Aptitude Schmaptitude! While the state of mathematical incompetence in this country has been much lamented, most famously in Paulos's brilliant 1988 book Innumeracy, it is still tacitly accepted . . . Being incompetent in math has become not only acceptable in this widely innumerate culture, it has almost become a matter of pride. No one goes around showing off that he is illiterate, or has no athletic ability, but declarations of innumeracy are constantly made without any embarrassment or shame.
"Innate intelligence has to do with capability and ignorance to do with variables such as educational opportunity and personal diligence. But the conundrum remains. Is intellect important in presidents? If Americans can't solve the question definitively in the matter of John Kerry and George Bush, we damn sure ought to make an educated guess."