The MSI and You
The Moron Saturation Index (MSI)
I recently coined this phrase and acronym (MSI) – the Moron Saturation Index. I formulated this concept as my daily social media newsfeed – and all other sources of media / news / information bombarded me with scenes and headlines indicating we are headed straight to hell in a rickety bus being pushed off a cliff and into the abyss of history by a band of absolute morons.
The dumbing down of America is not a new topic. Not for you or for me. I have written about this in the past, more than once. I have certainly discussed it with my fairly intelligent friends and relatives on more occasions that I can possibly recall. This effect is by no means new. It started before my time. This entire movement has its roots in the Know Nothing movement starting in 1855. The Native American Party “was a far-right nativist political party and movement in the United States that operated nationwide in the mid-1850s. It was primarily an anti-Catholic, anti-immigration, and xenophobic movement, originally starting as a secret society. The Know Nothing movement also briefly emerged as a major political party in the form of the American Party.”
There are numerous examples of this dumbing down effect in the last century as well. My favorite example is the change in the U.S. official motto back in 1956. From 1782 until 1955, the official motto of the U.S. was “E Pluribus Unum” (out of many, one). But in the mid 1950s, there was a dramatic push to inject religion into our politics and define the United States as a “Christian Nation”. Something it was never intended to be. In fact, our founding fathers went so far as to create an Amendment to protect us from governmental legislation regarding religion. It was so important that it was (and is) the First Amendment.
But in the 1950s we veered perilously off our path and, lost our way and allowed churches (and pastors) to get involved in politics. And we changed our official U.S. motto to “in God We Trust” in 1956. This happened two years after the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance was amended to add the words “Under God” in 1954. This is that nexus point in our history where religion started to play a much larger part in the entire government process. And churches still pay no taxes! A topic for another post…
No I don’t particularly care what religion you are, just so long as it has no deleterious effect on my life. I don’t want you creating legislation influenced by your beliefs that control what I do, which is based on sound logic. So, basically your religion is much like a penis. It is fine that you enjoy it and are proud of it. But just about the time you decide to whip it out and start waving it around is when I have a problem with it. Get it?
Now put it away.
But I digress.
This is where the creation of moronic Americans started its climb toward the pinnacle of stupidity. The problem with western religions is the “It’s God’s will” idea. The entire thought process that puts everything as either a blessing (things go well for you) or God’s will (this sucks but it’s not my fault) approach. It is the lack of taking personal responsibility for when you fuck up and things turn to shit. It is “God’s will” as opposed to “my fault”. When you stop being responsible for both your successes and failures, you allow yourself to be a moron. “Oh well… God has a plan for me and I guess I’ll figure out what that is eventually.” “I’ll pray about it.”
Just take responsibility for what you do. Or don’t do. Don’t put everything on your god. Or on those around you. Be responsible for your own actions or inaction. Own it. Learn from it. Move on.
Or you can be a moron.
You’ll be in good company.
Discussing the MSI also has to include the topic of Willful Ignorance, something that has its roots in the same 1850s but has blossomed into a full blown crisis thanks to social media and the proliferation of disinformation, misinformation and flat-out lies that saturate the 24 hour digital newsfeed. The simple fact that an abundance of the world population chooses to listen to a constant stream of alphabet sewage from their politician of choice, rather than reasoned statements from scientists, researchers and educators, should be nothing less that alarming. Yet it is a growing problem. All of this willful ignorance has made an otherwise disastrous worldwide pandemic exponentially worse. See below for examples and extended discourse on this topic. But make no mistake, sheer willful ignorance will spell the end of enlightenment is we don’t change course. And soon.
Back to morons…
You can probably find a support group for whatever is making you feel bad. I’ll just bet you can find a therapist who will be happy to tell you it is all the fault of your parents and you’re basically just fine blaming them for everything. Hint: You can get away with this until you reach the age of 18. OK. Maybe 21. But after that you’re on your own. You’re an adult. Your response to everything is YOUR CHOICE. It is not your parents’ fault when things go wrong. If you’re a loser, it’s YOU and your actions that are to blame for you being a loser. It is not the clerk at the store that makes you a loser any more than your parents. Don’t blame random people because your life is shit. If you’re looking for someone to blame, look no further than your bathroom mirror.
Or you can be a moron.
Does any of this sound vaguely familiar? Can you point to any similarities in our current political climate? Because I certainly can. Donald J. Trump rode a wave of ignorance to a predictable (shocking if you were Hillary) victory in the 2016 election. Everyone, especially Hillary Clinton, thought this buffoon had no chance of winning. I was not so sure and went on record to say so. It was that arrogance and certainty that cooler heads and brighter minds would prevail that has cost the entire world dearly. The end result of releasing the most destructive force on this planet has been far worse than even I (a devout skeptic and sometimes pessimist) could have imagined. Trump’s xenophobic and downright ignorant position on everything has congealed into the perfect storm. Trump has managed to bring together the stock market crash of 1929, The flu pandemic of 1918 and the race riots of 1968 all in 2020.
What Trump locked in on was the average, pissed off, racist, disenfranchised American that felt they were being controlled by the government. Republicans. Blue collar workers and their families for the most part. Or the very wealthy. The ones who really benefit from Republican control. Xenophobes. The voters who hated Barack Obama, primarily because he was (still is) Black. The ones who would close our borders so no “immigrants” can get through. (forget the fact that we would have no fresh fruit, vegetables or kitchen help in most restaurants if we did this.)
People who are always looking for someone else to blame, rather than examining their own path. People who need someone else to point at and blame for their own failures. A favorite example I have used for decades now is: “Remember that when you point your finger at someone else, the other three fingers are pointing back at you.”
Or you can be a moron.
And even elect one.
Does anyone other than me wonder why Trump has threatened lawsuits if any educational institution he has ever attended releases his transcripts? I mean… Seriously. Unless you had the overall worst possible scores in history, why would your transcripts be a source of embarrassment. Or emBARFassment… What is this man hiding? Perhaps the fact that he has a room-temperature IQ? His vocabulary is somewhere south of sixth grade and it is a well-held belief that he reads at a 4th grade level.
So we elected a xenophobic, hateful, spiteful, schoolyard bully of a moron who has the nuclear launch codes.
Not surprisingly (if you have an IQ above 100) historically this has not yielded good long-term results.
Trumpty Dumpty dialed into this large segment of society and gave them someone to blame. “Crooked Hillary”, “illegal immigrants” who were “rapists”, “murderers” and “criminals” — and Democrats — to fear. This is exactly the technique another famous historic figure used in his march to power several decades ago. Adolph Hitler was living in a country decimated by the WWI reparations. Their economy was a disaster and the Deutschmark was virtually worthless. Hitler seized on the Jews, homosexuals and gypsies as undesirables and focused German frustrations on them. He rode this xenophobic movement to an unprecedented landslide victory which ultimately fueled WWII.
Continuing on the Moronic thought…
We can track all of this to the dumbing down of America in general and the degradation of our educational system altogether (“no child left behind” is a classic example). Our school systems now primarily teach children to take tests. I have heard more than one example of college level educators lamenting the fact the freshman students are woefully unprepared for college because they have spent more time studying for tests than LEARNING. My favorite example of our failed educational system is my oldest brother. He graduated high school in 1976, functionally illiterate. You read that correctly. He was completely unable to read or write anything. He was schooled his entire life in the state of California, who is annually thrilled that Mississippi is still part of the Union, so they don’t rank dead last in education. How is it possible for someone to pass 2nd grade without being able to READ?
Add to the failure of our educational system, the media portrayal of the stereotypical father figure as a complete bumbling fool with a wife that keeps him in check.
One of my favorite examples of this dumbing down effect are TV commercials. Remember when we still had beer commercials on TV? I used to comment constantly on the portrayal of dimwitted men drinking someone’s alcoholic beverage and I was astounded that anyone would respond favorably to this. I certainly would not purchase, then consume a product that was in use by morons. I have never thought of myself as a complete fool. In fact, I have spent my entire life trying to not be anything remotely similar to a simpleton.
One of the best examples today is the Sonic brand of advertising. Two doofusses are consuming Sonic products. This is somehow appealing to the masses. The advertising community figured this out decades ago. They realized that a substantial percentage of America consisted of sub-average IQ individuals who would gladly part with their hard-earned money to feel like the “famous” figured on TV, engaged in the same activity.
And this most likely explains the “Moron culture” of YouTube videos as well. Think about this for a minute. There are abundant examples of people engaging in obviously stupid activities, the outcome of which is embarrassing and usually injurious. Yet they make sure this video evidence of their (at a minimum) poor judgement and (at a maximum) just plain stupid behavior, ends up on YouTube for all the world to see. And laugh at. Because looking stupid and getting thousands of LIKES is more important that actually being smart.
I can tell you right now, that if I ever did anything remotely as moronic as some of the self-denigrating videos I have seen, I would immediately (after getting out of Intensive Care) do two things:
- Destroy all evidence of the event.
- Threaten all witnesses with swift, painful and terminal retribution, were they to ever reveal to anyone the details of said event.
Every day, more stupid activity videos are uploaded.
Enter the Coronavirus in late 2019…
The interesting thing about a crisis is that two things become quite evident in short order:
- A crisis brings out the best in the best people.
- It also brings out the worst in the worst people.
Some easy examples are:
Early on in the pandemic, there was a rush on buying of staples (not the kind you use to hold your bank statement together) at every available outlet.
- Almost immediately ALL paper products were GONE. You could not find toilet paper or paper towels for WEEKS. Even today, in late July 2020, Amazon STILL does not have their signature toilet paper. MONTHS after the crash started.
- Lysol spray? Good luck. You can’t find it anywhere. Costco has not had ONE delivery of this product since the initial buying frenzy.
- Clorox sanitizing wipes? Nope. Those have not existed since the initial rush either.
- Hand sanitizer? It was literally WEEKS before you could find any such thing. It wasn’t until June before it started showing up again.
- Isopropyl alcohol? You STILL cannot get this anywhere. You can buy it on Amazon. But it’s $43 a gallon. I should be maybe $10 a gallon.
- Face masks? Good luck there too. It is only in the last month that they have become routinely available. They disappeared off the shelves like they were gold bars on sale.
- 409 cleaner? NOPE. You still cannot buy this product. What the hell makes it so friggin’ magical all of a sudden? It’s not like it is an antibacterial. Explain this to me.
And all of this because large numbers of IDIOTS lost their minds and like a swarm of locusts, rendered shopping aisles BARE in a matter of ONE DAY. The idea of a pandemic sent people into a frenzy. You would think the storm of the millennium was bearing down on Dallas. Like all access to the region was going to be cut off tomorrow and we would not be able to leave our homes for months.
Then there are the opportunists that buy up every single occurrence of a specific item so they can jack up the price and make a killing on the market over the short haul. This is called price gouging. It is illegal in every state. The classic example of brothers Matt and Noah Colvin who snatched up every bottle of hand sanitizer they could find throughout Tennessee and Kentucky. Over 17,000 bottles. They tried to sell them on Amazon at outrageous prices. From $8 to $70 each. Then Amazon took note of this blatant price gouging and shut it down. The backlash was swift and brutal. This enterprise (but STUPID) pair of opportunists could not unload another bottle of hand sanitizer at this point. The Tennessee Attorney General sent them a “Cease and Desist” letter, also informing them of their intention to levy a $1,000 fine per occurrence of price gouging.
What’s an opportunistic moron to do under these circumstances? The only option left was to donate 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to escape the wrath of the Tennessee AG (and the world), so that is exactly what they did.
What have we learned from this, Bunny Foo Foo?
Oak Ridge native plays key role in catching price-gouging brothers
OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — Behind the recent story of an alleged price-gouging pair of Tennessee brothers was an Oak Ridge native who supervised the effort to stop them.
“There were a number of us involved, but I was involved every step of the way,” explained Jeffrey Hill, who works for the Tennessee attorney general’s office as the deputy attorney general for the Consumer Protection Division. In a telephone interview Wednesday, he told The Oak Ridger he supervised the investigators and attorneys working on the case.
Hill said he handles cases of price gouging, fraud, anti-trust and other consumer protection measures.
The New York Times and The Associated Press reported on the incident.
Thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer and packs of antibacterial wipes and medical masks were donated Sunday after a failed attempt by two Tennessee brothers to resell them for profit during the current U.S. coronavirus outbreak.
Boxes were taken Sunday from a storage unit and the home of Matt Colvin of Hixson, Tenn., the news outlets reported. The items, including 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer, were donated to a local church and some supplies will head to Kentucky where Colvin had cleared store shelves.
Colvin and his brother, Noah Colvin, had cleared store shelves of the items before online retailer Amazon stopped their sales and the state attorney general sent a cease-and-desist letter.
At the beginning of the buying hysteria:
Store personnel did not see this coming and initiate buying limits immediately.
NO ONE should ever be able to buy 200 rolls of toilet paper in a crisis. OK?
If you need 200 rolls of toilet paper, you need to see a gastroenterologist immediately.
On the flip-side of this equation are the abundant examples of people setting up drive-through food distribution centers for all the people who lost their jobs. There are people who fired up their sewing machines and started turning out face masks all day long to help out our first responders, police and neighbors.
There are abundant examples of people doing good in this pandemic.
Unfortunately, there are more examples of people being stupid, entitled, rude, mean, VIOLENT and…
Every day there is another example of some entitled brat having a complete meltdown on video for the entire world to see. People have been shot for enforcing local or regional mask mandates. Store clerks are having to put themselves in harm’s way here in Texas, because Governor AbbottAndCostello (also Governor Useless) refused for MONTHS to enact a statewide mandate. They did, however MANDATE all businesses to require face masks and ENFORCE that order upon penalty of a $500 fine.
This is exactly the opposite of the smart thing to do. This is cowardly, petty, political and MORONIC. Making business owners and their employees responsible for enforcing a reasonable solution is cowardly on a level I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.
Here are just a few examples of Face Mask Meltdowns where morons have decided they have a “constitutional right” to be self-centered, entitled, spoiled brats who risk the lives and health of everyone they come near — because the don’t like being told what to do. In this case, Wear A Mask.
Here’s another example of Bobby BadAss in a Georgia WalMart refusing to wear a mask and reaching for his open carry pistol.
And then there is this horseshit:
A crowd of anti-maskers ‘invading’ a Target in Fort Lauderdale
[Business Insider] Marisa Folz, a 28-year-old boutique owner from Florida, was shopping with her mother and aunt at a Target in Fort Lauderdale Tuesday evening when she heard chanting and screaming coming from a few aisles over. She stopped and looked around the store and then a large group of anti-mask protesters rounded the corner.
“Take off your masks,” a blonde woman leading the group shouted, pumping the air with the balled-up mask held in her fist. “We aren’t going to take it anymore!”
Another man, dressed in a red “Make America Great Again” t-shirt, carried a speaker playing rock music above his head and gestured for another patron to de-mask and join in. “Yeah, we got someone!” he said excitedly.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, mask-wearing has been politicized, mutating from a public health measure to a cultural statement. In Washington, politicians have flip-flopped their stances on masks. In supermarkets, mask-compliance has sparked stand-offs between customers and employees. In July, a French bus driver was beaten to death by passengers that refused to wear masks.
So many examples.
So little space…
These are great examples of what I said before. These people are behaving little spoiled 3 year olds, throwing temper tantrums in public. And it is all on VIDEO. For the whole world to see just what a badly behaved adult you are. So you are a spoiled, entitled MORON – AND you have zero self-control. AND zero sense of self-preservation from the looks of this. Your reputation is irreparably tarnished. In some cases, people have been fired from their jobs for acting like complete asses in public. This is the epitome of moronic behavior. Some of these people are possibly well educated. Let me make this clear. Your level of education does not necessarily equal your level of intelligence. I have encountered far too many well-educated people who ask very stupid questions. That is another conversation entirely.
Continuing on the MSI discussion…
The current polling results indicate something like 63% of the United States thinks President Trump has done an abysmal job of handling the pandemic.
Sixty Three Percent.
A little less than two thirds correctly perceive the Trump administration’s response to a world-wide pandemic as atrocious at best and criminal at worst.
But what is more important…
If sixty three percent think Trump sucks at handling this crisis…
Thirty Seven percent feel he has done a good job.
Therefore, the current MSI of the United States is:
THIRTY SEVEN PERCENT
This means we have raised (and in many cases allowed to reproduce) over 120 MILLION MORONS in this country.
THAT, my friends, is a LOT of Morons.
And some of them VOTE.
This should worry you immensely.
October 6, 2020 addition:
I reference this well written article:
Are Americans Just Stupid?
Anti-intellectualism has little to do with intelligence.
[Psychology Today] Be honest. As an observer of American society, the thought may have crossed your mind at one time or another – at least for a fleeting moment or two – that the nation’s dysfunctional state of affairs is the result of widespread stupidity. The people, too often misinformed and poorly educated, are getting exactly the democracy they deserve.
Perhaps that thought arose last week as you watched the cringe-worthy presidential debate, which pundits have called “a disgrace” and “an embarrassment for the ages.” Our public discourse has been in decline for so long that it was bound to come to this, right? Effective self-government requires an intelligent and engaged public, and it seems the American electorate falls woefully short. With large segments of the population brazenly rejecting facts and science – whether the issue is climate change, evolution, the coronavirus, or the latest conspiracy theory – it’s no surprise that social and political dysfunction are rampant.