the demographic groups as IL except perhaps for the heavy Eastern European concentration of folks in Chicago, although NW IN has plenty of Poles and Lithos. In fact, IN actually has a group IL has been so unfortunate not to have……….the KY and TN people. In Shelbyville they call it Shelbytucky……..

  • steve

    @Drew- For sure. Grew up hearing Kentuckian jokes. Really hurt when Uk beat IU and Purdue.

    Steve

  • Icepick

    If I may, are you black?

    No, I just live in a black neighborhood. And I have eyes, ears and a brain, and I study and observe. So far, four years into the era of the “Black” President, and with a government alternately completely and partially run by democrats, I’m not seeing any evidence at all of the Administration or the federal government doing a goddamned thing for their most loyal constituency, and often adopting policies guaranteed to hurt them and even diminish their political power over time.

    As for passion, intellect and whatnot. Intellect is just a tool, like a hammer or a wrench. By itself it does nothing. Only by applying it can it prove useful. Deciding how to deploy this tool is a decision made emotionally.

  • jan

    As for passion, intellect and whatnot. Intellect is just a tool, like a hammer or a wrench. By itself it does nothing. Only by applying it can it prove useful..

    Well said, Icepick.

    Having too high of an intellect is analogous to having the best tools. However, if you either don’t want to use them, or have no motivation or direction, then the tools just become symbols of potential, not reality.

    Deciding how to deploy this tool is a decision made emotionally.

    Oftentimes the people with a high intellectual IQ also have a lower emotional IQ, in relationship to their coping abilities. It can be quite paradoxal.

  • PD Shaw

    Drew, Indiana was substantially settled from Kentucky to an extent that Illinois was not. Part of the reason is the location of Kentucky’s early population centers were in the middle of KY, closer to IN. Its also because farmers from the Upland South did not like to farm prairies, they preferred farming woods and protected valleys, and there are numerous accounts of them turning back south after going too far North. (One example is Abraham Lincoln’s father) In Illinois the extent Upland South immigration is close to US40 (Effinham, Vandalia, East St. Louis), as some argue the line is in Indiana, except that US 40 goes through the middle of Indianapolis in IN.

    Illinois’ prairies were primarily settled by middle Atlantic farmers and Germans interested in commercial agriculture and more willing to till the prairie soil. This appears to be a smaller component of Indiana because its on the edge of the great prairie; its farm sizes are much smaller than Illinois still today. Smaller farms means more people living in rural areas in Indiana today, and they are more likely to originate from Kentucky.

    Lastly, the Yankee contingent spread into Illinois around 1850 with the opening of the Galena-Chicago railroad and the Illinois and Michigan canal. They were drawn for commercial opportunities in West to East commerce, just before the Civil War closed the opportunities for North to South. The pictures I’ve seen attempting to depict Yankee penetration suggest that they made a beeline for Chicago, Galena, Ottawa, and some may have moved back to Fort Wayne. The commercial opportunities favored the west side of Lake Michigan.

    I’m running out of time to mention white ethnic immigration, which favored the Mississippi River for much of its history, or the Great Migration of blacks from the South, which favored Chicago in comparison to Indianapolis.

  • PD Shaw

    My thesis, since its probably not clear, is that Illinois has at least since 1860 been more heterogeneous than Indiana in terms of WASP cultures, white ethnics, and blacks. People like Gov. George Ryan were not criminals simply because they were bad people. He felt he needed money and the promise of jobs to build political support in order to be a successful politician. He has to buy off groups. I don’t believe you have that type of political corruption in less fragmented political communities.

    (I’m also estimating that Indiana WASP culture is just over 50% Upland South)

  • PD Shaw

    One point of data is the percentage of state population that is foreign born. Illinois has always been twice to three times the percentage of Indiana. In 1910, 21.4% of Illinoisans were foreign-born, while 5.9% of Indianans were.

  • TastyBits

    @PD Shaw

    Interesting thesis. I am particularly fascinated by the hetero/homogeneous factor. It may explain a lot.

  • One small example of the Yankee settlement that PD mentioned. Chicago suburban Evanston, largely settled in the 1850s by New Englanders and incorporated as a town in 1863, closely resembled a small New England town for its first century. Evanston’s Northwestern University was originally founded as a Methodist seminary. It’s home to the WCTU.

  • One more point on the role of recent immigrants. Immigrants tend to bring their ideas and preferences about politics and the role of government with them.

  • So “The Great City” does have a few angles, even if they aren’t mine.

  • Icepick

    Oftentimes the people with a high intellectual IQ also have a lower emotional IQ, in relationship to their coping abilities. It can be quite paradoxal.

    You know, that’s a stereotype that I don’t thing is all that true. But a few exceptional cases tend to color the public imagination. (Examples given: Paul Erdos, Bobby Fischer, Ted Kaczynski.) For most bright people I don’t think there’s any more incidence of bad coping skills than for most people.

    However, when you get up to the 4 sigma and above crowd, it does start changing a little bit. But you have to remember, too, that if you’ve got an IQ of 160, talking to someone with an IQ of 125 would be like a normal person speaking to a moron. Speaking to a normal, 100 IQ person would be like speaking to an imbecile. I can’t even imagine what it must be like for the five and six sigma crowd. Von Neumann always sounded like a fairly well-grounded guy to me, but what must it be like to be the only person that’s fully awake? When even the other Martians are a bit in awe of you?

  • that if you’ve got an IQ of 160, talking to someone with an IQ of 125 would be like a normal person speaking to a moro

    You know, that hasn’t been my experience. The very smartest people I know, people with IQs north of 160, are also the mildest and most understanding. Tout comprendre rend très-indulgent. To understand all is to forgive all.

    Something that would make a good addendum to my recent post on the Bill Gates op-ed: smart people can be jerks, too.

  • Icepick

    You know, that hasn’t been my experience. The very smartest people I know, people with IQs north of 160, are also the mildest and most understanding. Tout comprendre rend très-indulgent. To understand all is to forgive all.

    I didn’t say they’d be jerks about it. I said it would be like a normal person speaking to morons and imbeciles. just look at a bell curve distribution on intelligence, find out where the four sigma folks start, and look at the graph. Just about the entirety of the human population is slooooooow to these folks. They get a lot of practice dealing with such. They don’t have to be all that forgiving, they just have to be smart enough to realize there’s no point in raging against the tide.

    Like I said, I think most of these people are as well balanced, on the whole, as the general population (excluding them). I do think there’s a bit more variation on the downside when you get to the very brightest people.

  • Icepick

    You know, that hasn’t been my experience.

    How have you met them? Was there some selection bias at work?

  • just look at a bell curve distribution on intelligence, find out where the four sigma folks start, and look at the graph.

    Believe me, I know. Once you’ve reached a certain level of intelligence except in certain very rarified environments nearly everybody you meet isn’t quite as smart as you are. Or significantly less smart than you are.

    Most of the extremely intelligent people I know I’ve known for forty or fifty years. Met ’em in high school or college or when I was, essentially, living in the middle of a university campus.

    And, yes, there may be selection bias at work.

    On the other hand most of the real jerks about intelligence I’ve known have been two=three sigmas who’d made a lot of money, didn’t run into people as smart as they were very often, and were really full of themselves.

  • Icepick

    And, yes, there may be selection bias at work.

    Given the environment you describe, I would say there isn’t that much. If you had told me you had met them all in the course of your business career, that would have been selection bias at work, as I assume you have only worked with companies that were successful at some point in time.

  • Most of the people with whom I deal on a daily basis (other than my wife—who’s 3-sigma) are probably slightly below average to, maybe, 2-sigmas.

Leave a Comment