People are idiots (and I am chief amongst them)

6 Nov

People are idiots!

Don’t think I’m serious? No, I really am!

People are most definitely idiots! Including you the reader and me the writer!!!

Now this might seem a bit of a strange way to start a blog. After all, a blog is supposed to encourage people to read on and engage with an idea and insulting your readers is not the best way to encourage engagement.

And yet, we are left with the undeniable fact that at various times in our lives we do do some incredibly idiotic things.

And what is the cause of this idiocy? Well, more often than not it is us thinking that we know best, rather than realising how limited we are in our own understanding of things.

Whether it is a case of creating something without looking at the instructions or speaking about a subject of which we are ill-informed, the result is very often the same, things go pear-shaped very quickly. And it’s not just the small things, but the big things as well.

Just look at some of the things that people can do as a society and you start to see that we really are a flawed bunch. Look at all the various dictators that have gained power legitimately and then continued to be popular after they had become a dictator, even when various atrocities are carried out, because people often refuse to believe or take the view that it’s an acceptable sacrifice for the benefits that have been brought. But then look at how this also translates into how nations choose to intervene internationally at the moment. People have been suffering for years in Zimbabwe, under the as-good-as dictatorial regime of Robert Mugabe. And the suffering has been for no reason other than because Mugabe and his cronies have decided. And the rest of the world has thrown words around condemning, and yet done nothing. And yet the case is very different when their own national interests are involved.

This might all seem very distant, as it is all about other countries, but our own country is not immune from such idiocy. Just take a look at the events of last night (November 5th) in London:

People in masks decided that it would be a good idea to go and protest in Westminster.

Now protesting is one thing, and Anonymous (the group that claimed to have organised this protest) said that it was “against austerity and infringement of rights” which seem like good values to protest against, but look a bit further into the story and you find that actually there were a lot of people not protesting about that, but about a whole range of things. And whilst this is not a big deal per se, we soon see that in addition to a wide variety of reasons there were also a wide variety of “solutions” that people were suggesting as well. This included the call for revolution, something which celebrity protester Russell Brand has suggested needs to happen, against the establishment. And this is where my biggest issue with human idiocy arises.

You see, the call for revolution from these groups, whether real or simply a way of protesting without any real intent behind it, is so short-sighted that it beggars belief, particularly when you hear some of the passion they appear to have on the subject. And yet when they call for change, they haven’t got a clue as to what they would replace the current system with! And it you were to have a look at the hearts of some of the protesters would would likely come across some very self-serving reasons why they want change, with some equally self-serving solutions to their particular aspect of the protest. And that’s about as far as they think. Let’s say that they were to cause the “Establishment” (whatever that may mean) to remove themselves from positions of power and “hand it over to the people” as a result of the protest, what next? Ok, so you can decide, for example, to end austerity and enable people to have more money to spend on  things. But what about the national debt? What about the deficit? What about how the banks, that we all rely on for so many aspects of our daily lives without even thinking about it, are likely to be treated? Or how about our issue being the curbing of civil liberties? So we remove the perceived curbs, so how do the police and security services (assuming that they are allowed to remain in existence) stop terrorists from causing harm to the population? How do they ensure that crime is punished? These are issues which, if I were a betting man, I would be willing to bet hardly any of the protesters had considered before they marched on Westminster. And look at what has happened when revolutions have taken place. The French Revolution was aimed at “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” but instead it led to what was called the Reign Of Terror where people were guillotined left, right and centre, with over 16 thousand killed by this method and a further 25 thousand executed by other methods! Then we can look at the effect of revolution in Russia and China, where anyone who disagreed with the winning side being punished in various ways, from imprisonment all the way through torture to execution, sometimes by assassination. And then finally look at what happened with the Arab Spring. How many of the countries that had a change in government after this had a peaceful transition that was seen as being for the good of all concerned?

You see the problem is that human beings want their freedom and they nearly always forget what freedom means. Not only that, but they also don’t realise what their version of freedom means for others, or themselves further down the line for that matter!  Self-seeking, self-serving, self-satisfying: this is what it is all about for some people, and it is a mindset that is spreading.


But there is a way forward that differs the idiotic approach of protests like this. It is self-denying, serving others and self sacrificing. It is the Way of the Cross, the way of God. You see, we are created to be a part of something, not to be a creator of something. We are called to join in with God and His design, not declare our independence and strike out on our own. In Exodus 20 we are told that God has rules, and chief among them is the rule to follow only Him. That means keeping His commands, living as He calls us to live and looking after that which He has given us. And this includes the leaders we are given. Whilst we are told to resist that which is ungodly, Romans 13 points out that we are to submit to the laws of the land we live in and to obey the rulers of the land, so long as they do not clash with the rules that God has set, because they are put where they are by God and that God is in charge of them.

You see, God has a plan and a purpose for everyone. And He has a desire to see that everyone fulfils them. And so He created the rule of Law in the wilderness with Israel so that everyone could have the chance to do so. God instituted penalties for people who acted in a way that stopped others from being able to follow God’s call on their lives.

And so whilst some might believe that the system needs replacing, the problem with replacing a system is what you replace it with. God knows everything, so when He sets something in place He does so knowing how it will impact on everyone. When God institutes something it is done not for His own sake, but for those for whom it is intended. So when we read that all rulers are in the position they are in because God has put them there, we need to remember who we are ultimately rebelling against if we seek to bring about revolution.

And people may respond by saying that Jesus was the ultimate revolutionary, as He turned the world on it’s head. But I would argue that Jesus was the ultimate establishment figure. Yes, He did rebel, but only against the rebellion of mankind that had twisted God’s design for humanity into something unrecognisable from the original.


So yes, people are idiots. And I admit that I too can be an idiot, and from time to time rebel against God. But, at the risk of sounding like the Pharisee at prayer, at least I am not wearing a silly mask and thinking that I can bring down the Establishment and make everything better!



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Archbishop Cranmer

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