Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Republicans and the Dunning-Kruger Effect


‎In a big meeting of the Republican National Committee, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal told the GOP to 'stop being the stupid party.' Then Texas Governor Rick Perry gave the rebuttal. – Jay Leno

Jindal's remarks came barely a week after the House Republicans had a retreat at the Kingsmill Resort in ole Virginny where they had a panel discussion on "Successful Communication With Minorities and Women." No kidding? In the year 2013, the Republicans need a seminar on how to communicate with women and minorities?

Of course, Republicans blamed their craziness on Obama while not only giving Jindal a pass for helping transform the GOP into the party of stupid but by ignoring their own stupid contributions.

As my mom said more than once while I was growing up, "Some people are too stupid to know they're stupid." This was long before there was anything known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. The D-K effect occurs when incompetent people not only fail to recognize that they're incompetent, but they consider themselves much more competent than everyone else. Or, as Forest Gump famously stated: "Stupid is as stupid does."

Just since the first of the year, I've documented nearly a hundred sightings of  the D-K effect on Republicans. Whether it's the war on women that doesn't exist, science, the Second Amendment (and here), state sovereignty, Obamacare, more of the war on women that isn't, election rigging, or the Constitution according to Gohmert, or, or, or -- you guessed it -- or the war on women -- there it is in all its shining glory, in all its cocksure stupidity, and  in all its arrogant know-nothingness.

Education is where the stupids seem to excel the most. Regardless of whether it has to do with creationism, or prayer, or atheism, Republicans are determined to make believers out of  today's students -- to the detriment of the country and future generations. If they can't succeed through the legislative process, by golly, they'll sneak it in. If a Republican isn't trying to reintroduce prayer in schools, others are demanding students pledge a loyalty oath in order to receive their high school diplomas.

Outshining them all is Tennessee's own Stacey "Don't Say Gay" Campfield. Beyond stupid, this southern transplant now wants teachers to inform parents when their kids are gay and is proposing that food be snatched away from kids on welfare if their grades are unsatisfactory.

Apparently, Tennessee is set to lower its already dismal education ratings "as education officials and lawmakers tidy up details on how to outsource the local school boards’ responsibility to vet and approve charter schools to an outside agency."

Politicians aren't the only ones who suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect. One sees it in the comment sections after articles and on social networks from Fox News viewers and faithful followers of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Who knew non-medical maladies were contagious?

Bobby Jindal and Newt Gingrich can call for rebranding their party until they're blue in the face, but, as Andrew Rosenthal writes, they
. . . . both seem to assume that those who oppose the Republican Party don’t object to Republican programs and goals. They just don’t understand the G.O.P. message. If that’s not “insulting the intelligence of voters” (as Mr. Jindal put it), I don’t know what is.
In his speech Jindal himself may have provided the ultimate example of the Dunning-Kruger effect when he declared that the Republicans are "a populist party." As Paul Krugman responds:
No, you aren’t. You’re a party that holds a large proportion of Americans in contempt. And the public may have figured that out.
I used to think Republicans were just arrogant, and while I still think they're arrogant, I believe it's because they're too stupid to know they're stupid. They can rebrand themselves all they want, but in the end, they're just like processed food: underneath the new packaging is a bunch of the same old toxic chemicals.



16 comments:

  1. You know that I agree with you on all counts!!! I am sooo weary of the ignorance these alleged humanoids keep spewing.

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  2. Kay: I'm not only weary, I'm very discouraged and am losing hope day by day.

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  3. Yeesh, a lot of links to check out here. But given the subject matter, I'm surprised there aren't even more. I always thought it was especially Dunning-Krugeresque of Jindal to complain about "the Stupid party" when he's one of the country's leading creationism-pushers.

    I hope that seminar on communicating with women included a workshop on how not to talk about rape. In the case of Akin and Mourdock it seems more like the Freddy Kruger effect.

    Yes, they're too stupid to know they're stupid. Don't get discouraged, though. The Stupid party got resoundingly thumped last election, and from the way they're going, they'll get it worse in 2014 and 2016. By the time they wise up, Obama and his successor will have reshaped the Supreme Court, and probably the country, beyond their ability to undo. In the meantime, enjoy it for the entertainment value. If we can't laugh at this stuff we'll go crazy.

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    1. Oh Infidel, I had nearly 100 bookmarks but unless I included a Part 2, 3 and 4, I wouldn't have been able to link to all of them. In the end I decided just to include a small sampling. Each is as horrifying as the other.

      If you lived in Tennessee, a state that ranks near the bottom in education, you'd get pretty discouraged too. It's hard to find something to laugh about when all that was good about a place is being destroyed out of sheer stupidity. Any recovery will take generations.

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  4. Both parties have their stupid elements. Unfortunately for the republicans, their Stupids seems to have more power than their numbers should support, and their comments keep getting reported in the media because "stupid" is much easier to write about than to refute.

    Republican Stupid is tied to money. Democratic Stupid is tied to ideology. Money buys a lot more influence that ideology.

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  5. Yes, I often see the same kind of stupid on the part of the hard left. Believe it or not, at one time I considered including reporters in the analogy but didn't want to make this any longer than it already is.

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  6. Great post, Leslie. Who else but a member of The Stupid Party would invite mega-stupid Ted Nugent as an honored guest to the SOTU address? That alone would give the GOP a life-time guarantee to own the designation "teh stupids."

    I thought they out did their stupitude when Grandpa Walnuts chose the unfortunate half-term governor of Alaska as his running mate. But they keep outstupiding themselves.

    Hey Marco! Got water?

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    1. Steve Stockman is a real nut case. He posted the following on his FB page:

      "The unrestrained right to keep and bear arms is a human right, and a civil right. Gun control always leads to more death and violence."

      He's one scary dude and his followers are unbelievable.

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  7. Gratified to hear there is a scientific name for people who are incredibly stupid and proud of it. Lindsey Graham playing
    'Judge Judy' in the Hagel hearing pops right into my mind.

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    1. Worst of all, it was all a game -- a total waste of time and tax payer money. If they can't take governing any more seriously than that, they need to be fired.

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  8. Thank God for Colbert. It's the only way I can stomach this crap any longer.

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    1. As are we all. What's sad is that I'm sure a lot of Republicans are just as fed up as the rest of us but they will turn right around and re-elect these reprobates.

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  9. Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry's near-Bush-grade levels of ignorance and arrogance are maddening at times, but in the current climate might well turn out to be self-limiting. There was a time when for some perverse reason a whole lot of Americans who should've known better — and voted accordingly — seemed to find something enjoyable about having a cocksure jerk who knew less than they did for president, with a supporting cast of arrogant, doctrinaire know-it-alls singing his praises for just slightly less than eight years. I sense that time has come and gone. Like Rubik's Cubes and leisure suits, it's not selling so well these days.

    That's not to say there's no market at all. Beck is a multimillionaire and Limbaugh is surely a billionaire by now, thanks to decades of giving empty-headed, know-it-all, bully wannabes the lies, distortions and vituperation they crave for ammunition in the political and cultural wars of our era. And yet, Beck lost his CNN and Fox podiums, winding up on Internet radio (I think). Many sponsors have abandoned Limbaugh's garbage barge (like germs fleeing a sinking sh-t). What's more, although Republicans saw fit to make an incredibly uninformed and misinformed, yet cocksure, pol their presidential candidate last year, even they couldn't muster the perverted will to nominate Perry, whom I at first thought was a shoo in.

    It would be fitting and very good for our country if the entire GOP/right wing/libertarian/pro-19th-century subculture would continue on its present course, self-marginalizing, until it's no longer relevant or consequential, not even for Saturday Night Live skits. Alas, if the past is prologue another charismatic front man (think Reagan) will come along to help make the economic Darwinists, racists, misogynists, warmongers, airheaded hustlers and paranoid resenters respectable and in vogue again.

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    1. As usual, your historical perspective is always spot on. Maybe even more importantly to yours truly, your analysis tends to sooth ruffled feathers, calm the waters and offer up a little hope - at least until one gets to the "charismatic front man" part. Republicans, from the little man on the street to the movers and shakers, have already demonstrated that they have no ability to look below the surface to see the real content/character of a person. Just think of all those candidates in 2012 and the one they ended up with.

      Sorry I was so slow in responding to your wonderful comment, btw. Connection problems and other headaches.

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  10. I've just returned from a news-less week in a small village in Mexico. It was wonderfully peaceful and now that I'm catching up on all the news I missed, I wish I could go back. Ignorance is indeed bliss.

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    1. Wish I could have been with you. I'd love to move to Ajijic.

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