The epidemic of stupidity has placed western culture at grave risk; it threatens our health, our future, our survival as a species. So it's time to wake up and respect the intelligence. If you are not willing to do the heavy lifting required to form an informed and intelligent opinion, you don't get the right to have your stupidity respected. Conventional wisdom is under fire from every direction, and it does not turn out to be particularly bulletproof.
Matt Blum writes in Wired
I get a ton of press releases every day in my inbox every day; most of them I just ignore, but yesterday I got one whose subject, in all-caps and bold, read:
OUTRAGED AUTISM GROUPS AND LEADERS TO ANNOUNCE 50,000-PARENT PROTEST IN NYC AGAINST BILLIONAIRE AND MICROSOFT CHAIRMAN BILL GATES AFTER BEING CALLED “CHILD KILLERS”So I had to take a look, because I wanted to see what Gates had really said, and about whom. It turns out he didn’t actually use the phrase “child killers,” but he did say that anti-vaccine groups “kill children,” which does pretty much amount to the same thing. I can see why people would be outraged by that — I’m outraged, too, but not in the way the people who issued the press release would like me to be. Because I’m outraged that there most likely are 50,000 people who are willing to protest, when what Bill Gates said is absolutely, 100% correct.
I am constantly overwhelmed by the idiocy of so many people. In most cases, adults have every right to make bad choices, and we all make them now and then — but just making the occasional bad choice doesn’t make you an idiot. No, it’s idiotic to make a bad choice, and then when presented with ample evidence that you have made a bad choice do nothing to correct it. It is mindbogglingly idiotic to not only not correct that choice but to form groups with other idiots to try to convince yet more people to make the same bad choice. And it is dangerously idiotic when the bad choice in question kills children.
But there is a lot of dangerous idiocy out there. As infuriating and as stupid as this is, let us realize that this particular brand of idiocy is a manifestation of the same sort of flaming fucknuttery that has become epidemic in Western Society. And idiocy, when it becomes applied as social doctrine, as the basis for policy, kills. It kills people wholesale.
|Now, ask yourself - could anyone who thinks and speaks this way possibly be a good parent, of any child? |
It’s unlikely that anyone who still believes that vaccines cause autism is going to be swayed by yet another article pointing out that no, actually they don’t. The original British autism study that prompted the whole anti-vaccine hysteria has been retracted and declared by the same journal that published it to be an “elaborate hoax.” In point of fact, there has never been a credible scientific study that shows that vaccines cause autism. Not one.
But really, this is but one symptom of the epidemic I've been blogging about since I started Graphictruth. There are some things that, if they have to be said at all, cannot be said "politely."
How about the idea that "Social Justice" is "a code word for "anti-americanism" - indeed, for "communism and nazism." At the same time. All at once.
Well, anyone who can say that out loud fails to understand society, justice, the social forces that made people settle North America; it further reveals that they cannot possibly comprehend Communism, National Socialism (or fascism in general) and are no doubt rather confused about Christianity.
Perhaps it's rude to observe that one would have to be paid very well indeed to be willing to say something that obviously foolish in public - but while rude, it's certainly true to observe that Glenn Beck is very well paid indeed.
Being an Asshole is not a religion, nor a faith, nor a doctrine. It's a lifestyle choice, a popular choice of those who are obsessed with the use and supposed misuse of the arses of others. One might say it's a tenant of Christian Fundamentalism. I would say that is a pun so vile that those who don't understand it deserve to have it explained to them.
But more properly, a tenant from the Sermon on the Mount comes to mind: "Judge not, lest ye be judged also."
I'm autistic, and I'm a blogger. I don't blog about autism, much; but I do have a certain perspective that comes from my neuro-linguistic bias, and in some lights, I think that the thing that is most feared about autistics is that we see things in a different way. The entire story about the little boy who said that the Emperor had no clothes ... well, that kid was likely autistic, by our current understanding of that set of traits. And I certainly see things the way that mythical kid did.
There is always some charismatic idiot who realizes that the fastest route to personal power is to gather a bunch of authoritarian followers and convince them that all their problems can be blamed on "those people" - people so morally deranged they will surely go to hell, and might even be so depraved as to vote for the other candidate. See above - or just turn on your television.
Now, if you delve into morality as stated by those for whom the morality of other people is a matter of great importance, you will find that purity and impurity; the politics of disgust are rather more pressing to them than a working, just, functional society of the sort advocated by Jesus.
Mind you, Jesus said all kinds of awkward things, and it got him nailed to a cross during his lifetime.You don't have to be trained by Jesuits to realize that the Crucifix at the front of the church is intended as much as an object lesson as an inspiration.
Everyone else had the social intelligence to not state the obvious truth that the Emperor was butt-naked - but in choosing to not do so, they were participating in a fraud upon the Court.
Of course, the moral of the story is that the Emperor was grateful. That would be the correct outcome - but of course, as you see from the lead example, it's not the usual one.
There's been much speculation as to whether Gates is on the Autistic spectrum himself. He certainly shows traits I associate with being Aspergers-typical autistic, though it's moments like this where I truly wonder aloud whether we can call it a disorder at all. Certainly it seems remarkable to think of someone like Bill Gates or Einstien as "High Functioning Autistics," as if they'd overcome an horrible condition in order to succeed. I rather think that if they considered it at all, they'd think it patronizing.
One of the criticisms of us is our "lack of social intelligence," and our placing of facts and our "inappropriate fixation on matters of justice" over the feelings of our peers.
Yeah, there's nothing so rude as being correct in public and not being willing to soothe the butthurt of the people who get busted pandering to the wishful thinking of the uninformed and thoughtless. Surely we must do something about that. And we certainly shouldn't expect leaders to exhibit actual leadership. No, they know their place and respect our willful stupidity. Hell, they should found their careers upon it!
Many Americans believe that President Barack Obama is a Muslim who is also not a US citizen, and House Speaker John Boehner isn't about to correct them.
The Speaker told NBC's David Gregory Sunday that people have a right to their beliefs and it wasn't his job to tell them what to think.
Last week, 40 percent of Republicans on a Fox News panel insisted that Obama was a Muslim.
"As the Speaker of the House, as the leader, do you not think it's your responsibility to stand up to that kind of ignorance?" Gregory asked.
"David, it's not my job to tell the American people what to think," Boehner replied. "Our job in Washington is to listen to the American people."
Now, that's often true enough - hell, and Clinton did it! So did JFK. It's true of every president of any party who ever got elected. The difference is, most of them thought of that as a regrettable necessity, not a fucking mandate!
He just said, out loud, that you'd have to be stupid to vote Republican - and he isn't about to disrespect the stupidity of the people who put him in power. Moreover, he's dumb enough to think that's a good thing to say out loud.
Even stupid people wish to be thought of as smart. So don't complement them for being stupid enough to vote for you. They might not actually thank you for that. Hell, they might grind their way slowly to the conclusion that it was pretty damn stupid to say that.
Having realized a leader is indeed, THAT stupid, you have to be very, very stupid indeed to think that it's ok to have anyone that stupid people in charge of heavy machinery, large amounts of money or weapons of war. Shall we turn to the news? oh, better yet, let's turn to the internet. What do we see? Any examples of things going as smoothly as we have every right to expect of those charged to cope with complex and difficult issues in a way to benefit the people as a whole?
A great many people who think of themselves as normal are choosing to believe any number of comfortable lies in the face of some increasingly urgent realities, and there will be hell to pay if humanity does not cash a reality check soon. Facts matter. If provable facts in evidence contradict what you would prefer to believe, tough. You are wrong. There's nothing respectable about being wrong, and no great virtue in being polite about it.