Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Climate Change, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism
“Against stupidity, the very gods themselves contend in vain.” Friedrich Schiller
“Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed – in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical – and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for when dealing with a stupid person than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison
One of the Republican candidates in the obtuse recall election of Gavin Newsome, Larry Elder, admitted he didn’t have the temperament to be Governor: he is, as of now, the frontrunner due to name recognition as a conservative talk show host. “If someone tells you who they are the first time, believe them.” Dr. Maya Angelou. This is 2016 redux: even if he loses (which for California’s sake, I hope he does), he’s getting absolutely FREE publicity. Flattery and narcissism gave us four years of incompetence, greater than 600,000 dead Americans, and dysfunctional, dystopian governance. Elder isn’t stupid: he has a Juris doctorate. He’s apparently violent, brandishing a weapon to threaten his ex-fiancé (smart woman). He is a callous opportunist who, like his orange muse, doesn’t care about the damage his decisions, if he were to win the governorship, would have on his state. He would copy the stupidity of Greg Abbott, trying to block voters that look like him, prohibit mask, and vaccine mandates, open beaches to offshore drilling, and revoke any environmental protections. The current exodus from California would be put on steroids.
We’ve had four years of “sweeping the forest” to manage climate change, drinking bleach, or shining flashlights up our rectums to find the COVID, and now, ivermectin instead of vaccines, deworming, instead of leeches and swamp roots, perhaps? There are fires burning acres in California, flooding in New York subways, Philly streets, and tornadoes in New Jersey. Hurricane Ida came sixteen years to the DAY after Hurricane Katrina, and the most consequential nation that could do something about climate change did NOTHING.
In other words, we have serious problems to consider that will the ensure survival of the human species, and life on THIS planet. Ignoring climate change has only exacerbated its effects. We’ve ignored it since 1979 when the fossil fuels industry knew about the effects of their product. Their action was to hire the same law firms that obfuscated the effects of cigarette smoking. Instead of terraforming Mars, we should try terraforming Earth.
Neither did Texas remotely think about deputizing citizens to narc on women who might want to get a Constitutionally protected right to abortion due to incest, sexual assault, or the health of the mother and zygote being compromised. “Deputizing citizens” means anyone on planet Earth getting $10,000 for suing doctors, nurses, clinics, partners, relatives, Uber drivers. “Deputizing citizens” is what this nation did to catch fugitive slaves. What if a blue state made it a crime to own a firearm? The 5-4 precedent made “rule of law” in a nation that used to pride itself for that oxymoronic. How is this the common good? How is this E Pluribus Unum? The Republic of Texas after midnight Tuesday, started looking like the Republic of Gilead. Flights out to relocate women should be arranged with the same urgency we evacuated Afghanistan. Athletic events, sports, tourism will take a hit. No one visited Chile during the rule of Augusto Pinochet, nor are few interested in traveling to North Korea to visit Kim Jong Un. Assholes aren’t good for economies.
The state of Texas Republicans did not think twice about restricting voting rights for BIPOC: black, indigenous, people of color, the young, the aged, the invalid. A sign at the border on IH-10: “drive friendly, the Texas way” should likely receive an edit. They follow Florida in COVID-19 caseloads, and their hospitals are overflowing. The priority of the “family values” party of the fetus is power, not babies, or democracy.
There is exhaustion dealing with stupid people. By stupid, I do mean they fall into two camps: one is callously ambitious, saying what “plays to the crowd” for the advantage of seizing power. But like the dog that catches the car, or Wil E. Coyote catching the Road Runner, they don’t quite know what to do with the goal once it’s attained. In other words, the chase was all that mattered. The other camp is the most terrifying: the Dunning-Kruger cultists, or people so convinced of their “greatness,” so enamored with their superiority, you’d have a better chance of lecturing to a canyon; stone walls absorb more information. They cannot be rationalized with, they cannot be convinced. They will wear you down by a consistent drumbeat of drivel. It doesn’t have to make sense, and that’s the point!
Editorial boards used to exist in newspapers once read widely. They still do, but their powers were diminished by the advent of social media. Editors would peruse your words for grammar, diction, paragraph length, and LOGIC. It was an honor to be published in “letters to the editor,” and in old school, a means to build up your writer’s clips.
Social media has no editorial board, except for AI that applies moribund rules that make absolutely no sense (case-in-point: the septuagenarian Twitter adolescent that got his privileges revoked after so much damage, and misinformation DROPPED 73% when his accounts were revoked). The more outrageous, the more misspelled it was, it didn’t matter as long as it goes “viral,” which wasn’t a thing before the medium.
An entire party has emerged from the comment section of Facebook posts. “Owning the libs” is the only organizing ethos. Conservative intellectuals like Bill Krystal, Mike Lofgren, and George Will left the party that did not get better with the advent of Sarah Palin. There was a race-to-the-bottom that led to the Chief Executive of incompetence, and the governors of Texas and Florida cloning his ghoulish body count. They are speaking to the Dunning-Kruger, mask fighting, vaccine, and science-denying crowd. They are racing for the brass ring of dumbed down. Their orange, sandaled Golden Calf spoke to the Dunning-Kruger crowd because he IS them.
Trolls, like gremlins, should not be fed after midnight. That, unfortunately, happened in Texas. They have awakened a sleeping giant of women voters.
The 2018 tsunami continues in 2022, 2024, and perhaps, saves a republic.