The Stupid Are Always Unlucky

“Fortune favors the bold” is a well known phrase passed down from the Romans. Some version of it often turns up as the motto of military groups, clans, social clubs and so forth. A variation coined by Louis Pasteur is “Chance favors a prepared mind.” I used to hear that one in physics class from my prep school instructor. It was never a good sign.

My variation is “the stupid are always unlucky.” The people who find a way to pick the worst option among the many good ones are always the ones complaining about their bad luck. The classic example is the salesman that is not good at his job and never has a deal just fall in his lap, like the guys who are closing deals every day. The bad salesman swears he is just unlucky.

The Stupid Party makes this point regularly and we now have a great example of why the stupid are unlucky. For decades they have been hosing their voters, mostly because they can’t run a competent political party. Some portion of what they do is just a grift. They tell the voters one thing and then take a bribe to do the opposite. That’s just corruption.

Most of the GOP’s problems, however, are the result of incompetence. When presented with three options, all good, they find a fourth that is self-defeating. The political ineptitude is so breathtaking that many of their voters have concluded it must be deliberate. No one can be this dumb this often by accident. It’s why they have a revolt brewing in their primary.

Here’s where the bad luck comes in. Justice Scalia died last night and now the GOP is faced with an impossible dilemma. Their voters, fed up up with the shenanigans, are ready to bolt the party. If the GOP signs off on Obama appointing another justice, the party is finished. There would simply be no reason for anyone to bother voting Republican again.

On the other hand, the timing of Scalia’s death makes it hard for the pussies of the GOP to punt on this. If this had happened in the summer, they could just drag their feet for a few months and not have to face the wrath of the national media. Now, Mitch McConnell is going to have to stand up and tell the Washington Post to go pound sand.

This would not be an issue if the Republicans had been running a responsible shop, making sure they had competent and effective leaders in place. That’s not to imply Scalia would still be alive today if Boehner was never made speaker. It’s that the party would have more options and more trust from their voters. Instead, they have no good will and no good options.

The Tories in the mother country have a similar problem. They find themselves, like the Republicans, in a majority mostly by accident. The Scottish Nationalist Party eviscerated the Lib-Dems and Labour, which led English voters to back the party most identified with England. The result is a Conservative government that is not doing much to pass conservative polices.

Cameron, however, is an idiot and everyone seems to know it, except the party MP’s who insist he and the other idiots remain in power. It’s why they have no wiggle room in their dealings with the EU. Because they have been so duplicitous in the past, no one trusts them. That means they have no ability to finesses a weak deal with the EU. As a result, Cameron’s popularity has collapsed.

As we see with the GOP over Scalia’s replacement, the Tories are finding themselves in an impossible dilemma. They promised to hold a referendum on EU membership, but their own perfidy has made it unlikely they can win the referendum. The alternative is to break their promise to hold the referendum, which means the end of the party. There would simply be no reason to vote for them anymore.

You can be sure that the Tory leaders, like the GOP leaders, are privately moaning about their bad fortune. If only they could catch a break! That is always the lament of the stupid and reckless. Rather than face up to their own ineptitude, they blame magic. That may be excusable for Cameron or McConnell. After all, it’s hard for anyone to admit their own incompetence. Their parties, however, have no excuse.

In the end, the public gets what it wants. It may take a while and it may be a bloody mess in the process, but the mathematics of human society are immutable. In a mass media democracy, someone comes along willing to do the bidding of the majority. Whether it is the “conservatives” in the Anglosphere is really not all that important.

21 thoughts on “The Stupid Are Always Unlucky

  1. Pingback: » The bad-news Rs

  2. Not sure you are right Z. Rumor has it that Deval Patrick is on the short list for SCOTUS. I say to myself- that it won’t happen, but…

  3. This bears repeating:

    “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

    This is known as “bad luck.”

    ― Robert A. Heinlein

  4. Maybe it is time for the sclerotic GOP to go away and have a more vigorous party take its place. The Democrats should be careful what they wish for. And McConnell and Ryan can find out what it is like to be despised by those they have pretended to “serve”.

    Trump has really shown the way here. Get out there and take no prisoners. Argue policy and political philosophy all you want, but there is something to be said for the “man the torpedoes, full speed ahead” approach. I believe that the mantle will be picked up by others, and there should be some interesting times ahead.

  5. “The Scottish Nationalist Party eviscerated the Lib-Dems and Labour”
    Labour + LibDems + SNP did not win a majority of the seats. The Conservatives did. This was a vote for what passes for the right. Nothing accidental about it.
    But I do agree that the Conservatives would do well to encourage people to vote out of the EU or at least to be neutral about it.

  6. “If the GOP signs off on Obama appointing another justice, the party is finished”

    From your lips to God’s ears on this score because there is no surer bet than the GOP confirming anyone Obama decides to appoint. The odds against the sun rising again in the East again tomorrow are much higher than the odds against the GOP caving and putting Obama’s pick on the Court. Maybe Mitch can schedule a vote in favor of amnesty and starting another war in Middle East on the same day as the confirmation vote just to drive home how much concern the GOP has for the wishes of their voters.

  7. Cameron played his hand early in the last election, saying that if he was elected again he would hold an in/out referendum. That gave him some votes and significantly enough breathing space to negotiate with the EU to come up with a deal that would allow him to say “Hey, peasants, we have fixed Europe.”

    But Merkel has repeatedly said “Nein” and now Cameron looks feeble, more so when one of Merkel’s top henchmen has said the EU will make war on Britain’s trade. As they already have made war on Britain’ laws, this should come as no surprise.

    So Cameron, and you are right here, Z, now has no credibility; the ‘deal’ he brokered was no more than a vague possibility that the EU might, maybe, perhaps will look at some piddling aspect of its ways. With this failure, the Tories have all but disappeared into insignificance and already the prospects of a referendum are looking doubtful. Why ask the people what they think when even the elected leader of the UK has no power to change anything with the unelected bureaucrats but, more importantly, the EU will not allow the UK to leave. I mean, imagine join a club which neither wants you nor will allow you to resign. Yes, that was what we managed to do in the ‘seventies.

    Someone said the other day that after so long there is no way the UK parliament will want to rewrite nearly 40 years of laws to take out the European demands, and no MP in Westminster will want to put the work in. Right now the UK parliament merely rubber stamps what Brussels says, so it is an easy job. If Britain somehow left — and as I say it will not be allowed as votes can be recounted, rejected or faked — then the poor MPs will have to put some extra hours in.

    Hmmm, not going to happen.

    • One of the things I find fascinating about the ongoing crises is how the people in charge keep making unforced errors. The EU just had to throw Cameron a couple of bones and he would be able to do his Neville Chamberlain act and fool enough voters to seal the deal. Then they could quietly renege on whatever deal he negotiated with the EU and no one could do anything about it.

      Instead, the EU is emasculating their ally for no reason that I can see. If Cameron cancels the referendum he is finished and his party will see its voters stomp off to UKIP. If they hold the thing, voting for Brexit becomes a way to voice displeasure with Cameron.

      • Maybe the Germans feel that after crushing Greece, they can dictate terms throughout the EU. You gotta admit, that’s been the national modus operandi since Bismarck stepped down.

          • A better take is, in penance for 1946. Merkel is an unreconstructed East German Communist, if the Soviets taught the East Germans anything, it was to hate their own country. The Germans can’t seem to punish themselves enough for that war. It would be refreshing to see them take their own side again.

      • I don’t think anyone will vote for a Brexit to spite Cameron.
        Europe is already annoyed that Britain got away with keeping the pound instead of adopting the euro.
        They hate that Britain isn’t getting with the program. They believe in being inflexible. Their popularity has always been low and they’ve made it this far so they intend to carry on. Besides, I don’t think that polls show the majority of the British want to leave the EU so why should they take it seriously? And the Conservatives have already made clear they don’t want to leave, so again, from the EU’s point of view, why give in?

        What’s funny is that when the muslim tsunami happened last year, I heard Merkel say Europe has to be united in the face of this crisis and I instinctively thought she meant Europe must unite to keep them all out. I was thrilled. At last, I thought, the EU will do something good!

      • And in other news, Sec State admits that Europe faces an “existential crisis” due to immigration. Based on the difference between the article URL and headline, I’m pretty sure the editors cleaned it up to tamp down on fears. Two steps forward, one step back!

  8. Well, at least we’ll see if Donald Trump is at all serious about winning the election (I still find it hard to believe he and Bernie are serious. They’re not even trying!). If he’s serious, he’ll find the most radical strict-constructionist in America, a dude that got kicked out of the Federalist Society for having too many tattoos of John C. Calhoun. Talk him up as his first Supreme Court nominee, and he’ll cruise to the Presidency.

      • I had the same thought, but if Cruz were smart in that scenario, he’d turn that into “why put me on the Supreme Court when you can give me the biggest chair?” But yeah — a strict constructionist over an evangelical all the way, but if he could find a strict constructionist evangelical…. But don’t worry: the GOP will “forget” to hold pro-forma sessions, letting Obama appoint a paralyzed transsexual lesbian of color in recess.

  9. “My variation is “the stupid are always unlucky.”

    Zman, have you seen the recent Coen brothers movie, “Inside Llewyn Davis”? It is a wonderful 2-hour elaboration on this theme. One of their best movies, IMO– and they have made a lot of great movies.

    • I started watching it, but I got distracted and never finished. I should watch it as it is supposed to be good.

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