No one is more arrogant toward women, more aggressive or scornful, than the man who is anxious about his virility.
- Simone de Beauvoir
All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.
- Mark Twain
There’s a disturbing trend afoot in American politics today. Nowhere is this more true than on the Right. For lack of a better descriptive term, I’m going to call it the Idiocracy Effect. Simply put, this is the idea the competence and intellectual agility are bad, and the embracing of ignorance and intellectual simplicity is good. Complex problems? No worries; it’s nothing that can’t be addressed (if not completely resolved) with simplistic solutions and pithy slogans.
It’s as if Right-wing politics have been hijacked by C- and D-students. They know they can’t compete intellectually, so they’ve reduced to equation to ridiculing those poor saps unfortunate enough to be intelligent, accomplished, and able to speak in complete sentences. Remember the losers in high school who would give the “brainiacs” wedgies in the hallway between classes and stuff them into their lockers? Well, turns out that they’re now Republicans…and several of them are running for President. The only one who even pretends to have anything resembling intellectual agility is Jon Huntsman, who has the same chance of winning the GOP nomination as I do of going ice fishing in Guadalajara.
Rick Perry is perhaps the worst example of the GOP’s astonishing anti-intellectualism. You might think that a self-respecting public figure would resist seeing himself portrayed as having the intellectual capacity of a soap dish. Au contraire, mon ami…not only does Perry embrace ignorance and intellectual incuriosity as its own virtue, he’s the one leading the parade in creating the image that he’s a dullard.
Traveling to Lynchburg, Va., to speak to students at Liberty University (as in Falwell, not Valance), Perry made light of his bad grades at Texas A&M.
Studying to be a veterinarian, he stumbled on chemistry and made a D one semester and an F in another. “Four semesters of organic chemistry made a pilot out of me,” said Perry, who went on to join the Air Force.
“His other D’s,” Richard Oppel wrote in The Times, “included courses in the principles of economics, Shakespeare, ‘Feeds & Feeding,’ veterinary anatomy and what appears to be a course called ‘Meats.’ “
He even got a C in gym.
Perry conceded that he “struggled” with college, and told the 13,000 young people in Lynchburg that in high school, he had graduated “in the top 10 of my graduating class — of 13.”
Yes, America; this is your current front-runner in the race for the GOP nomination- a man whose enough of a dimbulb to be proud of himself for it.
I don’t know about you, but I want the smartest man available to have his finger on the nuclear trigger. Why should we settle for a man who likely can’t even spell (much less pronounce) “nuclear”? Rick Perry makes George W. Bush look like a Rhodes Scholar, and in case you’v forgotten, Bush’s eight-year Reign of Error © didn’t exactly leave this country in a very good place. We’re STILL trying to dig out from the mess left by our previous epic f—k-up of a President…and now we’re faced with a Republican front-runner who very likely is even DUMBER than Captain Codpiece ©?
What I find most disturbing is the degree to which the GOP’s assault on intelligence is playing successfully among Republican voters and the American public in general. Granted, the American Sheeple will never be accused of being either intellectually agile or discerning. It would be difficult to find a more malleable, easily propagandized, and disturbingly shallow collection of bipeds than those Sheeple who vote in our elections. Unable (or unwilling) to pay attention, they make their voting decisions based on sound bites, talking points, their own prejudices…or some or all of these things. It’s disturbing and it’s silly, but as Winston Churchill once said, democracy is the worst form of government imaginable- except for every other one out there.
Our education system is going to hell. Average SAT scores are falling, and America is slipping down the list of nations for college completion. And Rick Perry stands up with a smirk to talk to students about how you can get C’s, D’s and F’s and still run for president….
The Republicans are now the “How great is it to be stupid?” party. In perpetrating the idea that there’s no intellectual requirement for the office of the presidency, the right wing of the party offers a Farrelly Brothers “Dumb and Dumber” primary in which evolution is avant-garde….
The occupational hazard of democracy is know-nothing voters. It shouldn’t be know-nothing candidates.
Of course, know-nothing voters are hardly a new or really even news-worthy American phenomenon. Taken as a aggregate, the IQ of the American electorate ranks right up there with sheet rock and mold spores. I mean, how else do you explain not one, but TWO George W. Bush terms? The only feasible explanation is that Bush was able to talk down to the American Sheeple on their level, because he’s as dull and intellectual incurious as the average American voter.
It’s been said- often by me- that Americans get exactly the quality of leadership they deserve. If you accept that premise, it goes a long ways towards explaining why Republican primary voters can choose from, besides Rick Perry, intellectual bottom feeders and world-class panderers like Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Thaddeus McCotter, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum.
Is it any wonder that I fear for the future of my country?