A Short Introduction to the History of Stupidity (574 pages)

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Excerpts from the book, “A Short Introduction to the History of Stupidity” by Walter B. Pitkin (1932):

“Stupidity can easily be proved the supreme Social Evil. Three factors combine to establish it as such. First and foremost, the number of stupid people is legion. Secondly, most of the power in business, finance, diplomacy and politics is in the hands of more or less stupid individuals. Finally, high abilities are often linked with serious stupidity.

Since 1929 even some cloak and suit salesman have learned that stupid folk still rule the world. Stupid presidents write messages to stupid parliaments. Stupid bankers lend millions to stupid investors. Stupid newspaper editors hide painful facts. Stupid taxpayers shell out billions of dollars for battleships, fortresses, shells, and stupid second lieutenants. Stupid manufacturers build factories three times too big. Stupid retailers sell third-rate goods at first-rate prices.

Liberalism is the last refuge of the stupid. Thither rushes every fool in trouble. He leaves patriotism to the scoundrel seeking safety, for the fool knows — in spite of his folly — that liberalism is founded on the rock of truth and is almost impregnable. If ever a census enumerator penetrates this temple, I suspect that he will find dwelling there five sons of Cyclops for every intelligent inmate. Worse luck for the latter!

The young adventurers of Tomorrow will be rash enough to enter the dark homes of these humanesques and treat them as if they were full-statured men. And, as ever before, Cyclops will consume them to the last bone unless youth strikes the monster blind. For between the children of light and the humanesques there can never be peace. One or the other must survive. One or the other must perish.

Which shall it be?”