Gun Control: Stupid is Easy; Thinking is Hard

If I recall my high school Latin correctly, “Si Hoc Ergo Iste” is translated as: “If this, then that.” In other words if this is true, then that [which is something else] must also be true. Where the idea of stupidity comes in, is where a statement is declared but the stupid simply stop short by not applying the same line of reasoning to a similar situation. They fail to do so because critical thinking is difficult at best and arduously and painfully taxing at worst. In fact, it is to be expected that stupidity would be far more common than critical thinking. Now lest you think I am being harsh by using the word stupid, notice what Albert Einstein said about human stupidity: “”Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

To my point: I have received, on numerous occasions or have heard many times, the following assertion [or some variation thereof]: “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” As a gun owner myself, I find the statement to be offensive to my own sense of intellect. This is often the response many gun advocates present when attempting to explain their resistance to various gun-control measures. The statement is at best witty but as Voltaire stated, “A witty statement proves nothing.” Or the gun statement is at worst and most certainly, damn stupid.

More exactly, of course, guns in and of themselves do not kill people. But people use guns to kill people! That is like saying, “Arsenic does not kill people” — unless you consume it, stupid!! So you keep it out of the reach of children. If you do not, you could be charged with neglect or abuse. No court would accept your defense in not keeping arsenic away from your children if you stated, “Arsenic does not kill people; people kill people [or themselves].”

But getting back to my Latin, si hoc ergo iste. If guns don’t kill people then logically, nuclear weapons don’t kill people. Yet, the United States and several other nations do not want Iran to have nuclear weapons. What would any person with at least some semblance of intelligence think if Iran asserted its right to have nuclear weapons by saying: “Nuclear weapons don’t kill people; people kill people.” Do you think the NRA and its followers in Congress would accept that argument? Yes, but only if they were stupid. But somehow when it comes to guns, that argument seems to have weight even though it is just as stupid. Furthermore, if the above statement about guns not killing people is true, then why not let the mentally ill and criminals have guns? After all, “guns don’t kill people.”

The statement that guns don’t kill people is mindless and insulting to anybody who has at least two cents worth of intellect. Yes, it is a witty statement — easy to recite and requires no thought. It is something the stupid can repeat while thinking they sound profound. No wonder it is oft repeated.

To be sure, there are better arguments one can pose in opposition to gun control legislation [whether the arguments can withstand rigorous scrutiny is another matter] but using the above argument, I would think, should be insulting even to the most ardent gun advocate — unless the advocate is stupid.

Published in: on December 20, 2015 at 8:59 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Stupid Is, As Stupid – As Ever

There is no record of who actually said these words: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” In short, this assertion is that stupidity can sometimes be the best explanation for actions that might otherwise be deemed as being motivated by malice. That quotation implies that malice is more pernicious and sinister than stupidity. I assert stupidity, however, can be equally as dangerous as malice.

Stupidity, to any degree, can be dangerous to all involved or impacted, and that potential for danger should not be underestimated. This is especially true when those in positions of authority – real or perceived, spout stupidity. As an aside, smart people can say stupid things, so to that end, I will ask you to judge whether the following person is painfully stupid or whether he is a smart person saying stupid things. I present him in the context that what he said was not said with malice or baleful intent but with dangerous sincerity.

In May of this year [2012] Annie-Rose Strasser posted from ThinkProgress LGBT a video of a North Carolina pastor, Charles Worley, who stated the following:

“I figured a way out — a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers. But I couldn’t get it passed through Congress. Build a great big large fence, 150 or 100 miles long. Put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals. Have that fence electrified so they can’t get out. Feed ‘em, and – And you know what? In a few years they’ll die out. You know why? They can’t reproduce.”

My reaction to this man’s solution is two-fold.

First of all, I believe this pastor has overlooked a vital aspect of homosexuality. If it were possible to round them all up and confine them, only those that are confined would “die off.” But that would not rid the US of all “lesbians and queers” because [and this might come as a shock to the pastor] the heterosexuals outside the fenced-in area would continue to reproduce, and approximately 10% of the children born would be homosexual. Thus, for as long as men and women continue to have children, homosexuals will continue to also be born; they will not “die out.” His solution would not “get rid of all the lesbians and queers.”

Even if you believe homosexuality is a deliberate choice rather than being of genetic origins, heterosexual parents will continue to produce them. Therefore, the only solution to rid the US of homosexuals is for heterosexuals to stop having children.

It would appear that the pastor’s solution is, at worst, completely stupid and, at best, simply stupid. I wonder, how many in his congregation actually gave this solution any critical thought? Pity that congregation if he is the smartest one in the bunch.

The second aspect that gives me cause for pause is that the vitriol directed at homosexuality seems to be disproportionate vis a vis other “sins” specified in the Bible.

Christians believe they are not subject to the Old Testament Mosaic Law but to the teachings of Jesus and his apostles/disciples. According to I Corinthians chapter 6 verses 9 and 10 [New International Version], “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

One thing is glaringly obvious from this passage: No one sin is worse than the other. Therefore, if that is the case, then I think the pastor should recommend that an electrified fenced-in section should be constructed to contain the swindlers and greedy people as well as adulterers and the other kinds of persons cited in I Corinthians.

Religious groups have stood outside funerals of US military personnel while holding up signs stating that those deaths were God’s way of saying that homosexuals should not be allowed in the military. But, to date, no such groups have stood outside anybody’s funeral while holding up signs condemning slandering and swindling or idolatry. Furthermore, where are the gangs of hoodlums who wait for the sexually immoral [e.g., those who have pre-marital sex] or thieves or greedy persons to leave the bar and then attack and beat them up? Why do they do that to homosexuals but not to the others listed in I Corinthians? There is no indication that any one of those types of behaviors condemned in I Corinthians is worse than the other. In short, being greedy is as “sinful” as being a homosexual – neither one will get into the kingdom of God.

In the interest of full disclosure, I do not care what homosexuals do any more than I care what heterosexuals do. Furthermore, I do not accept the Bible or any religious book, as the word of “God,” but I quote it to make my point about the utter hypocrisy [i.e., stupidity] of believers who twist themselves out of shape about homosexuality while they react as if the other “sins” are less “abominable.”

What I do care about is honoring the humanity of others – homosexuals, heterosexuals, bi-sexuals, asexuals or whatever. Thieves, greedy persons and swindlers, in my opinion, produce far more harm to society than do adulterers or homosexuals – but to the “God” of the Bible, they are all unworthy of entrance into his kingdom. The pastor would have more credibility if had suggested that all those guilty of the “sins” listed in I Corinthians should be confined behind an electrified fence. But if he had suggested that, I wonder how many in his congregation would be left – not just in his congregation but any.

So, is the pastor a smart person saying stupid things or is the pastor simply stupid? An ancillary question would be, how many times must a smart person say stupid things before he is no longer smart but stupid?

In any event, stupidity of that sort is frightening in its essence and can be dangerous in its consequences. Stupid is as stupid as it ever was.

Published in: on May 29, 2012 at 4:06 AM  Leave a Comment  
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The Infection Called, “Stupiditis” [an excerpt from the book, “Why They Think I’m Crazy”]

Albert Einstein is credited with asserting, “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former” and Elbert Hubbard, an American writer and philosopher observed, at an earlier time, “Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.”

I am bemused at why human beings have not managed to render themselves extinct, especially given that stupidity is one of the most infectious conditions known to humanity. The antidote is usually in short supply and profoundly difficult to procure.

These are my observations about this infection:

1] Stupidity accounts for as much tragedy as does malice.
2] Passion can make a stupid idea seem intelligent.
3] Passion can mute intellect more effectively than intellect can guide passion.
4] Opinions are often the most effective antidote for intelligence.
5] Parents [or their surrogates] are a common contagion of stupidity.
6] The difference between a stupid man and a stupid woman is the difference between death by cyanide or death by arsenic.
7] Stupidity is more contagious than intelligence.
8] For many humans, the official cause of death and the actual cause of death differ because stupidity is not considered an official medical term.
9] Stupidity alone can be dangerous; stupidity mixed with power is insanely lethal. It is one of life’s most virulent combinations.

Published in: on March 17, 2012 at 4:08 AM  Leave a Comment  
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