One curious thing many people have noticed throughout history is that stupid people do not know they are stupid. Worse, they generally think they’re not only smart, but smarter than other people.
It goes with the territory that stupid people are also incompetent, so society is stuck with people who are stupid, don’t know they’re stupid, think they’re smarter than other people, and are incompetent and don’t know it.
Arrggh! What a mess! Many of these people end up in prison, but others end up in worse positions – bureaucrats.
Intelligence ranges among a bell curve, so since the average IQ of prisoners is 93, a noticeable number of people on the left side of the curve are going to end up in prison.
Just as ominously, some of those same people on the left side of the curve are going to end up as bureaucrats, having often been given political patronage jobs. I’ve seen it, most especially in big cities. I dreaded having to go to City Hall and deal with the morons there (before these days of Political Correctness, a moron was someone who had an IQ of 85 – on the border of dull normal and moron).
All of these bureaucrats I dealt with were stupid, didn’t know it, thought they were intelligent and weren’t, and were incompetent and didn’t know it.
These people were more of a minor annoyance than anything else. What they were, as that old saying tells us, were big fish in a little pool. At least they thought they were big fish, even though they weren’t.
Stupidity and incompetent really causes problems when the possessor (or maybe I should say “sufferer,” even though we’re the ones who do the suffering) have great political power. Then they can really cause problems!
What causes this blindness? Narcissism, I’d guess. Humility is defined as having a realistic appraisal of yourself – that’s all it means. It has nothing to do with hanging your head and scuffing your toe in the dirt and saying “Aw shucks.” Being humble just means knowing your strengths and weaknesses.
The stupid, and incompetent, for some reason, don’t have a realistic appraisal of themselves. The grandiose, if they’re stupid and incompetent, don’t know they’re stupid and incompetent.
Why are so many stupid people grandiose and have such an unrealistic view of themselves? I think a clue lies in the fact that excessive pride is often used to cover up shame.
Stupid, incompetent, grandiose people are often very touchy. They can’t stand to be laughed at or not taken seriously. They blow up.
Their “self-esteem” (ugh, how I despise that word) is fragile. They can’t stand to be dissed (and that is a word I like).
The psychiatrist James Gilligan, who spend his career dealing with murderers and those who committed horrendous batteries, when he asked them why they did it, always heard, “He dissed me.” He disrespected me, he insulted me, he diminished my self-image.
Gilligan said what he repeatedly heard was the story of Cain and Abel.
These people, on some level, must know what they are, and are ashamed of themselves. Unable to tolerate what they are, they cover it up with excessive pride – grandiosity. Thus, they lack humility and don’t have a realistic view of themselves. They don’t know they’re stupid and incompetent.
Not only do they suffer, so does society.
One of my friends, who was head of security in a bad part of town, never had any problems with the drug dealers, pimps and other criminals swarming his area. He told me it wasn’t that hard. Even though these people were losers, the dregs of society, he treated them with respect. And he had very few problems with them.
The way my friend dealt with these people takes care of how to deal with criminals, but what about bureaucrats? The only way to deal with this problem is to shrink the size of government.
It has never ceased to amaze me that some people want to increase the size of government when in their dealings with it they have nothing good to say. Does anyone have a good opinion of the DMV?
When the stupid and incompetent gain any kind of political power, they don’t treat the public with any respect. And no one, no matter how stable and slow to anger they are, when treated disrespectfully by bureaucrats, sooner or later reaches the end of their fuse.
Bureaucrats – as stupid, incompetent and grandiose as they are – are always surprised when the public turns on them. There is another old saying that illustrates this – “The stupider you are, the more surprised you are when someone kills you.”