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Let's imagine we're all magically transported back to 1932, and we're all on a pen-pal postcard based version of Politics.SE, with Philipp as our long suffering moderator. Somebody posts a question about a candidate's health and honesty:

Is FDR pretending he can walk without people holding him up? If so, why do people trust him?

And let's imagine that staunch Democrats immediately send postcards voting to close the question as an irrelevant ridiculous rumor-based "smear". Several Republicans find it in bad taste too... so the Q. is closed.

But certainly in 2020, we know FDR and his confidants were guilty of what's been called a "splendid deception", so that unpleasant question shouldn't really qualify as a "smear".


Fast forward to 2020.

Philipp commented on a question he closed:

@RobertTausig It baffles me how you think you can get away with posting a question which basically says "why do people support this politician when he is so stupid". This website is not a platform for smearing people you don't agree with. This is something for a personal blog, not for this website.

Surely it must be possible for a politician to be unintelligent. (If it's not possible, and all politicians are intelligent, then such a question is absurd.)

If it is possible for a politician to be unintelligent, (relative to some political matter), why should that possible handicap invariably be considered off-topic during an election year, when a candidate's attributes are part of what voters base their choice on?


NB: I'm not in favor of smears, and appreciate that fantastic questions lacking foundation, or any hope of proof, would not be useful, i.e. questions like:

Is candidate Damien Thorn the antichrist?

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    "so stupid" is a subjective standard based on your perceptions and biases. Polio is not. – SurpriseDog Sep 16 at 0:58
  • @SurpriseDog, "So stupid" was Philipp's imprecise paraphrase, not mine. On metric pessimism: the very fact of a discovery of bias and subjectivity in a proposed standard is the means by which more useful standards eventually evolve. Even no standard comprises a kind of standard, i.e. permitting absolutely no standard would be effectively presuming all people have equal intelligence. (Which indeed might well be better than some of the bad standards used in the last two centuries...) – agc Sep 16 at 1:56
  • ...cont. OTOH, if we presume all people do have equal intelligence, then Trump's own claims of being a genius necessarily raise the possiblity of varying levels of intelligence in politicians, since if DT is a genius, and JB is not, then JB must be less intelligent. Whether or not that's actually true, several million people seem to believe it, which implies that such differences should be on topic here if only as a curiosity of the current political dialog. – agc Sep 17 at 4:53

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