Monthly Archives: December 2015

On Stupidity, Capacity, and Religion

I am kind of participating in a Facebook discussion about stupid people.  In the discussion someone posted a YouTube with John Cleese and Bill Maher.  I completely agree with their points.  The idea that we should expect people to strive to be somewhat intelligent is a proper one, regardless what P.C. people may argue.

This gets kind of long.  Not much hope for that. It is actually a bigger subject than we normally might think, and this still only scratches the surface.  But I am not necessarily inviting discourse, just talking .  If I didn’t think that this level of mentality wasn’t threatening the world and the USA in particular, I wouldn’t even write on it.  But people pandering to the stupid people of the USA has picked up so much steam that at some point we have to look at stupidity long enough to sort out some things.

Who Is Building the World, Anyway ?

In order to talk about stupidity we need to actually understand a bit about how very intelligent people can and have set up the world in a fairly sane way.  This world didn’t just pop up like a kernel of popcorn, fully expanded and ready to go. Everywhere you look, there is intelligence displayed – in beautiful buildings, in well-engineered bridges, dams, road systems, well-planned city centers, and many, many more things – things that matter.  These things perhaps even define our civilization.  

Part of the world, however, isn’t exactly physical – it is mental.  Education underlies it all, that part, anyway, and IMHO all the rest, too.  Our political systems, as flawed as they may be at any point in time, are part of that legacy.  We have this American Experiment that is always going awry in some fashion or other.  We have some very wise and far-seeing people to credit for that.  Not a one of them was stupid.  But, for those who haven’t read up on it at all, it didn’t start with them.

The Scottish Enlightenment and Education

For those of us who’ve been taught that the American Founding Fathers thought of all that stuff on their own – which is most of us – I recommend they read a book called “How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe’s Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It” sometime.  It is about something most of us know nothing about – The Scottish Enlightenment.  The American Founding Fathers are the second or third generation of that kind of thinking. It amazed me that Jefferson and Franklin and all didn’t just spring out of nothing.   Continue reading

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