The High Price of Stupidity

Ramon Arias | June 9, 2014

You have heard it said: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” However, what do we call a person or a society who is constantly being fooled with no end in sight? What does that society look like? Is there a way out of a vicious cycle in a culture dominated by falsehood? Do you know the answers? Do you even care? I hope your answer to the last question is an affirmative one.

King Solomon said: "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion" (Proverbs 18:2). Understanding any matter requires discipline to get to the truth regardless of the consequences found in the process and even after the matter has been resolved. But a fool does not care about true facts because there's only one thing on his or her mind, and that is to express opinions that shape life according to their agenda regardless if history clearly reveals that it does not work.

We are constantly bombarded with lies by influential and dominant foolish ideologues that are determined to implement their destructive agendas and this has been going on for 6,000 years. I will never get tired of pointing this out, never! Every society that formed into a nation or empire only to collapse later on is because they were born with a faulty ideological foundation. There have been only two nations that at their conception had the right system of ideas.  This system shaped the basis for their life, liberty and progress: those nations are old Israel and the United States of America, which became the experiment of a new form of government and society that had never been implemented in human history. In both cases, men were not the originators of those ideas because they had the same source, God—not man.

Old Israel received the law that was to be the model and inspiration for all nations to build upon, See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?” (Deuteronomy 4:5-8)

As a nation, Israel was never consistent in faithfully living by the principles of God's commandments.  They embraced the foolish ideas of the surrounding nations and paid a high price every time they departed from the revealed knowledge, understanding and wisdom given to them in God's law.  By so doing, they demonstrate how easy it is for God's people to choose the path of stupidity and the fruit thereof. We know what happened to the nation of old Israel in the year 70 A.D.—it was annihilated.

Throughout the Scriptures (Old Testament) it is very common to find the words “fool”, “foolish” and “foolishness” to describe the condition of a person, group of people or a nation that lacks intelligence or common sense to solve all manner of problems in all areas of society.  This comes as a result of abandoning God’s full counsel. We also find the word “stupid”, just in case some do not understand the synonyms. Here are some Scriptures about stupidity from the English Standard Version: 

“…the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others” (Psalm 49:10).

“How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep! The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this: that though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever” (Psalm 92:5-7).

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid” (Proverbs 12:1).

“For my people are foolish; they know me not; they are stupid children; they have no understanding. They are ‘wise’ in doing evil! But how to do good they know not” (Jeremiah 4:22).

“There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might. Who would not fear you, O King of the nations? For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you. They are both stupid and foolish… Every man is stupid and without knowledge… For the shepherds are stupid and do not inquire of the Lord” (Jeremiah 10:6-8, 14, 21).

For the most part, the early 13 colonies were established with what is known as the Judeo-Christian principles. Other religions or ideologies were not considered above the biblical worldview. The journey as a new nation based upon those principles has been stormy, and for the last 200 years, gradually, most Christians have done the same thing that old Israel did.  That is, they have rejected God’s absolutes as a way of life and have traded them for man’s irrationality. There should be no surprise that we find ourselves indoctrinated with ideas that, for the most part, have been demolishing the benefits of knowing and applying God's law. The foundation is now infested with crooks, corruption, greed and lawlessness at all levels of society. Fools have always opposed the truth and have used lies to get their evil way.

The apostle Paul asked the Galatians some questions "O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?... are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1,3)

In other translations the word “foolish” is “stupid”, “Oh, stupid Galatians! Who has rivaled you?” (Aramaic Bible in plain English). “You stupid people of Galatia! Who put you under an evil spell?” (GOD'S WORD Translation).

Why did Paul use such strong language? Because it is the language of God's ethics against those who after embracing the only truth revealed by the God of Scripture, they later compromise and turned away, making things worse not only for themselves but for the culture in general.

Let us look briefly at Paul's questions to the Galatians. First question: "O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” In other words, why are you stupidly giving the control of your mind to the forces of darkness instead of to God? Second question, is in two-part form, “…are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Again, why are you so stupid? You received life, liberty, knowledge, understanding and wisdom by the Spirit of God, and now you want to perfect your life with human understanding that opposes God?  Are you out of your mind?  Why do you want to go back to the pathetic condition of a society under such unjustified situations?  Do you think Paul would ask the same question to Christian America today?

How long do you think it is going to take for Christian America to fully understand there is no truth or logic apart from God's revealed truth? Can you wait for everyone else to get it or would you take personal responsibility to know the God of the Bible?  Would you endeavor today to know man’s nature, the benefits of biblical law, the positive and negative consequences of our ideas and actions, and that individually we are responsible for the legacy we leave for future generations?

Regardless of what anyone’s understanding is of Abraham Lincoln, I'm sure we can all agree with him when he said: “You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”

I've been saying for decades that ignorance is a curse and the only way we can break that yoke is by an unwavering commitment for personal involvement beginning with the study of God's Word, prayer and become well informed.  We must be educated in the issues in order to have an intelligent engagement in problem-solving in our community, state, nation, and the world. The price we have been paying for our stupidity must stop.  We do that by breaking away and not allow ourselves to be fooled any longer.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant – and free – in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." – Thomas Jefferson, letter to Colonel Charles Yancey, 1816.