According to today's Journal, an Obama advisor responded to the Palin celebrity phenomenon by saying:
"We're not running for American Idol here -- ultimately we believe the country is smarter than this."
But, of course, this election is becoming a rerun of American Idol. Whatever one thinks of the intelligence of the American electorate, this election is now indistinguishable from popularity contests on television. Earlier today, I wrote about an interesting taxonomy distinguishing Internet pessimists from optimists. However, I suspect that the real debate between sceptics like myself and Nick Carr with Internet idealists like Chris Anderson and James Surowiecki is over the value and efficacy of pure democracy.
What, I wonder, would Surowiecki say about the intelligence of the crowd if the majority of Americans vote for McCain-Palin ticket in November? Surowiecki's whole argument in his Wisdom of the Crowd is based on the anecdotal story of a smart crowd at an English country fair who collectively estimated the correct weight of an ox. Unfortunately, however, today's American electorate seems to be more like an ox than a group of wise people.