When Stupidity Becomes Malice

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I remember very vividly a statement on the office door of my academic advisor, it read:

Do not attribute to malice what is perfectly explained by stupidity”.

I think about this statement every time I come across well-intentioned people behind commendable causes, convinced of the virtues of their intentions, but driven by foolish dogmas in hopes of generating positive results despite the fact that they are achieving just opposite.

Think about the war on drugs, to this day, there are still plenty of firm believers in our ability to fight drug production and that the drug cartels can be eradicated if we only had the “appropriate” means to do so, even though, more than half a century ago, an economics laureate put it very clearly “As long as there is someone willing to pay for it, there will always be someone willing to provide it” (Milton Friedman, 1991).

Think about those animal lovers who believe that Zoos are a cruelty to animals. Would you like to run for your life on a daily basis, while you “enjoy” your freedom, or would you rather sacrifice your freedom for the safety and comfort of your Zoo cage? Apparently, these animal “lovers’ have never witnessed the real cruelty of the survival of the fittest when a young or sick animal is hunted down in the wild and eaten alive!

How about those nice people desperately trying to save elephants from poachers?

In 1989 elephants were awarded the highest level of protection under the Convention on International Trade In Endangered Species (CITIES) prohibiting all trade on elephant parts. In the words of Dr. Wasser, this legislation “literally stopped poaching across the continent over night”. This is where the dogma begins. However, just because we want to believe in something, it does not make it true. Actually, in the case of elephants, the good intentions of people like Dr. Wasser, have only contributed to the poaching. Yet, people like him are adamant about destroying seized ivory, refusing to see how this is contributing to push the ivory price higher and incentivising poachers even further. Dr. Wasser stated “Kenya burned over a 100 tons of ivory….caused the price of ivory to drop from about $2,000/Kg. in 2013 to now around $800–700/Kg.” The absurdity of these statement needs no further explanation. But Dr. Wasser’s delirum continues “If we can shut the ivory markets down globally and domestically so that we eliminate the demand, then we have hope to save the elephant”. I know there is no malice here, so it’s just plain stupidity.

Finally, think about the people behind the National Riffle Association (NRA) and gun-control.

This is a no-brainer to anyone with an open mind. The freedom to bear arms ends where the freedom to feel safe begins!

Yet, we’ve heard mostly stupidity, “I’ll be safer knowing that I have a gun too.” With this mentality one can only escalate the probability of mutual annihilation while eliminating any possibility to feel safe. The only guarantee to feel safe is if no one can obliterate the other.

And yes, there seems to be malice as well. Suffices to look at suggestions from the NRA and those from president Trump “We need to let people know, you come into our schools you are gonna be dead”.

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Arming teachers to show potential perpetrators that they may not get away so easily? As if psychopaths ever wondered about the consequences. This is beyond stupidity and malice combined!

It is not possible to control the behavior of every individual, especially unknown or undiagnosed psychopaths. But it is common sense and our moral duty to society to ensure that any weapon, let alone an AR15, cannot be easily purchased as it currently is.

Societies can no longer afford to put individual interests on top of the common good in the name of freedom or the second amendment of the US constitution.

We must be able to reconcile ecological knowledge (i.e., common sense) with scientific or refined knowledge before we continue to witness, with frustrating impotence, preventable deaths driven by plain stupidity and malice!

JC Wandemberg Ph.D.

President & Founder

Sustainable Systems International

About the author: Dr. Wandemberg is an international consultant and stocks trader, keynote speaker, published author, professor, and analyst of economic, environmental, social, managerial, marketing, and political issues. For the past 30 years Dr. Wandemberg has collaborated with corporations, communities, and organizations to integrate sustainability through self-transformation processes and Open Systems Design Principles, thus, catalyzing a Culture of Trust, Transparency, and Integrity.

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