David Solways ponders Great Schism v2.0.
On Politics, Evil, and Stupidity
In a lengthy interview with Tucker Carlson, the controversial but rather impressive Andrew Tate suggested that the standard political distinction between Left and Right, liberal-progressivist and conservative, is not in itself the polarity that explains the culture wars we are undergoing or the social divide that is tearing apart our countries. The distinction, he argues, is between people who think and people who don’t, or as he put it, between “the thinkers and the repeaters.” It’s between those who endeavor to acknowledge reality — for example, that there are two and only two biological sexes or that Socialism, as defined by Thomas DiLorenzo in “The Problem with Socialism,” is “the biggest generator of poverty the world has ever known” — and those who merely repeat the ideological sedatives of the day or the tectonic lies that have become the trademark of the so-called legacy media. Tate should know. He is one of the prime victims of rampant and unscrupulous media disinformation.
But the schism goes even deeper than Tate’s antitheses. Quite bluntly, however problematic or elusive the definition of the concept may be, it has to do with the question of what we call “evil,” which has always resisted a definitive answer. In the moral structure of Judeo-Christian civilization, evil is theologically and philosophically understood as a rupture in the creation of the inhabited universe, the existence of groundless or unprovoked pain and suffering, or the handiwork of the Devil, as the early Christian Gnostics believed. Especially in the human world, evil is construed as the perennial tendency to lie or suppress observable truth, to cause harm for personal advantage, to inflict gratuitous suffering, and to bring misery and destruction upon whole societies in the interests of unworkable theory, unprovable assumptions, vaunting ambition, or what Samuel Taylor Coleridge, psychoanalyzing Shakespeare’s Iago, called “motiveless malignity.”
Admittedly, it is often hard to distinguish between perduring evil and “repeater” stupidity, between people who act with malice aforethought to deceive or injure others and those who clearly evince a deficiency of intelligence, doing harm unintentionally, going with the turbid flow, and embracing realistically implausible or absurd ideas and practices. Stupid is as stupid does.
“When stupid people are at work,” writes Carlo Cipolla in The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity, “the society as a whole is impoverished.” The damage is more than likely to be irreparable. “A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person,” he concludes, though an evil person will give a stupid person a run for his money. We might better say that stupid people are the readily accessible prey of evil people. An infallible sign of a stupid person is the susceptibility to programming and propaganda — what Mike Adams calls an “obedience idiot.”
Or what, in AA parlance, is known as an “enabler.” Be that as it may, the Stupid and the Evil are co-dependents: ie, each relies on the other for affirmation, endorsement, and support both practical and *shudder* moral. They are in effect indivisible, thus leaving any attempt to distinguish between them an exercise in picking the fly shit out of the pepper—a mug’s game, worse than a waste of time.
As a bonus, Solway also throws in Einstein’s cogent observation: There is a major difference between intelligence and stupidity; intelligence has its limits. True, dat. But seeing as how the end result of the collaboration betwixt the Stupid and the Evil is reliably the same—advancement of the Evil agenda—then they should all hang together, in a manner of speaking.