My wife and I have this running commentary about stupidity. She often says, “You can’t fix stupid.” I say you can, but I admit that sometimes stupid gets fixed through Darwinian evolution, or stupid gets replaced by other stupid. Nevertheless, stupid isn’t perpetual or permanent. She just rolls her eyes.
In this context, stupid is a habit we follow without thinking that gets us into trouble, does us long term harm, or wastes time and precious resources. It’s difficult to provide an example without offending someone, because admittedly, we all do stupid. Before I write about California, and in order to avoid offending loved ones and friends, I’ll use myself as an example.
Every two weeks, usually on a Sunday, I sit down at a big table in our home and place a bunch of pills, capsules, and tablets into little cubic containers which help me keep track of when I should take them during the day and the week. These are nutritional supplements and vitamins. I do this without much thinking about it. In fact, while I’m dutifully organizing these little items, I’m usually listening to a book or some music because organizing my pills is boring. This is a long-term ritual I’ve conducted for at least 25 years, although the specific items in each cubicle have changed over the years. Recently, because I became curious about what exactly I was putting into my body, I decided to create a spreadsheet with each ingredient listed on the vertical column, the name of the supplement preparation across the top, and the dosage in the corresponding spreadsheet cells. Too put it mildly, I was amazed at what I’ve been ingesting every day for the last 25 years without much thought and without really knowing if it makes a difference. Well, I am 77 years old in perfect health (for my age) with no current prescription medications and rare visits to physicians, opticians, or audiologists. I’m blessed. Is my good health related to taking these supplements? Beats me! Maybe its my genes, or my wife’s good cooking, or clean-living in safe and healthy environments without smoking. I do this thing because it has psychological inertia after 25 years of doing this thing. It’s a ritual. I’m definitely stupid about it. But I’ll keep doing it because not doing it would be scary.
Anything we do without thinking is stupid. It might be good for us, it might not, and it could even be deadly. We need to learn to question our rituals from time to time. What made sense 25 years ago might be a bad habit today. We should ask ourselves, “Why am I doing this?” If we don’t ask, we are being stupid if we keep doing the thing.
California is stupid! In fact, it is so stupid that one hundred years from now, people will fall down laughing at the stupid currently on display. California is addicted to stupid. The harm done to this population of 40 million people without thinking will be extraordinarily humorous once all the current perpetrators and victims of this stupidity have gone to meet their maker. Don’t misunderstand me, California is a beautiful state with wonderful people but an extremely dangerous place to live. Name a natural disaster and California has it. There is no logical reason to live there year around unless you enjoy wildfires, mudslides, earthquakes, heat waves, avalanches, frigid cold, volcanoes, tsunami’s, hurricanes, plagues, pests, droughts, floods, smog, and fog to name but a few. It is all made worse by governments at all levels that are incredibly stupid.
All this comes to mind as I see a report about power outages inconveniencing the defenseless victims of the stupid government they elected (and that’s another example of a stupid habit). They don’t have enough electricity for their population. Why? Because they closed or shutdown power plants. Why? Because they use fossil fuels or uranium to generate electricity. Ok, well what is their plan to replace the electricity? They have a multi-dimensional approach. They buy electricity from surrounding states, they replace their power plants with wind farms and solar panels, and they reduce the electricity provided to their population. All of this is done, ostensibly, to avoid adding carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. If that is true, then why don’t they build more nuclear power plants that don’t add carbon dioxide into the atmosphere? Crickets!
There are so many aspects of this entire circumstance that exemplify stupidity, it is difficult to know where to begin. But I will.
- Adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere isn’t a long-term problem, and it might actually promote human flourishing through greater agricultural productivity and global greening.
- Decommissioning power plants leads to energy shortages at exactly the times when more electricity is needed.
- The cost of electricity skyrockets when demand exceeds supply.
- The poorest residents of the state are the most harmed and inconvenienced by the lack of electricity and its high cost.
- The more affluent residents of the state install generators to provide their own electricity, and in doing so they will release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than they would otherwise.
- Wind turbines and solar arrays require large land areas and use humongous quantities of limited and expensive natural resources, and furthermore, they are difficult and expensive to recycle and only last a decade or two before needing to be replaced.
- Wind turbines and solar arrays only provide electricity when the wind is blowing, and the sun is shining, and their unreliability places a significant strain on the electrical grid requiring more base-load power thereby, adding to the cost.
The truth is this. California government officials do things without evaluating their effectiveness. They do stupid things in order to signal their virtue to other stupid people. All the good people of their world will surely applaud them for reducing their carbon footprint. Unfortunately, the good people of their world are also stupid. This is stupid impressing stupid. Both feel good. And 40 million people are victims of this stupid.
I chose to pick on California, but I could have chosen a gazillion other examples. I’ve already written twice about wearing masks, and if you do, just ask yourself why. Don’t be offended. Like I said, we all do stupid, sometimes. Virtue signally is often stupid impressing stupid.