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May 2008
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Stupid people have no reason…

I’ve decided I’m annoyed by stupid people this week. So here’s another rant about them. I’m not talking about just any stupid people — in other words, not the ones who just sit at home and watch 700 Club reruns — but the stupid people who decide to go out into the world and loudly attempt to convince the rest of us of their particularly odious brand of stupidity.
Stupid #1
Let’s start with the amazing video that has been circulating the last couple of days. Rabid talk show host Kevin James is on Hardball screaming about appeasement, and Chris Matthews decides to actually ask him if he knows what it means. James digs himself into one of the deepest holes I’ve ever seen, and the video, while extremely painful to watch is, at the same time hilarious.
Forget about the mentions of Bush and Obama in the video — this isn’t about them. This is about the notion that anything other than pro-war can be loudly proclaimed as appeasement or surrender. This kind of stupidity dramatically reduces options and damages the country’s ability to accomplish anything. This stupidity completely cuts out rational discussions of diplomatic, economic, humanitarian, isolationist, and other options which are potentially potent tools with no relationship to appeasement or surrender. And in fact, it may turn out that war is the least viable option.
Unfortunately, recent years have given these idiots the notion that they are actually, uh, important, and that people with… facts are merely elitists (hopefully this is a temporary trend and not the beginnings of the death of empire — the dead hand of Hari Seldon would have a field day slapping around Kevin James)
What does this have to do with the drug war? Same situation. The screaming about the imperative to be “winners” — to win the war on drugs — is often paired with the notion that anything else is surrender. Thus, they attempt to shout-down any rational discussions of legalization and regulation, harm reduction, black market profit reduction, safety, targeting specific problems, etc.
When the stupids rule the discussion, then your ability to actually find solutions is limited or destroyed.
… as even a dumb machine knows.

               
| X | O | X |
| O | O | X |
| X | X | O |
A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.

Stupid #2
Via Grits for Breakfast is a letter to the editor in which a woman actually wishes harm to the families of criminal defense attorneys. Fortunately, the 14-year-old daughter of a defense attorney slapped her upside the head.
But as is so eloquently (!) shown by FarkingSean in a Fark.com discussion about the letters, there’s a whole lot of stupidity out there.
His view is, that while perhaps harming their families is going too far, defense attorneys should refuse to defend people they think are guilty. And he believes this to be common-sense justice.
He also believes that it’s better for an innocent man to be jailed than for a guilty one to go free because of the simple math that a freed guilty man may go out and harm others, while the jailed innocent man won’t.
I grew up with a real understanding of the Constitution and individual rights, so such a statement is so foreign that I had a bit of a hard time at first even responding in my head to such nonsense. I didn’t think I’d ever have to.
But I guess maybe we’re in a time when we have to respond to the stupids. So…

Even if you discount the moral, Constitutional, and American reasons for not jailing innocent people, consider this: If an innocent man is sent to jail, that usually means that the person who actually did the crime has not been sent to jail. So you’ve got your free guilty person plus an innocent in jail. Now do the math.

Recipe for disaster:

  • An out-of-control drug war, where half the American citizenry is a potential enemy
  • A win-at-all-costs mentality, with discussion of any other options being considered surrender and therefore anathema
  • A lock-em-up attitude toward the criminal justice system that fails to understand citizen rights.

With apologies to Randy Newman

Stupid people have no reason…
Stupid people have no reason…
Stupid people have no reason to…

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