As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Triumph Of The Stupid

People say they are confused by the health care debate. That's natural. When people don't want to do the work of understanding something, they say they're confused by it. It takes the burden off of them and onto someone else to educate them. People don't want to look stupid, and don't want to say they haven't paid any attention, so they use "confused." People actually don't WANT to really understand policy issues, from my experience. That's why they elect people.

That said, it's true that much of the media does very little to illuminate the debate. When you have media figures on television asking 44 year-olds why they aren't on Medicare, we simply have to conclude that our discourse is dumb. Some would say that we have the media we want; stupid people require a stupid media, and all that. But I don't totally agree. The discourse is, for the most part, controlled by very narrow interests who pretty much exist to defend the status quo. And that requires keeping people stupid. So you have liars privileged and idiots given a platform. Republicans have pretty well figured out how to use this to their own ends, simply by being as aggressively stupid as they can possibly be, knowing that the media will either sink to their level of stupidity or "teach the controversy" and promote stupid ideas. There's a whole network dedicated to this idea, but all of the other media outlets do this at one level or another.

As a result, we are a late empire moving, seemingly inexorably, toward failure.

And yet, I have hope! Hope because cynicism is commonly used by the defenders of the status quo to extinguish the possibility of transformation. We either succumb to it or we conceive of a better way. We can climb down from the triumph of the stupid and move toward a real triumph.

Here's that video of Hero of the Stupid Maria Bartiromo asking a 44 year-old Congressman why he doesn't get on Medicare.

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