In the 1964 screen adaptation of Gore Vidal's play, The Best Man, William RUSSELL quotes the philosopher Bertrand RUSSELL early in the film. Here is the complete quotation from Bertrand Russell:
Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man, and our politicians take advantage of this prejudice by pretending to be even more stupid than nature made them.(Bertrand Russell, New Hopes for a Changing World)
What do you think?
Is there a relationship between honesty and intelligence?
Does our political system tend to favor stupidity or intelligence?
Do voters in The Best Man distrust Bill Russell because of his intelligence?
Do they trust Joe Cantwell because he isn't as bright?
How does the film show us that Cantwell does not have Russell's intellect?
If Bertrand Russell was right about most voters, is he wrong about Gore Vidal?
Is Vidal taking a position on honesty and intelligence? Does his script have a readable message?
This movie was made in 1964. Would the evidence Bill Russell has against Joe Cantwell work to Russell's advantage or disadvantage in 2012? Would the evidence Cantwell has against Russell work to Cantwell's advantage or disadvantage?
Did Russell do the right thing by not spreading the rumor about Cantwell?
Is it the voter's right to know about a politician's personal life?
What do we have a right to know about? His sex life? His income tax return? His bad behavior as a teenager? His religious beliefs?
How do we determine the "character" of a leader? Through his policies? His personal history? His religious beliefs?
Why is Russell so disdainful when speaking of the "Gallup Poll?" What does he have against taking polls?
Is Bill Russell a believable character? Is he too good to be true? Is the former president right? Must a politician sacrifice part of his soul in order to be effective?
Could a candidate running for president in 2012 admit to being an atheist? Why does or doesn't religion belong in politics?