Not A Revelation: Stupid plays very well in America. I don’t mean we like to laugh at stupid people (everyone loves laughing at stupid people except the stupid people themselves), I mean we we like it when stupid people laugh at us.
We must like it; we keep setting ourselves up for it to happen
American politics has an actual history of stupid people proudly proclaiming how stupid they are — the whole point being how stupid they are. The “Know Nothing” movement was an actual thing started by a bunch of nativists in 1855. When it started, “I know nothing” was the intended response to any and all questions (especially as they pertained to the group’s rabid anti-Catholic xenophobia).
Know-nothingism touched something deep in American racism.
Later on, Dixiecrats — State’s rights Democrats (modern Republicans) — took up the Know-Nothing banner and waved it proudly. Racists like Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms extended the subjects about which they “knew nothing” to pretty much everything. Republicans turned “knowing-nothingism” into a battering ram of legislative ignorance, bad faith and racist claptrap.
Jump cut to today. It’s the “know nothing” attitude — the I don’t give a crap about the facts, I only care about what I want — at the core of a rip tide of anti-abortion legislation. It’s not a love of science seizing the nation, it’s a love of scientific ignorance. Feelings over Facts. Foolishness over everything else.
We are letting stupidity — and stupid people — dictate not only policy but “morality”. Stupid people have stupid morality. Even if well-meaning, stupid people unloosing their stupid upon the world never works out well for the world. Do anti-vaxxers think pathogens like measles and polio give a shit what they think?
Could the Right To Life movement be more blatantly stupid (in addition to dishonest, hypocritical and misogynistic)? You can’t sell stupid with facts. You can only “sell it” (cram it down the Nation’s unwilling throat) by saying it louder and longer. That’s always stupidity’s goal — to outlast you. It’s the only weapon on its tool belt after all…
What is Donald Trump if not Stupidity on Steroids?
Every pronouncement he built his reputation and base on was based on stupidity — and relied on other peoples’ stupidity to take off. It relied on the American news media’s willingness to spread that stupid like fertilizer. And, boy, did they! What makes Donald Trump’s lies so painful isn’t that they’re lies, it’s that they’re so damned STUPID. He must think WE’RE stupid when he says them.
That Donald Trump is STILL president makes the case that, indeed, we ARE stupid. We’re so stupid we’ll let our own rules trip us up — while we try to stop from stupidly going down the road to chaos, corruption and authoritarianism.
Worse than our love affair with stupid however, is America’s almost palpable hatred for smart people. The word “elite” really means “educated”… or “articulate”… or “thoughtful”. In other words, “not stupid”. Republicans love calling Democrats and Progressives “elite” — by which they mean “not stupid”.
Back in the 1950’s the Democrats twice put Adlai Stevenson up to run against Dwight Eisenhower. It was a thankless task — running against the War Hero who’d just won the Second World War in most Americans’ eyes. What Republicans relied on however — to beat down Stevenson — was his intelligence. Republicans called Stevenson “egghead” because his being well-read, well-informed and capable of critical thinking apparently made him less of a public servant to their way of “thinking”.
Oh, irony… poor, irony.
Where does that come from, I wonder, America’s virulent — persistent — anti-intellectualism? I don’t think it’s a coincidence that so many religions have been created here. A religion is a fantastical answer to a practical question — why are we here? But, whereas a science-thinking person starts to answer it by establishing first what they can prove with facts, a religionista doesn’t bother with facts (because facts can only confuse them or screw them up).
A religionista’s answer (to anything) doesn’t have to have a basis in reality.
I’m biased, I guess. That sounds painfully stupid. Never mind asking what could possibly go wrong, I want to know what could possibly go right?