After Granite Grok, Ace of Spades is probably my favorite read. I have no idea who ‘Ace’ is – a lawyer, a professor, a soldier, or simply a thoughtful and informed citizen. Like Grok, subjects run the gamut from politics to technology to the occasion movie review but yesterday, Ace wrote a piece about a lengthy article posted At Legal Insurrection by William A. Jacobson, an associate professor at Cornell Law School, Says Ace: ‘Give it a read; I have a thought about this.’ I second the recommendation but suggest you read Ace’s comments first:
My thought about this is that people don’t like thinking very hard, and this goes quintuple for low-information people. The more you do something, the more skilled you get at it, and the more you like it, which in turn impels you to do more of it. (I’m a champ at self-abuse, for example. When there’s a Hall of Fame I’m in on first ballot.)
On the other hand, the less you do of something, the harder it is for you to do it, and the less you wish to do it, which then leads to you becoming, in this context, dumber still.
And one thing that it occurs to me that dumb, low-information people might crave is reassurance for their ego that their dumb, low-information ways are in fact ideal and a perfect response to the world.
No one wants to hear, “Read a book.” In fact, people so don’t want to hear “Read a book” that “Read a book” is officially an insult.
What people would like to hear — if printed words and sentences containing dependent clauses (or even parentheticals nested within interrupting clauses set off by em-dashes) make their brains hurt — is that all this “political self-detemination” and “informed consent of the voter” stuff is all just a bunch of silly hooey for [and I paraphrase Ace here] ‘Smarty-Pant’s Who Aren’t Very Popular’.
And hence, any message that presents an extremely simplified take on things which reassures your average dumb, low-information person that he Knows Everything if He Just Repeats This One Stupid Meme and Laughs At the Right People is naturally going to be a Big Seller in the marketplace of ideas.
Because people without taste or discrimination shop there occasionally too.
And by presenting this idea in a user-friendly form for dumb people (a CHEEZBURGER cat and an LOL) is going to probably have more sway that a dozen Thomas Sowell columns.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Thomas Sowell is unworthy.
I’m saying most people are unworthy, and will seek out entertainments and “politics” that shields themselves from realizing that. Call it the Honey Boo Bourgeoisie.
Something to think about. I don’t know what to make of it because I don’t like the conclusion this points to — essentially government by Idiocracy.
Defense of the Self: This is rather obvious, but worth noting, in case it’s not:
Once someone has a certain amount of their personal sense of self-worth invested in a proposition — that is, as soon as someone believes They’re Smart because they Read this Funny LOLPolitics thing at Huffington Post — he will naturally resist (and grow hostile towards) any attempt to disabuse him of the notion.
Because we’re no longer talking about some airy abstract idea, of course. We’re talking about something that gives him value.