Telling stories

Rise of the Idiocracy: Just how stupid are you?

Posted by southwrite on October 4, 2009

Image by flickr user SpiritMama. Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Image by flickr user SpiritMama. Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Are there more stupid people in the world than ever before? Author James Howard Kunstler said recently on his weekly podcast that the number of stupid people is exploding. They’re also exerting what amounts to political and cultural tyranny over the rest of society. In fact, never before have stupid people had both the money and means to broadcast their thoughts, biases, anger and irrational ideas to everyone else.

By stupid Kunstler doesn’t mean those of low IQ. Members of this expanding Idiocracy are often reasonably intelligent and even well educated. Yet, they possess a kind of willful ignorance that takes pride in how much they don’t know and contempt for anyone and anything that represents knowledge or learning.

Here are a few stupid examples.

Numerous public opinion polls have found that about 45% percent of the American public (and 60% of Republicans) believe that God created the world in its present form about 10,000 years ago.  To accept this idea you have to completely reject all the basic principles of physics, biology and geology. In other words all those fossil records and the tools used by scientists to measure light traveling from distant stars are phony. And lest you think that stupidity is limited to the politically and religiously conservative, the same polls found that 12% of atheists also agree with this version of “young earth creationism.”

Politicians have proven they can get votes and win elections by pretending to be ill educated or contemptuous of elites. GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin claimed to be just a sharp elbowed soccer mom while the patrician and New England born George W. Bush was a slow talkin’ Texas cowboy.

If you’ve watched coverage of a town hall meeting recently you’ve seen a lot of people who believe passionately (and loudly) in things that have no basis in fact. We’re not talking about ideas that don’t have much to support them (like the British Royal Family are alien reptiles or Paris Hilton has talent), but claims for which there is considerable evidence to the contrary (Barak Obama was born in Kenya or granny will face a death panel under healthcare reform).

Clearly many proponents of these ideas are opportunists with nothing to lose by spewing forth bizarre claims. They include politicians and talk show hosts such as ratings leader Glenn Beck. As Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) put it: “Glenn Beck is not aligned with any party as far as I can tell. He’s aligned with cynicism, and there’s always been a market for cynicism.”

And that market is heavily populated by stupid people.

Are you one of them? You could be and not know it. To help you discover your inner idiot here’s a little test. The higher your score the… well you know the answer to that.

How stupid are you?

1. When faced with a complex problem you “always go with your gut.” 2 points

2. You find it odd a soccer mom has never been elected president. 5 points

3. When someone tells you to send an e-mail protesting ________ you do so without question. 4 points

4. You watch Glenn Beck’s show on Fox three or more times a week. 4 points

5. You get choked up too when Glenn Beck has an impromptu cry on air. 5 points

6. You own a Glenn Beck rodeo clown doll. 10 points

7. People say about you: “He never met a conspiracy he didn’t like.”  5 points

8. You suspect your neighbor is an alien reptile from another dimension working to take over the world. 10 points (subtract 5 point if he’s Prince Charles).

[picapp src=”1/9/5/9/Sen_Arlen_Specter_6335.jpg?” width=”500″ height=”359″ /]

2 Responses to “Rise of the Idiocracy: Just how stupid are you?”

  1. You and I see eye-to-eye, Randy! Thanks for this post. Reminds me of the recent news story of the religious zealot who kidnapped her young son so that he couldn’t receive Western medicine for his cancer because “God forbade it.” Ignorance is not bliss; it is the bane of human existence!


    • southwrite said

      Thanks, Rachel! -Unfortunately, there are a great many people who don’t think facts or evidence should stand in the way of their particular beliefs. They can’t be reasoned with and no amount of proof can sway their thinking. While some are amusing there are always a few — like the woman you cite — who are dangerous both to themselves and others.

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