If your child attends almost any university in America (or Canada or anywhere else in the English-speaking world), the odds are that your child’s decency, intellectual acuity, faculty of reason, character, and moral compass will be damaged, perhaps permanently. A good example is the teaching of evolution as fact and banning the teaching of intelligent design despite many leading Ph.D. scientists like Dean Kenyon former Professor of Biochemistry at Stanford University and author of the evolutionary textbook Biochemical Predestination are now saying that the breathtaking complexity of the information on DNA (instruction manual) and the micro machinery of a single cell can only be explained by intelligent design and therefore a Creator.
The worse news is that sending your child to almost any elementary school or high school — public or private — is fast becoming equally toxic. More and more schools are being taken over by left-wing ideologues and by non ideologues who lack the courage to confront the ideologues.
Once infected with leftism, these schools teach children to hate reason, tradition, Christianity, whites, excellence, freedom, and masculinity. To cite one example, thanks to a million-dollar grant from Bill Gates through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Oregon Education Department has announced that teaching there is “one right answer” in math — yes, in math — is an expression of white supremacy. Why, then, would an Oregon parent who cares about his or her child’s mind, send that child to an Oregon school?
God commands us to call out stupidity. This is especially the case if it is stupidity that is divisive to the faith delivered, once and for all, and to human flourishing in general. Moreover, without judging, how can we expect to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission to disciple the nations?” (Matthew 28:16-20). Moreover, if mankind is to be governed at all, then it must be through the basic precepts of the Christian religion and not in accordance with his own wild speculations and base desires.
The stupidity I am speaking about has to be distinguished from raw intelligence or the lack thereof. Dietrich Bonhoeffer identified in the German people of his day (including the church’s leaders), a kind of stupidity that is independent of raw intelligence. Nevertheless, it is a stupidity that supports evil and, in doing so, is itself a kind of evil. This stupidity is, in one sense, worse than the malice spawned by those at the top of society’s food chain. It is not evil in its essence but in its effect.
Konrad Kellen, writing the introduction to Jaques Ellul’s classic treatise on propaganda, confirms Bonhoeffer’s understanding of the stupid person, who is often quite intellectual. It is the educated intellectual who becomes the primary target for and vehicle of propaganda:
A related point, central in Ellul’s thesis, is that modern propaganda cannot work without “education”; he thus reverses the widespread notion that education is the best prophylactic against propaganda. On the contrary he says, education, or what usually goes by that word in the modern world, is the absolute prerequisite for propaganda.
Ellul is clear in his analysis: the “intellectual” is the most vulnerable in society to modern propaganda. Kellen summarizes Ellul’s reasons for thinking so:
1) they [intellectuals] absorb the largest amount of secondhand, unverifiable information; 2) they feel a compelling need to have an opinion on every important question of our time, and thus easily succumb to opinions offered to them by propaganda on all such indigestible pieces of information; 3) they consider themselves capable of ‘judging for themselves.’
Thomas Sowell, in an interview on his book, Intellectuals and Society, corroborates Ellul’s analysis, coming roughly to the same conclusions as the Frenchman. Sowell presses the issue of intellectuals and the unrecognized errors of their ways, arguing that it is their public role as “intellectuals” that forces them into so many mistakes in judgment. Sowell points out that these public intellectuals have a “huge ego stake” in their theories. Being confident in their own powers of intellection, and desiring to safeguard their societal roles, they are unwilling to entertain evidence that contradicts their views. Further, as “public intellectuals,” (a relatively recent social category in the history of human affairs), they feel they must pronounce on every domain of human life. This is how they stay relevant and powerful in the eyes of the culture they claim to serve. Finally, this intellectual class is driven by novelty. They are progressives in character and disposition because to acquiesce to something like past wisdom or prior modes of thought would be to diminish their identity as the truly smart ones in society.
The Bible clearly teaches that truth is objective, eternal, and inseparable from God’s character. Anything that contradicts the truth is a lie—but, of course, to call something a “lie” is to pass judgment. To call adultery or murder a sin is likewise to pass judgment—but it’s also to agree with God. When Jesus said not to judge others, He did not mean that no one can identify sin for what it is, based on God’s definition of sin. In the end, I am not really going after the person him or herself. Rather I am pointing out a noetic effect (how sin affects the mind) of sin that we all can manifest.
Stupidity, Bonhoeffer writes, in playing a supporting role to evil, “is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice.” Malice, unlike stupidity, can “be protested against” and “exposed,” and, if need be, “prevented with force.” But one cannot protest, at least not much or very directly, the stupid person. One can try to expose the stupid in their dullness of mind, but the stupid have abandoned reason for the sake of a poetic narrative (or “poetic truth” as Shelby Steele calls it). They have exchanged reason for an emotional drama and, as such, they are irrational. The lie they have imbibed, which has consumed them, possesses an emotional appeal that overwhelms any lack of logical substance or factual basis. The stupid have jettisoned rationality for a cultural story, one which is essentially rhetorical and a blatant embellishment of the truth. Bonhoeffer says that when it comes to stupidity like this, “we are defenseless [against it].”
This stupidity, he goes on, does not necessarily have to do with intellect. There are many who are intellectual (high IQ) yet still stupid. This intellectually gifted yet stupid person acts like a drone, and no matter how many facts are presented to the contrary, he boldly holds on to the “slogans” or “catchwords” that have “taken possession of him.” This stupidity has more to do with human nature in general than with IQ. People are either “made stupid” or they “allow [stupidity] to happen to them.” In America, this making stupid comes mainly through education.
It is a particular form of the impact of historical circumstances on human beings, a psychological concomitant of certain external conditions. Upon closer observation, it becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere, be it of a political or religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with stupidity.
It would even seem that this is virtually a sociological-psychological law. The power of the one needs the stupidity of the other.
The process at work here is not that particular human capacities, for instance, the intellect, suddenly atrophy or fail. Instead, it seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power, humans are deprived of their inner independence, and, more or less consciously go with the flow.
The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings.
Yet at this very point, it becomes quite clear that only an act of liberation, not instruction, can overcome stupidity. Here we must come to terms with the fact that in most cases a genuine internal liberation becomes possible only when external liberation has preceded it. Until then we must abandon all attempts to convince the stupid person.
This state of affairs explains why in such circumstances our attempts to know what ‘people’ really think are in vain and why, under these circumstances, this question is so irrelevant for the person who is thinking and acting responsibly. The word of the Bible that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom declares that the internal liberation of human beings to live a responsible life before God is the only genuine way to overcome stupidity.
But these thoughts about stupidity also offer consolation in that they utterly forbid us to consider the majority of people to be stupid in every circumstance. It really will depend on whether those in power expect more from people’s stupidity than from their inner independence and wisdom.