Let’s Not Choose to be Stupid

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After a brief hiatus, our good friend Jerry is back with another outstanding post, which asks the burning question: Can the Trump Cult be deprogrammed? I’ve included a link at the end to continue reading over at his site. Thanks again, Jerry!

After watching YouTube videos on Bonhoeffer’s and Cipolla’s theories about the dangers of stupidity, I had to do it. With some trepidation I took a test to measure my stupidity. I came out in the bottom third—for stupidity, that is. That means, inversely, that I’m in the top third—but just barely—for intelligence. In other words, I’m no genius, but I’m not stupid.

Moral Stupidity Is About Choices

So, I’m smart enough to recognize that I’m sufficiently smart to avoid being harmful to society. For harm or benefit to society is, ultimately, what both Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Carlo Cipolla were referring to in their separate examinations of stupidity. Stupid people are, by Bonhoeffer’s and Cipolla’s definitions, not necessarily intellectual dullards. Rather, stupid people are morally stupid because they choose to believe—and act—upon theories or dogmas that are demonstrably false. And they choose to believe in and act upon those false theories and dogmas for perceived personal gain. However, more often than not, stupid people’s perceptions are incorrect, resulting in both personal and societal loss. Hence, they are morally stupid.

Stupid people tend to think and behave in ways that harm themselves as well as harming society.

Cipolla’s Five Laws of Stupidity postulate that humans fall—to varying degrees—into one of four categories or quadrants: In the upper left-hand quadrant are helpless (overly kind) people. In the upper right-hand quadrant are intelligent people. In the lower right-hand quadrant are bandits. And in the lower left-hand quadrant are stupid people. When I took Cipolla’s test for stupidity/temperament, I learned that my kindness/helplessness (upper-left quadrant) kept me from being categorized fully in the intelligent category.

According to Cipolla, intelligent people think and behave in ways that concurrently benefit themselves and society in general. Bandits tend to think and behave in ways that benefit themselves, but do so at the expense of society. Helpless people tend to think and behave in ways that benefit society, but do so at their own expense. Stupid people tend to think and behave in ways that harm themselves as well as harming society.

Can Trumpists Be Deprogrammed?

I began this research as I pondered my last post, The Sky Really Will Fall, on a friend’s site: I ended that post with this statement:

The threat to our nation—and the entire world—of a second Trump presidency cannot be overstated. Americans of goodwill and dignity must learn how to deprogram members of the Trump cult. And then we must be diligent in countering the grave threat of Trumpism.

How can we deprogram people who have chosen to think and act in ways that are harmful to themselves and society? In other words, how can people who are very or mostly intelligent convince stupid people to abandon their stupid and harmful Trump-cult ways?

Steven Hassan—an expert on mind control and cults, and a former member of the Moon cult—says,

To get your loved ones or friends out of Trump’s cult, you need to reach out to them strategically. Don’t start with saying how stupid you think the Trump cultists are. And I would also appeal to people who are Trumpists to stop being so hostile to people who do not support Donald Trump. To try to get people out of Trump’s cult we should first try to engage them in an intelligent conversation about the psychology of influence. We should also talk to Trumpists about how to better discern facts from opinions and beliefs.

One of the universal techniques that I teach my clients is that you want to focus on another group initially, and not the group in which the person you are trying to help is a member. Focus on China, for example, or some other country that is engaging in brainwashing of its population.

To extricate someone from a cult such as Trump’s, you should also ask the person to think about people who have lied to them or people who took advantage of them. Ask them to reflect on an experience where someone hired them and then refused to pay them. Would they want to work for someone like that again? Would they trust someone like that again?

Hassan says, “To extricate someone from a cult such as Trump’s, you should also ask the person to think about people who have lied to them or people who took advantage of them.” But to do that, Hassan first says, “You want to focus on another group initially, and not the group in which the person you are trying to help is a member.”

So, because we’re discussing Trumpism and not the National Rifle Association, we might begin with something like this this—even if the Trumpist is an NRA member:

To continue reading, please click here: Grumpy’s Grumblings

3 comments

  1. Jeff, that is quite the interesting quote in People magazine. I can hear it being called fake news if it got out in the mainstream. By the way, regarding deprogramming, I read today tha now 28% of Republicans believe that it is at least somewhat likely the former president will be reinstated by year end. By the way, this number is slightly up since October.

    This has been a delayed prediction since the election. I think the deadline has been postponed two or three times. It reminds me of the prophet from the 1980s who kept predicting the world would end on a very specific date. People would sell things or give them away. The date would come and go and he would set a new date. After a few times, you would think they would realize this guy was full of it. Just like a certain former president.

    At least 72% of Republican do not believe this, which is good, but a heavy percentage of them still believe The Big Lie that the election was stolen from the former president. Here is the news flash – trusting the former president is a fool’s errand. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I hear you Keith. This is the strangest of times we’re living in. I’m not very optimistic about what might await us over the next few years. With Trump not being held accountable, and seemingly trying to be a shadow president, he’s only becoming more emboldened. And there’s simply not enough Republicans willing to step up and tell the truth. Including, first and foremost, the Minority Leader in the House. He continues to remain silent while his crazies make threats against sitting members of Congress. This is despicable. And scary.

      Liked by 2 people

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