Tag Archives: Americans

The Stupidity of the American Consumer

RazorsEvery once in a while, I have to be reminded how stupid most Americans really are and how American companies can and do try to take advantage of the lack of critical thinking skills that most Americans have.  Case in point, I just bought a new pack of blades for my razor and they put a sticker on the package that reads: Gillette’s Best Shave About $1/wk**.  Now based on that, you might think it’s a really good bargain, after all, the blades cost $18, that means it ought to last about 4.5 months based on a dollar a week.  Simple, huh?

Not so fast, there’s that ** to deal with.  If you go and look in the tiny print, it says that figure is based on 4 shaves per week. Now who in the hell is only shaving 4 times a week?  Most people have to shave at least 5 times a week for work and this assumes they just don’t  bother on the weekends.  Sure, maybe I might skip shaving on a lazy Saturday when I have no other plans, but if I’m leaving the house, I’m shaving.  The same goes for Sunday, but since I’m always out and about on Sunday, that means that I’m always shaving that day.  That means that, at the very least, I’m shaving at least 6 times per week.  That is going to reduce the effectiveness of the blades and increase the cost.

So if we do a quick calculator exercise, if they’re calculating 4 shaves for 18 weeks, that’s 72 shaves you ought to get out of this pack of blades.  However, if we recalculate using a much more reasonable 6 shaves per week, that gives us only a 12 week supply.  That means it actually costs $1.50 a week, not the $1 as advertised.  Sure, that’s not a huge amount or anything but it’s the principle of the thing.  Gillette has to know that nobody is shaving 4 times a week.  They just picked that number so it would produce a nice round and cheap-looking number they could advertise and the American public falls for it without thinking about it at all.  Heck, if Gillette said these blades last forever, based on never using them at all in small print, I’m sure consumer sales would increase dramatically.  Let’s be honest, the only reason they put the sticker on there in the first place is to try to increase sales.  The only way it would increase sales is if potential customers lacked critical thinking skills and a calculator.

And that explains a lot about the American consumer today.

Are Americans Stupid?

It seems to me that Americans, indeed humans regardless of where they’re from, have gotten stupider as time has gone on.  There was a time when people were at least marginally intelligent, they had the ability to work out simple problems for themselves and didn’t need their hands held to ponder the most infantile dilemmas.  That’s all changed today, Americans just seem dumber than ever before and the data bears this out.

These are some disgusting statistics.

  • In a Newsweek poll, of U.S. citizens, 29% couldn’t identify Joe Biden as the Vice President, and 44% couldn’t describe the Bill of Rights.
  • Researcher Kyung Hee Kim at the College of William & Mary analyzed 300,00 Torrance Creativity Test scores of children and adults in the US. Kim found creativity and IQ scores rose steadily until 1990, and were in decline thereafter, and the most serious decline occurring for the youngest children.
  • A new global study of educational systems in major nations ranks U.S. 15 year olds 14th in the world in reading skills, 17th in science and 25th (below average) in math.
  • According the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress, 68% of public school children in the U.S. do not read proficiently by the time they finish third grade. And the U.S. News & World reported that barely 50% of students are ready for college level reading.

Now there are lots of reasons Americans are becoming more stupid, but I’m going to stick with the one I’ve brought up many times in the past, the liberalization of America.  People are becoming more liberal and as such, more stupid.  Unfortunately, when you have all of your questions and all of your problems handled by the government, there’s no reason to actually think about what’s going on in the world around you.

There’s one stat I didn’t list above because it shows that both sides of the political spectrum are not above abject stupidity.

  • 74% of Republicans in the U.S. Senate and 53% in the House of Representatives deny the validity of climate changes since despite the findings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and every other significant scientific organization in the world.

While I’m sure you get some real retards who say there is no climate change whatsoever, the above is purposely misleading by the liberals.  The majority of “climate change deniers” don’t deny that climate change is occurring, only that mankind is the primary, or only, cause of it.  It takes only a short study of historical climatology to find that these things are cyclical, they happen all the time and have done so, not only before man was industrial, but before man even existed.  I won’t deny that we’ve probably played a contributing factor in making global climate change worse, but we didn’t cause it and if we stopped all negative acts, it wouldn’t stop.  The  sun was, at least until very recently, in a warming cycle and the planet is in an active volcanic cycle.  Those two combined together created a warming trend worldwide.  We have no control over the sun or the planet’s core and only an idiot would think that we do.  Unfortunately, some of these wingnut liberals, who have a psychological need to point fingers and place blame for everything that happens, refuse to acknowledge that fact.  They can’t blame the planet so instead, they blame themselves.  Of course, over the past 15 years, the trend has started to reverse and the planet is no longer warming, yet the liberals haven’t gotten it through their heads yet.  The fact that the Antarctic ice pack has rebounded more than 150% increase from just last year, such that a team of global warming fanatics got themselves trapped in the ice for over a week because there was too much ice!

But it’s not just stupid, people are becoming ignorant, rude, obnoxious and pathetic as well.  Basic manners in public seem to be a thing of the past.  If I hold a door for someone, it’s extremely rare to get a “thank you” or any other kind of acknowledgement, they just expect you to do it.  People drive like maniacs, talking on the phone, ignoring the road, acting like they have the automatic right of way at all times because liberalism tells them that they’re special and have no obligation to anyone else.  They don’t have to think about anyone but themselves and they don’t.

Some of this, I can and do lay at the feet of technology.  Kids now grow up not being able to express themselves well verbally because they spend almost all of their time online.  Being exposed to little but net-speak, they lose the ability to communicate intelligently and effectively, as well as the ability to spell proficiently.  That’s sad because they spend their time typing and still can’t do it correctly.  Also at issue is their lack of basic socialization.  When you can hide behind the inherent anonymity of the net, you don’t have to be sophisticated.  You’re free to be socially inept because people can’t pop you in the mouth like you probably badly deserve.  Add to that the rise in claims of autism, which some claim affects 1 in 110 children now, and you’re left with people who are unable to deal with people on a personal level.  Sorry, like it or not, I think that the whole Aspberger thing is a bunch of liberal bullshit.  Yeah, there may be some people who are fundamentally miswired and cannot function socially, but I’d argue that the majority are just anti-social asshats who are, as with so many others, being labeled as “diseased” to get away from the social stigma of being douchebags.  There are far too many people who, not that long ago, would have been deemed in the realm of normal, but today have a “disease” or a “condition” and are treated with drugs.  That honestly should not be necessary.  It wasn’t too long ago that the idea of autistic children were those that rocked back and forth and rarely communicated.  Now, almost everyone is autistic to some degree.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where education doesn’t matter and everyone sits around being entertained by a series of idiot boxes.  That’s not to say that these things can’t be useful or educational but for the most part, they’re not used that way.  They’re just used as mindless entertainment.  There was a time, years ago, when TV networks, as a consequence of their FCC license, had to present a certain amount of educational programming. That’s long gone today and it’s a shame.  There was a time when cartoons were forbidden to be half-hour long toy commercials.  Now, that’s all they are.  Kids are brainwashed from day one to be mindless consumers who don’t think too hard about the garbage coming out of their phones, computers and televisions. It must be true!  It came from YouTube!

I don’t know if this is something that we can solve because society just keeps getting more and more liberal and things keep getting worse and worse.  There seems to be no point in just socializing and having a good time, you see kids sitting in groups, each of them engrossed in whatever is happening on their phone.  They don’t talk.  They don’t play.  They don’t engage each other.  Heck, I have seen kids text each other while standing a few feet apart.  Something is seriously wrong, yet most don’t want to correct anything because they are blinded by the blinking lights and the information overload.

So how do we fix this?  I’d really like some realistic ideas.

Are People Getting Dumber?

Stupidity SignThanks to reader njmcc for pointing this out to me.  I’m honestly confused at how dumb some people are.  George Carlin once said “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” I think he was right on the money and the more that we see of humanity, the worse it gets.  Okay, granted, with today’s 24-hour news cycle and the prevalence of cell phone video recording everything we do, it could just be that stupid people are being caught being stupid more often and being posted to more places that are accessible, but it does make me lose my faith in humanity more and more each day.  So are people really getting dumber or is there something else at work here?

There are a couple of examples, originally presented here, that really do make me want to bang my head on a brick wall for a couple of weeks.  I’ll present what was said in the article, then take a look at what’s really going on.

Anti-Vaccer Stupidity:  This is a common one, but in a study recently published in Pediatrics, Brendan Nyhan of Dartmouth University and his colleagues showed that as evidence was presented for the safety of vaccines, those already convinced that vaccines were unsafe became even more convinced of their danger.  This is called the “backfire effect” and is a well known cognitive bias.  People will over-react to news that ought to reduce negative feelings, using it to instead strengthen those negative feelings.  It makes no sense but, as I said, it’s very common, especially in the conspiracy community, where the more evidence one presents that a particular conspiracy isn’t true, the more conspiracy theorists will believe that the conspiracy has to be true. The evidence itself is seen as proof of the conspiracy.  I’m sure that the die-hard

Tax Cuts Increase Revenue:  Now in the article, they do correctly point out that “conservatives” (how did they know they were conservatives?) who read an article about George W. Bush’s statement that tax cuts “helped increase revenues to the Treasury,” which was proven wrong in this particular instance by financial data in 2000 and 2003 and were convinced that the statement was correct.  Okay, my question is the exact context of the article they were given to read.  The reality is, lower taxes *DO* increase revenues to the Treasury under normal circumstances, people who have more money to spend will spend more money in their local community, thus raising revenues, thus raising taxes collected at local businesses.  Now Mother Jones is a liberal rag, I wouldn’t trust it farther than I could throw it and they hate free-market capitalism and will jump at any chance to insult it, but assuming all other factors are true, either the readers of this article didn’t make the connection between the financial data and the quote or, as may be the case, there is a cognitive bias that caused them to double down on their stupidity.  The fact remains though, and I am no fan of George W. Bush, but his 2001 tax cuts on the most wealthy Americans did increase revenue.  In 2001, before the tax cuts took place, the richest 1% of taxpayers paid $301 billion dollars in combined taxes.  By 2006, the same 1% were paying $408 billion.  The total percentage paid by the richest 10% of the country went from 65% before the tax cuts to 71% after.  Cutting taxes. It works.

Death Panels:  Yes, once again it’s clear of Mother Jones’ absurd liberal bias, but let’s continue.  Now clearly, Sarah Palin was being obtuse when it comes to Obamacare creating Death Panels because, like it or not, Death Panels have been with us for many, many years.  They are a function of the insurance industry, it’s the point where your insurance carrier stops paying the bills because you’ve reached the maximum payout.  My father, for example, when he hit the hospital with stage four cancer and nothing could be done, his insurance company bailed out after just a couple of days, he had reached his lifetime maximum and they were done paying.  For most people, that means that, for financial reasons, keeping the care flowing is virtually impossible. Welcome to your death panel! That was many years before Obamacare was even the twinkle in the eye of anyone in the Democratic Party but it’s just as present there as it has been all along.  Nothing has changed, it’s no more prevalent now than it was in the past, Palin was just running around screaming the sky is falling because that’s what politicians do.  It is true and it has to be true, Obamacare is built around the existing insurance industry and no company can just pay and pay and pay forever, they don’t have an unlimited supply of money to throw at medical care, they have to take in more than they pay out.  Welcome to the reality of business.  Palin was wrong, Obamacare wouldn’t create Death Panels but it certainly would continue to use the ones that already existed.  It’s sad that people don’t understand the basics.

Obama is a Muslim:  This one is stupid and refuses to go away and there is no excuse whatsoever that the right wing can give for it.  I think a lot of the “Obama is a Muslim” crap came from the “Obama is a Kenyan” nonsense. Kenya is a largely Muslim nation and Obama’s father, who came from and largely lived in Kenya, even though he was, himself, an atheist, probably is the source of the misconception about his son.  Yes, it’s dumb, yes, Obama has come out many times and said he’s a Christian, although that’s backfired on him too, especially due to his relationship with racist preacher Jeremiah Wright.  I don’t know that, beyond some real crackpots, most people believe that Obama is a secret Muslim anyhow, I’m hoping that what imaginary friends he believes in, if any, are irrelevant to his ability to do the job he was elected to.  His religion ought to have no bearing whatsoever on his job performance.  Of course, we saw this same thing happen when JFK was elected, people were up in arms because he was a Catholic and not a nice Protestant boy like the majority of Americans.  I don’t think this is a racial issue particularly, just a xenophobia issue.  Anything that is different, be it religion, be it skin color, be it gender or sexual orientation, people react badly to and the more people try to tell them it doesn’t matter, the harder they cling to their beliefs.

Iraq and Al Qaeda:  There’s a reason this was a common claim during the Bush era, Bush himself used it as a means for getting into Iraq when he could come up with no other reason to go after the man who tried to kill his daddy. Therefore Bush lied to Congress, he asked his staff to find, or barring that manufacture evidence that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 terrorist attack.  They went so far as to claim that they knew exactly where the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam supposedly had were located, even though they couldn’t find a single one of them following the fall of Iraq and the death of Saddam.  It was a stunt and it worked and even today, you have political toadies desperately trying to defend the stunt because to admit it was a lie would be a black stain on the neo-cons and the Republican Party and they don’t need any more dark stains on their already polka-dotted reputation.  Of course, the left is just as guilty of similar indiscretions, they try to white-wash the evils of their own party and I’m sure lots of liberals even believe their own party’s spin on things.  It goes both ways.  Of course, you wouldn’t expect Mother Jones to be honest about that, would you?

Global Warming:  Ah yes, another liberal talking point.  They couldn’t find any evidence of the “backfire effect” here so they waved their hands, presto chango, and tried to concoct a “boomerang effect” from their Republican victims.  Yeah, okay, the Republicans didn’t fall, hook, line and sinker for their “sky is falling” global warming narrative, therefore something has to be wrong with the Republicans.  It doesn’t work that way.  Yes, climate change is happening.  To some degree, it is caused by humanity.  That doesn’t mean we’re solely to blame and it doesn’t mean there’s necessarily a lot we can do about it even if we were.  Sure, we should be responsible but that doesn’t mean we should all go crazy, live in huts and wear fig leaves.  I find it funny that the liberal narrative keeps changing as the data does.  Oh no, it’s global warming, until it isn’t really warming, then they have to rebrand it to global climate change.  Oh no, the ice caps are melting!  Except they’re not.  In 2013, the polar ice cap increased by over 50% from 2012 levels.  Remember when Al Gore, prophet of the liberal lunacy, said in 2008, “Some of the models suggest that there is a 75 percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during some of the summer months, could be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years”?  Now we’re seeing the North Pole ice coverage rebounding, up to about 9000 cubic kilometers in 2013 from a low of 6,000 cubic kilometers a year before.  This sends the liberals into a tizzy because they have to explain why things aren’t following the expected party line.  The reality is, global warming stopped 15 years ago and shows no sign of coming back, no matter how much crap we pump into the atmosphere.  The liberals have shaped the narrative carefully though, you never see them talking about global climate change before man was industrialized, even though we know that the planet goes through regular cycles.  We certainly can’t be the cause of them all, in fact, we can’t be the cause of any of them before the current one.  So why are liberals so afraid to talk about any of them?  Because it would undermine their case.  They want people to think this hasn’t happened before.  They’re wrong and, as I talked about back in the section on Death Panels, they’re not interested in presenting the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth because nobody would fall for their rhetoric so they carefully craft what they talk about and what they do not and that’s just blatantly dishonest.

The problem is, everyone is dishonest, both the left and the right, the liberals and the neo-cons, the Democrats and the Republicans.  You can’t trust either side because both of them have an agenda.  Both of them have something they want you to believe and that something isn’t the truth.  It’s their version of the truth.  They want to use their version of the truth to assure your compliance and your support and your money.  Don’t listen to either of them.  Seek out the facts yourself.  It’s the only way to really find reality.