Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Idiot America Comes to Notre Dame

To begin with, I'd like to outline Mr. Charles Pierce's Three Great Premises of Idiot America as written in his fantastic book Idiot America: How Stupidity Became A Virtue In The Land Of The Free. The First Great Premise: Any theory is valid if it sells books, soaks up ratings, or otherwise moves units. This is the premise that allows a crackpot like Glenn Beck to be taken seriously. And Glenn Beck and his followers bring us to the Second Great Premise: Anything can be true if someone says it loudly enough. And finally, the Third Great Premise of Idiot America: Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is determined by how fervently they believe it.

The "debate" (if you even consider it civilized enough to label it as such) leading up to healthcare reform has embodied this version of America. Shouts of "socialist", "fascist" (which, of course, are the same thing assuming you yell it loud enough and believe it vigourously enough) and "baby killer" cloud the arena of rational discourse with smog so thick you could choke on it. And we almost did. However, despite making some concessions to the deluded along the way, meaningful healthcare reform has been passed. So it's over, right?

Not even close. The passing of healthcare has brought the idiots out in full force. All I had to do was look over my facebook feed the next day. Of course, the first to begin the explosion of uninformed outrage were my acquaintances from high school - that is, from Texas. That was fully expected. Texas was one of the first strongholds of Idiot America, and if the old value of intellectualism ever returns, you can expect Texas to put up a strong fight against it. But then, the Domers awoke. People that I talk to on a daily basis, people that I consider generally intelligent, saying things like "vengence will be swift, Mr. Obama" and "The term illegal aliens will no longer be used. They will henceforth be known as unregistered Democrats." and of course the mass migration to groups like the one called "10 million people against Obamacare" (which of course is an absurd number to choose in itself, as 22 million more people than that stand to gain insurance from the new law). After perusing the spewing of hatred over a piece of legislation that obviously nobody bothered to read (or else they'd realize that after seniors and young children, nobody receives more immediate benefits from reform than our age group), you can head over to the Observer website to see the "facts" brought forth by educated Notre Dame students, staff, and alumni that, as Chris pointed out in his well-researched article, are just not true. Walk down the quads and take a listen to students fearing for their freedom, threatening to move out of the country (generally to countries that have socialized medicine), or otherwise spouting bunk. But in Idiot America the bunk is true. Because people that get great ratings on TV said so. Because enough people yelled loudly enough. Because they couldn't be bothered to read the facts, or if they chose to read the facts they chose to disbelieve them because it clashed with the noise they had already fallen for. And it has spread here, to a bastion of young, supposedly intellectual adults.

This is a rebuke to those out there to those who fall for such transparent trickery, but even more so, a warning to those who haven't. This is not over yet. If Idiot America can proliferate here at ND, it is certainly digging its trenches elsewhere. We have won the push for reform, but if we relax and let misinformation take over, we risk losing it all back to Idiot America in November. Let's not rest on our laurels, progressives. Counter the shouting with calm rationalization, counter the lies with truth, and don't get discouraged. Idiot America is loud, but we have reality on our side.


ShamRockNRoll said...

This is a good post Tim. There sure are a lot of people at one of America's "Top 20" universities who seem to be completely divorced from reality. Idiot-in-chief at Notre Dame I would have to say is Charles Rice with his ridiculous columns... and then the many lemmings who can be seen in the comments on The Observer's website.

Rabi Abonour said...

I own Idiot America, but I haven't read it yet. I need to. Pierce is hilarious on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me.