The Gospel Truth

In Defense of Stupidity

November 17, 2014
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Most people have heard the name Jonathan Gruber, an Economics Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the first time, even though he has spent the last few years touting his expertise in health care as one of the architects of ObamaCare and several state plans in New England.

Well that has all changed!

Lately he has been the subject of several news stories because of his casual remarks about his superlative work on ObamaCare and the administration’s lack of transparency about the Affordable Health Care Act.  Gruber’s main point was that transparency in elections, especially for the Democrats was a sure ticket to defeat.

With regard to the ACA Gruber intimated, no voter in his right mind would have ever voted for a bill where the young and healthy had to pay for the poor’s health care while simultaneously losing their own health care plans.

To avoid this conundrum the government was compelled to lie to the public in good conscience and because of the abject stupidity of the American people.

In retrospect, it would seem that the stupidity comment would only apply to the millions who voted for President Obama’s re-elections. The millions who clearly saw through the fraud of ObamaCare have nothing to be ashamed of and should not take offense at the Democratic game plan.

Gruber’s new recognition has been entirely negative. It has resulted in his being nearly ostracized from the political milieu as well as having much of his financial pipeline cut off. Most Democratic politicians from Nancy Pelosi, who praised his brilliance in 2009 to President Obama, have not only denied him but jettisoned him under the WH bus while others have rewritten him completely out of political history.

For all practical matters, Jonathan Gruber is a non-person who never worked for the Obama camp.

It has been estimated that Gruber has collected well into six figures in fees from the state and federal governments since 2011.

Given this unexpected fallout, one may question the intelligence and common sense of Dr. Gruber himself.

Or perhaps he has just fallen on the sharp short of his personal arrogance…his hubris in trying to con the body politic.

His comments also tell us a lot about the liberal opinion of the people they pretend to serve and honor.

The term useful idiot comes to mind. In political jargon, it is a term, often attributed to Vladimir Lenin, for people perceived as propagandists for a cause whose goals they are not fully aware of, and who are used cynically by the leaders of the cause.

The Democratic Mind even has a greater disdain for the intelligence of Republican voters. According to Chris Mooney book, The Republican Brain, and other scientific ideologues, they are convinced that conservatives suffer from a genetic cognitive impairment that causes them to favor small government. So all this is in the DNA. This is an observation that only a left-wing ideologue could fathom!

Stupidity has always been part and parcel of the American character.  Democracy could not live without it!  Starting with Christopher Columbus who “discovered” America while he was looking for India, which happened to be 1000s of miles in the other direction. And then there was the fatal stupidity of George Armstrong Custer who led the 7th Cavalry into a trap of several thousand Indians at the Little Big Horn. I need only mention the names of a few of our presidents, such as Nixon, Carter and Obama to show how stupidity has reigned in the White House.

Stupidity is also at the core of our comedy entertainment. Let’s face it: stupidity is funny…very funny. In the best comedy teams in history from Abbott and Costello, Martin and Lewis, Laurel and Hardy and Burns and Allen, the one who always got the laughs was the stupid one, not the serious straight man.

The lovable stupid character, Forrest Gump captivated the hearts but maybe not the minds with esoteric statements like stupid is as stupid does.

Many people may think old Yankee catcher Yogi Berra is stupid for saying things like when you come to a fork in the road…take it or I observed a lot by watching.  The man has an innate brilliance that someone like Dr. Gruber could appreciate and Berra has written far many more best-selling books than Gruber.

Stand-up comedian Ronald Dee “Ron” White is best known for his show, You Can’t Fix Stupid.

Of course when Obama leaves office, we hope to fix some of his stupid mistakes.

Serious actor Jeff Daniels is reprising his role as Harry Dunne in Dumb and Dummer.

Why is this actor, renown for his roles in Gettysburg or his award-winning HBO show, The Newsroom doing it?  Ostensibly to demonstrate his great range as an actor. This sequel led all films its first weekend, having grossed $38.1 million in revenues.

Stupidity is as American as apple pie!

But for those that may still think that being stupid or laughing at stupid jokes is somehow un-American, I refer to a couple of scientific studies that have conclude that stupidity is just another viral disease.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Nebraska have discovered a virus that makes you just a little bit dumber. The scientists stumbled upon the previously unknown “stupidity virus” in the throat cultures of healthy subjects during a completely unrelated experiment.

The 44 % of people who tested positive for the virus performed seven to nine points lower on IQ tests that measured attention span and how fast and accurately people process visual information.

When the Nebraska researchers injected the virus into the digestive systems of mice, they got the same result. The rodents blundered around mazes, appeared flummoxed by new toys and seemed oblivious to new entryways in and out of their cages.

Of course as is true in all science except studies on global warming, opposing views are always expected. In Forbes Magazine, Purdue University virologist David Sanders said he would need to see this replicated before he’d believe the claim. The claim went viral in a manner of hours.

As Wired put it Researchers at the John Hopkins Medical School and the University of Nebraska have discovered a virus that infects our brains and makes us more stupid.

What’s misleading here is the story never reveals who is being quoted saying “makes us more stupid.” The implication is that it’s the scientists or someone in authority. But there’s no such phrase in the paper or the press release from Johns Hopkins University, nor does the story seem to include an interview. The source may have been Newsweek with its story, “American Researchers Discover Stupidity Virus.”

They really don’t speculate as to how this is transmitted and whether we should be quarantined after watching reruns of the Three Stooges or PeeWee’s Playhouse.   But we should be prohibited from laughing in someone’s face.

All things considered Jonathan Gruber’s blatant arrogance adds yet another chapter to the growing saga of the Obama Administration and its distrust and contempt for the American people.

In exposing his own ignorance and abject stupidity by jeopardizing a multi-million dollar gig with the federal government as one of their most brilliant health care expert, Gruber openly revealed the liberal contempt for the American people.

His words demonstrate clearly that doctrinaire liberals condescend to the American voter. They secure their own lucrative livelihoods through mendacity, deception, false promises and character assassination. It is a formula that they have employed in some manner since the days of FDR and Harry Hopkins.

Their overt elitism is a standard characteristic of liberals, not only in government and academia but also in its allies in the mainstream media as ell as their capitalistic cronies.

They all dine from the same trove of arrogance, greed and lust for power.

This is not a new idea. Liberalism as it is practiced today traces its roots back to an early Christian heresy.

Gnosticism dates back just after the beginning of the Christian Church.  Gnosticism has affected the culture and church of the time and has evolved over the centuries into the Marxism and liberalism of today.

The word “Gnosticism” comes from the Greek word “gnosis” which means “knowledge.” Liberals under its influence are often blinded by their own elite confidence in what they deem to be their intellectual superiority to people who work for a living. They erroneously believe that their command of enlightened ideas unfathomed by the masses privileges them to sit in rule of their subjects.

Obama keeps reminding the American people that he is not a king or a prince.  Left unsaid is that he wishes he were!  With unrestricted use of the Executive Order, he still may get his wish.   I would not be surprised to find a dog-eared copy of The Prince by his bedside.

As for Professor Gruber it appears as the joke immanent in American stupidity falls squarely on his slumping shoulders.  It has been nice knowing you Johnnie!

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Uncertain Truths

November 5, 2014
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According to a recent issue of the NY Times CLIVE JAMES is dying, but he’s pretty good-natured about it. Once a three-fisted drinker and smoker, Mr. James, 75, was found to have leukemia in 2010, with the added complications of emphysema and kidney failure. His condition is irrevocable.

James is a polymath, who found his way from a poor, sewer-free suburb of Sydney, Australia, to become a beloved writer, entertainer and figure in British life

What interested me was his relaxed and almost casual way of looking back at his life while at the same time contemplating what the future might have in store from him.

As the Times so lyrically put it, he can look back with astonishment and amusement, and look forward with a trenchant eye.

I am amazed at how much at peace and detached he is from the reality that his life is nearing its completion.

My entire life I was taught either overtly or subtly to fear my death because of the serious Judgments that followed each human being’s death.

Of course this was during the old days that the proponents of Vatican II have deliberately sought to stricken from the Church’s history.  Their laudable goal was to replace it with a kinder, gentler Church that appealed to more people and did not tax them with too many rules and strictures.

Ever since the 1960’s I have found my soul torn in two between these two sales pitches.

While the one uses Hell and Damnation to terrify and frighten us, the other uses a Big Easy way of getting saved without a great deal of effort on our part.

While the 10 Commandments reigned in one, the corporal works of mercy seem to have the big edge in the other.

The first seemed to imply that only a small percentage of God’s creation actually get into Heaven. Their Sears Catalogue of serious sins seemed to second that opinion.

When you are sixteen years old and have a body flowing with relentless hormones a pretty girl can easily morph into a vehicle headed down the road to hell and damnation

The new church has almost eliminated the word “sin” from our vocabulary.

This explains why so few people feel the need to go to Confession or what we now call reconciliation. I go twice a year just to play it safe.

While the first attitude has given us generations of stiff, sour and basically neurotic Catholics, the other has opened the gates for an exodus of faithful who seek an even  easier fulfillment in another religion.

It has also given the breakdown of marriage and the family, sexual promiscuity and a confusion of what even constitutes a marriage. That pretty girl who used to turn my head is now seen as a more aggressive object of pleasure and delight. And she knows it!

This conflict still tears at my innards sometimes. The first left me with a terrible unease that I do not miss at all while the second one gives me not much more than uncertain truths, supported by a world of doubts.

James Clive does not seem bothered by any of that. He simply says: I should have been a more honorable man, but the regrets don’t overwhelm me, he said. They’re such a good subject for writing.

My bifurcated situation is akin to the Broadway musical A Year With Frog and Toad, written by brothers Robert (music) and Willie Reale (book and lyrics), based on the Frog and Toad children’s stories written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel. The musical follows the woodland adventures of two amphibious friends, a worrywart toad and a perky frog, with their assorted colorful hopping, crawling and flying companions, over the course of a year.

At times my old faith makes me fearful like Mr. Toad and my new faith brings out more the joy and wonder of being alive. Both seem valid to me. I am fearful of letting go of the former while frustrated for not being able to fully enjoy the latter.

On a personal note my 12-year old granddaughter will play the frog in an upcoming St. Louis presentation of this musical.

To alleviate my stress I have taken it upon myself to study for the most important final exams of my life. I am not kidding when I say I still study for everything, including my thrice-annual blood test.

James did address his own eschatology saying:

An afterlife? Both Virgil and Dante set some of their greatest work in another world, he replied. But Shakespeare didn’t, and his is the attitude I prefer. There is enough of heaven in a hedgerow, and enough of hell in the perfidy of man.

I believe in Heaven and Hell but with a bit of a twist. I have written several times in this space about Heaven and my high hopes to be able to walk one of its beaches someday and embrace all the people who have meant sometime special to me in my life, including even those who may have shared nothing more than a long conversation.

My view on Hell is optimistically cautious.  An old Jesuit friend once told me–it was two weeks after his ordination in 1969 that as Catholics we had to believe in a Hell but we did not have to believe that anyone, other than Lucifer and his minions ever went there.

I like the sound of that because it makes a certain kind of sense. Other than Mary and Jesus, the Angels are the only ones who had a perfect choice between good and evil. I do not believe human beings always fully understand the gravity of their decisions.

Oh we may feel that something may not be right about an action but under the pressure of any moment, most people can think of a plausible rationalization that would provide a reasonable doubt in God’s moral court.

And even if I am wrong, the eternal part of Hell is the game breaker. Lucifer was so proud that literature has quoted him as wont to say that he would rather reign forever in hell than serves for one day in heaven.

This tells me that he knew the score on his level. How many human beings ever get that clear a choice! Again this is one of my uncertain truths.

Purgatory makes the most sense to me. We are all imperfect beings. The Book of Genesis and any daily newspapers attest to that fact.

We must be perfect to see God and unless we have suffered the most excruciating pain imaginable that is not going to happen.

To explore what my vision of Purgatory is, I wrote Gaby’s People for the local stage…I hope… *Instead of the tradition habitat of punishment and suffering for sin, my Purgatory is more to enlighten the person of his or her weaknesses and negative behaviors that separate him from their final destination. Using a massage spa as my venue for healing, understanding and reconciliation with the absolute truth of one’s life I found it more consistent with my understanding of God as all-merciful and all-loving God.

I saw it as a place of forgiveness, self-awareness and redemption, rather than a place of pain and temporal torment.   It is probably the place most people will wind up after this life is done.

Most people I know never think of any of the above. When their time comes they seem to easily adapt an attitude like Clive James…confidant…self-satisfied and ignorant of what may follow.   I don’t know if that’s the kind of bliss I long for…but that’s just another one of my uncertain truths.

 

*Gaby’s People is under competitive consideration by a local theater group.  If anyone would like to read the play just contact me and I will send you an e-copy.


About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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