Why Are Sooo Many Americans, Left and Right, So, So Very Daft? Is it Terminal?

Brett Alan Williams
4 min readJul 5, 2023
Close up of a man laughing
Denis Agati on Unsplash

Today I heard a story on the radio about election workers being harassed — still — with stalking, guns, death threats, even poisoning their dogs. Why? For counting votes by elementary addition, not Big Lie doctrine that’s cocksure 1 + 1 = 11,780. After thirty-three months of nothing but assertions of assertions, still, legions of Americans are so pissed about a stolen election that never happened they shadow poll workers, many of whom voted for sTupid. And lest we seek to escape the Cons for the Libs with some respect for reason, we find from the same network that it’s just been discovered nature is “queer.” According to a “queer ecologist,” suppression of queerness in plants and fungi (revealed 200 years ago) is “a function of power, who gets to make determinations in science and who gets to publish their data.” By anthropomorphizing fungus, the ecologist states, “In fungal biology, I saw reflected the same ambiguities, disruptive paradigms and mischaracterizations that marked both my race and orientation.” Straight from the postmodernist power-oppression-identity Hymnbook — jargon that grants entry to the Ivory Tower.

Is it too late to ask, why are so many Americans so daft? It’s an answer with four lessons for our future. It’s because we Americans are:

1) Humans. That humans are not “rational agents maximizing utility” but highly irrational, dangerously emotional, and lousy at critical thinking has replaced the old economics tenet. In his book Thinking Fast and Slow, Nobel laureate (in economics) Daniel Kahneman illuminates just how daft we are. Subdividing our minds into System 1 and 2, System 1 is basic, ridiculously speculative, jumps to the wildest deductions, and saved our weak species from those superior in sight, smell, and muscle. But System 1 is not built for a modern world jammed with tech and asocial media. In this world, System 1 is stupid. It believes lies if heard enough times, it creates coherence from gibberish, and readily embraces nonsense in the face of facts that threaten our tribe. Per Kahneman, “The measure of success for System 1 is the coherence of the story it manages to create. The amount and quality of the data on which the story is based are largely irrelevant. When information is scarce, which is a common occurrence, System 1 operates a machine for jumping to conclusions.” System 2, on the other hand, is ponderously analytical, takes lots of work, and our brains don’t like it. Add this to the fact that Americans are dreadfully…

2) Undereducated. America educates its people just enough to get a job. While high schools are pressured to teach Creationism by the Right and identity politics by the Left, America’s k-12 educational system has ranked poorly in the industrialized world for years. Our universities joined the trend. Long threatened with trade school status without education in what is human, what remains of the humanities has become as politicized as a Trump rally in reverse. University humanities now brim with anti-humanist spin-offs of postmodernist Critical Theory. Universities have removed standardized test scores in admissions to satisfy their charter, which is not so much to educate as to service “diversity.” In America, we call this Affirmative Action (damaged but not killed by the Supreme Court), known by its detractors as “racism as racism’s cure.” It invites/forces universities to try to fix real discrimination upstream before students arrive at university unprepared for their higher rates of failure. All the while, administrators congratulate themselves for their pious “inclusivity” and righteous devotion to surface features while hiding the consequences of fundamentalist dogma. As Montesquieu said, “Democracies are corrupted in two ways: by ‘the spirit of inequality’ and ‘the spirit of extreme equality.’” Per Thomas Jefferson, “An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently… It is imperative the nation see to it that a suitable education be provided for all.” So much for that. With such fondness for ignorance, Americans are thus remarkably…

3) Gullible. We Americans believe almost anything. From 5G radio waves able to carry the Covid-19 virus, to rejection of Covid’s vaccine in favor of a horse pill (Ivermectin) to combat “a hoax,” to claims born of illiteracy in science that denies the science of manmade global warming but not the same science of planes, trains, and automobiles. From satisfying the Klan with the segregation of identity politics, to politicizing gender as a social construct with zero influence from biology, to proclamations born of illiteracy in science that it’s a “‘racist,’ ‘patriarchal,’ ‘colonial,’ tool of oppression” as the claimants embrace the same science of planes, trains, and automobiles. Gullible, undereducated humans make us easily…

4) Immoral. The Left embraces racism against peak-achieving Asian-Americans in university admissions; they vilify “colorblindness” in support of race division; they pour their venom on just one nationality, race, and gender: Eurocentric white males. Are such people not immoral bigots? Eighty-two percent of the Right claim to be Christian in support of its moral teachings: “We no longer lie to one another, we only tell the truth,” “What good is it to win the whole world and lose your soul?” Instead, they seek to win what is Caesar’s by any means, from intimidating pole workers to jihadist insurrections of domestic terrorists trying to overthrow the Constitution. Simultaneously, lies have been normalized in the image of their DOD-secrets-stealing Savior, Donald J. Christ. Are such people not immoral apostates?

Saddled with brains evolved for the stone age, the death of communities and collapse of social capital, none of this bodes well.

Happy 247th birthday, America. Learn Chinese.



Brett Alan Williams

Physicist / artist / author writes about science & religion, art & culture, philosophy & politics with an edge. On Medium, Goodreads and TheFatherTrilogy.com