Friday, 26 December 2008

Magic Pills

The promise of quick easy results in the form of a magic pill is something dumb people lust after. It is such an easy sell to them that marketers would be foolish to overlook it.

Want to lose weight fast?

Want to pick up girls?

Want to get a six pack in 10 days?

It's easy. Just buy this product and results will be guaranteed.

That's the other thing. Dumb people need to see the word "guaranteed" before deciding on a magic pill. It helps reassure them.

Cherry picked (or fake) testimonials are another way to convince dumb people that they are making a wise decision. As they read through testimonial after testimonial proclaiming how great the product is, they get reeled in.

And the marketing line:

"Like you, I used to be skeptical. But it works!"

is ultra-powerful.

Add to this the placebo effect that it will work (mostly true for self-improvement products) and you may actually get some perceived value out of it. And in certain cases where the person felt that no progress was made, the magic pill pushers will convince them that progress was made... until the money back guarantee expires, that is.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Happy Holidays Instead Of Merry Christmas

This time of year it's customary to wish people a merry Christmas. This worked fine for many years until recently a few years ago, certain sensitivities rose out of it. Certain people came to take offense given that their religion doesn't recognize Christmas. So telling them "happy holidays" became the preferred greeting. That's fine except for one problem. It's dumb! Seriously, who cares! It's just a custom, not borne of malice. Chill out, as some would say.

Alas, dumb people will not have this as their political correctness training encourages a kind of petty hypersensitivity to matters that may infringe on their belief system. Merry Christmas has simply become one of the latest aggravators of this irrational sensitivity. The same goes for putting up Christmas trees. How dare anyone ram their beliefs down someone's throat with a damn tree!

It makes you wonder, what's next. I'm personally not going to think about it too much. If it slips out and I offend someone I may sarcastically say: "I'm sorry, I was trying to convert you. Say, do you know where I can buy Christmas trees?"

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Jumping To Conclusions

Opening their mouth without thinking is a dumb person's forte. They relish the opportunity to blurt out poorly thought out statements that can only be described as nonsensical. They love to draw sweeping conclusions based on a modicum of information. Silence is not an option for them. They have to get their 2 cents in (which is probably overvalued anyway).

Dumb people have the unique ability to formulate wrong conclusions from concise information. They are able to do this by not actually reading or hearing something in its entirety. Instead they only focus on the parts that match with their "world view". And from that they can "expertly" say that...

If you talk to them about global warming they'll argue that it's impossible because 2008 was one of the coldest years, disregarding the upward trend of all the years before that.

If you talk to them about the constitutional right of the coalition attempt to topple Stephen Harper's government in the face of non-confidence, they'll argue that it's unconstitutional to overthrow a government that was elected. Full stop. But really, it's unconstitutional to them because they don't know how the Canadian parliamentary system works. It's unconstitutional to them because they feel that something is being taken away from them, even though they had every opportunity as a voter to find out how the system works before casting a ballot.

If they know beforehand and it happens, it's okay. But if they don't know beforehand (due to ignorance) and it happens, then it's a "betrayal" of their trust.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Not Reading The Instruction Manual

Reading the instruction manual is a no-no for dumb people. They feel that a manual gets in the way of them using the product. It's better for them to just start using the darn thing. Ready or not here I come.

Afterwards, they often give negative reviews of the product either on consumer forums or at the warranty department. The thing didn't work the way they thought it should and now they are upset.

"The battery for the cordless mower died after just one year. This product sucks!" - didn't bother to check the manual which stated that the battery should not be left outside in the cold.

"The generator has trouble starting and it's only a year old!" - didn't bother to check the manual which said that the gas shouldn't remain in the gas tank for long periods of time because it will gum up the fuel injection.

"This external hard drive only lasted me a year. It's a piece of @#$%" - it was dropped and thrown around too many times. Although these units are made robust they are not indestructible. Dumb people don't know the difference.

Why do you think car rental places only have vehicles with automatic transmissions? Because dumb people and standards don't mix.

Sometimes instruction manuals try to convey in BOLD letters what not to do, knowing that dumb people will do it anyway. They don't read the manual after all. So it is merely a way for the manufacturers to cover their legal asses and avoid frivolous lawsuits.

Other times dumb people do read the manual but screw it up anyway. Their screw up is just so utterly unique and unheard of that even the manual didn't warn against it, since it could not have been foreseen by the manufacturer, in which case provision must be made by the manufacturer to include the warning next time.

Food is one of the things that even dumb people have trouble screwing up. However, several people at several coffee places, including McDonalds, have become rich in the process by scalding themselves with coffee that was "too hot". An amazing situation where stupidity and making lots of money align. Although it has become a scam of sorts since those initial incidents, in which case the juries that award damages are the dumb ones.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Giving Thieves Easy Access To Their Possessions

Dumb people can't be bothered with safe guarding their belongings, and as a result thieves prosper.

It takes dumb people too much conscious effort to take precautions. In their mind it's better to make their stuff accessible so they can quickly pick it up later.

They're in too much of a hurry to lock the car door and remove the keys from the ignition. And besides it'll just take a minute to go inside the store and pick something up. Long enough for a thief to make off with the vehicle.

Leaving credit cards out in the open. Leaving their wallet and purse lying around.

Leaving their mobile phone, iPod, digital camera where someone can quickly make off with it. At the time it was too inconvenient to guard against it and besides, they were in their own world.

This happens mostly during holiday seasons such as Christmas; in keeping with the spirit of giving.

There are warehouses full of stuff that were once owned by dumb people, and thieves nearby knowing there will never be a shortage of suppliers.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Passwords Anyone Can Guess

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

Dumb people are very good at coming up with passwords that other people can guess. These passwords can be for anything from their debit card PIN, to their computer login password.

Rather than take an extra 30 seconds to create a password that is difficult to guess, they instead come up with the password that is the easiest for them to think of and then enter.

Criminals are especially profiting from this. They don't need to come up with clever technological schemes to sniff out passwords when there are so many dumb people who leave the door wide open for them.

Common passwords for dumb people are:





(their name)

(their dog's name)

(their best friend's name)

(same as their username)

As you can see, it doesn't take a lot to compromise the security of a dumb person.

There's clearly not a lot of incentive for criminals to invest in sophisticated password detection schemes when there are so many easy to guess passwords out there. This gives more peace of mind to the rest of us.

Trusting People Who Believe Their Own Bullshit

Dumb people don't bother to check and see if what you say is true. Instead, they look to see if you believe what you say is true (no matter how absurd). This is how dumb people are able to blindly follow religion and other dogma, including joining cults. If the message is delivered strongly enough and with enough conviction and authority, dumb people are powerless to resist. They become like putty in the hands of the manipulator(s).

However, the bullshit can also be things like:

• I've been abducted by aliens

• I saw Elvis

In this case the bullshitter is not necessarily trying to manipulate, but is most likely another dumb person who believes very strongly in what they are saying. In which case, dumb people will agree, he must be telling the truth.

Even more so if it sounds sensationalistic and adds excitement to their lives.

Dumb people are more trusting of someone who appears sure of himself than someone who has less the "gift of gab" but is more honest.

The reason for this is that dumb people don't like to think for themselves and seek out the facts for themselves. They rely instead on what they are told by others. As a result, they develop a keen surface level bullshit detection system which (ironically) doesn't weed out bullshitters, just the people who don't deliver as well. The former then become their men (or women) of choice.

Boring Jobs

Brain numbing boring repetition is perfectly acceptable to dumb people because they don't notice the difference. They're already accustomed to having low levels of awareness and shutting down higher thought processes.

Dumb people typically hold jobs like this. The easier and more mindless it is the more they like it. It's their comfort threshold. They know they can do it and it gives them confidence.

At the end of the work day they are no worse or better off than before. This is unlike an intelligent person who would feel drained of their mind and soul.

The irony is that more intelligent people are sometimes judged harshly for not having the ability to do the jobs that dumb people just breeze through. "You must be even dumber than the dumb people", is the common accusation.

Even worse, intelligent people are sometimes accused of having behavioural problems such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), insubordination tendencies, or other problems related to having a strong sense of independence. Be like the dumb people. Make our company proud.

One of the most mindless routines ever created is sitting in front of a computer all day, manipulating images on a computer screen. What's seen as a "cushy" office job is actually a very effective means of draining an individuals sense of creativity and creating a drone like work atmosphere. Intelligent people are unfortunately very much sucked into the very dumb mindset of producing from within the drone ranks. They will go far, is the common lure. They're smart after all.

At first they resist and struggle but with the determination to fit in they eventually become tame and take on a more submissive mindset. Their former intelligence is only a shadow of their current selves. Their working life is sacrificed for producing a cog in the machine in return for a steady paycheck and social accolades.

If they happen to work their way up in the company they may get to produce two or three cogs for the machine.

Nevertheless, a far cry from their original abilities.

The trap for college and university grads is: It is better to make good money somewhere "recognized" as a testament to the time spent in school, rather than use what you learned in school as a testament to the time spent in school, while enjoying more freedom and mental stimulation with perhaps a less steady paycheck. This is the "intelligent" justification for doing what is actually a very dumb thing.

This is why so many college and university grads jump headfirst into mindless boring jobs with limited growth after graduation without first thinking of the alternatives. The last thing they want is to risk having to say they are "unemployed" when asked what they do for work. Better to work a lacklustre job for a well known prestigious company than risking the shame of doing what they really want.

The result is inevitable: many dumb people who were once intelligent, working mindless boring jobs.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Buying Gas Guzzlers Again Now That Gas Prices Are Low

Now that we're in an economic recession gas prices have dropped sharply from their previous high. This is a result of lower consumer demand brought on by the tough times.

As a result, gas guzzlers are starting to become popular again. Certain people are once again choosing to purchase gas intensive vehicles now that fuel is once again very affordable.

It's a hallmark of the times that dumb people will revert back to old bad habits at the first opportunity. How easy they seem to have forgotten that not too long ago they were whining about how gas was too expensive, when filling up their big trucks and SUVs. Those dirty gas companies are gouging us at the pump, they would proclaim. Those dirty gas companies raise and lower prices as they see fit, they would angrily say.

And now here we go again. Shock at the pump has turned into trance and any hindsight, like the gas that is burned, has gone up in smoke.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Lying Politicians

Politicians who habitually lie have a strong support base of dumb people. The correlation is easy to understand. These politicians understand that an important part of winning rests with the "dumb vote", and the easiest way to secure it is to tell lies. The rest of the voter base is typically firm in who they will and will not vote for. So given an even split of decided (more intelligent) voters, the appeal must then be made to this group of people to tip the scale in their favor.

More cunning unscrupulous politicians understand this group well and are prepared to do everything in their power to win their vote. This usually involves lying to a degree or even complete blatant lying. This usually involves distorting their opponent's views in the worst possible way, or deliberately misinterpreting their opponents position, even if it means ignoring the facts repeatedly.

One key strategy of lying politicians is to repeat the same lie over and over until enough dumb people concede that it must be true. Alternatively, different lies will be repeated in a "throwing shit on wall" fashion until something sticks. This is largely hit or miss since even dumb people are somewhat unpredictable in this regard.

Historically speaking, lies that have successfully attracted dumb voters are ones that use simple phrases, containing 10 words or less. Phrases such as: "He will raise your taxes. I won't raise your taxes"; "America must remain strong. Socialism isn't right for this country"; "He's putting this country at risk by (insert whatever)".

The objective is to keep it simple, and push as many emotional buttons as possible. Make it seem like their identity or freedom is being threatened. Make it seem like something is being taken away from them. Appeal to the baser instincts revolving around self-preservation, prejudice, and fear of change. Do this by lying and planting seeds of doubt.

And if nothing else make it seem like voting for the other guy is unpatriotic, because it goes against the founding principles of the country.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Empty Promises

Making hollow promises are a way of telling dumb people what they want to hear. It lets them sleep better at night knowing that they were promised something that isn't necessarily true. For example, it's the same formality as meaningless Valentine's Day gifts or wanting to hear the word "relationship" in order to justify sex.

Somehow making a promise that isn't true is better than saying something that is true but which they don't want to hear. Empty promises are what dumb people are faking for.

The danger is that it is self-destructive since lies generally catch up to people. But instead of demanding the truth next time, dumb people want better lies to be told up front – and tell it like you really mean it – because the last thing they want is to be easily tricked into believing something that isn't true. That would be hard on the ego.

Lie more convincingly. Fake it better.

So really they are screening for better liars, not more truthful people. Since often times what they want is unrealistic or based on fairy tales.

In fact, bullshit itself is not a problem for dumb people. What they want are people who believe their own bullshit when telling them what they want to hear.

This is what dumb people are faking for. And isn't ignorance bliss.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Getting Jobs They Hate So They Can Retire Happy

Dumb people have found that the way to deal with job discontent is to look forward to the day they retire. They feel that it's perfectly fine to do work that you don't enjoy because one day you'll be able to retire and do what you really like.

As the months and years drag by they are happy knowing that they are just one day closer to living their dream. Only twenty years left to go!

40 hours a week (or more) of hate don't seem so bad when you have the rest of your life to look forward to at the age of 65.

You still have 20% left to go, right?

To the dumb person it is more important to have a job that drains them physically and emotionally than be "unemployed" and looking for meaningful work. The thought of being burdened with this particular social label is enough to kill any independent thought in its tracks. Any chance of entrepreneurial spirit... gone!

That and the threat of "lost income" are just too much to bear. Who cares if I wasn't happy. At least I made money. But too bad I couldn't really enjoy it. I was too busy stressing over work and getting into debt buying things I don't really need.

It gets even more insane.

Dumb people feel they have to keep at it to avoid getting "stale" and maintain their employability in order to get other jobs they may not like in the future. Working the grind in order to ensure that they can continue working the grind.

Worse still, they may feel that since they studied this topic in school and invested so much time into it, they have to keep at it because otherwise all their previous efforts were for nothing.

Correcting the course would be like admitting they were wrong. Can't have that, especially when you're getting so close to retirement.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Strawman Arguments

When arguing their point of view dumb people rely heavily on what's known as Strawman Arguments. When attempting to refute another's point of view they often misrepresent that person's position and take it out of context. This "strawman" then becomes the point of refutation.

For example,

John says: We need curfews for our children.

Dumb person says: So you think our kids should be locked up!

This then becomes the point of debate, or at the very least a distraction from what was really being discussed.

The general strategy of the dumb person is to score points with extreme rhetoric. Since that appeals to the lesser instincts, it is part and parcel with how dumb people engage in critical discourse.

Most of the time dumb people end up rehashing the same strawman argument in different words when repeated attempts are made to correct their misinterpretation.

But attempts at clarification usually fail miserably and instead add the fodder necessary for additional strawman arguments.

For example,

John says: We need curfews for our children.

Dumb person says: So you think our kids should be locked up!

John says: No. I simply meant that kids need to be home by a certain time.

Dumb person says: And what time would that be?

John says: I don't know... it depends.

Dumb person says: So you aren't sure of the times unless they happen to fit your schedule. Sounds controlling to me!

This is clearly a losing battle.

Now, if John starts to get frustrated with the dumb person he'll probably be accused of being overly defensive because he's not getting his own way. The frustrated anger then becomes another point of contention to be used against John.

Another very common strawman argument is related to sexuality itself, and how soon to have sex. For example,

Rebecca says: Do you think it's okay to have sex on the first date?

Dumb person says: No. I want to be respected and not have a guy use me for sex!

This is a very common fallacy in dating circles, actually. Fortunately, many eventually grow out of such nonsense thinking, but unfortunately many do not.

For a politician, dealing with strawman arguments can be especially exasperating. Barack Obama was forced to repeatedly refute ridiculous claims made against him. So much so that it detracted a lot from what he was campaigning for. But it was necessary because if he chose to ignore it his opponents would have used that against him as well. The Republican lie-machine would have been shouting: If he's not refuting it it must be true!

Although the Republican lie-machine isn't stupid, many voters are - which is what they were targeting.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Getting Into Debt Because Everyone Else Is

Getting into debt, in particular crushing debt, is the dumb person's way of royally screwing something up in order to make deadly sure they are part of the team.

"Ya know, I don't think this is such a good idea but seeing as so many people are doing it, what the heck!"

How can you argue with logic like that?

At least when they are slaving away trying to pay off their debt, they can take comfort in the fact that they have a lot of company from people who are in the same boat. It's much easier to cope with something that sucks when you don't have to go through it alone.

Heck, I'm going to become an alcoholic because there's AA to help me out.

Accounting skills don't matter. Just swipe that plastic dear and it'll all be better in the morning.

How can so many people be wrong? *cough* subprime mortgage crisis...

The nice thing about a sinking ship is that you all go down together. And you all get to bitch and moan at the same time, wondering how in the world something like that could happen. Dumb people often find themselves in large groups wondering what happened. It's probably the closest they ever get to becoming smart. You can only hope they don't drown first.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Wanting Relationships To Justify Sex

The much sought after "relationship" is often just a reason for dumb people to justify having sex. They are unable to live comfortably with their sexuality unless it is under the veil of something "more serious".

Dumb people often use the notion of respect and the need to be respected for their sexual behavior. If they have sex without being in a relationship or declaring it soon after, then they were "used". Dumb women are especially taken in by this. They feel that they have lost something of value if the sex isn't coupled with certain puritanical requirements.

But the bad feelings don't emerge during the act of sex, only afterwards if certain conditions aren't met.

Dumb people will pass sexual judgment on other smarter more liberated people based on what society has taught them, not from their own ethical insight.

They are unable to give good reasons why they should feel bad about something that is meant to be fun, except that "it just is".

And if they do happen to have casual sex they try to pass it off as being drunk at the time or that it was meant to be.

You see, a sure-fire way to get into a relationship with a dumb person is to have sex with them. They will backwards rationalize that it was meant to be or something of that ilk, rather than face the music of their own infidelity to the social norm.

They might not actually like you, but who cares, if you have sex with them then you suddenly become very important to keep around.

Furthermore, if you were really good in bed then they will want more of you. So let's sign this relationship agreement ASAP, dammit!

Dumb people are forced to find ways to get laid while keeping up with appearances.

But it's easier for them to do this then face up to the insanity of what they are doing.

The smart person will say: Why find excuses for eating good food? Just admit that you have a healthy appetite.

Misery and stupidity loves company. In fact, they are very much inseparable.

Meaningless Valentine's Day Gifts

The gesture that is the meaningless Valentine's Day gift is a common ritual on February 14. The success of many couples depends on adherence to this ritual. It is essentially a timed calendar event: Show me you care on this day or else...

Dumb people are very sensitive to receiving the symbol that is the Valentine's Day gift. It doesn't matter if it doesn't have genuine intent behind it. It doesn't matter if the person giving the gift (usually the man) hates the idea of having to put on an empty display for the other person (usually the woman). All that matters is that on that day I have something to show for being in a "relationship".

Dumb people love meaningless symbols.

What a sense of entitlement dumb people have. Having to show you "care" on a specific calendar day of the year, and making a serious effort at it (IOW making it look "sincere"). Dumb people (especially dumb women) feel the necessity to go through this ritual just to keep with appearances, without much emphasis on doing it because of how you feel inside. To them the act is more important than the place it comes from. So as long as it looks good and passes the test then, sure, we can keep seeing each other and having sex.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Asking Others For Advice On What's Best For Them

When it comes to making life decisions dumb people are notorious for asking other people what they should do. It's important to them to find out what other people would do if they were them.

The disconnect is that other's opinions can only be based on what they would do if they were faced with the same decision. This is usually based on personal preferences, which is not necessarily the same as those of the dumb person.

The trap is that the advice given usually leads to more questions on what to do. For example, "I tried what you said and it didn't work. What do you think I should do now?" It becomes like an ongoing struggle to find out what other people would do if they were you and then not being satisfied with the answer (since you are not them).

Somehow, the need for approval is too powerful to resist. The fear is usually that something bad may happen if they don't do what others would approve of.

Their motto is: Better to fail having followed instructions than failing on my own terms. This is one main reason why dumb people stay dumb. They don't actually learn from their own mistakes.

Asking others what type of car they should get. Consulting friends when filling out surveys asking questions like "what is your favorite color?" Wanting to know "when is it okay to...", or "what do you think of..."

Online forums are common for these kinds of questions. Dummies are especially dense (pun intended) in places where people go for advice. They practically short-circuit themselves trying to manage all the "options". They have serious trouble with the concept of "individual". How does that fit with what other people think, they may ask.

Introspection is completely alien to them. Their network of friends extends for every major decision. As long as they know where to go when they are confused they are happy. The path towards consensus and approval is well traveled by them.

If you want to influence a dumb person say something like

"I know a lot of people that do this"

"Everyone knows that it's best to do this"

"If you don't do this you are (insert negative association)"

But if you say to them "You dummy! Figure it out for yourself" they will probably get offended.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Driving Aggressively To Get There A Few Seconds Sooner

Just can't get there fast enough. The person behind you who is tailgating, who appears anxious behind the wheel. Chances are that it's a dumb person.

How much time is actually saved? You can measure it in seconds, usually. That's the time it takes to make a jackrabbit start, roll through stop signs, and reduce the safe following distance to less than one second.

It just feels like you're going too slow otherwise.

Dumb people will take all sorts of risks to get there faster, like cutting in front of you at the last second before the lane merges, or cutting it a little too close when making a turn.

Even fastening your seatbelt takes extra time!

It's especially comical when these people manage to shave a bit of time off their drive, and then find themselves in a situation where everyone is forced to slow down, including those "slow-pokes" they had passed.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Going Out Of Their Way To Save Pennies On Gas

Lineups at the pump are common as dumb people scramble to get the best deal on gas. It seems they are willing to pay any price except money.

Waiting a long time... driving extra kilometers... who cares... I'm saving money here. Not taking into account the extra gas burnt. Not taking into account the time wasted that could have been spent doing something more useful.

If you actually manage to save any money you might just have enough to buy a bag of chips. Would you go out of your way to receive a bag of chips?

If a dumb person buys a gas guzzler they are the most inclined to do anything they can to save on gas, except of course not buy a gas guzzler.

Dumb people don't mind the big expenses but when it comes to the small stuff they count the f**king pennies!

Ever hear of those people who go out of their way to pick up quarters that are glued to the floor?

They don't give up easy.

I wonder what would happen with electric vehicles. What insanity would dumb people endure in order to save money there? Maybe they would charge their car using a really long extension cord connected to a neighbour's house that has a lower utility rate. Maybe they would try pushing their car and use the regenerative braking effect to help charge the battery.

Now that's using your head. Too bad the outcome would still be laughable.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Confusing Delivery With Content

Powerfully delivered bad messages are like glue in the mind of dumb people. It is the basis for the (sometimes surprising) spread of incredibly bad information with the speed of wildfire.

Great delivery can persuade a large group of people to do all sorts of crazy things like get into crushing debt, join cults, and eat at McDonalds.

"mmmm... that kool-aid sure is good!"

Just think about how many atrocities have been committed in the name of religion? I was watching Idea City a few months ago, and one of the speakers said that behind every atrocity in history is a scripture-spouting nutbar.

If the message itself raises goose bumps and gets the adrenaline pumping then it must be okay, right?

As long as it feels like you're having an orgasm when listening to or reading it, it must be correct, right?

The antithesis of all this is of course, thinking for yourself.

Dumb people have a problem with this.

"Where is my emotional fix?" they ask.

Like flies that are attracted to the light, they gather around those things that make them feel a certain way.

And then off they go, ready to jump off the cliff.

"Good thing that kool-aid tasted so good, otherwise I would never have dreamed of doing this!"

Heck, when you look at it like that it makes perfect sense.

And if anything good happens to come of it, it is pure coincidence. A chance occurrence, the same way that getting punched in the head will help you dodge a stray bullet.

The irony of this is that smart people are often those who deliver messages that attract dumb people to their cause.

They know what to say. How to say it. When to say it. And the dummies lap it up. Cheering and drooling they take the message with the sense of urgency needed to make it happen. Must not wait too long, otherwise the effect may wear off. Can't risk having common sense re-emerge and ruin the whole thing.

However, experienced dumb people are more able to "hold on". It is the "newbies" that are at greatest risk of straying from the path. Most of the kool-aid must go to them. And they must drink it more often.

When their views are challenged you will see them blinking extra hard, trying to recall those things they have been taught which can be used as justification. Their encyclopedic knowledge is the first thing they will lean on when their views are confronted. Digging deeper will result in an even greater agitation of this knowledge.

The most skillful arguments will consist of indirect proof such as "if I can't be proven wrong then I must be right". Or proof by consensus such as "if so many people agree with me then I must be right". Circular logic is also common.

There's almost a level of intelligence involved. I said almost.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Trying To Win Arguments Over The Internet

Dumb people often get into arguments in online forums. Common topics include:

• religious discussion

• who to vote for

• which movie is best

• which band is best

• which exercise program is best

• who will win a fight between a chimpanzee and a man

Dumb people will often resort to name calling and heavy use of the caps lock to get their point across. They will also try to pass off their opinion as common knowledge based on anecdotal proof, such as "Everyone knows that to be the case... this guy I know from work says the same thing".

The other thing that dumb people do is rely heavily on hyperbole and repetition to prove that they are right, as well as taking things out of context. Winning an online argument is so important to them that they will actually create a vacuum that discourages intelligent debate. And if by chance an intelligent person does get dragged into the debate they run the risk of being chastised for caring so much as to voice an opinion... therefore they must be on the defensive... therefore the dumb person was right all along.

Some common phrases espoused by dumb people:

"You don't know what you're talking about!"

"You must be one of those people that...(insert negative association)"

"That's wrong because (insert false claim), and (insert another false claim)"

The beauty of this is that intelligent people see all this as pointless, meaning they never get involved in the debate or quit soon after. This goes on until the only people left arguing are the dumbest. And in their mind that must mean they were right all along. The others apparently realized they didn't have a leg to stand on and so they gave up. How much more proof do you need?

And because online discussions are not in real time, it gives dumb people the time and opportunity to "think" about what to say. It may not always be obvious how to state the "obvious" but they can make it appear that way at least.

Last but not least, arguing over the internet is enticing for dumb people because of its total anonymity. You don't have to hide that you're dumb. You're free to express yourself openly and honestly.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Political Rhetoric

Dumb people are adept at making broad sweeping conclusions based on snippets of information. And nowhere is this more true than in politics.

A common occurrence of this is when listening to the news, and paying special attention to key phrases that evoke the most emotional, or accessible response. Those segments of information are then combined together in the mind of the dumb person to reach a "reasonable" conclusion.

For example, "a carbon tax will be introduced. However, it will be revenue neutral because it will simply shift taxes from non-polluters to polluters..."

But what does the dumb person do? He (or she) homes in on the first part of the statement which is "...taxes will be introduced".

Politicians are very aware of this phenomenon. They know they can manipulate a dumb person to their advantage by pressing "hot buttons".

For example, the hot button may be "my opponent will raise taxes", followed by "I'm not going to raise taxes".

It seems that context means little to dumb people. In their black and white world they seem very unable to see shades of gray.

Another example is how Barack Obama was accused by John McCain and Sarah Palin of "palling around" with terrorists. Guilt by association is very juicy bait for dumb people. If he just happened to attend the same event as them he can easily be labelled a terrorist.

Campaign strategists are experts at manipulating context and doctoring interpretations in just the way dumb people respond to.

The Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, simply couldn't resist telling English speaking Canada that the coalition are "separatists" who are "selling out Canada to Quebec", and similarly telling French speaking Canada (Quebec) that the Bloc are "selling out Quebec to Canada".

That's a hot button right there. It evokes feelings of fear and betrayal in the dumb person. That makes it even harder to reason with them.

Another hot button is the spread of the word "treason", knowing it will risk raising the sleeping dragon of separatism which has been at bay in Canada for so many years.

Stephen Harper knows dumb people. And like many politicians he knows the levers to pull to get the desired result.

It's much easier to bolster support with dumb people who don't know or are unwilling to understand simple facts, such as, the government needs the confidence of the house to continue governing.

But not many politicians can resist pressing hot buttons to their advantage when the alternative is well thought out dialogue that even dumb people can understand.