“People are stupid; get over it”

One of the things I tell my kids all the time, in an attempt to help them cope, is “people are stupid; get over it.” For a long time they saw this as being cynical; in some ways they still do, but they’ve also matured enough to see it for what it is: coping with unavoidable idiocy.

The thing is, the sentiment isn’t actually true; it’s just an apparent truth.

What’s the difference between an actual truth and an apparent truth? An actual truth is rigid, deductive, verifiable; an apparent truth is “good enough.” I might say “that line is roughly represented as y=2x” and be apparently true – while the actual truth might be y=1.99x. I’m saying here that people aren’t actually stupid all that often, but if you act as if they are, everything more or less hangs together. This paragraph, by the way, would be “apparently true” at best. Perception against assertion.

I know very few actually stupid people. (I know some, but certainly not enough to make a general statement about people as a whole.) Yet everyone I know – including me – is capable of being amazingly stupid on a regular basis. That “regular basis” is where the defensiveness of “people are stupid” comes in handy.

By accepting that people can be stupid at pretty much any moment, I learn to not take offense quite so easily as I might. This justification makes me easier to get along with – or so I hope! – and certainly reduces how argumentative I can be.

And I can be argumentative. I have my own narrative, after all, just like anyone else does, and I respond to challenges to that narrative just like most people do: my reptilian brain kicks into fight or flight mode, and I bristle with thoughts that start with “Let me tell you why you’re wrong…”

But if I have that “people are stupid” mantra in my head, I get to see the challenges in multiple ways, most of them useful.

First, I get to see them as the mutterings of a wayward and ignorant child. People are stupid, after all.

Then I get to consider the challenge for what it is, on its own merits. Maybe it’s valid, after all, because if people are stupid, and I am a person, too, then it follows logically that I, too, am stupid sometimes.

After that I get to apply the second half of the mantra, and “get over it,” no matter what the “it” is. 

Is it that I was being unfair in my criticism of the mote in my neighbor’s eye while ignoring the log in my own? Well, I’m stupid, too, but I have to live with myself, too: get over it. I will do my best, but in the end I have to get over it.

Is it that people wanted to comment before understanding? Well… okay, that’s stupid, but get over it! They’re following their own narrative, after all, and maybe they thought I was threatening one of their sacred cows; who knows, maybe I was. In the end, I have to live with them, unless I’ve decided that there is no compromise with error… a position I equate with evil.

By the way, “compromise” here does not mean “I accept something that is wrong as being right.” You might believe that having a certain skin color, or a certain belief, makes one individual worth less than another; if that’s what you think, I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. There is no way you’re going to convince me that an individual’s physical characteristics are indicative of value. But even if you’re a racist, I can get along with you without agreeing with you; a wall does nobody any good, and there’s no way I can ever convince you of what I believe is true if we can’t communicate. “I’d rather you were dead” is just as evil as other evils can be.

To me, “people are stupid, get over it!” is cynical, but useful. It accepts a bleak perspective on humanity, while enabling empathy and rational response. I’d rather hold a more positive view if I could – but then again, it’d be easier to hold a more positive mantra in mind if people weren’t, you know, so insistent on being stupid in the first place.


In a lot of ways, the way people talk about Socialism today sounds like an attempt to say “I want to take what you have” without the guilt associated with theft – because it’s corporate and pits membership in social classes against each other.

“I do not have it, and I need it” elicits natural empathy.

“You have it” sounds like envy.

“I do not have it, and I need it, and you have it” sounds like a declaration of intent.

“I do not have it, and I need it, and you have it, give it to me” is a threat.

“We do not have it, give it to us” is a threat. It’s manipulation. It’s a declaration that you do not deserve it, have not earned it, will not earn it, have no interest in earning it… but because it’s corporate, it’s supposed to sound virtuous and less evil than a request for charity.

And let’s be clear, it’s not a request for charity. It’s a demand for compliance, especially when backed by power… which is ironic, because the whole reason the demand has to be taken seriously is because of the ascendance to power of those who demand.

But that’s contradictory: if you have power, then you don’t have the need for “it” that you used to have, because you have power. Now you’re just taking from others to satisfy the need. “Serve the many,” is the cry, pointing back to the request for empathy…

If the request isn’t a demand (“Please, could we have something you have?”)… that’s fine. That’s a request for charity. That’s not even brazen. We all love our children, we all live in a world that has no real regard for us, to some degree we have to live together in a community.

By the way, a request for charity is not “socialism.” This is rational self-interest in all regards: the request is rational self-interest, and the fulfillment is rational self-interest. Even a denial is rational self-interest, even if we might not agree that it’s the best path forward. People who claim that any corporate actions are “socialism” are mistaken at best, and outright liars at worst.

But if you demand something (“It should belong to us, not you”) is fulfilled without being followed by commensurate compensation, you’re simply stealing from someone else. Calling it “socialism” may even be true, but that doesn’t change its nature.

To me, socialism is fine… if it’s actually spontaneous and agreed to by all. A group of people deciding to do something for themselves, corporately, has no negative connotations for me.

But to have socialism applied from outside… that’s when I say that those Socialists are simply thieves using branding to make themselves seem more appealing for others. And if you want Socialists in power without getting out and doing the work yourself… you’re complicit in their evil. You’re just hoping that a lack of pity for the victims you want to create makes it “okay.”

Don’t be evil.

You want to be a socialist? Be my guest. Shoot, go for communism if you want; I won’t mind… as long as you keep your filthy hands off of what belongs to others. Saying “but it should belong to us” isn’t enough. If you want it to belong to the corporate “you,” feel free to make it. Then it will belong to you and you can share it however you like… just make sure you really mean it, and share it with everyone, including the people who you dislike and who disagree with you. Otherwise you’re just as “evil” as the people you’d rather steal from.