Marginalia - 2/5/2023
Stupid Is As..., Go Ahead → Commit Treason, and The Cult of Personality
Stupid Is As...
Stupidity, like evil, is no threat as long as it hasn't got power.
– Jonny Thompson, "Bonhoeffer's 'theory of stupidity': We have more to fear from stupid people than evil ones."
Outside of philosophical and theological circles, the works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer are not well known. He was a German Lutheran, a member of the Confessing Church, and an anti-Nazi dissident.
He was executed on April 8, 1945 at the Flossenbürg concentration camp without a trial, witnesses or even a minimal defense.
Bonhoeffer saw firsthand what happens when stupidity gains a morsel of power... and then a feast. You won't find Bonhoeffer quoted or studied in most of today's right-wing, "Groupthink Christian" churches, much less any church at all.
That would be like holding up a mirror and discovering everyone in the sanctuary was wearing invisible armbands.
Sometimes in life, one can avoid Stupid.
Sometimes in life, one must metaphorically punch Stupid in the mouth.
Pick your battles with care. If you choose the latter, swing with everything you've got. It could be the last punch you throw.
Go Ahead → Commit Treason
To think for oneself is not only, as Gide said, counterrevolutionary but also apostasy and, at certain times, treason.
– Eric Hoffer, "The Art of The Notebook"
Here's another thinker that right-wing, "Groupthink Evangelicals" will absolutely despise.
True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements explains how and why legitimate mass movements for good suddenly (or not so suddenly) turn evil.
It's a mere 192 pages. Don't allow the length of the book to fool you. Each page... sometimes each sentence... will force you to put it aside and ponder.
It's a commitment. But it's well worth it.
Something new this week... and perhaps relevant to the two notes above.
It's criminal that Living Colour is considered by some to be a "one-hit wonder."
Then again... what a hit. Both in the sense of the song's popularity and the force of the message.
The song takes its title from Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's 1956 anti-Stalin report, "On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences". It was delivered to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956. According to Wikipedia...
The speech was shocking in its day. There are reports that the audience reacted with applause and laughter at several points. There are also reports that some of those present suffered heart attacks and others later took their own lives due to shock at the revelations of Stalin's use of terror.
Headphones on. Volume up. Go.
See you next week.