Stupidity,” Jean Cocteau remarked, “is always amazing, no matter how used to it you become.”
We live in a golden age of stupidity. It is everywhere. President Biden’s conduct of the withdrawal from Afghanistan will be remembered as a defining stupidity of our time—one of many. The refusal of tens of millions of people to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus will be analyzed as a textbook case of stupidity en masse. Stupid is as stupid does, or, in the case of vaccination, as it doesn’t do. Stupidity and irresponsibility are evil twins.
The slow-motion zombies’ assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6 was a fittingly stupid finale to the Trump years, which offered dueling stupidities: Buy one, get one free. The political parties became locked in a four-year drama of hysteria and mutually demeaning abuse. Every buffoonery of the president and his people was answered by an idiocy from the other side, which in its own style was just as sinister and just as clownish.