This Christmas my daughter presented me an interesting book. At first I thought it as a joke, until I began to read it. Suddenly, the current crisis started to make more sense. The title of this work is: The Story of Stupidity; a History of Western Idiocy from the Days of Greece to the Moment You Saw this Book by James Welles Ph.D. Little did I know what gems lay between its pages.
Consider this paragraph and relate it to our present domestic political situation. Indeed, it can also shed light on international affairs: “Basically, ‘Groupthink’is a way for closing the minds of members of a cohesive unit. Policies are rationalized rather than scrutinized; data conflicting with such policies are ignored rather than evaluated; warnings of impending or possible failure are dismissed rather than discussed. By such means, the group schema is maintained intact, which is obviously the most important thing of all. Whether or not behavior is appropriate or successful is a distinctly secondary consideration to the maintenance of group image and ideology.”
Does this not accurately describe America’s political parties and their agendas? How about special interest groups like the Global Warming crowd who have tossed the questioning of science aside in the drive to push their agenda. Al Gore saying “The debate is over!” is absurd. In science the debate is never over! Continuous questioning lies at the heart of the Scientific Method.
Consider this sentence as well: “Dissent is considered disloyal, and direct pressure may be brought to bear against any alleged member who seriously questions any of the group’s stereotypes, delusions, or policies. In addition, self-appointed ‘Mindguards’ may protect the group from adverse information that might shatter their shared misconceptions…”
The above explains why members of our political parties cannot work together. Each has staked out a position and refuses to accept the value of another’s perspective and forces strict discipline among those who demonstrate any inclination toward independent thinking.
What does this lead to? “As a bureaucracy grows and becomes entrenched, its ability to respond effectively to its environment is reduced…” Does this not describe the current impasse within Congress and with this President? Each seeks his/her own solution and attempts to divide the nation to gain political support while no one is legitimately trying to solve the nation’s growing problems or even see the other’s perspective…Groupthink prevails!
Example: Short-term payroll tax cuts that reduce the income for Social Security may serve an immediate short-term political need, but it adds to the long term crisis of Social Security for future generations. Sacrificing the future for the present is…STUDPID. To quote again: “…people usually fail to see themselves doing something stupid while engaged in behavior detrimental to their own interests.”
Perhaps what is even more disconcerting for the future are the words of Ron White from the Redneck Comedy Tour: “You can’t fix stupid!” hmmm…where does that leave us?
Happy New Year!
by Ron Chapman