Sitting at a Burger King the other day after having the person behind the counter correct my order for the third time I was struck by the level of incompetence people have reached just in my lifetime. It is now possible to arrive home with the wrong number of burgers, condiments and change, all presented to you in two languages. “Café Grande por favor”…ends up a diet coke, two packets of sugar, incorrect change with hash browns. Since we live in a society where no matter what happens, blame must be assigned, I started looking into the root causes of this national bout with stupidity and I think I have discovered the main culprit…the majority of the people will absolutely believe anything! All you have to do is present what can be astounding nonsense with an air of mystery and basic plausibility.
There used to be a radio talk show host in Dallas, Texas, named David Gold. He had a theory that 10% of the people had working engaged brains. The others, the 90 percent-ers were basically the reason People Magazine is in business, Paris Hilton is a celebrity and people listen to Sean Penn on foreign policy. I am certain that Mr. Gold missed the spread by quite a large margin. From what I see, those in the know are a fraction of 1% and the other 99.98% just barely make it through their lives managing to find their way to work each day by some miraculous stroke of pure luck. Full parking lots at businesses always surprise me.
Excluding me and an extremely small circle of peers, we, as a people, will not only believe pretty much anything anyone throws our way, we will act on it. This has always been true from the first snake oil salesman in the market square to the new global snake oil salesman on the internet. We are currently going through a spike in idiocy. Recently, in the last 5 years or so, stupidity has become the rule and intelligence the rare exception. It all comes down to what a person is willing to believe.
I have examples.
Here is a list of things that many people actually believe in:
UFOs and Aliens
Alien Ghosts – See Chapter 2
Good Luck Charms
Moon landing conspiracies
Government conspiracies – 9/11, JFK, RFK, Etc…
Area 51 having alien technology
The intellectual prowess of actors
Hope and Change
Winning the Lottery
Eternal rewards for killing people – Virgins, Etc
Power in inanimate objects, Magnets, Crystals
Barrack Obama’s qualifications to be President
Government Economic Stimulus
Left wing intellectualism
If you fall into a group who believes in any one of these things, it is understandable that you would have trouble remembering to leave the pickles off that burger. Believing in silly crap like this leads to whole segments of the population becoming willing participants in absolutely ludicrous nonsense. For example, people believe that raising taxes on the prosperous will somehow make the poor prosperous someday. Or, that rewarding people for doing nothing will make them want to do something.
It isn’t that these goofy things are being presented to the people to distract them from what is really going on. It is that nothing is really going on. People believe there are aliens flying around in gravity defying vehicles and the government knows about it. There are people who believe that being born in March changes your personality based on the position of the planets in March, simply because they are gullible. The only physical effect that could remotely be affecting you from the planets is gravity and the girth of the delivery nurse has more of a gravitational effect on you than Mars. I know this because I used to do terrain corrections for gravity surveys for a geophysics company.
The government is not…repeat NOT, hiding bigfoot, aliens or secret conspiracies to bring down the Twin Towers. They aren’t competent enough for that. The thing that should worry you about the government is that it will get too big, trip and part of it might fall on you. The problem is not diabolical evil…but clumsy unstoppable inertia. Government is a monster but it is a dumb one….I mean look at who we elect to lead us. The trick to protect yourself from the monster is to stop feeding it. When you feed it, it gets excited and happy and wants to do stuff for you. Then it is time to head for the hills.
(This is a rewrite of part of a chapter from God's Motive.)
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