The Stupid Things Some People Say and Do
“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
– Thomas Paine
It never ceases to amaze me how so many so easily throw rational thought to the wind in their rush to believe some really stupid things. There are times when I am forced to conclude that we have crossed the stupidity threshold into absolute madness.
Take the recent pronouncement from John Sullivan, a candidate for town council in the United Kingdom. An established anti-gay adherent, Mr. Sullivan has now come out with the preventative antidote – exercise. He has announced with great aplomb that increased physical exercise will prevent ‘gayness’. It isn’t true, of course, there are more and more professional athletes, highly trained military around the world that put the lie to that idea. It’s a shame, however, that increased physical activity doesn’t prevent stupidity or we might have Mr. Sullivan, and a significant number of others, run laps every day.
Recently, Canadian Green Party Leader Elizabeth May compared Stephen Harper’s Canada to North Korea.
“So upset Harper pulled us out of another global [environment] treaty. He’s making us a rogue nation. The North Korea of environmental law,”
Maybe if she had picked a country with better values, a better quality of life for its people or even just a modicum of concern for anything other that threatening the peace and security of the world, her comment might have had a touch more validity or even a bit of connection to reality. I always find this over-the-top extreme rhetoric to be more than just a little revealing. It is usually the last resort of those who really don’t have any facts to support their opinion or their firmly-held dislike of someone or something with whom they violently disagree. It ranks up there with calling people Nazis, fascists, communists and poo-heads.
It is so adolescent that it makes elementary school yard taunts seem positively intellectual.
Not content with that, Ms May then wrote to the Queen imploring her Majesty to get involved in the investigation into the robocall issue from the last federal election.
“I write to request that Your Majesty Commission a Royal Inquiry to investigate what may potentially be criminal activities which influenced Canada’s last election, and that the aim of the Royal Inquiry be to restore Canada to a free and fair democracy.”
The Queen politely but firmly refused and in the end, Ms May simply ended up making herself look as foolish as Chief Theresa Spence who thought that she should negotiate future deals with the Queen and her representative rather than the Government of Canada which actually coughs up all the money for which Chief Spence finds difficult to account.
A study released by the Center for Science in the Public Interest linked the food colouring in Kraft Dinner to increased hyperactivity in children and went on to suggest that it ‘may’ contain carcinogens – heavy emphasis on the word ‘may’, no evidence in the study actually proved that it did.
It always makes me wonder how people can bring themselves to believe that food manufacturers believe that the best way to increase market share is by producing food that – well – kills off their customers.
Undeterred by reason, two women in the United States immediately took up the cause and generated a petition with more than 300,000 signatures demanding Kraft remove the food colouring. It never occurred to them, I gather, that they could have just stopped buying it.
We see a lot of that these days. Instead of voting with our wallets which is always the most effective way to bring about change, many would prefer to become activists, generate pointless petitions, hurl invective and accusation and spread all kinds of unsubstantiated stupidity around social media.
If you don’t like something – don’t buy it. It’s really that simple and if enough people do that, change will come and a lot more quickly than marching around Twitter and Facebook with self-righteous idiocy.
One of the most glaring examples happened shortly after it was revealed that the Boston bombing suspects were Chechen immigrants. This touched off an avalanche of angry messages on social media calling on the American government to ‘nuke Czechoslovakia’ which, as most of you are aware, no longer exists. It was divided into two countries: Slavakia and The Czech Republic which is part of the European Union, and which has nothing to do with The Chechen Republic (a part of Russia) or Chechens.
Stupidity isn’t the sole preserve of the great unwashed. There are some high flyers with incredibly stupid ideas.
American Senators have waxed eloquently on everything from rape to gun control making statements like
“a woman who is raped can genetically prevent herself from getting pregnant so there is no need the government to permit abortions.”
“women don’t know how to defend themselves with guns”.
One Senator was so well-informed about guns that she didn’t see the problem with high capacity magazines because once they were empty you simply threw them away and pretty soon there wouldn’t be any more. I gather she had never heard of the concept of ‘reloading’.
Nestlé-Konzernchef Peter Brabeck waxed eloquently in a recent video that there should be no human right to water. It should be treated like any other food product and controlled and sold by a few. It’s that kind of thinking that led to unpleasantries like the French Revolution where the elite became so stupid that they lost their minds just shortly before losing their heads.
The simple fact is that the majority of people were not put on earth to serve a small elite and the world’s natural resources belong to nation’s not just individuals. We all have a right to basic things like potable water. It is a cornerstone necessity of life – not simply one more product to be bottled, sold and consumed.
One of my favourites remains the constant demand for more and more government regulation on everything from wearing bike helmets to the environment. It’s not simply that I’m tired of wading through mountains of regulations designed to control how we live, it’s the absurdity that people who can’t balance a check book or manage efficiently the things for which they are already responsible can somehow be the saviours of even more issues.
Surely to Christ, if we have learned nothing in our brief time on this planet it is that government – any government – is not the solution. If history has taught us nothing else, it should have taught us that by now.
Consider social assistance in Canada’s province of Ontario as just one small example.
In 1993, NDP Premier Bob Rae established a new high in social assistance payments — $663 / month. In 1994 and 1995, he froze those payments which meant that thanks to inflation, those on social assistance almost immediately started falling behind.
So much for the Socialist dream.
No worries, the Conservatives were elected led by Mike Harris and his ‘Common Sense Revolution’. Premier Harris decided that it would be better for people to work than live on handouts and so he developed a concept called Workfare, which meant you would have to work for your social assistance.
The theoretical concept had merit but on a practical level it left quite a bit to be desired. First, there was no meaningful work to be had. If the Conservative government put people to work doing what others were already employed to do, they would be killing jobs and if they made people do meaningless work, it was kind of like slavery.
Mr. Harris and his government decided the solution was to cut social assistance payments to $530 / month and froze it at that level for eight years.
So much for Conservative common sense.
Two parties – two strike outs but fortunately for the poor, along came Dalton McGunity and the Liberal Party who jumped right into tackling the social assistance problem by ignoring it.
Strike three. So much for Liberal concept of social caring.
The bottom line is that just to restore social assistance to the level it was at in 1993, which even then was barely subsistence level, would require an increase of more than 50% and that, my friends, took three different political parties twenty years to screw up.
There are many who believe that people on social assistance are lazy and living comfortably and I often wonder how they would do if they had to live on what amounts to about $7,000/year. Wait until they have to buy water from Nestle.
Somebody remind me again why it we should believe that government regulation and intervention is the solution to most of our problems.
“Any man who thinks they can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a look at the American Indian.” – Henry Ford
The examples are endless and I see them every day in the mainstream and social media. The stupid things that people believe and support, literally takes my breath away. There was a time when stupidity was part of the subculture but thanks to social media, it has gone mainstream. People expose the small dramas of their lives, their uninformed opinions and then wonder why other judge and criticize them.
Some things that are posted are so stupid it almost makes my head explode.
Certainly educating people isn’t the solution. That hasn’t been working too well for us lately considering the quality of the graduates of our school systems and universities.
We have lost the ability to reason, to think critically and primarily because we have rejected the will to listen and to learn. We no longer care what is true; we only care about what we believe and increasingly – what we feel and whatever is trending on social media.
There are days when I believe that we are beyond redemption; that we have passed the point where medication will restore sanity and that Thomas Payne was right. Reasoning with stupid people is like trying to medicate the dead back to life.
Note; the following video featuring George Carlin contains coarse language.
A World Full Of Smart Phones and Stupid People
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