ON THE ORIGIN OF DULLARDS
“ It is said that Lost Time married Ignorance. They had a son named I Thought That.
This son married Youth. They had the following children : I Didn’t Know, I Didn’t Think, I Didn’t Notice, and Who’d Have Thought It.
Who’d Have Thought It married Carelessness. Their children were called That’ll Do, It Can Wait Until Tomorrow, There’s No Hurry, and The Chance Will Come.
There’s No Hurry married the noble lady I Didn’t Think. Their children were called I Didn’t Give It a Thought, I Know What I’m Saying, I Don’t Let Them Fool Me, Don’t You Worry, and Leave That To Me.
I Know What I’m Saying married Vanity, and their children were called Like It Or Not, I’ll Have My Way, I Demand Respect, You’ll Want For Nothing.
You’ll Want For Nothing married I Demand Respect. Their children were called Take It Easy and Adversity.
The last-named married Not Many Brains and their children were Nice Work, What’s That Got To Do With Him, It Seems To Me, It Isn’t Possible, Say No More, You Only Die Once, I’ll Get My Way, Time Will Tell, Wait And See, With A Will, No Comment Needed, For The Life Of Me, No Matter What They Say, Whatever The Cost, What Do I Care, We Won’t Starve, and It’s Not The End Of The World.
I Demand Respect became a widower and married again, this time to a Walloon. When their entire inheritance had been squandered, they said to each other, ‘Not to worry, we’ll take out a loan and enjoy ourselves for a year. God will provide for the next.’ And, advised by You’ll Want For Nothing, that is what they did. When the term of the loan expired and they had no money to pay the rent, Illusion took them to prison. God Will Forgive paid them a visit. Poverty took them to hospital, where the strength of I Demand Respect and I Don’t Follow finally gave out. They were buried with Stupidity, their great-grandmother. They left many children and grandchildren, scattered all over the world. “
Juan Pérez de Moya, Philosofía Secreta de la Gentilidad (1585)
What went before
- 1 –
The philosopher Kant meant in his “Vorlesung über Pädagogik” (1776) that the human being lacking any instinct differs in this respect from the animal and is therefore characterized by a kind of primal idiocy.
Humans are very egoistic and tend to a destructive ecstasy of freedom. This human self-destruction is a violation of the unwritten law of nature, that is centered on self-preservation. Idiocy after all threatens man to prove fatal.
To survive humans needed a ruse : unselfish self-sacrifice became the highest standard of our civilization.
This means that idiocy is the key figure of human culture, because this high standard of self-sacrifice is destructive in itself. Viewed from nature self-sacrifice is the greatest stupidity. But formally self-sacrifice is in accordance with nature, for we choose paradoxically self-sacrifice out of self-preservation.
Self-sacrifice is a travesty, wherein idiocy dresses up as wisdom. Self-sacrifice is a holy idiocy and makes civilization her own caricature.
Culture and decency are forms of self-sacrifice to which we are seduced by means of flattery, i.e. by lies ! Flattery leads to virtue. The more decency one shows, the more compliments one gets, the more proud one becomes, the more shame one fears, the more decency one shows, and so on…
Human culture is one big masquerade effected by lies.
In the anonimous 18th century allegory “La Philosophie découvrant la Vérité” we see that Philosophy (with the torch of reason in her hand) reveals that the “Social Contract” underlies our culture. Behind her we notice the bust of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
But we also see that the naked thruth tries to hide something for her part. With her right foot she tries to keep quiet a blinded mask with dog-ears : stupidity being the real foundation of civilisation…
The ‘blind mass’ is too stupid to understand the rudiments of culture and form of government.
Rousseau calls into being a mythical legislator, who may not force the mass, only seduce her. The trick he uses is a reversal. He pretends that the social contract is a pure formal confirmation of an already existing situation. He pretends that the consequence of the contract, i. e. the people, is the cause of the contract. But in reality the identity of the people, which in his myth is presented as an incontrovertible fact, exists only by the grace of his fiction.
This is the true manoeuvre of the legislator : to make the unnatural social contract acceptible, he alienates man from his natural egoism.
Behind the ‘citoyen’ hides a calculating ‘bourgeois’, which makes no problem, because in attempting to get flattery and respect, this stupid ‘bourgeois’ behaves AS a ‘citoyen’, regardless of his egoistic motives.
To put it briefly, the democratic subject coincides with his own failure. Democracy succeeds in being unsuccessful !
According to Rousseau individuals are not stupid : they are bad. The people as a whole on the other hand are not bad, but idiot !
Democracy is a fiction. In reality only egoistic idiots exist. But without this democratic fiction real democracy would never exist. The appearance of democracy IS democracy.
Stupidity reigns wherever people really believe that democracy exists and that elections are the highlight of it.
- 3 –
Democracy is threatened by two forms of ‘stupor’, a word that is etymologically familiar to ‘stupidity’.
On the one hand by panic. Because the danger exists that elections degenerate into anarchy when the place of power lies open too long. Then idiocy proves fatal to democracy.
On the other hand democracy needs idiocy to prevent that somebody occupies the place of power and installs a dictatorship. This is alienation, which is the second form of stupor.
The solution is offered by the constitutional monarchy.
In his being misplaced the king makes the stupidity of democracy that spins around him tangible : he shows the failure that democracy needs to be succesful.
In opposition with the French Jacobins, who occupied the place of power by trying to keep it empty and decapitating everybody, the monarch saves the empty place occupying it.
Because the function of the sovereign is purely negative, his qualities do not make any difference. By definition he is a cheat. The gap between his symbolic role and his actual talents even must be as wide as possible.
Just because it is a silly, purely formal act, the role of head of state can be given to any idiot who arrived at this place on an irrational ground as birth.
For this reason N*A*O* likes to name a king in Flemish : “een honing.”
A president on the other hand can be dangerous for democracy. To prevent misunderstanding much French presidents acted like monarchs !
The sovereign must after all be smart enough to play innocent. (This seems to be a bit of a problem for the Belgian successor prince Filip.)
This way the sublime monarch is a ridiculous man, a dolt occupying the empty place of democracy.
The true democrat only exists in the failing attempts to be a true democrat. In his idiocy the monarch materializes this impossibility. The secret of the sovereign lies in the failure of democracy.
Hans Christian Andersens fairy tale “The new clothes of the emperor” is wrongly read as the triumph of the innocent child over the pretensions of the adult world.
In reality it illustrates the functioning of democracy. In the fairy tale the emperor doesn’t care about state affairs, only about clothing. This proves that he is a good emperor. He knows that his power depends on play-acting, not on spiritual content.
To examine if his subjects know this also, he tests them at each public appearance. Only those who are able to keep up appearance, do suit their civil role in society. The fool and the child don’t have an eye for the benefits of decency, and they expose themselves by their reactions to the monarch.
Today modern art fulfills this test-function : she puts to the test the capacity to see something where nothing is, or at least the capacity to pretend that one sees something : the two powers that keep the civilized world together, Fantasy and her sister Decency !
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