Binary Solutions: Why Is The Left So Stupid?

The Le Pen – Macron contest for France’s presidency didn’t have to be like this : yet another choice between the lesser of two bad choices. You’d think the French, having witnessed the disaster of the US election, would have thought twice about allowing themselves to be Judas-Goated into such an electoral slaughterhouse. But they did.

And they didn’t get any help from any of the assorted Left or Alternative party leaders who decided, for reasons unknown (or maybe not, see below), not to combine their ideas and numbers into a solid, reasoned coalition to offer a real alternative to the media-driven joke of an election in which they have placed themselves as the ultimate losers.

Macron convinced fewer than 24% during the first round. Had Mélenchon and the rest of the outsiders, who all had, to a varying degree, relatively progressive and not incompatible ideas on most everything, been able to set aside their personal agendas, their egos, or whatever else goes on in the minds of people who decide to enter politics – especially a presidential election – , they could have easily found themselves in the second, and final round. And, as far as I’m concerned, a very good chance of winning.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out this kind of behavior, when I wasn’t reading Paco Ignacio Taibo II’s Leonardo’s Bicycle – a must read – or listening to the reasoned exasperation of my son-in-law on the same subject, when I came across, by chance, this morning, the following article :

The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity, written by Carlos M Cipolla way back in the mid 70s. I urge anyone who’s confounded by what’s going on these days to read it, but here are the Five Basic Laws :

  1. Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
  2. The probability that a certain person (will) be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.
  3. A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.
  4. Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.
  5. A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.

Corollary: a stupid person is more dangerous than a pillager.

  • (from the same Wikipedia page).

There are those who will probably object that this kind of « science » is not humane, doesn’t take into consideration all of the aléas of the human experience, that it’s too snarky, too condescending, or even too eugenecist somehow. If that’s the case, leave a comment. Or not.

As Richard Moser once wrote to me : «  … I take a synthetic approach and like to have a lot to think about … ».

It’s time we get out of the Binary Box.

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