A Misanthropic Essay on Stupidity

15:01 Thu 08 Apr 2010
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While I don’t really believe in stupidity as an intrinsic characteristic, and while I’m skeptical of analyses of the world that place blame for ills on non-systemic causes, I still found Carlo M. Cipolla’s “The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity” amusing and worth reading.

In summary, the five laws are:

  • Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
  • The probability that a certain person will be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.
  • A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.
  • Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.
  • A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.

One Response to “A Misanthropic Essay on Stupidity”

  1. Garret Says:

    Well if you live in Ireland there is a profound confussion between cunning and intelligence as can be seen by the populations lack of reaction to the way in which politicians behave and the institutions of state lack of regard for its citizens. I think fear plays a large part in stupidity, collective Institutionalization plays a large part in fear and stupidity is one of the prime movers in collective Institutionalization. Stupid ( for want of a better word) people have steered Ireland away from been a republic into financial servitude but they were able to do it because of a lack of citizenship that exsists in our fare land.

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