If – like most all of humanity – you choose to be so self-absorbed as to be ill-informed, you have no foundation for rational dissent. Mathematics dictates two choices remain for you: apathy, or herd mentality.
And considering malice a child of ignorance, herd mentality is one of the mightiest destroyers in our universe. Apathy does nothing to stop it.
Helen Keller (1880-1968) was deafblind. She overcame her condition to complete higher education, become well-informed, inspire others, and advocate progressive ideas. We make an annual contribution to an idea she co-founded: The American Civil Liberties Union. Her accomplishments, and quote of deep insight into the human condition, combine to seal her legacy as a Phenom*:
“Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all — the apathy of human beings.”
A major reason herd mentality is so destructive has been clouded. Until now: In order to maintain and increase popularity, and thus power, groups and their leaders must appeal to the average person, and many below average. Average and below average. That’s the best we can do? An ancestor of Princess Diana, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (1874-1965):
“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
What is democracy-style government? Bill Cosby is credited with observing “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” Democridiocy – we call it The Law of Averages – has disastrous results.
Prominent herd mentality destructions include sex, environment, religion, and politics. Exempli gratia:
1. Hysterias about others’ sexuality. With seven billion people on Earth, somebody’s been having an orgy. And combined with our lifestyles, it’s killing our environment. While most have condemned – often as part of a religious or political group – others’ non-reproductive sexualities. But many countries encourage environmental desecration by granting employment, insurance, and tax benefits to increase human population. Any politician who might try to stop this insanity risks losing votes.
2. Holy book, ritualistic, or religious superstitions have often sacrificed minorities on their altars of self-righteousness. They are also traditional proponents of making (often large) families. We advise such a destructive species to either stop reproducing, or stop lifestyles and support of organizations that are greatly destructive to ourselves and our ecosystems. We manage other species to balance their ecosystems, but are Pepto-Abismol at managing our own.
3. The u.s.a.’s enormous sovereign debt. Still larger unfunded liabilities. 2/3 of adults overweight. And 3/4 believe one specific holy book superstition. These are symptoms of intellectual laziness. Review the top paragraph on the two ugly choices for lazy minds.
4. Patriotism that divides humanity against each other in militaristic, annihilatory, bloodlust frenzies known as wars. Which have killed hundreds of millions of people. And may kill far more in the future. Led by vision-blurred leaders known as heads of state. Followed by enormous gangs of patriots known as nations. You may have noticed that – along with overpopulation – nuclear weapons and their testing also have unpleasant effects on our environment? Patriotism of course includes going along with or supporting national political parties. World citizen. Universalist. Omniversalist.
5. The u.s.a military is so large that it is more than twice the size of the next largest military on Earth. And for many years now, we’ve funded it largely or entirely with debt. But literally 100% of the public support and comprise the two political herds responsible, or do nothing to protest. Any politician who might try to substantially reduce military spending is labeled by the opposition as weak on national defense, thus risking political unemployment. Political campaign funding from military suppliers also works to keep our military bloated.
6. The above hyper-militarism has come at expense of having a large debt-load. Large and increasing debt service costs. Our national credit rating. Of having many hundreds of thousands homeless in this nation. Of many suffering or dying without health insurance. At expense to future needs. And of dilapidated infrastructure, which has improved so much, that in 2013 the American Society of Civil Engineers upgraded our infrastructure rating. To D+.
And yet for decades, 0% actively dissent at election time. We either don’t vote, or rationalize not supporting plainly more rational third parties. 0%. “Unanimous willful ignorance is expensive.”© (self)
As supporters of our two dominant political parties, we’ve been so busy being self-righteous against the other party, that we’re all in denial about some very big issues. We’re in a civil war, and everyone is losing.
The Sage of Baltimore, Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956):
“Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule–and both commonly succeed, and are right… The United States…history is simply a record of vacillations between two gangs of frauds.”
If you are well-informed, you are a hyper-minority. Congratulations, and thank you! You have the ability for reasoned dissent from plainly illogical and greatly destructive herd mentality. Which often – if not usually – enthralls up to a statistical 100% of extremely large groups. Even here in the u.s.a. Even today.
And after a few years’ cogitation, we now suspect that non-fiction readers are more interested in – and seemingly better equipped for – actively improving our world, compared to those who prefer fiction. This expositing post being just one example.
You so few with curiosity – the desire to be well-informed – have travelled with us this far, so we may as well leave you with one last, brilliant gem from another erudite of the past, Bertrand Russell (1872-1970):
“The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed, in view of the utter silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”