Friday, October 28, 2005

People are Stupid, Part MMCMXVIII

Why are they still breeding?

The article presents five laws of human stupidity, with definitions of stupidity and illustrations of varying degrees and varieties of stupidity. Read the whole thing; it's quite well thought out. I've outlined the laws, below, but the left out the meat of the reasoning, and the amusing illustrations.

From Mental Soup:
The first basic law of human stupidity asserts without ambiguity that:

Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
That's one reason it's good to be a pessimist: I consider everyone stupid until they prove otherwise. Few do.

One is stupid in the same way one is red-haired; one belongs to the stupid set as one belongs to a blood group. A stupid man is born a stupid man by an act of Providence. Although convinced that fraction of human beings are stupid and that they are so because of genetic traits, I am not a reactionary trying to reintroduce surreptitiously class or race discrimination. I firmly believe that stupidity is an indiscriminate privilege of all human groups and is uniformly distributed according to a constant proportion. This fact is scientifically expressed by the Second Basic Law which states that

The probability that a certain person be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.
Here's where I disagree slightly: I believe that different subsets of the human race have varying proclivities toward stupidity. In other words, I believe that the traditionally held stereotypes are based in some degree of truth, much to the chagrin of the politically correct.

The article also implies that stupidity is a characteristic handed down by Nature upon birth. While this is true in many cases, I believe this can be overridden by the determined moron, and that some who are not born with the imbecile chromosome will inevitably become stupid anyway, given their environment during the critical childhood/early adult phase (bad parenting, public schooling): The old "Nature vs. Nurture" argument rears it's familiar head: I stand firmly in the camp of both.


The Third Basic Law assumes, although it does not state it explicitly, that human beings fall into four basic categories: the helpless, the intelligent, the bandit and the stupid.
As the Third Basic Law explicitly clarifies:

A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.

When confronted for the first time with the Third Basic Law, rational people instinctively react with feelings of skepticism and incredulity. The fact is that reasonable people have difficulty in conceiving and understanding unreasonable behaviour.
I think that if this definition is interpreted broadly enough, it can hold true. A well thought out and clearly expressed explanation is given in the linked article...

One may hope to outmanoeuvre the stupid and, up to a point, one may actually do so. But because of the erratic behaviour of the stupid, one cannot foresee all the stupid's actions and reactions and before long one will be pulverized by the unpredictable moves of the stupid partner.

This is clearly summarized in the Fourth Basic Law which states that:

Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.

Through centuries and millennia, in public as in private life, countless individuals have failed to take account of the Fourth Basic Law and the failure has caused mankind incalculable losses.
Proverbs 13:20, NASB:
"He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will suffer harm."

Choose your companions carefully.

The Fifth Basic Law states that:

A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.

The corollary of the Law is that:

A stupid person is more dangerous than a bandit.
Yes, indeed.

It's a great article, and I'm going to keep it up (among the other 18 tabs I have open in Firefox) to re-read.

(Found at Bill St. Clair's); where does he find all this great stuff?