As someone vaunting human reason, the 2006 comedy film Idiocracy haunts me. It starts with an upscale couple — intelligent, educated, thoughtful — agonizing about whether to have a child. Then we see a gaggle of lowlife dumbasses reproducing like rabbits. Repeat for a few generations and you get a dumbass nation. An idiocracy.

The president in this dystopian future is of course a crass buffoon (Black — go figure). Back then we could laugh. But politics is incidental in the film, more concerned with a dumbed-down cultural landscape. Epitomized by its most popular TV show — “Ow! My Balls!” Yucks galore. (As if people would still be watching network TV generations hence.)

The film’s premise of an intelligence collapse was silly. Studies show average human intelligence is actually increasing (the “Flynn Effect”). Yet what’s descending upon us is something darker and scarier than mere innocent dumbness. Imagine another movie:

Though 74 million vote to re-elect a crass buffoon president, he’s unsurprisingly defeated. But his deranged ego can’t accept it. So he makes up a lie that the election was a fraud. Laughed out of court; but instead of hooting him off the stage his cult followers storm the Capitol in support of his attempted coup. After which his hold on his party actually grows, their indignation over the imaginary “election steal” intensifying. And its unprincipled politicians use that as a pretext for every possible underhanded trick to steal the next election themselves and return to power.

Nah, that movie would be too implausible. This is America, not some banana republic (or “shit-hole” country.) Weren’t we made great again?

Meantime, polls show voter support for Biden and Democrats plunging. A lot of the reasons are bogus (“socialism,” “defund the police,” “critical race theory,” “open borders”). Biden is not blameworthy for inflation. And voters are also venting frustrations over the pandemic — perversely, since of course it’s Republicans hugely blameworthy, insanely battling against needed public health measures. Forgotten too is the rest of Trump’s litany of atrocities, even including the January 6 attack upon our democracy itself, and how Republicans have abetted it.

There’s been tons of analysis trying to explain voters. Many just act like bloody-minded nihilists. Maybe it’s idiocracy after all. So as of now, reprobate Republicans (helped too by their gerrymandering) look poised to retake the House of Representatives in 2022.

But if you suppose this would be just another routine swing of the political pendulum, you’re not paying attention. We saw what lengths Trump went to, last time, to overturn the election and keep power. He might have succeeded, if Democrats hadn’t (barely) controlled both House and Senate. Next time, a Republican-led House of Representatives can block certifying electoral votes. Throwing the election to the House itself, where they’ll crown Trump. They’ll have the votes; think they won’t have the balls?

We see country after country where such manipulations prevail. Often just simply fabricating vote counts. Even presidents with real public support skirting zero, like Maduro, Ortega, Assad, and Lukashenko, get “re-elected.”

This is the movie we’re in now. A tragedy, not a comedy. Much darker than Idiocracy, with its mere innocent dumbness.

We won the Cold War, defeating Communism, with democracy ascendant. But now it’s under vicious assault again, as Anne Applebaum writes in The Atlantic, from what has grown into a new alliance of anti-democratic regimes, supporting each other and perfecting the tools of repression. Trump actually aligned with them. If he returns to power, sinking democracy even in America, it’s game over.

I could live in an idiocracy. Not in a trumpocracy.


7 Responses to “Idiocracy”

  1. Don Bronkema Says:

    Mass-man is capable of self-govt but briefly & equivocally. Still, the worst we have to fear, short-term, is digitorstvo [cyber diktat]. Potent forces are pushing us toward greater freedom, Scandinavism, atheism, decarb, regreen, syntels, CRISPR, neural chips, geriospans, disarmament, Mars. Pinker & Our Word in Data demo fabulous progress. Would you choose any prior age, say, as a peasant w/rotting teeth or an immolating dissenter?

  2. Andy Arclight Says:

    People are stupid for voting for Trump over an empty suit puppeted by an enormous political bureaucracy? Trump was the grenade vote. People threw him into a system that was destroying their lives. I don’t think stupidity is the problem, but desperation, despair, and a lack of viable options for real change.

  3. Don Bronkema Says:

    Read Stephen Pinker for max clarity…

  4. David Lettau Says:

    The upcoming Republican primaries are not going to be referendums on local or national issues, but on whether one is loyal to Trump and his lies. Meanwhile Trumps latest grift is a media company that like all of Trump’s cons is sure to result in the following 1) It will dishonor all it’s participant’s. 2) It will bankrupt it’s investor’s. 3) It will leave Trump unscathed as he deploy’s legions of lawyers to defend him while he goes merrily on to his next grift. Meanwhile Trump cultist are putting in place election judges and officials who will ensure Trumps coronation(?) in 2024. The opposition? I believe Biden is a decent man and is not insipid (lacking in vitality and interest), But he does not seem to be as concerned about the massive electoral fraud and assault on our democracy that the Trump loyalist are preparing for the midterm’s and beyond. We need robust opposition to this darkness now. If not, prepare for citizenship in a Trumprocracy.

  5. rationaloptimist Says:

    David, you really do see things so clearly.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Mass ignorance is the problem. Agree with DB on Pinker wisdom wholeheartedly! We are still moving in the right direction, despite the POS (Don John) detour, and any future gains by him and his obsequious minions will be short term.
    I watched “Idiocracy” when it first came out. Reinforces, truth stranger than fiction; from mainstream media to Washington DC.

  7. Don Bronkema Says:

    David: very well-said, but this nonagenarian believes the future will diverge from your expectations so sharply as to make you question the Ontos [roots of Being, per Sartre]. Variables are infinite in a Deutsch-emergent kosmos. Messor Gravis cometh. Balzac: “My condition is lethal, comrades, but not serious.”

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