Second Opinion

John Dorn is a retired tech entrepreneur living in Summerland

I clicked on a link emailed to me about Donald Trump’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic and it led to an interesting article in a recent issue of “Psychology Today” magazine.

The gist of the article is stupid people do not realize they are stupid. This may sound obvious but most of us do not think about such things. The article was not only directed at Trump, but his supporters as well. The article goes on to explain the futility of trying to influence these people with facts.

If this is true, the only effective strategy to elect Joe Biden is to bring out the vote rather than try to influence Trump’s base.

Meanwhile, Republicans are doing their best to suppress the vote in presidential election in November.

Another article I recently read was about support for politicians who hold social views which were racist, misogynistic, homophobic or worse. Those positions would be contrary to the views held by the majority of the population as well as the supporters of the nonconformist politician. The crazy guy’s followers continued to rationalize their backing with the logic, “He may promote views I cannot support or behaves badly, but at least I know where he stands, so he has my vote.”

This applies to not only Donald Trump, but to Ontario’s Ford brothers — Doug and the late Rob — as well. Remember Trump stating “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” Unfortunately, he is correct.

There is a Master’s thesis topic to explain why the 99% of Americans continue to vote against their self-interest, allowing successive Republican leaders to give tax breaks to the wealthy and attempt to repeal Obamacare.

In Canada, I have always wondered why workers have never supported the federal NDP in numbers when they are the obviously the party with the best interest of labour in their platform. A majority of us support environmental causes, but do not vote Green. Quebecers seem to have this correct when they vote for the Bloc Quebecois.

If stupid people do not know they are stupid, the opposite is true of the highly intelligent, but the outcome is similar.

Smart people seem to know or think they are smart and have to prove it at every opportunity. Have you ever had a debilitating conversation with the person who thinks he is the smartest person in the room?

Just like above, it is impossible to change their minds with the facts. These people may have great expertise in one area, but somehow believe this expertise applies to all aspects of life. They also manage to stifle conversation as they are adamant with their opinions.

(Hopefully my older brother will never read this column.)

For instance, in the age of COVID-19 the wearing of masks is controversial. Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, has been criticized for changing her advice regarding masks. In fact, she has reacted to new facts and revised her advice and should be praised for doing so.

Compare this to Trump’s position of his own not wearing a mask as it makes one look weak and causes panic. Science and advice do not matter to Trump, which puts him in the stupid category.

When Justin Trudeau’s black-face controversy was news his supporters forgave him for poor judgment in his younger years. It was cause for his resignation according to others. In the end, few people changed their opinion of Trudeau and his poll numbers recovered once we all lost interest.

If people would only listen without pre-conceived ideas, the world would be a better place.

John Dorn is a retired entrepreneur living in Summerland.