By: Jože Biščak
Carlo Cipolla was an Italian historian, a specialist in medieval economics. At the turn of the millennium, the deceased academic became famous not for his profession, but for his essay Fundamental Laws of Human Stupidity. The common thread of his five laws is that a group of stupid people is far more powerful than the mafia, although without a visible leader it manages to function very coordinated and efficiently. “A stupid person is the most dangerous person,” Cipolla concludes.
The essay encouraged many thinkers and writers to work out individual stages of stupidity. The various scales have a common final level of stupidity. It is achieved by people who have a higher intellectual threshold than the average individual and at the height of their stupidity achieve a reputation through the media. They begin to believe they are wolves or shepherds, even though they are in fact sheep driven by self-realisation of stupidity. They are unaware that they are in the yoke of narcissism and that the leashes are in the hands of third people.
Normal people listen to them and know in themselves that fools manipulate oxymorons, which they themselves would never do. But because they sound benevolent and the winds in their sails are given to them by the media, they do not take nonsense for granted. They even admire them because they work hard and are confident in their own right. They find it appealing that people at the final stage of stupidity are unwilling to accept other facts and heaps of beliefs that contradict their assumptions, even though there is a wealth of evidence that they are wrong. Their power is that the lie or manipulation presented is inversely proportional to the amount of effort the normal people try to in contrast convince with evidence and common sense to people. Ten smart people do not seem to outweigh one self-realised fool.
The media softened Kovač’s speech
A typical example was the recent press conference of the parasitic March 8th Institute. The director of the institute, Nika Kovač, explained to the media how they will collect signatures for a mega-law that will repeal the measures, regulations, and laws of the centre-right government. Anyone who knows how to add and subtract knows that this would mean lower wages and pensions, and that entrepreneurs and everyone who received help during the health crisis would have to repay the money. Although Kovač, who apparently reached the final stage at a very young age, was as clear as day, the editors, and the media (mostly reaching high levels on the scale of stupidity) softened her words. In fact, they attached more importance to the Kovač than to the person, not the oxymorons she introduced. But their misfortune is that the footage circulating on the web can no longer be deleted and people will realise that the Institute’s plans may only harm them. Two things are most intriguing: first, their initiatives and assumptions do not benefit them either; and second, by their actions they do not seek to introduce disorder (they are imaging that they are creating order), but disorder is the result of their doing. Only puppeteers who manage fools benefit from this.
The followers of the stupid are ultimately “useful idiots”. At the press conference of the March 8th Institute, we were able to recognise them as a group of people in the background of Nika Kovač. These are people who reach different levels on the scale. As a rule, these are neglected individuals who have their coats on and feel called to blindly do dirty work for people who are their ideal – people who reach the final stage. A step lower than useful idiots are militant fools. This is also the 1,300 activists who, according to the Institute’s promises, will go to the field against the SDS. These are individuals who see freedom of speech, private property, science, reason, and paid work, or those who advocate it, as existential threats that must be eradicated at all costs and by all means. And when fools at various stages talk about fascists who need to be exterminated, know that they are talking about freethinkers. The example of Marco Bandelli is like from a textbook.
Unfortunately, (too) many normally intelligent people underestimate stupidity and its power. They still believe that there is a hint of rationality in the stupid at various stages. There is not. They follow their beliefs as instructions for using shampoo, their worldview is perpendicular to reality.
Jože Biščak is the editor-in-chief of the conservative magazine Demokracija, president of the Slovenian Association of Patriotic Journalists and author of the books Zgodbe iz Kavarne Hayek, Zapisi konservativnega liberalca and Potovati z Orwellom.