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Chronic stupidity – a guide

Ignorance can be educated and crazy can be medicated but there’s no cure for stupid (Anonymous)

Since 7 September 2013 when 53.49% of the Two Party Preferred votes elected a coagulation of bandits and dregs pedlars led by a swaggering, incoherent, incompetent chancer I cannot observe any group of people without thinking; “about half of you lot are dullards, dupes, imbeciles, gormless bumpkins or fellow-travelling Tory grifters”.

Despite the idiocy of Labor’s Whack-A-Mole leadership debacle driven by Kevin Rudd’s narcissism and mendacity the preposterous notion was carried that a better alternative was a destructive, wilfully ignorant, lip-licking graduate of the John Howard School Of Toxic Torydom. After he’d smeared the walls with his own excrement the absurdity of that bout of collective delusion quickly became obvious to all but the chronically stupid and Tony Abbott PM was subsequently unceremoniously jettisoned.

Abbott’s usurper was an improvement by any measure; how could he be worse? But Malcolm Bligh Turnbull’s enormous self-regard was not matched with any political nouse nor a pair of functioning cojones. Mal Trembles capitulated to the Liberal Party crazies – the lunatics were still in charge of the asylum and in 2016 the demented RWFW inmates of the big happy house on the hill were again endorsed by the docile and the stupid.

Einstein observed that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The return of the Lying Nasty Party after two terms of stealing the sprinkles from orphans’ fairy bread and the capricious sabotage of all things fair and progressive suggests that a majority of our fellow electors’ stupidity has bordered on insane.

We are all guilty of occasional stupidity. Buying a Kenny G CD, displaying a Baby On Board sign, wearing crocs or using the phrase “at the end of the day” are minor, passing transgressions that can be readily countered with some light derision.

Alan Jones listeners, celebrity obsessives, the neck-tattooed, the doof-doofers et al are the habitually stupid; immune to reason or common sense but they at least have little impact on the rest of us.

Stupidity is far less forgivable though when it’s applied to the responsibility we all carry of nominating competent, rational and balanced administrators to guide our country on our collective behalf. The choices impact us all and have long term consequences. One poor decision can have dire consequences; repeated poor decisions can be calamitous, so how to treat those of our acquaintance who exhibit such behaviour?

Politicians are fair game – this current dismal crop of spivs and climacophiliacs in particular has earned all of the invective that is thrown their way but what of those family, friends and colleagues who stupidly vote for them? Calling it out is counter-productive, reasoned argument is mostly wasted but ignoring it feels like capitulation in the face of the current appalling levels of incompetence, graft and authoritarianism.

“Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative” (John Stuart Mill).

The Warringah, Wentworth and Indi electorates have demonstrated that when rational conservative alternatives are available then even the rusted-ons are capable of redemption. Other generationally-inclined Liberal seats saw swings to the left in the recent election so it is true that not all conservatives are stupid people. The conservatives of my acquaintance are not stupid people either, but some are subject to blinkered stupidity when it comes to exercising their democratic responsibilities under this current wretched regime of feudalists and flat-earthers. It’s difficult to remain calm and polite when supposedly intelligent folk, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, trot out the inane propaganda of the Libs as better economic managers, ABC lefty bias, union thuggery and welfare bludgers. This is denialism, it is adherence to discredited dogma and it’s like arguing with creationists and conspiracy theorists.

Faced with the decision to either take to the drink or research such a mentality I fired up Dr Google and came across an interesting explainer:

How politics makes us stupid. Ezra Klein, Vox. Why isn’t good evidence more effective in resolving political debates?

Identity-Protective Cognition theory “is a way of avoiding dissonance and estrangement from valued groups, individuals subconsciously resist factual information that threatens their defining values.”

How politics makes us stupid is a worthwhile read. It not only explains the mindsets of the habitual Liberal voters I know it also helps explain Tory tribalism and to some extent also the weird cult of Scott Morrison’s prosperity gospellers. It also includes the somewhat comforting observation that “a political movement that fools itself into crafting national policy based on bad evidence is a political movement that will, sooner or later, face a reckoning at the polls.”

Now, the Cab-Shiraz or the Semillon? Cheers!

* * * * *

We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet (Stephen Hawking).

My heart is broken in the face of the stupidity of my species (Joni Mitchell).

People’s ignorance really pisses me off. Stupidity is when you can’t help it -ignorance is when you choose not to understand something (Sarah McLachlan).

Stupidity is the deliberate cultivation of ignorance (William Gaddis).

This is article was originally published on The Grumpy Geezer.

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  1. Keitha Granville

    love your turn of phrase GG, cheers me up no end 🙂

  2. Phil

    Ah very funny. Abbott the true personification of the good old Wanker and those that voted for him.

    I like to think of Abbotts mother in a hospital bed giving birth to Tony Abbott and the Doctor remarking well done Mrs Abbott you have just birth to a nice pair of large well formed ears. Oh wait! There is something else in here.

  3. Pilot

    Come on Grumpy, be nice and don’t alienate people. ALL Conservatives ARE stupid! They are also greedy, each and everyone of them lie like professionals. Those who cannot see the writing on the wall ARE conservatives. Sadly I deal with them daily and there’s no difference. They are stupid, ignorant, self-absorbed and just plain GROSS.

  4. andy56

    i agree and i am mad as hell……..
    yea sure half of me says give them all the rope, yet the other half says dont let the fckers destroy absolutely everything.

  5. Jean

    Say it as it is GG!
    I still shake my head with amazement at the lying! I can’t believe the more responsible press didn’t call them out with rigour. Certainly they put the suggestion of lying to many, but accepted the equally ‘lying’ answer – I just felt like screaming for the lies to be followed up continuously.
    To calm my anger I intend researching the problem as to why decent, working people actually keep voting LNP? This will mean questioning (nicely) to get some sort of understanding as to what makes people vote against the good of themselves as well as the country.

    With the economy heading the wrong way quickly, I constantly remember the ALP policies, and again feel dismay – these policies would have already had a turn around happening!

    Will the people turn when they don’t get that $1020 tax relief (unless they earn $48,000!) How disappointed someone on $25,000 will be to get $200 or thereabouts; now the wonderful softener ($800) for the deeming scandal – also comes with secret conditions – pensioners who own their own home won’t get it! The gifts that never arrive!
    As someone wrote in the papers today – The more you earn the more social capital you will be given!

  6. Freethinker

    Very enjoyable reading to which I agree 100% with it.
    Is refreshing to know that I am not the only grumpy individual with a low-level tolerance for imbeciles.
    Regarding our present herd of politicians this quote by Robert Anton Wilson
    comes to my mind:
    “The worst that can happen under monarchy is rule by a single imbecile, but democracy often means the rule by an assembly of three or four hundred imbeciles.”

  7. Josephus

    Useful comments on your honest, despairing outpour GG- I too look at strangers and guess who voted for this lot. Not just stupidity , but brain washing by liars. Using the Goebbels technique of fear and repetition. No chance in hell if the rich control most of the media and say what the ignorant want to hear.

    Meanwhile would townies please consider attending the refugee rallies this Saturday. In our small town it is taking place Friday instead. Thank you.

  8. totaram

    Josephus: “Not just stupidity , but brain washing by liars”. Nailed it! Until we can break this brainwashing stranglehold of the MSM, these liars will continue to be elected time and time again.

  9. wam

    All my rabbottians are/were, mostly retirees, hard working, not unintelligent and definitely not stupid. Indeed those long term school friends are maths/science graduates of Adelaide university of 60 years ago. All on scholarships. All rich frankers, probably redeemers, with health cards.
    They see truths from a different perspective. Their upbringing, work culture and social structure does not allow them to accept criticism of the LNP as being true.
    They fear the loonies with an absolute passion more than their other fear, muslims and sharia law.
    They are saturated by republican and british far right propaganda which exacerbates their conservatism and gives relevance to the murdoch and morning show bias.
    They believe in using violence to combat threats like boat people
    The believe climate change is a natural occurrence..
    They form the majority of the lnp permanent vote
    they gain no benefit from their votes but, at election time, their truths are most likely to drag workers from labor by voicing their fears.
    Sadly this time a big chunk of labor’s workers put the fear of losing their jobs first and went with the rabbottians like lambs to the slaughter. Other labor supporters were caught up in the loonie bullshit and gave their cash to the greens.
    ps to get an average you must have above and below with plenty of labor supporters in both camps?

  10. Wayne Turner

    The ignorant and stupid out number the informed. The ignorant get conned by the MSM.

    The Australian mediaocracy continues…

  11. Grumpy Geezer


    You’d think that “those long term school friends are maths/science graduates” would understand the value of facts vs opinion. But that linked item (How politics makes us stupid) does go some way to explaining the anomaly of intelligent people having dumb opinions. In my opinion.

  12. Mark Needham

    ““about half of you lot are dullards, dupes, imbeciles, gormless bumpkins or fellow-travelling Tory grifters”.”

    and then…..

    “We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet (Stephen Hawking).

    My heart is broken in the face of the stupidity of my species (Joni Mitchell).

    People’s ignorance really pisses me off. Stupidity is when you can’t help it -ignorance is when you choose not to understand something (Sarah McLachlan).

    Stupidity is the deliberate cultivation of ignorance (William Gaddis).”

    Amazing how we see ourselves as not being part of the problem. I stress often, “How can I be so sure that the problem is not I”.

    Yup, I am sure I fit in here somewhere, but …you….nah….never been there mate.!
    One of the main problems is that in this age of MASS MEDIA, sorting shite from clay, is oft done on a, “I’ll go with this one, as it fits my current line of thought, and is amenable to my argument”.
    The more I try to investigate, learn, listen, the more bloody confusing it are. It boils down to TRUST, I suppose.

    Who, what can I trust.?

    Just saying, folks. These are my words and thoughts about where I am at. I am not saying your wrong or correct………?….!

    Mark Needham

    I look at life from both sides now,
    from up and down,
    and still somehow.
    I really do not know Life, at all. sorry Joni.

  13. Henry Rodrigues

    Great article as usual, Grumpy.

    Nothing can quite explain why stupid people consider themselves informed or why very ill informed people do not think they are stupid. Its a condition that is fanned and strengthened by the self serving media. After watching those ‘reality’ shows on commercial TV and the subtle and often blatant propaganda by the state owned media, the fuzzy headed people are too tired or disoriented to give any serious thought to the issues that will most likely affect them negatively. They cannot even bother to know that they are being conned, robbed, shat and pissed on. And all the while Scummo and his band of dickheads will continue along their destructive ways. The cult of the monarchy has the people mesmerised, the pulp weeklies with their front page stories about prince this or duchess that, has them more concerned about the welfare of rich aristocratic leaners than about unemployed, sick, welfare dependent poor australians. Selfishness may one reason, but brainwashing is not far behind.

    Amongst my acquaintances I regret to say, are two such dickheads, both staunch monarchists, climate deniers, smug self centered pricks.

  14. Grumpy Geezer

    Hiya Mark,

    “Amazing how we see ourselves as not being part of the problem. I stress often, “How can I be so sure that the problem is not I”.”

    Indeed. I test my views all the time (except when it comes to creationism, conspiracy theories and the view that U2 are not a bunch of wankers). I have yet to be persuaded in the least by the opinionista cheering on the Tories and their ragged dogma.

    Within a group of my old ex-colleagues that meets up every couple of months for a claret or 3 too many and a good old fashioned political argument there resides a few rusted on Lib voters. They cannot use logic, evidence, facts to support their outrageous “reasoning”. All they’ve ever got is the tired old Tory mantras that they never question. As but one example, one of them claims ABC lefy bias admitted he never watched or listened to the ABC but refused to change his veiws when confronted with different views supported by evidence.

    If anyone has a sound argument on why this rabble, after 6 years of evident mismanagement and corruption, should’ve been re-elected I have yet to hear it or read about it.

  15. wam

    love you grumpy .
    Stupidity is normal in us all on the spur and some of us spur more often..
    But up bringing is ultra important in determining what you see and what you believe is true.
    These conservatives view the government not as those on this site, are racist, sexist, homophobic and elitist from my point of view but honest and factual from their point of view. They argue the waste of billions on an NBN the labor voter will never use and firmly believe in ‘trickle’..
    They are rich because of their hard work and, like trump, conveniently forget the millions inherited from parents, do not accept the non-worker should get more than fed. They are members of the national party and believe labor is in the thrall of the unions and loonies. Their opinions are dead dumb to me but true and honest to them.
    The key is the christian pragmatic way of thinking. If the end is pure the way to get there is ‘whatever it takes’, whomever it hurts and how long it needs. The sub-key is none of those thinks refer to them…
    I see shorten erred during and scummo didn’t do anything, but, as the polls predicted little billy narrowly won the election in 7 out of 8 SECTIONS indeed with 100% in 2 of them.. Wonder why he isn’t PM????

  16. Diane Larsen

    Dear GG you have put into words exactly how I feel the comments section uplifts me knowing that there are others who struggle with acquaintances who cannot see the wood for the trees and continue to vote for the liberals and nationals against all evidence of mismanagement and wrongdoing. I like the turtle have been so disheartened by the election result that I have withdrawn into my shell for the last few months to escape the gloating and stupidity of some who just refuse to recognise what is happening in this country. Hopefully the great articles on this site will make me re-engage and motivate me to step up once again and join the fight

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