Curing Willful Stupidity in America

Why some people cling to bad ideas, and what we can do.

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Stupidity is like the common cold

These situations don’t differ that much from our politics these days. We like to spitball theories about how we’ve wound up with such an idiot for president. Even my in-laws ask, “How did this happen?”

Why we’re so stupid

I’m continually astounded not only by our poor choices — myself included— but also by how hard it is to make healthy ones. I actually like the taste of spinach. But I still want Pop Tarts for dinner.

We hate cognitive dissonance

True intelligence means the ability to hold conflicting ideas in your mind at once. It allows us to see things from multiple perspectives. Doing that does create stress, or dissonance.

The cure for stupidity

People who live in ignorance could engage their views and behaviors from an objective position. That means disconnecting their beliefs from their identities and looking at them from different angles.

Separating people and ideas

We’ve strayed a long way from the healthy practice of dissoi logoi. It doesn’t matter what political party you vote for. Today’s mantra is “all in.” We don’t entertain opposite sides anymore.

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She’s the funny one.

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