A friend shared a meme today. “Jamie,” sporting a hammer-and-sickle next to her name, posits a question about magically solving hunger, climate change, and broken homes by curtailing millionaires’ and billionaires’ power and money, and dares people to support that notion.

Of course, it’s utter nonsense. If you are reading this blog, you don’t need me to explain why it’s utter nonsense. If you don’t understand why it’s utter nonsense, you’ve likely slept through every history class, every lesson in economics, and every moment of basic logic you’ve ever been exposed to.

I’d call Jamie a naive fool, but that’s too kind, especially when she’s sporting a symbol for an ideology that murdered a hundred million people and impoverished and oppressed hundreds of millions more.

Comedian Ricky Gervais once observed:

When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It is only painful for others.
The same applies when you are stupid.

Such stupidity as Jamie’s has always existed. It has existed in rich cultures and poor, free cultures and oppressed, old cultures and new.

But, throughout almost the entirety of human history, the vast majority of stupid utterances stayed local. It took money and effort to propagate a message beyond earshot, to spread it past whomever happened to be close enough to hear it when made.

Thanks to the Internet and social media, such idiocy as Jamie’s can fly around the world instantly, propagated and perpetuated both by people who are just as foolish and by people happy to point out the idiocy of her purportedly truth-to-power deep thinking.

I do my part, of course, by blogging about it.

This enormous leap in the flow of intellectual garbage may clog our lives, but it does serve a purpose. It reminds us that, even today, with unprecedented access to the accumulated knowledge, wisdom, and history of the entirety of human civilization, people still get things spectacularly wrong, and people can still be spectacularly stupid.

This sad truth goes beyond the Jamies of the world. Consider the once-adored politician Beto O’Rourke, who has attempted to revive his flagging presidential hopes with his own truth-to-power boldness: a loud declaration that he’s going to take all 15 million AR-15s and similar modern sporting rifles out of private citizens’ hands if he is elected.

He brought this message to a political rally at Kent State.

Kent State. Where, 49 years ago, four students were shot dead… by the government.

He was aware of the shootings, but (conveniently? Or out of ignorance?) left out the part that it was members of Ohio National Guard, aka government agents, that killed those students. Not private citizens exercising their right to own guns.

Thanks to the Internet, a message from a rally that, just a couple decades ago, might have only garnered a few column inches in local news, or perhaps a video clip that a small fraction of the populace would see on television before it got relegated to the dustbin of history, is eternalized.

And spread around the world. Someone in Finland can read about this just as easily as someone in Ohio. And witness a moment of utter idiocy, globalized.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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