Saturday, September 11, 2021


Procession of the pope of fools. Édouard de Beaumont, 1844


This is a word that was new to me. It appeared in an article about one of the many new books in the growing genre about the 45th president of the Disunited States, and was used to describe that administration. It means a form of government run by the least competent or least suitable citizens (from the Greek "Kakistos" for "worst" + "cracy).  I have to admit that I had assumed the proper word for this was Idiocracy from the title of Mike Judge's unfortunately prophetic 2006 film. Despite that, I immediately felt the word’s power and comedy. Look at all those “K's”. Words with "k" are the funniest words, so says comedy expert Krusty the Clown (along with Neil Simon and H. L. Mencken) . Pity poor Kazakhstan who will never be taken seriously, only because the country's name has too many k's in its name (Canada is only one k away from being a total laugh-riot).

Over the last sixteen months or so, when scientists and health professionals have been embattled by onslaughts of disinformation, conspiracy and outright lies, it occurred to me that we not only lack trusted figures in authority but that even if we did, who would listen? It should be noted that as countries like the US, Canada and the UK have had 70-75% of its citizens have been partially vaccinated against COVID-19 and one would assume that those same people would want to be fully vaccinated. Considering that some people can’t risk vaccination due to a medical condition or that many others don’t have the means to get to a vaccination centre or book a vaccination because they don’t have Internet access that means less than 20% doesn’t want to be vaccinated. Sure some are “vaccine hesitant” but they make a surprisingly small percentage while the significant rest are really “anti-vaxxers”. Thus they are making it harder to get over the 90% herd immunity marker (though we aren’t counting grade-school-aged kids not able to get the vaccine so that 90% vaccination number may not be accurate).

It turns out, the number of people who will not be getting the vaccine, based on an American poll, is just over 14% which make up about 27 million Americans. That is a worryingly high number because it means the highest percentage of vaccination we could possibly get is 86%. What is sort of incredible about having this number, is it clearly demarcates the percentage of absolute idiots in our society. It seems the real and bizarre truth is that there is a small group of people (which is actually not that small) who are definitely holding our destiny in their grubby, selfish hands and it turns out, it's a bunch of illogically, unreasonably, irrationally stupid anti-vaxxers.

If their argument is "it's my body", well, that it is, yet your body will become a weapon, spraying aspirant where ever you go. Now, in the Canadian election, ant-vaccine/anti-lockdown/anti-Liberal/anti-intelligence protesters have coalesced into a noxious kind of poisonous jelly taunting the prime minister (and other politicians) on the campaign trail. I don't have any problem with protesters heckling politicians but I do have a problem with adults acting stupidly. None of the lockdown measures, or mask edicts, vaccine clinics, vaccine passports, contact tracing centres have anything to do with the federal government. They've provided health guidelines, the vaccines and taken such actions as closing the international border but they don't set any policies about school mask mandates, gym, theatre or restaurant closures, or even vaccine certificates. Everything from tests, documentation, vaccinations to mask wearing has been overseen by provincial governments. These protestors are yelling at the wrong guy, which seems to be their favourite tactic. Yelling at the wrong people, that is. Anti-vaccine, anti-lockdown crowds protesting at hospitals in B.C. even delayed ambulances trying to get their patients to the Emergency entrance. Stupidity knows no shame.

For all the theories about the one-percenters who run everything, or the conspiracies about Jewish controlled satellites that are trying to replace white people, or the technocratic elites who run the planet via our connected devices, it turns out there really is a small group of people who may decide our fates. The most influential of influencers are the 14% of morons who couldn't solve a single block Rubik's Cube. That's right, don't bother with democracy. Don't bother with nepotism, bribery, blackmail or sleeping with the boss. The real way to wield influence is to yell very loudly and stupidly in a crowd of other people yelling stupidly and loudly. If ever there was a time to be far from the madding crowd, it is now. If only there was somewhere to go where people trusted health authorities and biking to a café was easy.



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