Wednesday, June 27, 2012


While enthusiastically granting that individual humans can, from time to time, commit the most inspiring acts of selflessness, generosity and kindness, these events are so inspiring partially because they are rare. Typically, humans are venal, self-centered and arrogant. I didn't start out as a misanthrope. But you all are talking me into it. This article is about arrogance, that is the arrogance of assuming that you are smart. You are not.

YOU ARE STUPID!!!! "I am not good at math." NO, you are STUPID!! "I don't test well.' Yes, that is because YOU ARE STUPID!! "I have emotional intelligence.' THERE IS NO SUCH THING!!! YOU ARE STUPID SO YOU RELATE WELL TO OTHER STUPID PEOPLE!! And here is my latest favorite, 'I rely more on intuition'. That is because YOU ARE STUPID!!!

The single most important thing that is interfering with your happiness is that YOU WILL NOT ADMIT THAT YOU ARE STUPID!! Republicans? STUPID!! Democrats? STUPID!! Hollywood personalities? INCREDIBLY STUPID. Can you take a partial derivative? IF NOT YOU ARE STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!!. When someone asks you, who should be President, the correct answer is, 'I don't know. I AM STUPID!! I have no idea what the consequences are of one over the other.' Of course, you probably don't agree with any of this. But that is..... you got it.... BECAUSE YOU ARE STUPID!!

The world will be one of woe until and unless people, and the Professors, Pundits and Politicians need to be first in line, accept that THEY ARE STUPID and act accordingly. We need an Arrogance Anonymous and I think a twelve step plan. People stand up in front of their peers and say, 'I am Michael Ferguson and I AM STUPID!' You, of course, need to insert your name in there. I used my name, partially to not offend anyone else whose name I may have used. It would be true, but they may not like that I singled them out. However, mostly it was to communicate that this applies to me, too. Yes, I am vastly less stupid than you. In fact, I may be the least stupid person on the planet. More importantly, I am vastly less ignorant than you. BUT I AM STILL STUPID AND I KNOW IT!!


So what should a twelve step plan look like? We mentioned the first step. Get up in front of the mirror, look at yourself and say, "I am STUPID!" Yes, the emphasis is important. You need to have a deep, visceral reaction to it. It is not good enough to have an intellectual reaction. You need to feel this deep down inside of you. YOU NEED TO FEEL INTELLECTUAL HUMILITY! Everyone, and I mean everyone, should be constantly imbued with a sense of intellectual humility and absolutely nobody is.

Next, of course, you need to go to the people you have called stupid in the past and tell them, 'I am stupid too.' This is important. You don't apologize for calling them stupid. They are. Your error was feeling, saying or acting as if YOU AREN'T STUPID TOO!! Yes, you may be less stupid than they, but this is an act of humility. It is not time for you to YET AGAIN WALLOW IN YOUR UNDESERVED INTELLECTUAL ARROGANCE!!

When someone says something with which you are disinclined to agree, GOOGLE IT YOU MORON!!! Who the HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!? God did NOT give you an encyclopedia for a brain. I can't TELL you how many times I have witnessed arguments that would not have survived one trip to a search engine. Either educate yourself before you disagree or SHUT UP AND ADMIT THAT YOU ARE SATISFIED WITH BEING NOT ONLY STUPID BUT ALSO IGNORANT!! I know far more than you do. I am vastly less stupid than you. Still, every time I choose to reply to someone, first I GOOGLE IT!! Because I AM STUPID!!

Every time you disagree with them ALWAYS perform a reductio ad absurdum. There is a good chance you don't know what that means, BECAUSE YOU ARE STUPID!! Even if you do know what it means, it just indicates that you are less stupid than most. With a reductio ad absurdum, you assume that the other person is correct. Then you try to get it to lead to a logical inconsistency. It is unlikely that you will succeed, because YOU ARE STUPID! But in the process you might get some glimmering of the reason the other person believes it. It does not mean that they are correct. Rather, it will open your eyes to the possibility that their belief is no more stupid than yours.

Now, that is only four steps, but I can't think of another eight. That is because, I am sure, I AM STUPID!!

As an aside, to all of you in 'high IQ societies', I suggest you change the designation to 'low stupidity societies.' I said this a couple of decades ago, 'I am not sure that IQ tests are an accurate measure of intelligence. But when you see the questions a person must get wrong in order to score 100, you understand that they are a very effective measure of stupidity. In fact, it should be inverted and renamed Stupidity Quotient."

Someone suggested that there should be a 'National Stupidity Day.' I think that is a wonderful idea. You take the day off and use it to contemplate just how STUPID you are. For example, consider this. You limped through High School Algebra and then avoided Math. Now you blather on, with not a hint of equivocation, about the Federal Reserve or unemployment or the affairs of nations or tax policy. SHUT UP!! THESE ARE ALL MUCH HARDER THAN HIGH SCHOOL ALGEBRA. YOU ARE STUPID. AND YOU ARE IGNORANT. YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT AND YOU ARE POLLUTING THE CIVIC DISCOURSE WITH YOUR INANITIES!!

Now, if you completed a couple of years of college level calculus, a year of statistics, and learned linear algebra, the above does not apply to you. But I assure you, you are still stupid and ignorant. I can say this because I have that much math and more. Yet, I am still stupid and ignorant. We will just need to consider something else on National Stupidity Day. Believe me, there will be no shortage of options.

In the evening the whole family will sit down to a feast of crow and relate for one another the stupid things they have thought, done or said in the prior year. If entered into with the proper attitude we can all get a great chuckle out if it. If we don't see the humor, well, it is time to visit Arrogance Anonymous.

I would like to suggest in the U.S. that National Stupidity day be the first Monday in November. If you don't understand why, it is a wonderful opportunity for you to reflect upon your stupidity.

Another person suggested that a single day is insufficient. I guess they imagine something like the extended Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. I suppose we could call it Moronukkah. While not endorsing the idea, I am not going to argue vociferously against it either. It is very doubtful that we, as a species, will ever be overly aware of our own stupidity. That is just not how we humans roll.


Yes, I was taught to suffer fools gladly and believe me I tried. In the end, however there were just too many of them. I don't mind the stupidity, really. It is how we humans are. I don't even mind the ignorance when people 'fess up to it. But the problem is that people are too stupid to understand that they are stupid. They think they are smart because the other animals on this planet are even dumber. Humans - the least stupid animal on the planet. You should place this statement some place prominent lest you forget it.