Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

The Stupid Ages, eight stupid things in “modern” America

with 30 comments


Mulling over the state of America, I’ve come to another dismal conclusion. I’ve concluded that the general state of education and intellect is declining. Declining rapidly in fact. In fact, I think we are entering a new age. Yes, we’ve had the Dark Ages, the Age of Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, and all the rest. Now we’ve  come full circle … The Stupid Ages. I look around me, and am just amazed at the stunning stupidity of some aspects of “modern” America.  Maybe I’m just getting older and wiser, or maybe I’m getting senile. I am sure commenters will weigh in one way or the other. With no further ado, eight incredibly stupid things about the USA:

1. The Metric System. The rest of the world went to the metric system years ago, it may not be perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than a system based on the length of the King’s nose. Why is it incredibly stupid to keep using the English system of measure? Because it’s costing huge amounts of time and money every year to make the conversion, or correct the mistakes that were caused by incorrect conversions. And I’m sure the occasional life is lost as well. Using the English system of weights and measures makes about as much a sense as using Roman numerals. We lost a 125 million dollar Mars mission because of this stupidity, go figure.

2. The Penny. Again, an archaic coin of no use whatever is kept in circulation. People spend time counting pennies almost every single day. Especially retail, if one adds it up, we are talking huge amounts of time. Then there’s the fact that cash registers have to be set up to hold them, banks have to sort and store and move them, and we are talking huge amounts of money just so we can keep fake pennies around. I mean fake as in fake, the last copper pennies were minted in 1981, since then they have been copper clad junk metal. What earlier generations would have called counterfeit money.

3. 7,000 Year Old Earth. OK, yes, I rant about this one all the time. Tens of millions of Americans believe the Earth is 7,000 years old. Now that’s not what bothers me, what bothers me is that they think their belief is backed up by evidence. Not, it’s not. By the late 18th century the extremely Christian scientist of the day concluded that the Earth was at the very least millions of years old, and the story in Genesis could not literally be true. Arrrgh!!

4. Moon Landing Hoax. A huge percentage of Americans think there is some validity to the idea that the Moon landings were faked. Thank you Fox  network and the History Channel. No, there’s  zero chance the Moon landings were faked, these were some of the most well documented events in history for God’s sake. Every single argument raised by these folks has been shown to be utter drivel, yet like the energizer bunny, the myth just keeps on going.

5. Nostradamus. ARRRRGH! Sorry. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, no one has ever predicted anything using Nostradamus as a guide. Connecting up events with Nostradamus’s predictions after the event … isn’t prediction. I guarantee you, write a hundred nonsense poems, and just by chance events will occur that resemble some of them. So what?

6. Health Care. Every other industrialized country in the world provides their citizenry with cradle-to-grave health care, and at far less cost than the American “system.” Yet try to talk to an American about this, and they immediately demonstrate that they know less than nothing about how health care works in other countries, and worse, they are often under the impression that the American “system” is somehow superior. Let me see if I understand this, we’re just about dead last in every health category compared to the other industrialized nation’s, pay vastly more money per capita, and have tens of millions of people with limited or no access to health care … and this is a superior system?

7. Saturday mail. Other countries have sane efficient systems for delivering mail. Only five days a week, and the (locked) mailboxes are in little clusters. Vastly easier and cheaper to deliver the mail, and it’s far more secure! Here they somehow have to schedule a six day week, and the poor mail people have to truck door to door six days a week.  It doesn’t make any sense, so that’s why it’s on this list.

8. Lead paint and gas. Lead paint was outlawed in Sweden around 1900, by 1920 or so it was outlawed pretty much throughout the industrialized world. I mean, the goddamn Romans figured out that lead was poison. (Only slaves were allowed to work in lead mines.) Yet in the USA the paint industry kept lead paint legal till 1970 or so. I mean, lead kills and makes you stupid, this isn’t even remotely debatable. Then there’s leaded gas, which remained legal in the USA until 1986. We’re talking a product that they knew when it was introduced that it was a poison. OK then. On the optimistic side, maybe the lead in the paint and gas explains the first six items on this list.

I could go on, but eight is enough for now. I’m not trying to diss America in particular, it’s just that I live here and have to deal with these every day. In a country that prides itself on its modernity, we sure cling to a lot of outdated and even harmful ideas. How the hell does the country that first put humans on the Moon cling to medieval ideas? I have some ideas … but that’s for a future post.

(The above image of the Rider-Waite tarot card, The Fool, is public domain under every copyright law in the known universe. Technically speaking, there were better cards to illustrate this post with, but since most people know as much about the Tarot as they do about quantum physics, this will do just fine. The Fool, by the way, eventually morphed into The Joker in modern card decks.)


Written by unitedcats

August 10, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

30 Responses

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  1. Interestingly, modern human civilization is about 7,000 years old. Not that it was the first human civilization, but that’s another subject.

    Mike Goldman

    August 11, 2009 at 12:24 am

  2. I don’t have a problem with getting mail on Saturdays. I wish it was delivered on Sundays too. It would be more conducive to procrastination that way.

    Pennies and the Imperial system are still around because we’re stubborn and slow to change, not because we’re stupid. It used to be that everyone thought the world was 6,000 years old. And there will always be stupid myths and conspiracy theories, in every society.

    Speaking of which, I once saw on a History Channel program about prophetic texts that someone had looked for predictions in Moby Dick just to prove that you could find them in any book of sufficient length. And they did. And now a few people actually believe that Moby Dick is a prophetic text.

    I can’t really argue with you on the lead paint, and I have to say, I’m pretty well flabbergasted by the sheer volume of stupidity surrounded the so-called healthcare “debate.”


    August 11, 2009 at 6:38 am

  3. Mea culpa, it’s a terrible logical error to see people doing stupid things, and then conclude that they are stupid. Inductive reasoning I think, in any event I should have been more explicit about that in the post, I may do a follow-up. This was a fairly quick post, mostly intended to inspire debate.

    I might do a post about the health care “debate,” but it’s maddening.


    August 11, 2009 at 7:59 am

  4. Hmm…healthcare in the U.S is ehh, but I think Obama’s plan is a bad idea right now, the economy is struggling yadda yadda, just more tax and I think it will just make big pharma Government funded(controled) like everything else nowadays…

    As for lead….The U.S loves our poisons, lead, mercury, nicotine, alcohol, fluoride in the water, GMOs, canola oil(rapeseed oil), it goes on and on…..but hey…..whatever…most people just say “hey if it was bad, they wouldn’t put it in there….right?”.
    But then everything can be spun to look bad….
    Ever heard of “dihydrogen monoxide” lol….

    “Dihydrogen monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and kills thousands of people every year.”



    August 11, 2009 at 9:16 am

  5. Lawyers kept the lead in so they would have plenty of work. I like my health care but I am not sick. People I know that were sick got good treatment in the local hosptial. The government can make it worse and here are a few shocking things in the President Obama’s plan:

    Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed!
    • Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits
    you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process)
    • Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to
    all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer.
    • Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community
    organizer health plans (read: SEIU, UAW and ACORN)
    • Page 72: All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules
    to participate in a Healthcare Exchange.
    • Page 167: Any individual who doesn’t’ have acceptable healthcare
    (according to the government) will be taxed 2.5% of income.
    • Page 195: Officers and employees of Government Healthcare Bureaucracy
    will have access to ALL American financial and personal records.
    • Page 354: Government will restrict enrollment of SPECIAL NEEDS
    • Page 425: More bureaucracy: Advance Care Planning Consult: Senior
    Citizens, assisted suicide, euthanasia?
    • Page 425: Government will instruct and consult regarding living wills,
    durable powers of attorney, etc. Mandatory. Appears to lock in estate
    taxes ahead of time.
    • Page 425: Government provides approved list of end-of-life resources,
    guiding you in death.
    • Page 427: Government mandates program that orders end-of-life treatment;
    government dictates how your life ends.

    Read it at:

    Click to access getdoc.cgi


    August 11, 2009 at 11:23 am

  6. Lies and propaganda, Mike. “Deathers” are even more of a blight than “birthers.” You’re running fact free.

    Mike Goldman

    August 11, 2009 at 11:53 am

  7. Pyrodin, you would think in a time of economic uncertainty where people may have lost or be in danger of losing their employer-provided health insurance, we might want to make provisions for everyone to have access to quality health care.

    If you think the idea of economic downturn in the capital sector means that the goverment should also tighten its belt, you are really calling for mass poverty and despair, disease and death.

    Mike Goldman

    August 11, 2009 at 12:05 pm

  8. Well, for folks that don’t have the time to read the entire 1000 page bill to fact check Mike’s comment, this site covers it nicely:

    E-mail ‘analysis’ of health bill needs a check-up

    Mike is either a paid Internet shill, or he didn’t bother to read the original bill he is so eager to decry.


    August 11, 2009 at 12:14 pm

  9. Doug, am interested in reading the link you posted but it doesn’t appear to be working. Can you repost?




    August 11, 2009 at 12:29 pm

  10. Link fixed, operator headspace error. :)


    August 11, 2009 at 1:44 pm

  11. Mike,
    Yes I do believe Government should be the first to get cut back when things are bad….what else is there to cut?
    Government is a old bloated fat tick on america and it’s finally killing the host…understand we need a Gov., but not one that spends so much on so little….a smaller tick.

    The bad banks should fail,and the Gov. is just using economical fear to pass power grabbing bills. Just like the patriot act/military comissions act during 9-11….
    I admit the idea some sort of healthcare would be nice, but socialism sounds nice too, but unless you can find Angels to run it, it will be terribly corrupt.
    Does health care cover food, water, transportation, housing? The economy is doing bad and where will the money for health care come from? Taxes? Printing Press? Obama promised change, and thats what we’ll have left out of our paychecks…..

    All in all I just think we are reaping what we have sown as a country…….
    I’m no “deather” or “birther” or “Democratic” or “Republican”, I hate grouping Psychology, if somebody or something are not part of my group they are automaticaly outside my group and a threat or whatever….all about association


    August 11, 2009 at 1:58 pm

  12. This post was kind of stupid, nothing personal, I usually enjoy your blog. A few points:

    -Many countries have the equivalent of our penny. The Euro comes to mind which not only has one cent, but also two cent coins. I agree the penny is stupid, but it’s hardly specific to Americans or indicative of stupidity.

    -Billions of people around the world believe in the story of Creation; with the Earth being around 7,000 years old. I do not believe that personally but again, this is not something that is specific to Americans.

    -WTF does Nostradamus have to do with Americans and their “stupidity”? Just because The History Channel sucks now doesn’t mean Americans are stupid.

    -As for the lead paint thing, according to your post, it was outlawed decades ago which may indicate we’ve gotten smarter, and if nothing else does not show increased stupidity in the year 2009.

    I agree with your other points to one extent or another but in general there was entirely too much nit picky B.S. here for my taste. I also think that if you are going to claim we are becoming dumber, you first have to prove we were smarter in the past.


    August 11, 2009 at 2:14 pm

  13. Pyrodin, we have a mixed economy now. We are not moving to an unmixed economy anytime soon. Medicare and Medicaid, along with the VA, are socialized medicine. They work pretty well for the most part, even without angels running them.

    It’s not like corporations are run by angels. Corporations desire nothing but their own profit, and will cut your benefits without hesitation if they are allowed.

    Government is not some external parasite, it is ourselves. We the people created it to serve us.

    Mike Goldman

    August 11, 2009 at 7:53 pm

  14. As for “food, water, transportation, housing,” these should also be guaranteed at some minimum level.

    Mike Goldman

    August 11, 2009 at 7:54 pm

  15. Mike,

    I can see it now.. the government paying for your auto repairs.

    Heck why not have somebody else pay for all of your stuff?


    August 12, 2009 at 7:44 am

  16. Any politician who advocates robbing Peter to pay Paul, can always count on the vote of Paul.



    August 12, 2009 at 7:48 am

  17. “Paul” = Mike


    August 12, 2009 at 8:11 am

  18. ET, auto repair isn’t a necessity of life.

    Mike Goldman

    August 12, 2009 at 8:55 am

  19. Mike,

    You mentioned transportation, but even if it means planes, trains, bikes, or whatever.. you apparently want someone else to pay for it.


    August 12, 2009 at 9:22 am

  20. I recommend reading Atlas Shrugged.. as it is happening in real life.


    August 12, 2009 at 9:24 am

  21. ET, I mean public transportation, like buses. It isn’t all that radical of an idea. Btw, Atlas Shrugged: Fiction.

    Mike Goldman

    August 12, 2009 at 4:36 pm

  22. Mike,

    Yes, Atlas Shrugged was written 50 years ago, but warned of the very State controlled capitalism we have seen emerge in the last year.

    The ‘government’ now controls:
    The largest auto maker.
    The largest insurance company.
    The largest mortgage company…

    And the definition of state controlled capitalism is Fascism.

    And now they want to control health care.. but hey, they do such a good job with these mandates yet they exempt themselves from the very bills they pass. Congress will not be on the same ‘plan’ they want to force Americans on. Its a classic “some amimals are more equal than others” moment.


    August 13, 2009 at 7:57 am

  23. […] Space Exploration The Stupid Ages, eight stupid things in “modern” America […]

  24. ET, if you want to live your life in a fictional universe, be my guest. What is particularly amusing is how right wingers yell fascism out of projection. Did you miss the last administration completely?

    Mike Goldman

    August 13, 2009 at 9:49 am

  25. Mike,

    I agree that the last administration (Bu$h) threw us under the bus as well. No bid contracts, 9 billion missing in CASH! I could go on…

    Corruption is alive and well in the USA.

    Our political system is a two headed snake, with one body. And Wall street is in charge.


    August 13, 2009 at 11:13 am

    • Actually the problem was George decided to cut taxes to the rich which will do diddly squat to make the economy work since they already have the $$$ no matter what.

      You need to cut taxes to the poor and middle-class so that they will be able to consume stuff to bring money to the higher-ups and the money allows higher-paying jobs: I don’t mean just service jobs or other temporary jobs that people don’t stay long on.

      Not to mention we are basically giving all the jobs to people who come into the country illegally without medical clearance nor criminal clearance.

      We have banned pesiticed so there is a HUGE increase in Bed-bugs in even 5-star hotels.

      We recently went on vacation and a lot of old motels have brand new-beds and they won’t explain why…………………

      Who knows how many illegal machine guns we have in our country now.


      December 18, 2010 at 6:29 pm

      • The other problem is most high paying jobs are over-seas which do not bring in dollars to the USA and different parts of equipment are checked at different places which may or may not give a damn.

        (Insert lead poisoning scares here)


        December 18, 2010 at 6:31 pm

  26. global warming what a bunch of crap !!!


    January 27, 2010 at 6:49 pm

  27. Good article


    December 18, 2010 at 6:23 pm

  28. […] side, maybe the lead in the paint and gas explains the first six items on this list. source:…odern-america/ true story Oh and I also strongly dislike your accent. It makes my ear itch. Latex made this […]

    USA fails

    June 20, 2011 at 9:31 am

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