Chronic stupidity - a guide

Ignorance can be educated and crazy can be medicated but there's no cure for stupid. Anonymous


Since 7 September 2013 when 53.49% of the Two Party Preferred vote elected a coagulation of bandits and dregs peddlars led by a swaggering, incoherent, incompetent chancer I cannot observe any group of people without thinking "about half of you lot are dullards, dupes, imbeciles, gormless bumpkins or fellow-travelling Tory grifters".

Despite the idiocy of Labor's Whack-A-Mole leadership debacle driven by Kevin Rudd's narcissism and mendacity the preposterous notion was carried that a better alternative was a destructive, wilfully ignorant, lip-licking graduate of the John Howard School Of Toxic Torydom. After he'd smeared the walls with his own excrement the absurdity of that bout of collective delusion quickly became obvious to all but the chronically stupid and Tony Abbott PM was subsequently unceremoniously jettisoned.

Abbott's usurper was an improvement by any measure; how could he be worse? But Malcolm Bligh Turnbull's enormous self-regard was not matched with any political nouse nor a pair of functioning cojones. Mal Trembles capitulated to the Liberal Party crazies - the lunatics were still in charge of the asylum and in 2016 the demented RWFW inmates of the big happy house on the hill were again endorsed by the docile and the stupid.

Einstein observed that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The return of the Lying Nasty Party after two terms of stealing the sprinkles from orphans' fairy bread and the capricious sabotage of all things fair and progressive suggests that a majority of our fellow electors' stupidity has bordered on the insane.

We are all guilty of occasional stupidity. Buying a Kenny G CD, displaying a Baby On Board sign, wearing crocs or using the phrase "at the end of the day" are minor, passing transgressions that can be readily countered with some light derision.

Alan Jones listeners, the celebrity obsessed, the neck-tattooed, the doof-doofers et al are the habitually stupid; immune to reason or common sense but they at least have little impact on the rest of us.

Stupidity is far less foregiveable though when it's applied to the responsibility we all carry of nominating competent, rational and balanced adminstrators to guide our country on our collective behalf. The choices impact us all and have long term consequences. One poor decision can have dire consequences; repeated poor decisions can be calamitous, so how to treat those of our acquaintance who exhibit repeated acts of stupidity come election time?

Politicians are fair game - this current dismal crop of spivs and climacophiliacs in particular have earned all of the invective that is thrown their way but what of those of our family, friends and colleagues who stupidly vote for them? Calling it out is counter-productive, reasoned argument is mostly wasted but ignoring it feels like capitulation in the face of the current appalling levels of incompetence, graft and authoritarianism.

"Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative." - John Stuart Mill.

The Warringah, Wentworth and Indi electorates have demonstrated that when rational conservative alternatives are available then even the rusted-ons are capable of redemption. Other generationally-inclined Liberal seats saw swings to the left in the recent election so it is true that not all conservatives are stupid people. The conservatives of my acquaintance are not stupid people either, but some are subject to blinkered stupidity when it comes to exercising their democratic responsibilities under this current wretched regime of feudalists and flat-earthers. It's difficult to remain calm and polite when supposedly intelligent folk, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, trot out the inane propaganda of the Lib's supposed better economic management, ABC lefty bias, union thuggery and welfare bludgers. Touting this bollocks is denialism, it is adherence to discredited dogma and challenging it is like arguing with creationists and conspiracy theorists.

Faced with the decision to either take to the drink or research such a mentality I fired up Dr Google and came across an interesting explainer:

How politics makes us stupid. Ezra Klein, Vox. Why isn’t good evidence more effective in resolving political debates?

Identity-Protective Cognition "is a way of avoiding dissonance and estrangement from valued groups, individuals subconsciously resist factual information that threatens their defining values."

How politics makes us stupid is a worthwhile read. It not only explains the mindsets of the habitual Liberal voters I know, it also helps explain Tory tribalism and to some extent also the weird cult of Scott Morrison's prosperity gospellers. It also includes the somewhat comforting observation that "a political movement that fools itself into crafting national policy based on bad evidence is a political movement that will, sooner or later, face a reckoning at the polls."

Now, the Cab-Shiraz or the Semillon? Cheers!


We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet. Stephen Hawking

My heart is broken in the face of the stupidity of my species.

Joni Mitchell

People's ignorance really pisses me off. Stupidity is when you can't help it -ignorance is when you choose not to understand something.

Sarah McLachlan

Stupidity is the deliberate cultivation of ignorance.

William Gaddis

This rant is also posted on the AIMN.