Thinking — January 26, 2023
Bonhoeffer’s “theory of stupidity”: We have more to fear from stupid people than evil ones
Evil is easy to identify and fight against; not so with stupidity.
Credit: Giovanni Battista Recco, Annelisa Leinbach
- When we know something or someone is evil, we can take steps to fight it.
- With stupidity, it is much more difficult.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer argues that stupidity is worse than evil because stupidity can be manipulated and used by evil.
- He also argues that stupidity tends to go hand-in-hand with acquiring power — that is, being in power means we surrender our individual critical faculties.
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There’s an internet adage that goes, “Debating an idiot is like trying to play chess with a pigeon — it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.” It’s funny and astute. It’s also deeply, depressingly worrying. Although we’d never say so, we all have people in our lives we think of as a bit dim — not necessarily about everything, but certainly about some things.
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I never heard the internet adage before but it certainly hits the bulls eye.
I’m not sure how we overcome the stupidity of our fellow Americans.
Perhaps it’s the result of Gooferment Skrules that make “We, The Sheeple” so stupid?