Departments

Stupidity

“People are stupid” is a non-answer, like “God made it so.” It is a dead end. What are you missing? You misunderstand what they are trying to do. You overestimate the resources available to them, or you underestimate how hard the things you take for granted are for them. They are not deluded, but deceived; or you are deceived. They choose not to see what they cannot bear to see; or you are choosing not to see something unbearable. The system in which they are caught perversely rewards stupidity; or the system is not perverse, but malicious. Or they just made a mistake. Assume people are not stupid and you may 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.