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How are people so stupid?

David Horowitz asked on Twitter:

How do people like Victoria get so stupid?

I wrote a generic reply which has nothing to do with the partisan political statements Victoria said, which I didn't even read before replying.

At age 2 her parents order her around. She doesn't understand most orders & is punished for clarifying questions. She has to try to follow orders she doesn't understand. She ends up lowering her standards for what understanding is and goes through school not understanding much.

When she does understand something about reality correctly, it sometimes actually makes things worse. She learns the world is based on authority and social status. You can't correct the people with power over you; you must try to conform to their confused view of reality.

She learns no one understands. Everyone is just pretending to understand and hiding their weakness. Her parents and teachers are confused in many ways but have power over her anyway. She aspires to gain social status and power – to move up in the system – not to be a scientist.

My main idea here is that overreaching begins due to pressure to act before one is ready. Even if the parents orders make sense and are reasonable, it doesn't matter if a kid is being pressured to act according to ideas he doesn't yet understand. It teaches him the very bad policy/habit of trying to act before you're intellectually ready and understand what you're doing well enough.

Also social status hierarchies are a big deal and very dangerous.

Elliot Temple on July 7, 2020


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