This is the Age of Dumb. Stupidity is now a force of human nature, if not the other kind of Nature, which seems unimpressed. Homo Sapiens, not famous for its intelligence, but not this dumb, is experiencing a true plague of stupidity.
Let’s get through the obvious manifestations of Stupidity Uber Alles first:
- Governments: Politics is obsolete. It’s about getting elected, creating conflicts, and making things worse. The whole idea of government needs to be about fully accountable, properly oversighted people doing things right, not this planetwide disorganized mess.
- Culture: There is no culture. The banal, pointlessly trivial, endlessly obstructed lives most people live can’t fit culture in anywhere. There’s nowhere to put a culture in this boorish sewer of a world. How do you fit a culture in to poverty?
- Society is non-existent. Thanks to governments and lack of culture, society is a word, not a fact. There’s no social cohesion at any level. Quite the opposite, hating other members of the society is now the norm, and highly socially destructive.
- Crime: Generations of corrupt weaklings and idiots being “tough on crime” have produced the richest criminals in history, bankrolled by stupid, useless governments and pointless laws making everything illegal extremely profitable.
- Progress: Progress ground to a halt decades ago. Forget gadgets using 1970s touch screen tech and binary code, which are ancient tech. Digitization did make a difference, but only to the technology, not the people. Apes using phones are still apes.
- Sanity: Sanity is unmarketable in any form, for any reason, in any sector. The fabulously out of touch “meeting culture”, in which executive gargoyles can be away from their actual jobs for decades, has removed any need for rational thought at all levels of commerce and leadership.
- Careers: Most careers will cease to exist soon enough, as expertise is taken over by Artificial intelligence, which couldn’t possibly be any dumber than human intelligence. A career will be like a successful game show contestant.
- Pollution: Pollution was almost under control 30 years ago. Now it’s a religion among the truly unhygienic minds in charge. To pollute on principle, which is how it’s done now, is to say you’re a grovelling little sycophant peasant like everybody else in your septic tank of a life with no opinions of your own, and you want to network.
- Health: Thanks to the above stresses and unsanitary ex-societies, a huge number of people are suffering from various medical conditions. In the past, the opposite was the case. The eternal hordes in hospital ERs and elsewhere are relatively recent.
So… Do you think there’s a problem?
Consider this – All of these things are anti-survival. It’s like living for no other reason than to find a cliff to fall off. This is Applied Stupidity, in its most unambiguous form. Stupid things are said – And believed. Stupid things are done – And considered brilliant.
So what’s new, you ask, finding a new (inconsiderately empty) beer bottle in which to live? Humans aren’t that stupid, that’s what. Even for a species which built enough nukes to wipe out itself and everything else at least 7 times over, this is dumb.
The current manifestations of stupidity are:
- Refusal to deal with any major issues on any level, however disastrous.
- Obsession with trivia at the expense of major issues.
- Prolonging and tolerating useless conflicts all over the world.
- Failure to deal with basics, ranging from water to food, health education and housing.
- Incomprehension of the obvious, with denials in the face of facts.
- Ignoring experts.
- Tolerating corruption.
- Tolerating greed.
Ignoring the public interest in EVERY area, all the time.
- Paying freeloaders to run countries.
- Electing freeloaders to run countries.
- Wondering what went wrong afterwards.
The most primitive societies were survival-based. If you tried doing any of these things in a cave society, your chances of getting a woolly mammoth parked up your backside were excellent. In this society, you get cheers and applause based on how anti-survival you are.
Hierarchical societies are effectively hierarchies of stupidity. The more senior, more experienced idiots rule. In this society, which is made entirely of hierarchies, stupidity is a virtual law of physics. The more stupid the action, the more stupid the result, and the more stupid people are, the more they fail to see that.
Remember “normality? Thanks to stupidity, most people don’t.
The normality of the past in the West was based on:
- Clean, safe, if not palatial, homes.
- Just about everything was more or less affordable, except major luxuries.
- Health care whenever you wanted.
- Public sanitation and hygiene were pretty good.
- Air was breathable.
- Food was edible.
- The sea didn’t make you sick when you swam in it.
- Pollution levels were much lower.
- Psychological conditions like depression were much rarer.
- Reasonably good, if not dazzling, education.
- Much fewer people, less crowding, less stress.
- Workplace culture wasn’t psychotic.
- People weren’t paid to make workplaces psychotic.
- A good chance of a career, with considerable effort.
- Almost no nutcases, anywhere.
- Very low levels of crime, and mainly minor crime except for organized crime.
- No hordes of fanatics, and the few there were, were despised.
- To be a sycophant was to be a failure.
- Talent wasn’t hated.
Intellect wasn’t hated.
- The people with the skills did the jobs, not people pretending to do them.
This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas. “Passive voice”, eh?
Forge the exceptions for a minute; that’s not the point – These relatively modest, unpretentious, things were reasonable expectations. They weren’t called “welfare” or “entitlements” and certainly not the result of any ideology except the right to personal freedom.
They were also legitimate expectations after the worst war in human history. Politicians didn’t win that war. They caused it, and damn near lost it so often it’s amazing it turned out the way it did. The public certainly didn’t idolize politicians. JFK was the last modern politician to be truly admired.
Progress meant physical wellbeing, quality of life, scientific and social. That was “not stupid” in context with the way things are now. An educated society made an educated choice.
The pathology of the global stupidity plague.
So up to about 1970 or so, humanity, if no collective genius, was survival oriented and doing pretty well. That date is important.
You need to be able to track a plague from its inception. The history of bad decisions dates from about then. The Nixon era, in which the last Republican, Dwight D. Eisenhower, was a dim memory, started a culture of bad decisions.
The dumb can lead the dumb. Bad decisions, of course, are a great way of creating opportunities for more bad decisions. Following global leaders may not have reached the abysmal depths of Nixon until now, but these were the symptoms after Nixon:
- The USSR collapsed after massive mismanagement.
- Japan destroyed its well-proven social system and replaced it with a stagnant nothing.
- The USA, as the “world’s only superpower”, went backwards socially, technically, educationally, politically and morally from the 1980s onwards as a result of “conscious” political policies. The anti-intellect culture started then, too.
- The Middle East, one of the most prosperous areas in the world, went in to meltdown.
- Europe made many bad calls on the refugee and debt crises, compromising its own credibility and global image. Financial scandals like LIBOR added to the general malaise of maladministration.
- Britain chose Brexit, without a plan to achieve it, or a model for existence outside the EU.
- My own country, Australia, mismanaged everything and got everything backwards economically, technologically and socially. That’s not so new; it’s just that the current degree of mismanagement is unusually thorough, even for our very low standard idiots.
- People with no scientific credentials at all, and obviously no basic knowledge of chemistry, became experts on global climate.
So – This is a plague of stupidity. These were all terrible decisions, affecting the entire world. The logic is delirious, unfocused, and farcically wrong. Babble is everywhere. Nobodies are suddenly VIPs. Doing dumb things is now normal. Believing anything, however obviously false, is now normal.
This is a very sick world, and it’s not trying too hard to get better. That’s a particularly damning statement. Nothing is really being done about anything important, on any level.
Plagues usually burn themselves out, sooner or later. The current insanities will pass. Even the Black Death eventually ended. The damage, however, may not be so easy to undo this time.
Most of the problems above are fixable. It would be relatively easy to achieve a modern version of the old normal. It’s not happening, or even being considered. That, folks, is ultra-stupid, and it could be fatal.
“Make the world smart again” may not be much of a catchphrase, but it beats crap out of the alternatives.