Friday, November 19, 2021

Which is worse, evil or stupidity?



Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and , if need be, prevented by the use of force….Against stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reason falls on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed - in such moments the stupid person become becomes critical - and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack.


Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison (c.1944)


Unitarian Universalist ideas can be as stupid as anyone's but usually they are not evil, not malicious. This makes the stupid ideas of UUs more difficult to deal with. UUs are great at ignoring ideas but when forced to take them up they will attack and do unjust things just like anyone else. As Jesus said, "By their fruit you will know them." There is not much fruit being harvested and that is because stupidity has prevented an abundant crop.


Where are the wise and smart ideas? They emerge but are quickly ignored because they do not fit the prejudgment as Bonhoeffer states.


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