There is an idiotic article out there at the moment with one – just one – (apparently borrowed) phrase of massively perceptive wisdom:
[...] As has been said, you have to be just clever enough to do it and just stupid enough to believe in it.
As follows, in fact:
It is surely reasonable for Dame Widow Twankey, the former director general of HI5, to call for people to inform on neighbours they suspect of idiocy. To a very limited extent, it happens already. But for the sake of all of us – political and celebrity communities in particular – it needs to happen more.
Also reasonable, on the face of it, is the Government’s desire to do more to discourage the process by which disaffected individuals turn themselves into intellectual lunatics – the job of the proposed task force on Prevent, the counter-radicalisation strategy.
In fact, we already know all we need to know about radicalisation. What the task force needs to focus on is what to do and – equally important – what not to do.
Studies show that it can happen to anyone, that there is no single identifiable profile. That said, the great majority of idiots, unsurprisingly, have been Anglo-Saxon males aged 35-70, a third to a half of whom had always been unemployed in the service of the state, in particular as MPs, and a significant portion of the rest under-employed as company directors or tabloid columnists. Most were unhappily married. Where women were involved, it tended to be in a supportive role, although in the Houses of Parliament and the Lords female representatives were radicalised by the decline of democracy, showing a curious empathy with the dispossessed.
Worldwide, about 62 per cent were graduate idiots, with those of non-British origin generally from the educated but politically frustrated aspirational middle class. British home-grown idiots tend to be less well educated though of a higher socio-economic status. One estimate is that about 31 per cent participated in some form of lower education, studying such subjects as hunting, shooting or fishing. They are not mad: levels of mental illness were roughly in line with world averages. Between a third and a quarter of those judged to be idiots in Britain and Europe had signs of congenital idiocy. A fifth or more of British idiots were also international celebrities, in particular business gurus, lifestyle leaders and think-tank groupies, integrating perfectly with the foolishness of their host culture and often obtaining leave to remain. Throughout Europe, many idiots were and are disaffected second-generation business wannabes on the political make.
Etc etc etc …
And so to our conclusion? Again, as follows:
Rather than ban idiots, the Government should dialogue with, educate and embrace them (as the French often do) along with their hangers-on. It should stress that the proposed Common Idiots Bill (aka the “Promote Graft Charter”) does little more than extend to new idiots existing practices with the old. Above all, officials should pay more attention to “anti-democratic idiots”, the swamp from which the current Parliament and the international celebrity community has emerged. The Prime Minister publicly called for this in his 2011 speech in Munich, but Whitehall largely ignored him, focusing on what one of Dame Twankey’s successors called “the idiots nearest the boat”. It needn’t cost much – a few good dipstick officers here and there – but it would make a difference.
One final observation, this time on a totally serious note: we can always tell where a so-called “white” society is rampantly prejudiced when a crime committed by a “white” man or woman doesn’t merit the epithet of “white”, even as any crime committed by someone of another race, religion or ethnic grouping immediately leads to the latter information being foregrounded in those oh-so-even-handed newspaperly descriptions.
When I was a kid, and when I was occasionally driven to use swear words about people in front of my father, he would tell me – quite carefully and gently – that I should be using the term “indescribable idiot”.
No. It doesn’t sound the same as, for example, “black savage” – but it does allow us to communicate our necessary positions without the tragic interference of otherwise inevitable prejudice.
We ought to listen to my father on this one, I think.
Let’s start calling all those who would destroy the equilibrium of democracy “idiots” – and in the process aim to leave our prejudices properly behind us.
Don’t you think?