Don’t Blame Your Stupidity on Someone Else

Yesterday, Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone claimed that his political opponents hate the president, the U.S., and even God. Of course, the implicit message here is, “They think you’re stupid. I respect you. So vote for me.” It’s the kind of shameful political tactic that pulls other people down, yet appears to work.

The assertion is ludicrous on its face, so the obvious question is, why does such political gimmickry work?

I suppose it works because we’re inclined to think stupid things, especially when it appeals to our sense of outrage, victimization, or resentment. Making the other guy out to be evil makes people feel good, despite the banality of the emotional response.

If you’re ever tempted to fall for this kind of manipulation, Vera, stop and think. What the person is really trying to get you to do is be stupid. Being stupid might make you feel good. It might make you feel superior. Or more patriotic. Or whatever. But stupid is stupid. Try to do better. Be better.

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