a conservative heretic commenting on hypocrisy and stupidity in a world with too much of both
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Beyond The Age of Reason

“There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”
Frank Zappa

The Age of Reason and Enlightenment emerged in the 18th century in Europe. It was a period where conventional thought was challenged by a new approach to analyzing traditional beliefs. It became a movement that used science to challenge superstition and  religiou It was a period where enlightened minds advocated rational thought as a means to a broader understanding and as a means to establish an authoritative system of ethics, aesthetics, and knowledge. Some of the great thinkers and writers of history come from this period including Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine.

The French and American Revolutions were children of the Age of Reason and the American Bill of Rights and the French Constitution are documents that resulted from this new awareness.

You would think that if these guys could advance ideas to the level they did with their limited scientific knowledge and a stack of goose quill pens, we’d be off to the races with our advanced technology and virtually all of the world’s knowledge at our fingertips online.

Think again. If that was the Age of Reason, this has to be the Age of Lunacy.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen as much stupidity as I see virtually every day now and it isn’t just constrained to the Internet. Cyclists, drivers, pedestrians wander the streets in a clueless daze, completely oblivious to the world around them as they frantically search their smart phones for the latest message. They walk through intersections, headsets on, lost in the music and unable to hear the car horn warning them that they are crossing against the light.

People forget their infant children in sweltering hot cars and just yesterday in a bath tub where the child drowned; slam on their brakes to avoid hitting a squirrel only to cause a three car pile-up behind them and suffer serious separation anxiety if they are away from their communications devices for more than twenty minutes.

We are dumbing down and at an incredibly accelerating rate and nowhere is this more evident than on the Internet. If there was ever a better example of a snake pit being a metaphor for an insane asylum, social media has got to be it.

Trolls, pedophiles, scammers, hackers and the truly perverted prowl the edges of social media like jackals and predators around the edge of herd of gazelles but the real threat to modern society is not the scavengers – it’s the stupid people that populate the Internet in unbelievable numbers.

There was a time when being stupid was something most people tried to hide. Now it is something that is flaunted with a cavalier attitude that borders on pride.

I know I write about stupidity a lot and some of you are thinking that I’m either being too harsh or suffer from a serious superiority complex. Neither is true. I don’t think it’s possible to overstate just how stupid so many people are these days and while I don’t feel superior to anyone with normal intelligence and often feel inadequate when confronted by true intellect, I confess that I feel like Einstein compared to a growing amount of our fellow humanity.

But then, even my psychotic dog feels superior to some of them and his life revolves around eating, sleeping and finding the perfect spot to drop a poop.

What set me off on this was a tweet that was shared with me by one of my friends on Facebook and I’m going to share it with you. In the interest of practicing safe blogging though, first I want to make sure you are adequately warned and prepared. If abject stupidity frightens or offends you – do not proceed. If you have decided to proceed, please make sure that you are seated comfortably and that your seat is in the upright position and the tray on the seat in front of you is put away and securely fastened.

Ready?

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I’ll give you a couple of minutes to gather yourself together again.

Ok now? Let’s proceed. In case you’re thinking that this was an isolated case and proves nothing, let me reassure you that this bright light wasn’t alone in his belief.  Again, take the usual stupidity exposure precautions.

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click image for larger view

Every one of these people is the product of the American educational system but considering that some students at Memorial University in Newfoundland had no idea where to find the Atlantic Ocean even though it was ten minutes from the university, leads me to believe it isn’t any better here in Canada.

How is it possible for anybody to be this stupid? How is it possible to get twelve or more years of education, to have instant access to all of the world’s collective knowledge on your computer and still be this clueless?

How is it possible to have watched Sesame Street all those years and still be so completely brainless?

It is beyond belief that there are people who actually believe that their country which was founded in 1776 is actually more than two millennia old? They rank up there with some fundamentalists who believe the earth is a mere 6,000 years old, that fossils are wrong and that dinosaurs and humanity walked the earth together.

Even if these people didn’t read the books in history class, surely to God they saw a movie here or there where the British and the Colonists were using guns and cannons. Humanity wasn’t fighting with guns and cannon 2000 years ago. We had barely progressed beyond throwing rocks.

Did none of them see Mel Gibson in The Patriot?

These people are so stupid it is scary. Many of them can drive, own a gun, drink, serve in the military and some – God help us – are old enough to vote.

At the rate society is turning out stupid people we’re going to have to start taking away computers and start issuing crayons to make life easier for them.

Consider this.

The same parents that support removing score keeping from children’s sports because it makes things too competitive; turn a blind eye to the bitterly competitive nature of the video games they permit their children to play.

The same people who are incensed by any attempt to bring government regulation to the Internet lest it interfere with their democratic freedoms bind themselves to unilateral and arbitrary rules imposed on them by Facebook, Twitter and all of the other social media sites – the same sites that track them and sell their personal data to corporations for a profit.

Some people are so stupid they shouldn’t be allowed to breed. You can confirm that for yourself by spending just five minutes reading the comments posted on any newspaper’s web site below the article of your choice.

I watched a young father with his very young daughter at a drive thru the other day. They had to cross the drive thru to get to their car and he stopped, held her hand and instructed her to look to the left and then the right before they continued. It was such a rare occurrence that I actually commented on it to Maggie.

Later that same day, I watched another young father with three small children in what is all too common an occurrence these days. He hustled them out into an intersection, against the light. He didn’t teach them what the traffic lights mean, he didn’t get them to stop at the intersection of two busy downtown streets to check for oncoming traffic – he rushed them into the crosswalk without regard for their safety or his own. Where does anyone have to go that it is worth risking their life or the lives of their children just just to arrive two minutes sooner?

Stupid, dazed, brainless, foolish, clueless, puerile, mindless, gullible, half-witted and dumb as posts – Roget’s Thesaurus doesn’t begin to have enough synonyms for the amount of stupidity that surrounds us these days.

It is the Age of Vacuity, the aftermath of the Age of Reason, a period where the only things rattling around between the ears of many people are the echoes of their own banality.

I think we should start imposing competency tests on people in order to vote, to have children and even to be allowed out in public unattended. I’m tired of having to deal with the stupidity of others. I’m tired of having to compensate my life because others are too stupid to live theirs without being a danger to themselves and the rest of us.

Politicians love it because they know they can buy those people with a few bucks and a few well-chosen words. Charisma is the crack cocaine of the clueless – Justin Trudeau and Barrack Obama are proof of that. And I’m tired of that level of thoughtless adoration too.

I think it’s high time we stopped dividing ourselves along religious, racial or ideological lines and started dividing ourselves by intelligence. Really smart people to the right, normally smart people like you and I to the left and the really stupid people. – well – just get on the bus and we’ll drive you somewhere where you can’t hurt yourself or anyone else.

Then maybe we’ll be able to get some things done for a change and not have to occupy our waking moments trying to sort through the overwhelming amount of stupidity in which we are drowning.

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  • Cheryl

    Perhaps the stupidity that surrounds us is a result of the frenetic lifestyle we North Americans live? The brain just can’t process it all and has gone into “Shutdown Mode”? I know exactly what you’re saying and I completely agree. I’m just grasping for an explanation that is less scary than the world going to hell in a handbasket.

    • MaggiesBear

      It’s a plausible explanation but I suspect there is more to it than that. I don’t know what it is but we live in an era when we graduate functional illiterates from our schools, trade values for entitlement and ideology for principle. I sometimes think we don’t really stand for much anymore and we realize that we’re drifting but don’t know what to do about it.

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  • oldwhiteguy

    AMEN.