Yea, you read that right. I am defending, nay advocating, your right to be stupid.
Of the many names I have been called, the word ‘stupid’ included, I have also been called an elitist – in the snobbish sense. I don’t mind it that much. What an elitist is to an ‘attitude problem’ is what an ‘eccentric’ is to ‘weird’. Is Steve Jobs a snob? Fuck Yea. Modesty isn’t really a virtue either of us believe in. On a side-note I do think Steve could learn something from me.
We think that a lot of people, things, rules, methodologies etc etc are stupid. A lot of them probably are. Some are a matter of perspective. I personally aid natural selection by criticizing and mocking stupidity. I will make fun of you. Laugh at you. Yet, I will respect your right to be stupid.
I am not defending stupidity in itself. I am defending the right to be stupid. There is a distinction between the two. I can disagree with your idea of God but I sure as hell cannot stop you from praying five times a day. The church can call you stupid for believing that the sun is the center of the universe but it must not have the right to punish you for your beliefs or acts. If others are want to buy the same belief that it is their prerogative.
The right to be stupid is an inherent part of the personal liberties that most societies recognize. Only when it encroaches on the right of other individuals you have a right to complain. In many cases it is the majority which decides what is stupid and what is not. If such beliefs were to percolate to every individual then not only is there no diversity in a society but there is also no debate. There are times when there simply is no one right answer and when there is, quite often, they have changed. Perhaps the most stupid of all things is the belief that one cannot ever be wrong.
The Right to be Stupid encompasses even acts of stupidity (not ideas which as mentioned above, are matter of belief and perspective). Ignorance can be criticized but not penalized by any individual. Natural selection takes care of it. Why must you not then penalize stupidity, ignorance, greed or any such trait on a personal scale?
It is because we, as individuals or society, have no right to encroach on the liberties of any other individuals. Regardless of the veracity of your assumptions. The concept of a superior individual does not exist. If you disagree then you must extend the principle to the concept of a superior race and in effect fascist ideologies. It is not to say that there is no disparity amongst us be it in our thought processes, moral code, physical abilities but which of those does give one a right of superiority?
The only right one gets by the virtue of birth is the right to do anything he wants. It is not as much a right as it is the lack of any restriction. As we evolved we decided to progress as a group. A group of a species if you may call it. Now progress was simply not possible if we do not respect other members of the group. To what extent does one respect the other members is what is to be debated. Certain laws, such as ones which forbid fraud, limit the scope of your activities to aid the group (and hence the individual) to progress. Certain laws, such as freedom of expression, recognize the fundamental nature of the individual. How to weigh the individual versus the group is another debate. It has been approached at different angles at different lengths. Hitler believed in the concept of a race as a group and hence didn’t care about the freedom of an individual not part of that group. One could view laissez-faire capitalism grants full freedom on the economic scale while socialism is at the other end of the spectrum.
I believe that regardless of your views you must grant everyone the right of thought and personal action. Inefficiency troubles me. Though not as much as the thought of the loss of personal freedom.