There is a theory I find compelling called The Smart Fraction Theory. The very short version of it is that every human society has a distribution of IQ’s ranging from retarded to genius. These are absolute terms. Some populations have a high number of people, relative to human populations as a whole, with above average and better IQ’s. At the other end, some societies have a relatively low number of above average and better IQ’s. The former groups have rocketed ahead of the latter groups. The latter groups, in some cases, were still hunter-gatherers until contact with the Dutch.
There’s a lot more to it, a lot more, but that’s a useful shorthand for what I’m going for here. The point being is the smart fraction exerts upward pressure on society. The larger and more capable that fraction, the better able they are to drag the whole of society upward. If the fraction is too small, you get Zimbabwe or Uganda or Detroit. The smart fraction, unable to lift the whole of society, sets themselves up as a ruling elite, plundering what they can from society. It is why all the money in the world will not change the character of these societies.
There’s another fraction, one that is at the heart of what ails the West. That’s the nuisance segment. Whenever I’m out in public, I can’t help noticing some fool being himself and causing the rest of us to work around him in some fashion. For example, I was at my favorite lunch place the other day. It is a fancy SWPL grocery store with a cafe of sorts. The cafe is mostly a big buffet, but buffets are working class so they splash the word “cafe” all over the place and stock the bar with weird stuff from foreign lands. The most popular food is the typical American stuff, but the sushi and Indian food makes everyone feel better.
Anyway, there’s not a ton of room for people to navigate the serving areas. Inevitably, there will be a few mothers with baby carriages mucking up the works. A few vibrant people will be there with grocery carriages jamming up the walkways. As a result the store has had to rearrange the place a few times to try and get ahead of the nuisance segment. They have been mostly successful, but the cost of these idiots is inevitably spread to the rest of us. The store’s efforts are not cost free and that cost is reflected in their prices. Every store and business in America faces the same problems. If every cost that made up the price of a product was listed, “stupid people’ would be on there somewhere.
On every product in your house, you will find a warning label. On the shampoo bottle I have in my hand, there are two paragraphs explaining what not to do with it. No one expects the stupid to read these labels, of course. Someone dumb enough to drink shampoo or shove the bottle up their arse is not going to read the warning label. It is just to inoculate the company from the inevitable. The stupid will hire a lawyer and sue if they manage to find some way to abuse the shampoo that was not listed on the bottle. The direct cost of litigation is 2% in America. The cost in warning labels is equal that or more. The stupid cost us at least 5% of GDP a year in direct costs.
That’s not the end of it. The regulatory bureaucracy which is the direct result of the nuisance fraction is enormous. So far Obama has added 12,000 pages of regulations to the quarter million or so already on the books. The exact number and nature of Federal crimes has now reached the point where it cannot be counted. We are perilously close to the point where it is just assumed that everything is a violation of the law. In such a land, there are no laws. The people inevitably respond accordingly.
That’s just the federal level. In every state we have thousands of rules for diving, all of them aimed at the nuisance fraction. That means an army of
soldiers cops making sure some dimwit is not texting while driving or operating his care in a reckless manner. Probably half of the cost of government is due to the people who simply refuse to do the obvious.
Reading first millennium history, one thing that jumps out to me is the high cost of being foolish. This was especially true of the elites. King Peada was murdered by his wife because he foolishly thought his connection with Oswiu, through his marriage to his daughter Alchflaed, would protect him. History of this period is full of examples where small mistakes in judgment resulted in death, often gruesome death. The nitwits pushing a cart through the buffet line never would have made it to adulthood in that era. Today, their wellbeing is the focus of much of our activity as a society. We even give away our liberty to protect them.
At some point, this is going to catch up with us.