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Trump Supporters Aren’t Stupid. They’re Foolish

A common explanation for Donald Trump’s supporters is that they are uneducated: in other words, they are stupid. A new GOP poll “proves” Trump supporters are mostly “idiots,” according to something called The Daily Banter.

Time to Defend the Stupid…

I’d like to contribute to the stupid debate. First off, let’s have some compassion for the stupid among us. Half of us are stupider than average, and all of us are stupider than we think. We’d like to live in Lake Wobegon, “where all the children are above average,” but that’s a mathematical fantasy. Stupidity is absolutely rife among the population and always has been.

Stupidity is so universal, in fact, that our civilization is practically founded on it. We have a right to be stupid. Stupidity isn’t illegal and you don’t lose the right to vote just because you’re stupid. We’d be cruel and disloyal to American ideals to disenfranchise the stupid. The form of government in which the self-appointed wise intelligentsia rule over the stupid is known as “every form of government in history” until democracy came around.

You have a right to be stupid and the stupid have a right to be heard because #stupidlivesmatter.

Democracy is founded on the stupid and carried forward on stupid votes cast by stupid voters—because the wise intelligentsia has a tendency to be stupider than they think, sometimes even stupider than the people too smart to think they’re anything but stupid. Democracy is government of the stupid, by the stupid, and for the stupid. You have a right to be stupid and the stupid have a right to be heard because #stupidlivesmatter.

One of the most aggravating aspects of contemporary political discourse is the smug, self-aggrandizing confidence of over-educated talking heads on both sides talking down to the poorly educated. Trump was mocked when he proclaimed his love for the poorly educated, but he was right. We owe to it them—and to our stupid selves and stupid friends and stupid fellow citizens—to protect, love, and, yes, listen to the stupid.

In other words, whether Trump and his supporters are stupid is irrelevant. Stupidity isn’t reason enough to ostracize them.

…But Rebuke the Foolish

The right reason to rebuke Trump and his supporters isn’t that they’re stupid. It’s that they’re foolish.

Some readers may be confused, thinking that stupidity and foolishness are the same. Don’t be stupid: stupidity has to do with intellectual horsepower. Foolishness has to do with life choices. Stupidity can be measured with an I.Q. test. Foolishness shows itself in your character and how you treat others. You would be cruel to blame someone for his stupidity, but you’d be foolish to exonerate the fool. Stupidity is an inheritance; foolishness is a choice.

Stupidity is an inheritance; foolishness is a choice.

History is rife with highly intelligent fools. Bill Clinton and David Petraeus are, by all accounts, brilliant…

 if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.


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