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Bonhoeffer’s “Theory of Stupidity”

weekend blog

Another day of rail stupidity

Yesterday I wrote a blog claiming that cancelling the Birmingham to Leeds High Speed Rail link was probably the first good decision this useless bunch of flatulent, greedy, self-serving, incompetent idiots in our government had made. In all the media discussions yesterday for and against this decision, I did not hear a single person suggest that it was totally ludicrous spending billions to build a high speed train track for a train that would travel a mere 50 or so miles from Birmingham to the East Midlands Hub and then about another 50 miles from the East Midlands Hub to Leeds.

How is it possible that none of the interviewers or interviewees had the intelligence to realise this?

How I “incited violence”?

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog about a poster I had designed:

And I mentioned how I had this put on an advan (advertising van) to drive around Manchester for a couple of days during the Conservative Party conference:

Then, when I tried to book the same advan to drive around Glasgow during the Flop26 Climate Conference and again around London after the return of Parliament, the advan company refused the booking because their driver in Manchester had been heckled, insulted, threatened and even assaulted by global warming fanatics.

Here is the message I received from the advan company:

Thank you for your email.

After due consideration, unfortunately we will not be able to fulfil future bookings for your book as the content of the banner message is just too inflammatory.

This resulted in our driver being both verbally abused throughout the course of the Manchester operation and then physically assaulted by a member of the public. An incident attended by the police and for which I understand a man was arrested.

If you can find another contractor who is prepared to undertake the work, we would be happy to arrange for the banners to be delivered to them.

Bonhoeffer’s “Theory of Stupidity”

This trivial episode is a good example of what is called Bonhoeffer’s Theory of Stupidity

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a young German pastor who began to speak publicly against the Nazis’ use of violence.  After years of trying to change people’s minds, Bonhoeffer came home one evening and his own father had to tell him that two men were waiting in his room to take him away.

In prison, Bonhoeffer began to reflect on how his country of poets and thinkers had turned into a collective of cowards, crooks and criminals. Eventually he concluded that the root of the problem was not malice, but stupidity.

In his famous letters from prison, Bonhoeffer argued that stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice, because while “one may protest against evil; it can be exposed and prevented by the use of force, against stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here. Reasons fall on deaf ears.”

People who live in solitude manifest this defect less frequently than individuals in groups. And so it would seem that stupidity is perhaps less a psychological than a sociological problem.

It becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power, be it of a political or religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with stupidity. Almost as if this is a sociological-psychological law where the power of the one needs the stupidity of the other.

The process at work here is not that particular human capacities, such as intellect, suddenly fail. Instead, it seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power, humans are deprived of their inner independence and, more or less consciously, give up an autonomous position.

The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us from the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him.

He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and is abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil – incapable of seeing that it is evil

Bonhoeffer was hanged at dawn on 9 April 1945 at Flossenbürg concentration camp just two weeks before soldiers from the United States liberated the camp.

Stupidity, violence and the cancel culture

You’ll all probably have heard that Harry Potter author JK Rowling has not been invited onto a programme celebrating 20 years since the first Harry Potter film. It’s generally believed that the reason she has apparently been shunned is that (from the little I understand) she dared suggest a few years ago that there were just two biological sexes. This outraged the transgender activists who started screaming and howling as usual and tried to get Rowling ‘cancelled’.

The woke obsession with destroying their opponents – whether by attacking the poor guy driving my supposedly too inflammatory advan in Manchester or by getting people cancelled and even fired from their jobs – seems to be today’s version of Boenhoeffer’s Theory of Stupidity.

Supposedly intelligent and often educated people somehow abdicate their freedom to think for themselves and instead submit to a collective psychosis. Then they become obsessive believers in a cult which has no scientific basis. Moreover no amount of factual evidence that their beliefs are misguided will ever get them to change their minds. In fact, the more they are presented with facts debunking their cult, the more they will retreat into the protection of their own stupidity.

Today’s climate catastrophists – Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain – are perfect examples of Boenhoeffer’s Theory of Stupidity. The fact that they worship an autistic, undereducated schoolgirl as a modern-day saint is just further proof that their movement is a cult rather than having any scientific basis.

 

6 comments to Bonhoeffer’s “Theory of Stupidity”

  • twi5ted

    I think Thatcher was on the money when she said you have to starve the beast of big government. Everything noted here is a symptom of the bloated centralised state with layers and layers of unnecessary people trying to justify there huge pay packets. Be it central government, local, charities, academia, quangos, public bodies, unions, eu, united nations, who etc. They are all bloated and fat on too much money and all need huge cuts to their funding.

    Whether people are stupid it seems likely they are powerless. As we have seen with the scamdemic and climate bs if like the Nazi regime power and comms are so centralised then it takes time for enough people to coordinate and challenge this. It would have been even harder before the internet but hopefully blockchain will finally find a useful purpose with decentralised social media platforms that can never be shut or silenced.

  • A Thorpe

    Congratulations on this piece. You excel at bringing ideas together with clarity. I don’t know how many people read your blog but this needs wider circulation if you can get it in a newspaper.

    I read about Bonhoeffer recently. I think I am correct to say that he helped his family escape Germany and could have left but he stayed to oppose the Nazi regime. After his arrest he went from prison to prison and I think was shot the day before the allies arrived at the prison. A very brave man. On a different scale doesn’t that reflect exactly your experience with the book advert. The deluded masses and authorities have to attack anybody who challenges their view and think nothing of using violence. I especially liked the use of “blah, blah, blah” in the video.

    I saw a quote from George Carlin – “never underestimate the power of stupid people in a large group”. The real issue is then, how can the mass stupidity be challenged. It took a war and millions of deaths to challenge the Nazis. I saw a film made by Peter Jackson on WWI which included women giving out white feathers to men they believed were cowards and would not fight. We are never told what they thought when their fathers, brothers, husbands, sons and friends did not return. Stupidity is everywhere and always has unacceptable consequences.

    In relation to climate change we had witches accused of weather cooking and being burned or drowned. If “The Crucible” is correct the people who opposed the witch trials also lost their lives. I don’t know what brought this to an end but it seems clear that it was not rational debate. In the past there was much less to lose and we must be more concerned now about stupidity when our knowledge and standard of living has expanded rapidly in only the last 50 years, together with improved education, but stupidity is getting worse with governments and institutions leading the way. How and when will it end?

  • Jeffrey Palmer

    “How is it possible for you to be so easily tricked by something so simple as a story, because you are tricked? Well, it all comes down to one core thing and that is emotional investment. The more emotionally invested you are in anything in your life, the less critical and the less objectively observant you become.” — David JP Phillips, ‘We Don’t Have Time’ board of directors, “The Magical Science of Storytelling”

    ‘We Don’t Have Time’ is the media organization that first picked up on Greta Thunberg on August 20th 2018 as she started her campaign of bunking off school for the ‘Climate’, subsequently weaponising her as the new patron saint of Yoof and as the marketing face of the climate change industry.

    ‘We Don’t Have Time’ was founded by its CEO Ingmar Rentzhog.
    Rentzhog is the founder of Laika (a prominent Swedish communications consultancy firm providing services to the financial industry, recently acquired by FundedByMe). He was appointed as chair of the think tank Global Utmaning (Global Challenge in English) on May 24, 2018, and serves on the board of FundedByMe.

    Rentzhog is a member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Organization Leaders, where he is part of the European Climate Policy Task Force. He received his training in March 2017 by former US Vice President Al Gore in Denver, USA, and again in June 2018, in Berlin.

    Founded in 2006, Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project is a partner of We Don’t Have Time

  • Gwen Hill

    Frankly I blame soshul medya for the stupidity. Today’s yoof think that everything they read on there is gospel, they appear to have no ability to think on their own or question what they are told.

    As for billions being spent for a high speed train on 50 miles of track – surely it doesn’t take the brains of a rocking horse to see that that as the most pointless and impractical waste of money, never mind the wanton destruction of the countryside. An exercise in futility. And yet the Labour Party are out of their prams over it’s cancellation. Unbelievable. Mind you, the conservatives did sell it as the salvation of the north. Really?. Again blind acceptance.

  • A Thorpe

    I’ve just watched Steven Koonin’s 2021 lecture at the GWPF based on his recent book “Unsettled” which I recommend watching. I haven’t read his book, but look him up on Wikipedia and see how it was criticised. No chance of him being invited to speak at COP sessions and he pointed out nobody wants to talk to him about his book. You are in good company David. He pointed out at the end that institutions like the Royal Society should speak out about the issue. He obviously doesn’t realise that they have bought into the nonsense and that they are brainwashing children with their Christmas Lectures.

  • Brenda Blessed

    Below is the link to the weekly Mail on Sunday article by Peter Hitchens that says that to find out what the government’s intentions are, whatever its makeup, just reverse the declarations.

    PETER HITCHENS: The outgoing UK Border Chief had one job – and he didn’t believe in it –

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-10225659/PETER-HITCHENS-outgoing-UK-Border-Chief-one-job-didnt-believe-it.html

    Note that if you visit the link to Hitchens’ blog, you can make comments on his articles. His blog has a large audience.

    Among the migrants are many who have no respect for nature and wildlife or conservation whatsoever. They live in areas of the world that have had their wildlife mostly wiped out. They don’t hunt like the South African bushman, they use snares.

    We can still go out in non-rural places to see birds, rabbits, foxes, badgers, deer and lakes filled with fish and water-bird life. Just recently, a small fishing lake near where I live had all of its big fish, mainly carp, removed using nets. Migrants are suspected because the local people who go fishing always put the fish back and so the fisheries have never had to be restocked until now.

    Moreover, house-building is taking place on every spare piece of land all around where I live. A relatively small plot of land that used to have an Indian restaurant on it until it burned down in 2006 is now going to have 14 affordable houses built on it. Apparently financed by a collection of wealthy footballers.

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