Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

The 3 stages of ignorance

Recently, the FT mentioned a 2022 book by Andy Borowitz, an American satirist: Profiles in Ignorance: How America’s Politicians Got Dumber and Dumber (eg, Amazon). I just listened to his interview on PBS. He mentions 3 stages in ignorance: (i) ridicule, (ii) acceptance, and (iii) celebration.

According to Andy Borowitz, stage 1 was in the 1970s (eg, Ronald Reagan). The US is in stage 3 today: celebration. Now, politicians only pretend to be dumber than they really are (eg, Ron DeSantis).

Interestingly, Andy Borowitz confirms, albeit indirectly and implicitly, my concept of the arrogance of the Left versus the ignorance of the Right. Please see my related 2017 blogs: Arrogance of Left and Ignorance of Right and The Ignorance of Nationalism and arrogance of Globalism.

In my view, the ridicule of the ignorant Right by the arrogant Left is accountable and/or responsible for its acceptance. Not only in America but also in Europe (eg, Le Pen family, Berlusconi, Pim Fortuyn). Without that ridicule, the ignorant Right might just have been a faction within the conservative Right.

Again, albeit indirectly and implicitly, my view is confirmed by Andy Borowitz, who prefers to blame American tribalism (a.k.a. partisanship). Whenever someone gets attacked, the entire group makes a circle to defend him/her. This ancient military strategy is also known as the wagon fort, laager, or tabor.

The interviewer, Walter Isaacson, asks him an interesting question: why are ignorant politicians (eg, Ronald Reagan) more successful than smart politicians (eg, Jimmy Carter)? According to (the intelligent + successful) Andy Borowitz, politicians are either intelligent or successful. A very weird opinion.

Many books have been written on success and failure. It’s very hard to define success and much easier to analyze failure. The best answer that I heard was from a Dutch field hockey coach; see my 2014 Dutch language blog. I amended his formula into this one:

Success = ( Talent x Discipline x Positive thinking) / Ego 

Clearly, some political parties are more prone to positive thinking than others (sic!). Arrogance often equals an inflated ego. This formula gives a much better explanation (than the one of Andy Borowitz above) for the success and failure of certain political parties.

Some relevant quotes to the above:

PBS interview Andy Borowitz
video

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

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