Thursday, December 13, 2012

Stupid Is As Stupid Does, The Never-Ending Story

After our essay a few days ago, "Stupid Is As Stupid Does, Revisited," the twenty-second essay on the incomparable stupidity of Conservative followers (, we stumbled upon the following post at, the forward to the classic "Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free" by Esquire columnist, Charles P. Pierce.

Some excerpts:

"The rise of Idiot America, though, is essentially a war on expertise," says Pierce:

"Idiot America is not the place where people say silly things.

"It is not the place where people believe in silly things.

"It is not the place where people go to profit from the fact that people believe in silly things. That America has been with us always— the America of the medicine wagon and the tent revival, the America of the juke joint and the gambling den, the America of lunatic possibility that in its own mad way kept the original revolutionary spirit alive while an establishment began to calcify atop the place. Idiot America isn't even those people who believe that Adam sat down under a tree one day and named all the dinosaurs. Those people pay attention. They take notes.

"They take time and spend considerable mental effort to construct a worldview that is round and complete, just as other Americans did before them.

"The rise of Idiot America, though, is essentially a war on expertise. It's not so much antimodernism or the distrust of the intellectual elites that Richard Hofstadter teased out of the national DNA, although both of those things are part of it. The rise of Idiot America today reflects—for profit, mainly, but also, and more cynically, for political advantage and in the pursuit of power—the breakdown of the consensus that the pursuit of knowledge is a good. It also represents the ascendancy of the notion that the people we should trust the least are the people who know best what they're talking about. In the new media age, everybody is a historian, or a scientist, or a preacher, or a sage. And if everyone is an expert, then nobody is, and the worst thing you can be in a society where everybody is an expert is, well, an actual expert.

"This is how Idiot America engages itself. It decides, en masse, with a million keystrokes and clicks of the remote control, that because there are two sides to every question, they both must be right, or at least not wrong. And the words of an obscure biologist carry no more weight on the subject of biology than do the thunderations of some turkeyneck preacher out of the Church of Christ's Own Parking Structure in DeLand, Florida. Less weight, in fact, because our scientist is an 'expert' and, therefore, an 'elitist.' Nobody buys his books. Nobody puts him on cable. He's brilliant, surely, but no different from all the rest of us, poor fool.

"The foundations of Idiot America had been laid long before. A confrontation with medievalism intensified a distressing patience with medievalism in response, and that patience reached beyond the politics of war and peace and accelerated a momentum in the culture away from the values of the Enlightenment and toward a dangerous denial of the consequences of believing nonsense.

"Let us take a tour, then, of one brief period in the new century, a sliver of time three years after the towers fell. A federally funded abstinence program suggests that the human immunodeficiency virus can be transmitted through tears. An Alabama legislator proposes a bill to ban all books by gay writers. The Texas House of Representatives passes a bill banning suggestive cheerleading at high school football games. And the nation doesn't laugh at any of this, as it should, or even point out that, in the latter case, having Texas ban suggestive cheerleading is like having Nebraska ban corn.

"James Dobson, a prominent Christian conservative spokesman, compares the Supreme Court of the United States with the Ku Klux Klan. Pat Robertson, another prominent conservative preacher man, says that federal judges are a greater threat to the nation than is Al Qaeda and, apparently taking his text from the Book of Gambino, later sermonizes that the United States should get on the stick and snuff the democratically elected president of Venezuela. And the nation does not wonder, audibly, how these two poor fellows were allowed on television.

"The Congress of the United States intervenes to extend into a televised spectacle the prolonged death of a woman in Florida. The majority leader of the Senate, a physician, pronounces a diagnosis from a distance of eight hundred miles, relying for his information on a heavily edited videotape. The majority leader of the House of Representatives, a former exterminator [Tom DeLay at the time], argues against cutting-edge research into the use of human embryonic stem cells by saying 'An embryo is a person. . . . We were all at one time embryos ourselves. So was Abraham. So was Muhammad. So was Jesus of Nazareth.' Nobody laughs at him, or points out that the same could be said of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, or the inventor of the baby-back rib.

"And finally, in August 2005, the cover of Time—for almost a century, the clear if dyspeptic voice of the American establishment—hems and haws and hacks like an aged headmaster gagging on his sherry and asks, quite seriously, 'Does God have a place in science class?'

"Fights over evolution—and its faddish camouflage, 'intelligent design,' a pseudoscience that posits without proof or method that science is inadequate to explain existence and that supernatural sources must be studied as well—roil through school boards across the country. The president of the United States announces that he believes that ID ought to be taught in the public schools on an equal footing with the theory of evolution. And in Dover, Pennsylvania, during one of these controversies, a pastor named Ray Mummert delivers the line that ends our tour and, in every real sense, sums it up.

"'We've been attacked, he says, 'by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture

"And there you have it."

You can obtain the paperback edition of "Idiot America" with a minimum contribution to Truthout by clicking here.

We have noted that for thousands of years that the link between politics and the Faithful has been known by political leaders and theorists.  David Kuo, former Bush White House "faith-based" operative, in his book, "Tempting Faith," said that the "Bush White House used its 'faith-based initiatives' program to try to recruit 'unconventional' Republican voters, an acknowledgement of the power of the ignorant to fill in the ranks of the party faithful.

As long as the Conservative leadership continues to prey on the weakest link of society, the better the chance of leading them to the slaughtering pens of American Feudalism.  As long as the leadership is continued unfettered access to the media, the faster our plunge into the medieval age that the Conservatives lust for.  The only way to halt their relentless progress is to criminalize Conservatism.


"Be yourself.  Everyone else is taken."

Oscar Wilde