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On Stupidity August 24, 2010

Posted by Skippy in Culture, Observations, Rants.
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Children, I have come to a conclusion. Those of you who know me have probably heard this before, but I want to write this one down. Anyway, as I’ve mused about the xenophobic hysteria surrounding the mosque community center that’s smack dab in the middle two or three blocks from “Ground Zero,” and as I’ve mused about the blight upon humanity that is Sarah Palin, and as I’ve fumed about the persistent “Obama’s a MUSLIM!!!1” meme, and as I have bristled as people continue to present gay marriage as the End of All Things, I have come to this conclusion:

Xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, racism, sexism, heterosexism, religious fascism, extreme veganism, bleeding heart hippies, and general woomongering all proceed from one root cause:

STUPIDITY.

Take a good look at all the morons who have lost their ever-loving minds about the Park51 community center. Have they presented one single argument that isn’t rooted in abject stupidity? “Oh, it’s too close to hallowed ‘Ground Zero’!” they whine. Nevertheless, they don’t raise a flippin’ stink about the strip club near their allegedly hallowed ground. These might be the same people who, despite every bit of evidence to the contrary, scream about Obama being a Muslim and desiring to socialize their medicine and kill their grandmothers or some such foolishness.

Stupidity, I say. Sure, I could write about this all being xenophobia—but the root of all of this is stupidity. These are people who are stupid beyond sense and reason.

Look at the raging anti-gays who run around saying how Gay Marriage ™ will destroy heterosexual marriage. Mind you, these idiots can’t produce one scintilla of evidence to support their freakout. No, they blather on about (heterosexual) marriage being the foundation of the nation and so forth—mind you, they wouldn’t support a constitutional amendment banning divorce; probably because they’re on their second or even third marriage.


Fig. 1: Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian, Explains Bible-Based Marriage

The stupidity in which this nation is drowning is everywhere. The xenophobe and the homophobe and the Real Housewives of Wherever have more in common than one might think. From Dr. Phil to reality television, stupidity is everywhere. People think watching Bill O’Reilly or reading some stupid self-help book or getting their soul coached by some crystal-wearing schmuck is helpful. They overcoddle children to the point of impotence, gaggle at the bit of moronic movie stars, and follow the “advice” of dolts like “Dr. Laura” and “Dr. Phil” and whatever snake oil salesman/prosperity pimp happens to misquote the hell out of the Bible.

Stupidity is trying every get-rich-quick fix. Stupidity is listening to Oprah when she’s hardly qualified to do a damn thing. Stupidity is paying public school teachers slave wages and basketball players more money than God and then wondering what’s wrong with our educational system. Stupidity is wanting easy answers to a hard life, wanting to “take it easy” all the damn time instead of working, and refusing to think—because thinking means that positions might have to change.

Case in point: a few years back, during the 2004 elections, I ranted to some friends about how “all Republicans were blah, blah, blah utter foolishness.” I got quickly checked when they noted that someone else whom I considered a friend was a Republican. Now, I had choice: continue the easy, yet stupid path, or rethink my stupid position. I had to acknowledge that I had trod the path of stupidity—after all, it was quite easy to paint all Republicans with a brush of evil. The path of stupidity is very, very easy. It allows for people to paint other people with broad brushes, while demanding that everyone else treat them as speshul snowflakes. The path of stupidity allows people to be so utterly unreflective about anything in this world, that they hear the dogwhistle of venal, corrupt fascists and descend upon a major American city to protest something about which they have only the slimmest of clues, all the while revealing to the world just how blinkered and stupid they really are.

The good news is this: stupidity can be beaten back. It can be beaten back by courageous men and women who refuse to coddle stupidity and start calling stupidity out. Frankly, we’ve got to stop treating stupidity with kid gloves. Let’s be clear: what I’m railing against is a general culture of self-serving, navel-gazing ignorance, an ignorance that is willing and intentional. It is pernicious and it is dangerous. If you’re in a discussion with someone, and they make unfounded assertions, and after you question them, they give you blank stares or dismiss reason, you are dealing with a person besotted by stupidity. Don’t shy away—face the demons of stupidity head on. If people fight stupidity at every turn, if people who know this refuse to be silent, then perhaps—just perhaps—we can set humanity on a different path.

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