They are you know, and that’s not just me foot-stomping and getting mad at the car in front of me who just sat through a green light texting.
Years ago I was having a conversation with a dim, dangerous man named Troy. I’d ended up as Troy’s supervisor on the construction project, because I was smarter, and Troy didn’t like it because he was older. Troy was quick to anger and carried a knife, so most discussions with him were best handled delicately.
Troy said, “You think I’m stupid!”
“No!” I lied as sincerely as I could.
“Well let me tell you something smart-boy, they gave me an IQ test in the Army and I scored 86. How about that!”
Obviously Troy didn’t know that IQ tests aren’t on a 100 point scale or that 86 is not too far above the handicapped line. And I sure as hell wasn’t going to tell him. Not just because he carried a knife, but because you can’t tell people they’re stupid. They can’t help it, and they won’t believe you anyway.
Which is too bad. The world might be a better place if people knew they were stupid.
The problem arises because we have too many of them. At one level, this is a good thing. To the extent the economy is efficient and roles are allocated fairly, it’s good that there’s somebody there to pick up the garbage, although they seem to be too busy going to GOP conventions to do much good with the trash.
They’re also becoming louder and more strident. Basically, if you’ve ever tried to have a serous conversation with anyone with an IQ below 120 it was a challenge, and if you’ve ever tried to reason with anyone of average IQ or below, 100, it felt like you’d caught your balls in a bear trap–excruciating pain that wouldn’t end, even when you tried to extricate yourself.
But like the poor, the stupid will always be with us.
Yesterday, Ryan Braun admitted (sort of) that he was a drug cheat. This took many people, like his friend Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay quarterback, by surprise. Indeed, Rodgers had offered to bet his salary of $4.5 mil that Braun was innocent when he was accused a few years ago and managed to get the case thrown out on a technicality. The point is, only a fool would would’ve believed Braun two years ago. The evidence was simply overwhelming–little guy puts up unbelievable numbers and has urine sample that is full of synthetic testosterone but gets off because the collector couldn’t get it mailed and puts it in a fridge overnight. Refrigeration causes synthetic testosterone? Sheesh, the pharma companies are wasting their money with all that fancy lab equipment when all they need to do is pee in a bottle and put it beside the milk overnight. There are some players about whom it’s legitimate to wonder, but we’ll never be sure because they never tested positive. There are others who never tested positive, like Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa about whom there is no doubt, and only the truly stupid would ever beleive otherwise. Luckily for them, there are 150 million fools out there to buy their stories.
This morning, Pew asked a thousand folks or so if they thought justice had been served in the Zimmerman case. 61% of Republicans and 80% of Tea Party members thought justice had been served. Really. There have been numerous studies that prove that conservative and religious people are quantitatively stupider than liberal and non-religious people. This site has gleefully reported those. Mostly we admit, to get under the skin of our conservative and religious friends.
However, stupidity is more than a joke. It has consequences, like a dead kid and his murderer being treated as a hero.