Now that The New Republic has retired its Idiocy Watch feature, I’m going to steal the title (with a slight modification) and use it here to report dumb actions and statements that come to my attention from time to time. And I already have an introductory item. In an Associated Press article published today, Ireland’s Foreign Minister Brian Cowen is quoted as saying, “We must reject a world order in which the 200 richest people have greater assets than the two billion people at the other end of the spectrum.”
If they are the 200 richest people in the world, then by definition they have greater assets than everyone else. That’s what the word “richest” means.
I don’t know what qualifications are required for the position of Foreign Minister in Ireland, but apparently a high verbal score on the SAT isn’t one of them.
Update: It’s been suggested to me that Cowen was trying to say “the combined assets of the 200 richest people exceed the combined assets of the two billion poorest.” OK, perhaps that’s what he meant — but it’s not what he said.

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