Are Republicans Stupid?
Just for the record, I don't believe that all Republicans are stupid. There are many smart Republicans. Many of them are smarter than me. I have friends who would define themselves as Republicans.
However, in general, Republicans with a capital "R", are stupid. This is because the party believes in two things that define stupidity. Rather, I should say that they don't believe in two things that define stupidity: they don't believe in evolution and they don't believe that climate change is real.
Both evolution and climate change are facts backed up by real data and proved by science. When a person doesn't believe in science or doesn't understand science well enough to understand why both of these things are considered beyond doubt, we say that such a person is stupid. It's one thing to say that you're not convinced that the liberal answer to climate change is the right one. It's quite another to say you think climate change is some kind of hoax. And evolution and a belief in God can easily co-exist, but to say that the theory of evolution isn't a fact, is absurd. It's one thing to sort of remove human beings from the evolutionary equation and argue about the missing link between apes and man, but it's quite another to throw out the entire theory because you don't understand that evolution itself is much more than just a question of how human beings came to be on this earth.
If Republicans want to argue that evolution and climate change aren't scientific facts, then they might as well argue that the sun revolves around the earth. The arguments are basically the same. Thus, any Republican who doesn't understand evolution or climate change, is fundamentally an idiot, deserves no intellectual respect whatsoever, and cannot be argued with in any rational manner. One cannot argue with a person who doesn't understand science or data and a person who doesn't understand science and data cannot form a rational argument. That person is, by definition, irrational.
It's one thing to be stupid and it's another to be dangerous. It's generally a given that stupid people are dangerous. Thus, Republicans are dangerous. Let's take the gun control debate as an example. A Republican who believes there should be no gun control cannot be argued with rationally. I've provided a link to a study that uses data to show that in states with limited gun control, gun violence is more prevalent. The conclusion is that gun control does have the effect of lowering gun violence.
Now, I can accept the gun advocate's argument that a law-abiding person should have a right to protect him or herself. Heck, I can even agree with it. I have no problem with that. The problem with the gun control debate is that the same Republicans who are ignoring scientific facts are the same ones who are arguing against gun control. A person who values science and data cannot have a productive discussion with somebody who doesn't. All the data in the world doesn't matter to a person who doesn't know how to interpret data. All the science in the world doesn't matter to a person who doesn't respect and understand science.
Another thing that makes Republicans stupid is that they're always voting against their self-interest while their elected officials are actually working against them. Take consumer protection as an example. Most people who vote Republican would benefit from increased consumer protection, but Republicans are always fighting against it, which makes those who vote for Republicans against common sense consumer protections.
It's quite common for Republican senior citizens to rail against socialism and then complain when cuts are made to Medicare and Medicaid. Often, these people will vote for Republicans based on their talking points on the evils of socialism. Now, I'm not even arguing about the pros and cons of a political position opposing socialism. I'm talking about a person who actively votes for somebody who is working to get something they want taken away. Usually, we vote for the candidates who want the same things that we want, but when we actually don't understand that what we want is in opposition to what we say, that's kind of stupid.
That's where the argument about consumer protection comes in. Republicans are usually "pro-Business", whatever that means. Usually, that means voting for legislation that favors businesses over consumers. In practice, it means that when the individual gets injured by something a business does, Republican legislation makes it easier for the business to get away with it and harder for the individual to be protected. Pollution would be a perfect example. If a business poisons your drinking water and you get cancer, you should be entitled to compensation. The business should be shut down. Unfortunately, Republicans don't vote in a way that supports this position.
So What is Stupidity?
How do you define stupidity? I have to believe that a good definition of stupidity is "willfull ignorance of data" or "continued ignorance in the face of data". Perhaps an even better definition is "not only maintaining ignorance in the face of overwhelming evidence, but the insistence of righteousness due to the inability to comprehend complex data."
In other words, it's one thing to insist that the sun revolves around the earth. However, it's quite another to insist the sun revolves around the earth after somebody shows you a clip from a satellite showing the opposite and then claim that the clip is an elaborate hoax and that the person who showed it to you is going to hell.
I'm going to step in it now by bringing religion into the mix. A smart person can use religion in a way that is beneficial. Unfortunately, religion makes stupid people even stupider because it provides them comfort in believing that things that are unseen have more credence than things that are seen. The far right in the Republican Party who base most of their political views on their religion can do so because they have been brought up believing that the greatest beliefs can be established with no evidence whatsoever.
It's one thing to have faith in a higher power. It's quite another, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, to have faith that an idea is correct simply because you believe it to be correct. In most rational circles, that is stupidity. It is this belief system that is eroding the very definition of intelligence and understanding of science. By its very nature, faith is about believing in something the one reads or is told, without evidence, because that thing is comforting or comes from a person or book whose authority seems without question. Science is about asking a question and then testing that question with the use of data. A scientist sees a question and then determines how best to arrive at the answer to that question using a particular testing method.
This does not mean that faithful people are stupid and scientific people are smart, but to deny the scientific accuracy based on what you don't know is the opposite of intelligence. There are many religious people who understand science who are not stupid.
The Republican Party encourages stupidity. It does so by undermining an understanding of science and how science works, and encouraging people to believe things without evidence and without testing. Science and the practice of science is the basis for how we know most things. To reject science and the means by which scientific theories and facts are determined, is stupid. The Republican Party does this with most things, particularly with their views on climate change and evolution. To do so, without opposing, testable evidence, is stupidity.
And let's just remember that Republicans have been pushing the idea that President Obama was not born in the United States despite the existence of his birth certificate. So let's just review how that belief works:
- Somebody says Obama was born outside of the United States
- Republicans believe it and start repeating it
- Irrefutable evidence is produced showing he was born in the U.S.
- Republicans claim irrefutable evidence is fake
What answer best defines a stupid person?
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