Monday, February 18, 2013

One Million MacArthur Genius Awards

The MacArthur Fellows Program, nicknamed the “MacArthur Genius Awards", currently awards each recipient $500,000, paid as quarterly installments over five years.  That is $100,000 per year.  The average U.S. welfare family receives over $50,000 per year in total benefits.   In a nutshell: for every two welfare families taken off the rolls, one MacArthur Genius Award could be funded.  So, if we kick two million families off welfare we can create one million MacArthur Genius Awards.

The logic behind subsidizing the laziest, least educated, least intelligent in the U.S. — paying them to have babies, vote for Obama,  and watch Oprah —is the most irrational social policy one could dream up.  If someone arrived here from outer space (or 300 BC Athens) they would be dumbfounded.

As the nation gets dumber and dumbed down we wonder why.  What could be achieved with one million MacArthur Genius Awards per year?  Who knows? And how would they be selected?  At random would be a huge improvement over the current policy. At least that way you could count on some geniuses being selected.   Some creators. What might they accomplish?  We will never know.  Even though we know what the present system produces.

Of course this dream of funding one million Genius Awards is Alice-in-Wonderland backwards.  The current policy would not exist unless we were dumb and dumbed down already to a point from which there is no return.  Just a relentless downward spiral into ….