Monday, October 5, 2009

Divinipotent About Willful Stupidity

"Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity."

~ Hanlon's Razor

Divinipotent Daily is in high dudgeon about willful stupidity today. The immediate cause is this video of interviews with protesters at last month's 9/12 Teabagger rally in Washington. The video was made by a group with progressive politics, so it is not without bias. However, bias cannot account for the fact that many of the people who traveled to D.C. were loudly and proudly ignorant — protesting everything from healthcare bills they hadn't read to imaginary militias and innocent figures of speech. Some examples:
  • The young man who says he came to protest the healthcare bill, but when asked for details, can think of nothing to say.
  • The woman carrying the sign saying "Bury Obama Care with Kennedy" who talks about how good Medicare is and says it should probably be expanded to include more Americans.
  • The man carrying a "Joe Wilson for President" sign who says, without irony, "I am not supporting Joe Wilson for President" when confronted with an uncomfortable fact about Wilson's voting record.
  • The man who says "Fascism is a form of socialism" and then adds, "They're all intertwined. Communism, fascism, socialism."

"Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives."
~ John Stuart Mill

And then there is the matter of metaphors. About halfway through the video, the interviewer talks to people who either cannot or will not accept metaphorical meanings.
  • A woman in a red "Tea Party" t-shirt insists that when the Obama administration called for an "army of volunteers," they were, in fact, talking about a private army that is "armed as well as the army is."
  • Perhaps the most worked up over nothing were the anti-czarists. One angry woman said, "A czar is a Russian king. Here, Jesus is our king." Another lectured the interviewer about the origin of the word czar in the Roman Caesars before asking, "Are they going to be given land and power over the government?" When the interviewer explains that the term is symbolic and that czars are just advisors to the president, one protester responds, "You know this how?"
"You know this how." That should have been the theme of the entire day.

"There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity."
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."
~ Plato

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