Saturday, May 18, 2024
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Generation Stupid


‘STUPIDITY is a more dangerous enemy of the good than evil,’ said the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was hanged in Flossenbürg concentration camp in April 1945. His words reflected the bloody experience of a man dedicated to resisting Nazi tyranny.

What prompted me to write about stupidity has been my Covid experience of the last three years. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that people could behave in such a way as to leave me completely baffled. I’m sure you feel the same and it is still not over. While Covid may be on the back burner, we are facing the attempted Great Reset. I wanted to try to understand what drives people to behave in such an inhuman way, and how do those in power get so many on board with their diabolical plans?

Stupidity is a complex and fascinating topic. One of the acknowledged experts is Carlo M Cipolla, an Italian economic historian who died in 2000 at the age of 78. He was a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He wrote an essay entitled The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity, published in 1976 and now recognised as a milestone. He lists five basic laws:

1. Always and inevitably, everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.

If you doubt this, think about all the people you had judged intelligent before you realised that they were behaving stupidly, idiotically and dangerously over the Covid narrative. Following its directives to the letter although it appeared incomprehensible to a sizeable minority must rank as the biggest example of mass stupidity in recent times. The fact that so many fell in line with this proves the first basic law.

2. The probability that a certain person is stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.

This is a fascinating observation and one that explains a lot. Like other human characteristics, stupidity is distributed roughly equally across all human beings regardless of their level of education.This goes some way to explain why, when subjected to the same levels of propaganda and nudge messaging, some individuals automatically recognised the falsehoods inherent in their government’s behaviours and others did not; why the most highly educated could fall for it, whilst the apparently less educated realised right off that it was nonsense. 

3. A stupid person is one who causes losses to another person or a group of people while they gain nothing or may even suffer losses themselves.

This is the most important law and should be branded on the soul of those who try to understand stupidity. It is not a matter of IQ, but rather a lack of interpersonal relationship skills. Cipolla believes it is possible to classify people based on their behaviour. It seems to be self-evident that stupid people harm others and often themselves, whilst the behaviour of truly intelligent people is aimed not only at helping themselves but also helping others. Covid has seen a glaring example of narrative adherents behaving in a self-centred and ultimately self-destructive way by going along completely with what they were told and in so doing have seen their businesses, their jobs, their health, their relationships and in some cases their own lives destroyed in the process. Cipolla summed this up neatly when he said: ‘There are people who, by their illogic actions, not only cause harm to other people, but also to themselves. Such people belong to the genus of the super stupids.’

4. Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular, non-stupid people constantly forget that in any time and place and circumstance dealing and/ or hanging out with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.

When the ‘three weeks to flatten the curve’ was introduced in March 2020, non-stupid people, although not buying into the Covid madness from the start, probably thought naively that this would see an end to it. They had not reckoned on the destructive and deadly dangerous nature that those who were super stupid possessed. They did not imagine this because rank stupidity at this level was beyond their understanding and comprehension and besides, stupid people’s attacks always catch intelligent folk by surprise. Stupidity is a characteristic of a person just like hair colour and is therefore not open to rational argument and persuasion. As if to bolster this truth, how many of you have tried to argue the anti-Covid case with logic, facts and common sense only to be met with derision and ridicule? Illogical actions cannot be understood using logic, which of course comes as a big disappointment when attempted by sensible, intelligent people.

5. Stupid people are the most dangerous type.

Intelligent people, however much they may disagree with you and however hostile they may be, are generally predictable. In contrast stupid people are entirely unpredictable. Which makes stupid people far more dangerous than intelligent people.


Cipolla’s theory says much to explain the behaviour of people, in all walks of life, who behave in such a way as to be dangerous, irrational, inexplicable and ultimately self-harming, doing immense damage to others in the process. History is littered with stupid people who were responsible for the fate of nations. When stupidity is married to psychopathy, one thing is for sure: we will all bear the brunt of it. An earlier generation had to fight a German tyrant who was mad, bad and stupid to boot, and our generation is up against a cabal who seem to think that creating a depopulated world wherein they own everything and the rest of us own nothing is a good vision for the future. The fact that they seem to have a posse of global leaders behind them and masses who conform only amplifies the sheer prevalence of stupidity that Cipolla talks about.

Does understanding stupidity better give us an idea how to combat it? Perhaps our salvation lies in the fact that stupidity is a characteristic that lies on a spectrum from mild to supercharged. The former are capable of developing self-knowledge that can enable them to learn from their mistakes. Admitting to yourself that you were wrong and stupid is a big ask, but is surely within the bounds of most people. Let’s hope this is the case, because our future as fully functioning human beings not imprisoned in a dystopian world could depend on it.

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Harry Hopkins
Harry Hopkins
Harry Hopkins is a furniture designer/maker who loves to write.

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