Saturday, July 23, 2011

How The Stupid Took Over the World

Category: Life, Mind Change, People Power

The Stupid, the Trivial, and the Frivolous are everywhere: among the working classes, of course, but increasingly you can find them displacing the erstwhile elites, spawning hordes of mindless politicians, idiot business tycoons, narcissistic media personalities, vacuous celebrities, illiterate bestselling authors, athletes with far more brawn than brain, repetitious pop singers, and even ignorant academics. Their cacophony drowns the few voices of wisdom, expertise, and experience and their sheer number overwhelms all systems of governance and all mechanisms of decision-making. The Imbeciles are a menace to the continued existence not only of our civilization, but also of our species. We may end up being all Homo, no sapiens.

The percentage of stupid people in the general populace may not have changed. It may even have decreased. But in terms of absolute numbers, there are more Stupid heads now than the entire human population only a century ago. Modern medicine makes sure that the retarded and plain dim-witted live on to a ripe old age. That we are faced with the daunting prospect of idiocracy is the fault of the malignant transformation of the democratic ideal and the recent onslaught of the media, both old and new.

Start with democracy:

In the not-too-distant past stupid people had the right to vote once in a while and thus express their completely inconsequential opinion where it mattered least: in the ballot box. Alas, the inane idea of “one person (never mind how pinheaded, unqualified, or ignorant), one vote” has invaded and permeated hitherto hierarchical environments such as government, the workplace, and the military. With technology at their disposal, The Stupid repeatedly interfere with and disrupt the proper functioning of virtually every system.

Even the generation and transfer of knowledge have been “democratized” as crowdsourcing yielded enterprises such as Wikipedia, the “encyclopedia” that anyone can edit, add to, and delete from. Internet search engines rank results not according to the merits and authority of the content, but by the number of votes cast by ... you guessed it: mostly dense people (who now congregate on social networks). This widespread and much-lauded vandalism reflects the utter collapse and disintegration of the education system which turns out illiterate, nescient, and irrational graduates having annihilated its standards in order to embrace them as students in the first place.

The Stupid, dimly aware of their innate inferiority, are anti-elitist, anti-intellectual, and anti-excellence. But, while in the past these remained mere sentiments, today they have become an ethos, a code of conduct, a set of values and ideals. It is politically incorrect and impolite to claim any advantage and superiority. Egalitarianism is running amok. Everyone is equal: doctors and their patients; professors and their students; experts and laymen alike.

Continue with technology:

In an act of self-preservation, past civilizations had confined The Stupid to certain settlements, replete with their drinking establishments, entertainments, and sports arenas. There the “intellectually-challenged” could safely torment each other with their vulgarities and rampant, uninformed idiocy. The advent of radio, television, and, most egregiously, the Internet has changed all that: now stupid people have unmitigated access to the kind of technology that allows them to pollute the airwaves and the broadband with their inferior analytic capacity, low-brow output, trivial observations, monosyllabic exclamations, and harebrained queries. Thus, the New Media have transformed stupidity from a mental endemic to a viral epidemic. The wise and knowledgeable may broadcast while the Stupid merely narrowcast – but the Stupid have the upper hand, what with Google, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, and YouTube decimating the traditional print and electronic media.

This technological empowerment is the crux of the problem: there are no barriers to entry, no institutional filters, and no erudite and experienced intermediaries to hold back the avalanche of doltish balderdash, the tsunami of nonsense, and the flood of misinformation, factoids, and conspiracies that corrupt our intellectual space. Commercial interests inevitably and invariably side with the brainless masses because of their superior aggregate purchasing power. The privatization of education is one manifestation of this creeping decadence. The mindless nature of television programming is another. The empty one-liners that comprise most “conversations” on social networks are its culmination. We are surrounded with clods, harassed by the lame-brained, criticized, censored, and ordered by simpletons. Welcome to the New Dark Ages.


Author Bio

Sam Vaknin ( http://samvak.tripod.com ) is the author of Malignant
Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the
East, as well as many other books and ebooks about topics in psychology,
relationships, philosophy, economics, and international affairs.

He is the Editor-in-Chief of Global Politician and served as a columnist for
Central Europe Review, PopMatters, eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a
United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He was the
editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open
Directory and Suite101.

Visit Sam’s Web site at http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com


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Old Comments

  • I think it was the uber smart that convinced “the stupid” to vote for them to maintain power. Too many smart, good people ignore the ramifications of effort to attain power and pandering.

    Posted by deminizer  on  07/24  at  08:10 PM
  • While this piece highlights some truths in the evolution of technology and its impact on modern society, it reads like a tirade against your personal life.

    Relax.  Calm down.  Let happiness find you. 

    Posted by Green Fingered Skinner  on  08/08  at  08:02 PM
  • I disagree wholeheartedly with a lot of this.  I understand that stupidity has provided us with something horrible and destructive, but I can only see one relatively recent development that actually allows the problem to grow *worse* instead of better.  That development is the *engineered* failure of most people to come of age.

    It is engineered by those elites who, by acting “in loco parentis”, enrich themselves, mostly at the expense of their betters who have come of age, who have become more than self-sufficient, who produce enough to benefit each other and anyone else who cares to join them in trade, who are unfortunately forced to fund the political machine.  Those elites engineer this failure to grow up so that the masses of adult-aged children who need to be taken care of will lend their “one-vote” worth of coercion to the two-party system, providing them with a veneer of legitimacy as they exercise oppressive control over economies great and small.

    To put it another way, public school intentionally teaches us that we can’t survive without someone to rule over us.  Enough people buy that line to give the rulers legitimacy, and they use that legitimacy to make us do whatever they want.  Without their ability to legally force people to what they want them to do, the stupidity we’re discussing would slowly kill itself off.  I suppose it will anyway, but the number of people willing to let a good person go to prison for breaking a stupid law is severely retarding the progress of that beautiful aspect of nature.  As it is, the stupidity is the foundation on which modern rulers have built their fortresses.  Your first point about democracy comes pretty close to this, but misses the mark.

    Just my two cents.  And thanks for the soapbox!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/04  at  01:11 AM
  • History is written by those in power for a reason. Again, as always, it comes down to my old belief (and our old argument Dave) that education is key to fixing this dung heap.

    Posted by deminizer  on  09/04  at  07:23 PM
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