Friday, August 20, 2010

America needs a War on Stupid – but we already have one

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Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin
[source: Celebridiot]

Japhy Grant at Heroes & Villains knows what needs to be done in order to (actually) save America from those who so actively try to tear it apart through combined idiocy and demagogy:

Consider these late developments: The national conversation at the moment is over whether a church has a right to worship where it wants to worship. There’s semi-serious talk about repealing the 14th Amendment. The Republican Senate candidate in Nevada thinks the Department of Education should be abolished and has suggested that voters should take up arms if they don’t get the results they like.

What’s most damning is not that crazy people are saying crazy things, but that intelligent people are taking them seriously. There will always be whack-jobs who will think that taking away religious freedom or the right to vote is a good idea. You will always be able to find some lizard hiding under a rock who advocates the wholesale destruction of the government by revolution. The cost of doing business in a democracy that values plurality and individual freedom is that the village idiot can say whatever he or she likes.

If you want to be ignorant, go ahead. If you want to believe that Barack Obama is a Kenyan Muslim socialist hellbent on forcing you into a gay marriage with a federally-funded deathbot, go for it! But don’t expect me to take you seriously.

Yet, that’s exactly what we’re doing. Both in the media and in the halls of power, the inmates, if not running the asylum, are setting the agenda. John Adams said that “Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people” and yet those charged with informing the public have failed.

Never mind that the idea of a politician weighing in on where a church should go is anathema to the very reason for our country’s existence. Never mind that those who oppose gay marriage can offer up no reason for their opposition other than bigotry. Never mind that a civil war was fought to secure the rights guaranteed in the 14th Amendment. Truth is being tossed aside for ratings and the end result is a slow legitimization of the idiotic.

The reason for this is cowardice. Our society has come to believe that any viewpoint is a legitimate viewpoint, so long as there’s someone out there to espouse it. While this might make for good jokes on The Colbert Report, it’s actually a greater threat to America than terrorism or drugs or any of the other causes we have decided to ‘declare war’ on. Which is why I am suggesting that America ought to collectively declare war on stupidity. If we are to wage an ideological battle against a concept, let it be against Stupidity.

But I wonder: Wouldn’t such a war essentially translate into a war between the Left and the Right – the very “war” that’s been raging so fervently for nearly the past two years now? It seems to be that just about every single idiotic claim and conspiracy theory these days (Obama’s a Kenyan Muslim, Death Panels, Ground Zero Mosque, ACORN, anchor/terror babies, eeetc.) has firm and clear roots in the far-Right and it’s the Left (and sane people in general) who find themselves pitted against such lunacy. So an ideological war against stupidity would essentially boil down to exactly what we have now: The Right does its best to spread its racist, Christofascist, fear-mongering bullshit, and everyone else – typically liberals and some moderate conservatives – try to fight it.

Problem is, judging by how widespread and omnipresent these bullshit right-wing memes have become over the past two years, it’s pretty clear that the side of reason seems to have stalled on this one whilst the side of the batshit crazy marches on. For which I am quite happy (in a perfectly joyless manner) to point the finger at those spineless Democrats in office. How are the rest of us supposed to refute the Right’s bullshit if those in power just lay down and let the kooks and cranks have the run of the place? Where’s the opposition?

(via @todayspolitics)