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Aug. 7, 2020 | Friday
Editorials and Opinions
Op-ed: Trying to understand political stupidity
Opinion.

Bill Garriock

Special to The Lake Report

The forever question remains, “Why do supposedly intelligent people do such stupid things?”  Yet, as we have recently seen, even our leaders manage to defy all logic and wander into decisions which are inconsistent with what we would expect of them.

We can understand why some teenagers often make bad decisions and do and say stupid things.  The frontal cortex of their brains really doesn’t develop until between the ages of 18 and 25, some sooner, some later.  

This is the areas of the brain that influences good judgment and understanding. So, if the area is not yet developed, poor judgment results…and it is not fully the teenager’s fault that some make life-changing and sometime life-threatening misjudgments. But when our leaders make bad judgments, we should worry – and it is their fault.

One would think if The Justin has been found offside on more than one occasion… ethics commissioner’s decisions regarding a personal visit to good friend Aga Khan’s Island, and his interference in the SNC-Lavalin affair…plus the earlier blackface incidents…he would not vote to give the WE Charity $900 million to administer a fund for the government when he knew his mother, brother and wife have all received substantial funds from the charity.  

We have to ask, “What was he thinking?” He may be good at memorizing and delivering scripted lines or talking points, but where is his understanding and judgment or even the effort to connect the dots between values, ethical behaviour and the facts for the decisions to be made?

And he is not alone.  The Donald is a Class A COVID-19 denier. It appears that he continues to believe the virus is just another common cold or flu.  Meanwhile, over 60,000 people a day are now being diagnosed with the virus in the USA, over 3.2 million have been inflicted and over 138,000 Americans have died. One of his disciples, the president of Brazil, followed his lead with similar results. And he has now tested positive for the virus.  

There are also individuals who demonstrate such stupidity. It has been widely reported that a 30-year-old man in Texas died after attending a "COVID-19 Party" thinking the virus was a "hoax."  Guess where that word came from … The Donald!  No doubt the person qualifies for the famous Darwin Award, given in memory to those who die because of a stupid act, thereby removing themselves from the human gene pool.

What drives this stupidity with people we expect to be intelligent?  

With The Justin and The Donald, it may be influenced by believing they are privileged and all-knowing and are entitled because of their affluent upbringing.  One would hope they would listen to some advice. But often the hangers on are overly agreeable to what their leader does, being hesitant to offer a more rational perspective.  

Maybe they just don’t think.  Or maybe it is because the frontal cortex of their brains has not fully developed and they have yet to grow up. Some people never do.

* Bill Garriock lives in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

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