Back in my home town in the 1950s, folks who were smart
got out of town pretty fast. This left a workforce somewhat less than
smart to man and woman positions in the banks and store. Thus was created
a sort of endemic stupidity in the workforce. These were nice people.
They were simple folks without a lot of intellectual depth. They were
what they were. Things are different now, of course, but back then that
was how things were.
I have found a sort of recreation of this process in my
local Mall, which I call the Brain-Dead Mall. When you go in there and
ask for service they don't have a clue. They've worked in the store
for some time and they do what they do. There will be one Supervisor
who's a smart person and everybody else will be really borderline. If
you asked them a question that doesn't have a standard, canned answer,
you were in a lot of trouble. Trying to find out something technical
is virtually impossible. They may not know what a grommet is. They're
pleasant enough but extremely self-centred. Like everyone else, their
world view revolves around themselves and the way that they see things.
By asking a fancy question you become an instant outsider. You see things
differently. They have a strong suspicion that you see things that they
don't and maybe you're trying to be a smart ass. Well, that wouldn't
be too hard to do.
Now, this is sort of a malicious piece because it's talking
about people who are about two bushels short of a full load but somebody's
got to staff these positions in stores in not very popular Malls. The
pay is wretched and the work place is second-rate. I wish I could think
of a song about that but the melody escapes me.
In your wildest dreams you could never imagine talking
to these people about politics, religion, or books. You could probably
talk to them about television. I have a biased view about the kind of
things they watch. They probably watch Gerry Springer a lot because,
well, it doesn't challenge them and it goes to show that there are people
dumber than they are - by quite a bit.
Now, there's a famous story by C.M. Kornbluth called The
Marching Morons, originally published in Galaxy magazine in 1951. Those
were the days.
This story is a Science Fiction classic. Except for a
minority of intelligent people who are supporting the whole structure,
the whole earth, is full of the unintelligent. Some guy who works in
a menial position as a bus driver or whatever is actually keeping these
people from destroying themselves. They have cars which have artificial
elements that indicate that they are going at a great speed but actually
they don't travel very fast because, if they did, the stupids would
kill themselves. Someone rescued from the past develops a scheme to
send them into space to an alleged paradise of a planet. Bye-bye!
All this was due to a low birth rate among the intelligent
and a much higher one amongst the unintelligent. Perhaps there is a
lesson in this. I think history already experimented with this in mind
in an ill-fated movement called Eugenics
In any case, this is the end of my Boxing Day rant against
the intellectually challenged.