Monday, April 16, 2018

We Are All Doomed

The main strategy behind all human progress – and I’m not exaggerating here – the most powerful idea we have is that I can share a fact with you, and you will know that fact, but I don’t lose the fact by sharing it. Education is theoretically unlimited. Knowledge can spread all over the world, eventually. The smartest people throughout our history can lift us all up to the stars.

And there’s just one problem with this.
The idiots are winning.

Stupidity is stronger than intelligence. Jackasses are the hardiest things on the planet, right next to roaches and styrofoam.

When we finally destroy ourselves, smart people and sort of smart people, and even people of limited intelligence will die. But real industrial-grade imbeciles all over the world are going to go outside, look up into the sky with those nukes going off, and each one of them is just going to get himself a nice tan.

Stupidity is like a super-power. It spreads fast and far, and it defeats intelligence and wit every single time.

You don’t believe me?

Watch someone smart debating someone stupid on the Internet.

That happens every day. And every day the smart person loses.

I read an argument on Twitter in which a person claimed that this prehistoric sea creature called the Megalodon still existed. It was still swimming around off some island, she claimed, and she didn’t have a link to the story, or a photo, or a scientific report, or any data or evidence whatsoever, but she was sure she was right. There was a huge blowup about it, and eventually the fight included two people with actual PhDs in related fields of biological science, and they’d spent years of study learning about how we know, absolutely know, that creatures like the megalodon are extinct. But they couldn’t convince this person, because she had some opinions and an iPhone, lol.

And at one point the PhDs wanted proof, and she said she wouldn’t provide that proof, because then – I’m serious here – then the government would go into the ocean and kill them all, just like they already did with the mermaids.

She claimed there had been a mermaid genocide.

Now, we all want to laugh at that woman. We do. But she won. She won that fight. The power of her idiocy was majestic and awe-inspiring, and it crushed those two poor highly-educated academics. It destroyed them completely.

Because they had used all their combined experience to spend a sizable chunk of their time talking about mermaid genocide and whether prehistoric creatures need to be hidden from the government. They wasted their time. That’s pretty dumb. See?

They didn’t make her smarter.

She made them dumber.

Seeing that made me realize we’re done as a nation. Maybe we’re done as a species.

We landed on the moon, and invented rock and roll and GIFs of hamsters throwing themselves off their exercise wheels. We had a great run. But it’s over. America is sitting in a shopping cart and one of its friends – probably Britain – gave it a push and now it’s rolling through the parking lot, faster and faster, and we’re headed for the exit, out to the road where there’s heavy traffic, and we’ve got too much momentum to stop.

We have a box of Twinkies in our lap, and I’m saying, just go ahead and eat every Twinkie you can cram into your mouth, because in two seconds it’s going to be ugly.

There are too many idiots, and they can claim that 9/11 was a controlled demolition, or vaccines give your kid autism, or that climate scientists are faking all their data to get that sweet, sweet United Nations funding, because we all know how rich grad students in climate science departments are… they’re like rappers.

Donald J. Trump ran for president. Of the United States. That happened. He went from reality show star to conspiracy theorist to president… And you probably remember that after the election you heard a specific message from his supporters… They told reporters, and they announced it on social media.

This is what they said:

All those liberal elitists don’t respect us. They don’t have any respect for us at all. Well, we showed them.

And whenever I heard or read that message this is how I translated it:

I’m going to stand here and hit myself in the genitals with a hammer. 
Until you people take me seriously.

And I always think, “That might be awhile.”
And in fact Trump basically ran on a platform that we would all be better off if Americans just hit themselves in the genitals with hammers.

I’m paraphrasing, of course.

He didn’t use those exact words. But that was the gist of his message. Look, if he gets to say Barack Obama was a secret Kenyan Muslim who snuck into Trump Tower and tapped his phone lines, I get to paraphrase.

Are you upset? Do you think your government failed you? Why don’t you show them all who’s boss by mutilating your crotch with a carpenter’s tool?

I’m no political expert, but I didn’t think this would work. And the people who were experts… they didn’t think it’d work either. It was ridiculous. Normally a guy like Fareed Zakaria wouldn’t even have to talk about it.  But he did. Other CNN reporters joined him, and MSNBC got into it, and the country is filled with people who will believe anything as long as CNN and MSNBC tell them it’s not true. Anything.

Then Lindsay Graham would say he got hurt once riding a bicycle, and he didn’t like it. That’s a very weak criticism of Trump, but the people on Morning Joe treated him like he was Patrick Henry.
Meanwhile Trump himself would get interviewed by conservatives who wanted to clean him up and make him more presentable, and they’d ask him friendly questions, like “When you talked about hammering your own junk, you were being metaphorical, right?” And Trump would say, “No, I really, literally mean we’re all going to go to our garages and get hammers and just smash up our generative organs until America is great again.”

And his poll numbers went up. Always.
They loved him no matter what.

Hillary Clinton would put out a 20-point plan for restarting the Mideast peace process and columnists would pick it apart, because it wasn’t perfect, but at no point did any of us really, seriously compare that plan to injuring yourself in the gonads.

We should have. That was really the choice.

And this is basically how Trump won.

This is how idiocy wins. If you say the stupid thing and keep saying it, the smart people will start looking stupid. Only they won’t look like they’re doing it as well as you can.

People try to scare me with stories in the news about how Vladimir Putin flooded Twitter and Facebook with an army of Russian spies and bots disguised as ordinary Americans.

That doesn’t scare me at all. I wish I could believe that every Nazi frog I met online was a Russian spy or bot disguised as an ordinary American. I wish all the people who said Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring out of a pizza parlor were foreigners. We could deal with that. I could deal with that.

The thing that paralyzes me with terror is that far too many of those mouth-breathers actually were ordinary Americans.

We obsess over home-grown terrorists.

What we really need to be concerned about are home-grown idiots.

Because they do more damage. They do. They’re unplugging the government, ignoring weather disasters, taking guns into Fuddruckers, and they just gave a semi-literate gameshow host control of our nuclear arsenal.

And sometimes smart people say it was more complicated than that. That’s what smart people often do. An establishment Republican talking himself into voting Trump because maybe a chaos agent will shake up the government in a good way is like a PhD spending part of his day debating mermaid genocide.

The weakness of smart people is that they gravitate to new and interesting ideas, and they give those ideas the benefit of the doubt. But sometimes an idea is new and interesting because all the people who tried it before are dead.

Smart people can outwit themselves.
Idiots are winning, because an idiot never outwits himself.
That’s why. That’s the sad truth.

If we survive the next couple of years without blowing ourselves up and this administration vacates the office, and we put the next group in… the idiots will still be with us.

And if we don’t survive, the halfwits and paste-eaters will all walk out of their houses, blinking in the gloom caused by the nuclear winter they don’t believe in, and they’ll all say…
“I am so, so mad that Hillary’s emails let this happen.”

I just hope I’m smart enough so that I won’t be around.

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