"If death meant just leaving the stage long enough to change costume and come back as a new character...Would you slow down? Or speed up?" — Chuck Palahniuk

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

"Dumb & Getting Dumber!"

I have written quite a few blogs about stupidity, stupid people and the stupid things they say and do and it never ceases to amaze me the depths of stupidity that can be found among the American population. Even though I am well versed in the Laws of Stupidity, I always cringe when I read education polls or see "Jaywalking" on Leno and hear some of the answers that people come up with or don't know and the thing that really get's me is the college students and educators and wannabe educators that don't know squat!

Another big mistake people make like underestimating the amount of stupid people in circulation is the mistake of assigning stupidity to deliberate willful acts of evil. The first thing folks say is the Shrub is a moron and him and his administration are incompetent and I got to ask, "you can't possibly think all of these mistakes and failures are not deliberate"? No group of people can possibly be that incompetent. The evidence is clear that they have done whatever they have wanted, when they wanted and not a dam thing is going to be done about it.

A big part of the problem unfortunately is that Americans are dumb and they have been being dumbed down since the late 80's and the Reagen era. Kids are filled up with triggers and reactions and information to pass standardized tests. They get a few months in the summer to forget everything they were "taught" (using the term very loosely) so that teachers have a clean slate to fill up next school year. We are no longer being taught to think just react to triggers. All of the programs or curriculum that promotes critical thinking like art or dare I say it "liberal arts" and civics, not his-story are no longer in place. Science shouldn't have to compete in schools with silly shit like "Intelligent Falling" but it is. There have been several studies over the past few weeks and the results are disturbing to say the least. From Alternet:

Ignorant America: Just How Stupid Are We?

By Rick Shenkman, Tomdispatch.com. Posted July 2, 2008.

Millions of Americans are embarrassingly ill-informed and they do not care that they are.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." -- Thomas Jefferson

Just how stupid are we? Pretty stupid, it would seem, when we come across headlines like this: "Homer Simpson, Yes -- 1st Amendment 'Doh,' Survey Finds" (Associated Press 3/1/06).

"About 1 in 4 Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment (freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition for redress of grievances.) But more than half of Americans can name at least two members of the fictional cartoon family, according to a survey.

"The study by the new McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum found that 22 percent of Americans could name all five Simpson family members, compared with just 1 in 1,000 people who could name all five First Amendment freedoms."

But what does it mean exactly to say that American voters are stupid? About this there is unfortunately no consensus. Like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, who confessed not knowing how to define pornography, we are apt simply to throw up our hands in frustration and say: We know it when we see it. But unless we attempt a definition of some sort, we risk incoherence, dooming our investigation of stupidity from the outset. Stupidity cannot mean, as Humpty Dumpty would have it, whatever we say it means.

The article goes on to cite 5 defining characteristics of this pox on America...Coincidentally there are 5 Basic Laws of Stupidity...Go figure...From that same Alternet article:

Five defining characteristics of stupidity, it seems to me, are readily apparent. First, is sheer ignorance: Ignorance of critical facts about important events in the news, and ignorance of how our government functions and who's in charge. Second, is negligence: The disinclination to seek reliable sources of information about important news events. Third, is wooden-headedness, as the historian Barbara Tuchman defined it: The inclination to believe what we want to believe regardless of the facts. Fourth, is shortsightedness: The support of public policies that are mutually contradictory, or contrary to the country's long-term interests. Fifth, and finally, is a broad category I call bone-headedness, for want of a better name: The susceptibility to meaningless phrases, stereotypes, irrational biases, and simplistic diagnoses and solutions that play on our hopes and fears. MORE!

Religion employs a lot of these same characteristics, not too mention most religions fit perfectly in the categories of cults with Christianity leading the way! just a quick reminder of the characteristics of a cult:

Cults have the following characteristics:

1. Attachment to a teacher, book or belief system.

2. Regular displays of intolerance or arrogance towards others.

3. Humiliation of those who ask questions that could make the leader or the group feel insecure.

4. Feelings of superiority born from comparison with others.

5. An inability to support, endorse and appreciate the wisdom and compassion of others.

6. A wish to expand their religious empire.

7. Eviction of those who show doubt. (excerpt from Christopher Titmus "Light On Enlightenment" pg. 67)

The Cult of Bush comes to mind. Blind allegiance and nationalism is another big problem, I have said it numerous times that most people will vote against their best interests over the stupidest stuff and not what benefits them.

Law 3 states A stupid person is a person who caused losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.
So when there is no other excuse there is actually only one excuse, the person in question is stupid!

Click image for larger

I caught this next story about a new book called "Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth About the American Voter" by Rick Schenkman over at Crooks & Liars:

–Only 2 in 5 voters can name the three branches of the federal government.

–Only 1 in 7 can find Iraq on a map.

–Only 1 in 5 know that there are 100 federal senators.

And the most chilling…

–Nearly half (49%) of Americans think the President has the authority to suspend the Constitution.

Now in defense of the 49% the Shrub has suspended the Constitution so I can understand the confusion but his changes ARE against the law. He is only allowed to suspend certain parts of the Constitution when America is in crisis or is being attacked. Another reason 911 happened! But that is a Conspiracy Corner post for another day.

Critical Thought is Dead!
The New Defenders Of The Thinker

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