Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Too Many Idiots

One of my favorite memories of my mom is the time she woke me up on a Saturday morning and launched, in medias res, as was her wont, into a monologue—more like a diatribe—of what was on her mind at the time.

“I’ll tell you what’s wrong with the world,” she announced, loud enough to pretty much knock the hangover out of my head, despite the fact that it was only like 7:30AM my time, “too many idiots!”

She then proceeded to fill me in on some sort of patent nonsense on the part of politics or business, the details of which are long lost to me, but I’ll never forget the basic pronouncement, which has served as a guiding principle to describe all kinds of behavior, from the clueless shenanigans of public officials to the lame-brained posturing of talk radio hosts to the short-sighted profiteering of multi-national corporations and their intractable call-center minions.

And it certainly applies to the 48% of the American public, as reported in a recent Gallup poll, who believe that “most scientists believe that global warming is occurring,” (down from 65% in 2008.) How can people be so clueless? How can there be so many idiots? How do these people feed and clothe themselves?

The same percentage, approximately, believe that the threat of global warming is “generally exaggerated.” I’ll tell you what’s generally exaggerated: the intelligence of such idiots!

Okay, now that I’ve got the ad hominems out of my system, I guess I can try a reasoned argument, this one, at least deductively valid:
Either there are too many idiots in the world or I’m wrong about that.
I’m not wrong about that.
Therefore, there are two many idiots in the world.

Ah, the power of the disjunctive syllogism.

But if you prefer modus tollens:
If there aren’t too many idiots, then I’m wrong.
I’m not wrong.
Therefore, there are too many idiots.

Even an idiot can see that.


Blogger Deb's Lunch said...

In British, idiot is fuckwit - I got introduced to this in Bridget Jones Diary, where there is also a collective plural fuckwit-age. I like that.

10:42 AM  

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