Departments

Stupidity

“People are stupid” is a non-answer, like “God made it so.” It is a dead end. Perhaps you misunderstand what they are trying to do. Perhaps you overestimate the resources available to them; perhaps you underestimate how hard the things you take for granted are for them. Perhaps they are not deluded, but deceived; perhaps you are deceived. Perhaps they choose not to see what they cannot bear to see; perhaps you are choosing not to see something unbearable. Perhaps the system in which they are caught perversely rewards stupidity; perhaps the system is not perverse, but malicious. Perhaps they just made a mistake. Assume people are not stupid and you will always learn something; assume people are stupid and you will never learn anything. Of course stupidity is real. But truly stupid people do not lack intelligence: they reject it. True stupidity is a skill: a kind of aikido that deftly unbalances the most powerful arguments and sends them sprawling on their faces.