Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The corruption within.

One of the most poisonous ideas to emerge from the Enlightenment is the idea of a "rational" man. Whilst I believe that all men have inherent rights which should be protected by the force of the state, I do not believe that all men are of equal ability, particularly with regard to the capacity to think. My job involves passing simple instructions to others their for own betterment, which for most of my patients seems extraordinarily difficult to do. Now matter how often you repeat, how many times you write it down, how extensive an explanation you give, people seem to have a difficulty grasping simple concepts.

Last night,the TV series Master Chef started screening, a show which my family quite likes. My wife was quite surprised to note that most of the contestants on that show had difficulty following a recipe when written down and given to them. "How stupid can you be?" She said. I grunted, said that's what I see at work everyday, and went back to reading. However what really seemed to bother her was that fact that here were fifty or so apparently middle class people who could not even master the simple task of following instructions on a sheet of paper. What was of interest was that the people who could follow the instructions were usually professional.

What becomes apparent after dealing with literally thousands of human beings is that most of them are capable of simple instructions and are only capable of grasping simple thoughts. Complex issues, like the operation of the human body, sociological phenomena, defence policy etc are all literally beyond their comprehension. People do have a capacity to understand the concrete, proximate and immediate, but the more abstract or remote the concept the harder it is for them to fathom.

This of course has profound political implications. The good management of a society is a difficult thing since a society's well being is dependent on the proper interaction of a host of complex variables. The fact of the matter is, that if the average man does not understand and the variables that affect it, he is more likely than not to make the wrong decisions; this is even before malice or ideology further confuse the issue.

One of the glaring omissions in modern political theory is thorough appreciation of the role that stupidity plays in the body politic. Whilst nearly everyone agrees that men should have the right to vote, there is not an insistence on a test to see if they have a capacity to exercise that right effectively. This this assumption, which manifestly falsified by the most cursory human experience, is one of the fundamental weak spots of democratic theory. History is full of examples of leaders who have made dumb decisions, but a far more thorough analysis would look at the stupidity of the crowd, especially where it matters most; in a democracy.

It was a reflection on two articles in the paper which moved me to put up this post:

The first: Gen Y women facing pressure to have sex included a poll which was responded to by over 15 thousand people. Now the paper from which the article is lifted is a paper read by middle class mainstream Australia.

Poll: Have Western media, music and popular culture become too sexualised?

Yes, it sends the wrong message. 44%

No, there is no harm in it. 56%

Total votes: 15475.

Would you like to vote?

Poll closed 19 Apr, 2010

Now, the poll wasn't scientific, but 15,000 approaches a good representative sample. Nearly half of our middle class society seems to think that pornification of female values is O.K.

The other poll was run in local popular tabloid. One of the local gangland kingpins was murdered in jail, and the question was asked, should his daughter be able to receive compensation for the emotional trauma she suffered:

Should Carl's kids get compo after his death?

  • Yes 22.74% (953 votes)
  • No 77.26% (3238 votes)

Total votes: 4191

The fact that 23% of people(from a demographic that looks at vicious crime with visceral hatred) felt that his family were due some compensation shows just how totally out of touch with reality large chunks of our community are with reality.

It's these people, given the right to vote, which cause the destruction of our countries. If you want to know why government is so inept, our cities so ugly, our streets so violent, our schools so dismal, don't look for conspiracies. Look about you, it's your fellow man.

Time to sprinkle ash and don the sackcloth.


Athol Kay said...

I think that there is something to the idea that most people are basically useless beyond something they are specifically trained to do.

Unfortuately it seems to be leeching into professional groups too...

I once found anti-biotics on a med counter in a brown pharmacy bag that had been ordered two days earlier. The person that recieved them "just forgot" and then everyone else said "it didn't come in on my time".

Hughman said...

In most Western countries where voting is voluntary, only 15-20% of the total population actually provided the mandate for the ruling party (about 75% of the population can vote, 30-50% do so, the ruling party will get 60% in a 'two-party' nation (USA), 40% in a '3-party' nation (UK)

I wouldn't blame the proles voting for the mess we're in. They don;t vote on mass.

Big government and its messy bureaucracy get elected because: the poor vote it for benefits. The socially-mobile vote it as a thank you. The securely upper-middle class and SWPLs vote it for 'the good of the society' (ie they are trying to appease a guilty conscious)

Single women vote it as a father figure.

Only the lower middle-classes and the intelligent upper-middle (ie the new rich, not those from 'landed' families) realise how much everyone gets shafted by socialism.

Tupac Chopra said...

You remind me of Freuds statement:

"In the depths of my heart, I can't help being convinced that my fellowmen, with a few exceptions, are worthless."

Anonymous said...

A bit crude, I know but Bruce's comment to the Age article had me in fits of laughter.

...and I'm still not getting laid.

The Social Pathologist said...


Unfortuately it seems to be leeching into professional groups too...

You're quite right, specialisation seems to be the bane of modern knowledge. We've got guys who are brilliant in one tiny area of human existence and totally clueless with regard to the rest of the world. Medicine is the prime example.

Humans so predictably disappoint. Hating humans is easy. Loving them, the hard part.


Everyone is obliged to vote here in Oz. Our government is definitely a reflection of the people. The proles that don't vote in a sense do. As Burke said, evil know the rest.