(Brent A. Jones) – Chapter Four of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s new book, “Understanding Trump,” is titled “The Rise of the IYI.” It immediately caught my attention because I’d never heard the term before. It stands for “Intellectual Yet Idiot.”

The term was coined by author Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Newt notes that Taleb “described the IYI as a rising group of people who are quietly filling roles in government, politics, journalism, and academia” and “are characterized by being highly qualified on paper but bereft of real practical intelligence.”

Which reminds me of this great old Ronald Reagan quote: “It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.”

“Taleb is talking about people who are naturally gifted at writing essays and taking tests,” Gingrich continues. “The only problem with these people is they don’t know how to do anything. These people could write brilliant essays on how to change a tire, but should their own tire get a flat, they would have to call AAA to fix it.”

Gingrich went on to note that “Intellectual Yet Idiots are also easy to find in our lawmaking bodies and media.”

And, oh, how true that is when it comes to the 2017 Nevada Legislature!

Let’s start with the highest profile example of freshman Assemblyman William McCurdy II, who is also the new Nevada Democrat Party chairman. The young man is a 28-year-old college student who has never signed anywhere other than the BACK of a paycheck.

Yet McCurdy introduced a bill to double the “minimum wage” in Nevada – a bill that, had it been enacted, would have dramatically increased the cost of doing business for actual business owners while essentially outlawing entry-level jobs.

“Raising Nevada’s minimum wage is an important step towards bridging the widening gap between income and opportunity inequality,” McCurdy declared in an “intellectual” statement drawn from a lifetime of experience…sitting in a classroom.


Ditto for the Democrats’ “leadership” team throughout the session. The fact is Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford and Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson – who ushered through a shipload of bad, anti-business legislation this session – have spent their entire lifetimes as…lawyers.

Talk about intellectual elites!

If you need someone to write an essay, take a test or draft a legal opinion, these two could do it in their sleep. But ask ‘em to change a tire? Good luck with that.

Other lesser IYI legislators put forward a plethora of anti-business bills such as paid sick leave, paid maternity leave, requiring “nursing rooms” in every private business, mandatory baby-changing stations in restrooms, extreme penalties for so-called “wage discrimination,” efforts to gut construction defect reforms, re-implementing cost-inflating prevailing wage laws for taxpayer-funded schools, and even more tax hikes and fee hikes on a variety of Nevada businesses.

Like Mr. McCurdy, most of the sponsors of these anti-business bills have, as Newt puts it, “more degrees than accomplishments.” In their minds, their bills are harmless. But that’s because their life experiences in this area are purely theoretical. They simply aren’t grounded in reality.

Nevertheless, they believe they know what’s best for the rest of us. IYI, indeed.

Mr. Jones is a former Nevada State Assemblyman, owner of Nevada-based Real Water, and president of Nevada’s REAL Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached at brent@drinkrealwater.com