Friday, June 24, 2016

Gullibility, prejudice and ignorance

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.”
                                                   ― Albert Einstein
Example 1:
After the second world war, there was a housing crisis. Thousands of prefabricated or system-built homes were built, made from sections manufactured in factories and assembled on site. In my area, some of these council houses were falling apart. Made from steel-reinforced concrete, the steel was rusting away, the concrete was crumbling, and they were damp and draughty. There was no point trying to repair them, so a decision was made to sell them for a token amount to a housing association that could demolish and rebuild, providing the tenants with lovely new homes. Some tenants had foolishly already bought their homes through Mrs Thatcher's right-to-buy scheme. I heard that a few had phoned the council when things inevitably went wrong to ask to have them fixed. Told that they were no longer the council's responsibility, they were dismayed. Then, as their neighbour's homes were demolished around them, they were upset that they weren't going to be rehoused too. One or two tried to sell their houses. No one was interested.

Example 2:
During the EU referendum, large numbers of people were convinced that hordes of Turks were poised to join all the other millions of immigrants about to invade our shores. They believed that £350 million was sent to the EU every week, and that we got nothing in return. They believed that the EU acted like a dictator, running our country from Strasbourg and Brussels, though most of them probably had no idea where Strasbourg is. They believed that the EU was responsible was whatever was wrong in their lives, and the Brexit campaigners and right-wing press fed this general sense of dissatisfaction and injustice with lies and more lies. These people weren't necessarily unintelligent. They just didn't use the brains they were born with. Gullibility, prejudice and ignorance prevailed. As the economic and social consequences of their decisions start to affect them, who will they blame next?

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