Social Question

trickface's avatar

Are most people idiots?

Asked by trickface (2311 points ) July 11th, 2011

Ignorance and prejudice is everywhere, but are these close-minded people dying out in the internet age? Or are they in fact being bred into society through pop culture, consumerism and/or ‘explicit’ content being pushed upon them at a younger and younger age?

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45 Answers

SavoirFaire's avatar

“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”
—George Carlin

poisonedantidote's avatar

*raises hand

… present!

roundsquare's avatar

Everyone, including all of us here, are pretty stupid actually. Think about how much we don’t know.

Schroedes13's avatar

@SavoirFaire I love GC!

I wouldn’t say most people are stupid. However, there are many people who are ignorant or others who don’t think before they speak.

Joker94's avatar

Well now, that all depends on what your definition of an idiot is, now doesn’t it?

Genuinely stupid, ignorant, and inflammatory people? Yes, they’re still out there.

But most people? No, I wouldn’t say that. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and sadly, some of their opinions can really suck, but that doesn’t make them an idiot. If they refuse to see someone else’s opinions, though, then that would be blatantly idiotic. But there is a fine line between ignorance and naivety, and idiotic people tend to lean towards the former.

jerv's avatar

Yes, but probably not for the reasons you think.

We live in an era of instant gratification, yet learning stuff takes time and * gasp * effort. We can’t even be troubled to stop texting long enough to keep our SUVs in our own lane, so what makes you think that anybody will pay enough attention to anything boring like education well enough to have at least the basic math and language skills expected of a third-grader? We have a hard time finding cashiers capable of counting out correct change even when the register tells them how much to give back, so what makes you think any sort of actual higher reasoning like critical thinking is even possible, let alone likely?

Still, even as cynical and uncharitable as I am at times, I gotta go with @Joker94 and say that “most” is an overstatement. I think that if you look at each individual, you will find that there are relatively few actual morons. That said, groups behave differently from individuals, so groups of people can be quite stupid even if all of the people in the group are intelligent.

obvek's avatar

@jerv, geeez, man tl;dr

bob_'s avatar

Yes.

@SavoirFaire That’s incorrect. Half the people are dumber than the median person. Some times the average is equal to the median, but most of the times it’s not.

ETpro's avatar

The word “idiot” is like so many other words. It has a meaning. You can look it up in the dictionary, just like so many other words, and find out what its meaning is. But like so many other words, many people chose to use the word with no clear idea of what it means. So is stupidity, and prejudice, and close mindedness widespread. Yes. But very few people are idiots. And those that are have no ability to will themselves to a higher IQ. They deserve our help and our nurturing. They are not bright, but they are humans and they have feelings to be nurtured and valued. We can even learn from them.

Now the prejudiced, and those that chose stupidity over knowledge—the willfully ignorant, and the closed-minded—they’re fair game on the Internet, and I think it’s slowly having an effect. They were already on the wrong side of history before the Internet came along. It’s just accelerating their demise.

linguaphile's avatar

Uhmm… there are idiots… they’re the ones supporting AT&T giving the Tea Party $385,000, and Verizon giving $35,500. The Tea party wants to slash NIH Cancer research, Peace Corps, Financial Aid for college, EPA, Head Start, NPR… not just Planned Parenthood.
They are among us, they breed, they vote, and I don’t see them “fading away…”

obvek's avatar

… they assume you give a crap about American social programs.

jrpowell's avatar

I think the Internet makes it a bit worse. It is so easy to find yourself visiting sites that only support your views. Google actually filters results based on these things. Your results and mine could be totally different. I would end up on Dailykos and you might end up on freerepublic after searching for the same thing.

ETpro's avatar

@linguaphile If the Tea Party populists manage to provoke a default on the US debt, and then realise what that does to their own lives, you will see them fading away faster than snow in July.

linguaphile's avatar

@ETpro I’m hoping you’re talking about snow in Florida, not Alaska :D

Schroedes13's avatar

I’m still not sure how they plan to decrease almost every form of tax and still lower national debt?

ETpro's avatar

@linguaphile Think snow in El Paso Texas.

@Schroedes13 According to GOP ideologues, any tax decrease increases government revenues. So far, we’ve dropped the top marginal tax rate from 70% in 1980 to its current 35%, and we’ve added loopholes so that the top 1% actually pay an average of 17.2%. And that’s taken the National Debt from $1 trillion in today’s dollars to $14.3 trillion. So it just takes a while to work. Keep cutting, and when we get taxes to minus 100%, where the IRS send you a dollar for ever dollar you earn, then federal revenue will suddenly skyrocket. We will pay off the national debt overnight and soon have a Bazillion dollar surplus. You’ll see. Just trust the all knowing Tea Party. They’ve been in government for what, 7 months now. Clearly they know far more than those who have run it pretty smoothly for the last 150 years.

plethora's avatar

@ETpro You are turning this banal, but interesting, question way off course. OP is asking nothing about politics or the national debt. Your definition of an idiot is the precise definition and is not what the OP was talking about. He’s talking about the idiot with good sense who is trying to cut you off at an intersection. That kind of idiot. Based on that definition, I would go with, “most people are idiots.” Present company excluded of course.

roundsquare's avatar

@bob_ Average can be mean, median, mode, etc…

ucme's avatar

The best part is, they don’t even know it…..neanderthal laughter!

ratboy's avatar

@obvek: “Read this and this”
This is a joke, right? Two pieces, each longer than 140 characters.

Blondesjon's avatar

All people are idiots.

Remember, for every person you consider and “idiot” there are five more that consider you the same.

i prefer the term “well meaning drunk” when applied to me, even though i consider the person applying it to be an idiot.

obvek's avatar

@ratboy- it’s an idiot test. You passed! XD

ratboy's avatar

@obvek
Thanks. Mom will be so proud.

downtide's avatar

If the average IQ is 100 then half the world’s population have an IQ lower than that.

bob_'s avatar

Median.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@bob_ You’ll have to take it up with Mr. Carlin. Let me know if you get a hold of him. Though I imagine he’d just give you the finger, remind you it’s a joke, and tell you to read the opening paragraph of this. Because like @roundsquare already said, a median is one type of average.

bob_'s avatar

MEDIAN MEDIAN MEDIAN MEDIAN MEDIAN

@SavoirFaire I guess the average person is not as anal about specificity as the average economist.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@bob_ And certainly not the average comedian.

bob_'s avatar

@SavoirFaire Yeah, most people don’t get economics/statistics jokes.

Or find them funny :(

SavoirFaire's avatar

@bob_ It’s probably a matter of confidence.

bob_'s avatar

@SavoirFaire Confidence intervals are funny!

Love means never having to say you’re sorry. Statistics means never having to say you’re certain.

SavoirFaire's avatar

And economics means never getting to say “you’re welcome.”

Response moderated (Spam)
Symbeline's avatar

I do, however, I certainly do not exclude myself.

ETpro's avatar

@plethora You;re probably right. The game of chicken with the debt cieling is the idiocy currently on my mind. Apologies to the OP if I veered off course due to that.

trickface's avatar

@ETpro I like veering off course, my answer was vague and simplistic in order to provoke discussion :D The idea of a changeable debt ceiling is idiotic in itself! No matter who runs it.

As for my question, I’ve come to the conclusion EVERYONE IS AN IDIOT. No-one is perfect and no-one is good at everything however often it may seem au contraire. Human flaws are inevitable, you can’t bat them all away and they will eventually in some way allow you to be percieved as an idiot by someone somewhere.

Schroedes13's avatar

@trickface I enjoy the old adage “no one is good at everything, but everyone is good at something”

ETpro's avatar

@trickface I know for certain that I’ve acted idiotically often enough to prove your point. I have a pretty high IQ. I’m nowhere near the definition of idiot. But that never stopped me from acting like one. My youngest son’s IQ is off the charts high, and he can succumb to the common human fallibility at times as well. I’ve never know anyone who didn’t.

trickface's avatar

@Schroedes13 a pleasant adage no doubt, but I wonder how many people are good at more things than they are bad, who can be the judge of another without a full life-length court case. It’s ignorant to call someone an idiot without taking into consideration all the good and bad deeds of their life, right?

It’s now a messy question in my head, because if calling another an idiot is ignorant, the question is suddenly idiotic and ignorant and I’ve performed some hypocrisy! Uh oh! Another pointless and arbitrary question for the fluther archives. At least it provoked some cheery conversation.

Schroedes13's avatar

true….but it is still possible to call some an idiot in some situations. I also believe that almost everyone has been the accused in the idiot situation as well. So therefore, everyone has been or is an idiot!

Schroedes13's avatar

LAWYERED! :P

ETpro's avatar

@trickface Interesting observation.

roundsquare's avatar

@bob_ Aren’t economists/you using the word average too narrowly? I thought the definition actually didn’t specify it if was mean, median, mode, etc…

bob_'s avatar

@roundsquare Most people use average to refer to the mean. As I said, I’m a fan of specificity.

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