“Wokers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your minds.”
This version of the popular slogan should now adorn Prince Harry’s coat of arms. Gone is the boozing party-goer occasionally donning a Nazi uniform. No more is the dashing officer, Captain Windsor.
Squeezing into the hole they’ve vacated is a woke, emotionally incontinent Californian lad, spouting psychobabble with the fluency of a paid-up member of the Screen Actors Guild.
What I find amazing is that serious people try to come to terms with Harry’s metamorphosis by descending to his level. Taking their cue from his voracious appetite for self-denuding, they delve into the subterranean depositories of psychological complexity, trying to pinpoint the tectonic shift that tipped Harry over the edge.
Take your Occam’s razor out of its sheath, chaps. Look for simple answers first – most questions can be settled that way. Harry may be complicated, but he certainly isn’t complex. There’s nothing about him that’s hard to understand.
This reminds me of a story told in her memoirs by Nadezhda Mandelstam, the widow of the sublime poet murdered by the Soviets. “We were wondering,” she wrote, “why N. says so many stupid things. But then we remembered he is a stupid man and stopped wondering.”
This is the key to the enigma that is Harry. He is an extremely stupid man.
Alas, something about us resists arriving at this conclusion whenever we hear people mouthing nonsense. We look for more involved explanations, usually those of a psychological nature. Or else we ascribe their failings to an educational lapse. If only they had read more books, they’d be as intelligent as anyone.
No, they wouldn’t. They’d only become a worse kind of idiot, a well-read one.
I don’t know what Harry’s IQ is, but I’m willing to bet it doesn’t reach three digits. Approximately half of all people reside in the same band, below the median IQ of about 100.
An interesting datum: the US army accepts no recruits with an IQ of 73 or lower – this even though it badly needs more personnel. The assumption, probably a correct one, is that those cursed with such low intelligence can’t be trained to function in any productive capacity.
That disqualifies about 10 per cent of all people. Just think: one in every 10 people you meet is too stupid to be even an infantry grunt. A harrowing thought, that.
Harry served in the British army, and I don’t know what its minimum IQ requirement is. Whatever it is, Captain Windsor must have shaded it. I doubt though that he overshot it by a wide margin.
Granted, IQ measures not intelligence, but the potential for developing it. Someone with an IQ of 120 may have realised 100 per cent of that potential, which would make him smarter than someone who has only utilised half his IQ of 140. Yet such qualifications only come into play with IQs that are average or above. Someone with an IQ of, say, 90 won’t become intelligent no matter how fully he explores his potential.
IQ measures problem-solving intelligence, which in practical life translates into an ability to think for oneself, to make correct decisions affecting one’s life. Hence it must take a high IQ to become a really good officer.
However, observation suggests that some, perhaps most, soldiers can coast on relatively low intelligence, at least until they are thrust into a situation that calls for instant life-or-death decisions. This stands to reason: much of the discipline that a civilian must find within himself is imposed from without in the army.
Even basic decisions, such as when to go to bed and get up, when and where to get one’s meals, what to do throughout the day and often what to say, are routinely made by one’s superiors. That’s why so many soldiers, even very bright ones, find transition to civilian life so hard: all of a sudden, they have to make every decision by themselves.
And if a soldier isn’t especially clever to begin with, he may look for a surrogate discipline, some other source of ready-made formulas determining his actions and pronouncements. This partly explains the ease with which Harry has adopted wokery – it’s an instant how-to guide, a compendium of simple solutions, glib explanations and made-up pieties.
A conscientious woker needn’t be intelligent – in fact, intelligence would prevent him from woking hard. The entire complexity of life can be instantly explained by invoking some sort of injustice, racial, economic, social or, for that matter, psychological. Childhood traumas are particularly productive: they can justify any dysfunction, with the extra benefit of making one look interesting in the eyes of one’s fellow wokers.
Harry’s wife acts as a sort of superior officer, a conduit for the external discipline to be internalised. When she speaks, Harry snaps to attention and salutes, if only inwardly. He knows authority when he sees it, and authority is what he craves.
One endearing quality of stupid people is that they don’t realise they are stupid. That’s why they blithely say things that an intelligent person wouldn’t utter on pain of disembowelment.
Harry is a case in point. The other day he perplexed even his American fans by admitting he can’t get his head around the First Amendment. “I don’t want to start going down the First Amendment route because that’s a huge subject and one which I don’t understand because I’ve only been here a short time,” Harry said.
Now what part of it doesn’t he understand? “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
This text wouldn’t challenge a person of even average intelligence, a level Harry manifestly can’t reach. The British Constitution, uncodified in a single document, does require some grounding in history and political philosophy to understand properly. The US constitution, on the other hand, can be easily understood by any literate person.
It’s not without its intricacies, and it takes a trained legal mind to work them out. But anyone who can read should be able to understand the Constitution on a basic, everyday level. Well, apparently not anyone.
Whether or not he returns to the royal fold, Harry will never want for anything material. But I fear for his sanity when he realises he is no longer the flavour of the month in America. And that month is drawing to an end.
P.S. Road sign in West London: “Hammersmith Bridge is closed to traffic. Please choose an alternate route.” Doesn’t London’s government employ anyone who knows the difference between ‘alternate’ and ‘alternative’? Apparently not. But then, considering who heads it…