Thursday, 10 November 2016

Why I Am Stupidist

First things first, it's far too early and both sides were far too deeply flawed from the outset to actually pass moral or even political judgement on the outcome of the American election. Yes, the victor is a loudmouthed ass and probably not a great person in many respects, but this was still Morton's Fork defined. Do you want the establishment goon or the yammering loon? At least here we're usually offered a third semi-viable additional choice in the form of "a quack from the moon".

[From a self-centered-hidden-behind-self-effacing* Canadian perspective, Clinton would likely have proven just as much of a trade protectionist – that's just the way the wind is blowing – and either side in power likely means further impediments to the cross-border flow of maple candies and funny, round bacon (thank you, P.J. O'Rourke). Fortunately, our new best friends who we sell stuff to (Canada, Earth's overly chummy weed dealer), Belgium, would seem to have a built-in market for our other primary natural resource, four-dollar cans of beer.]
[*Yeah, it's kind of our thing. We're smug, but we point out our own dopey hat.]

One fact that is undeniable, however, is that the dumbest outcome definitely occurred. Donald Trump, in two months, will lead the free world. Whether or not that's worse than the alternative will be a question for history, but it's very difficult to deny how abjectly dumb a situation this has turned into.

It is crucial to distinguish the dumbest outcome from the worst outcome - while moral value has to enter in the calculation of overall dumbness to some extent, it's far from the deciding factor. The worst outcome, to assume a consequentialist moral stance for the sake of brevity, is the one that causes the most suffering for the most people. The dumbest outcome isn't decided in terms of consequences - nothing is less dumb than measured foresight. The dumb outcome, to those who bring it about, arises entirely from mystery and leads into same. The connection between causes, events and consequences is vague at best, which makes everything that happens a bizarre surprise that happened for no reason and will have completely random results. The dumbest outcome is, in short, what occurs when an outcome a cartoonish simpleton would consider to be a positive outcome given the least possible context and insight - collides with reality, whether social, economic, or the basic laws of physics. Why? Because it would work that way in wrestling.

This is why I am Stupidist [and you have to say it just like that, so you sound like a moron, if you subscribe to the same beliefs. It's just how it works. The speaker has to be embarrassed putting the concept forward, it's crucial to the whole design. If you can begin your statement with "I am Stupidist" and keep going, your attitude is now in the right place to fully subscribe - it's the new "I only know that I do not know", but much more annoying and terrible].

Stupidism proved disturbingly accurate predicting the arc of this election where any evaluative system that gives humans any kind of credit, especially once they're in a group, completely failed to. Yes, it's easy to claim that after the fact, but I have more than six months of emails back and forth with my Dad that will back that up. Building from the one fundamentally simple, always-overlooked principle that human decisions are made by humans, thus employing schoolyard/wrestling logic precisely as the situation demanded, Stupidism made the alleged 99-to-1 call correctly. If you really want to see six months of emails between me and my Dad...hi there Pa, I appreciate you're one of my three readers but you already have copies.

The Stupidist outlook holds that whenever human decisionmaking is a factor the dumbest outcome is the most likely, given that the average human is dumber than average [which only makes mathematical sense if you accept there can't be negative intelligence so the regress terminates at zero - which is, to a first approximation, everyone's base intelligence]. The rate of regress also increases proportionately with the number of people in communication with each other, as fifteen minutes on Earth will undeniably attest to.

This theoretical simpleton's grasp of cause-and-effect exists in a bubble of ignorance, wishful thinking, and just plain flawed basic math skills. It sounds like Stupidism should only hold predictive value in a democracy, but it works with, for example, old Soviet Russia too. The structure of the decision-making body was different, but its composition wasn't – humans. We are collectively (or even individually - this still holds for the lone castaway on a tiny Far Side island who chops down the only food tree to spell out "HALP", then buries the whole project in sand to hide it from thieves) to a first approximation just dumb enough to not all blunder into the sea, ergo all decisions made by any number of us will necessarily reflect that.

For uncannily predictive Stupidism through the ages, see the works of Jonathan Swift, Mark Twain, Stephen Leacock and Mike Judge, or go even further back and look at Aristophanes. In "The Clouds", the catalyst of the entire story and the driving force of the narrative right up to Socrates' death is everyone involved making the stupidest possible decisions at every opportunity, based on inaccurate premises (presented to them or simply assumed), wishful thinking and good old spite-over-self-preservation (this third one including the hero of the piece in one respect and the Greeks offing him in another). Hobbes' Leviathan explores the nastier bits of the same idea, and the inevitable response that humans are so dumb they need to be treated like zoo animals by their leaders for their own good. The flaw, of course, is that those leaders - by definition - would also be human. No wonder we want to make up omnipotent sky giants to credit our reasoning to, the entire species has witnessed the quality of human reasoning ever since the first cro-magnon carved the first rudimentary boat and the rest of the tribe immediately decided the best course of action was to shit in it. That's applied Stupidism - the majority wanted a big chief to paddle the poo canoe, and they got their exact wish. It will be an eternal mystery to most of them as to why the boat ride is so unpleasant and who keeps getting all this crap everywhere. For good or for ill, it's just plain dumb.

"If you want a picture of the future,
imagine Bluto crapping in a canoe - forever.

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