Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ending Stupidity, One Day at a Time

Today is now official ENA Day, which is named for Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton and Aristotle, three of smartest persons to ever live.  However, it’s not designed to honor them, but rather their intelligence.  It’s the one day a year that everyone will try not to do something stupid.

I got the idea after being inundated with political ads in all forms – TV, radio, flyers, signs etc. – and from reading letters to the editor.  I can ignore the ads, but the letters aren’t so easy to discard.  Everyone now and then, someone will actually write something that shows intelligence: a thoughtful letter which expresses a view supported by facts.  Some of those letters contain views I disagree with, but at least I know the reader did some research and showed an understanding of the issue.

The rest of the writers were simply ignorant.  They express an opinion based on nothing.  That’s stupid.
I have the cure for that.  Henceforth, then, October 11, will be officially the one day during the year when people focus on avoiding stupidity.

That means:

1) No candidate can ask for votes by claiming not to be a politician.  You don’t hire an archaeologist to fix a toilet.  You hire a plumber.  That’s the same thing in politics.  You need a politician, someone willing to compromise, to work out what’s best for the most people.  Someone claiming not to be a politician is simply claiming to have all the answers and guaranteeing further gridlock in any legislative body. 

There are enough “I know everything” types already in office.

2) No politician will claim to change anything done by his/her predecessor.  No one can change anything alone.  Any elected official is just one of many with differing opinions.  Enough of them must work together to alter anything.  One person can only propose, cajole and make deals just to get an idea through the maze. 

As a corollary: today, no one will believe a politician’s promises.  Their job is to promise, not to ado anything actually promised.

3) No one will claim that any political party has all the answers.  No one person, no one party has that.  Do you like an 8-hour work week, minimum wage or child labor laws? They were Socialist ideas.  Republicans busted monopolies.  Democrats ended racist laws in this country and enforced the right to vote.  No one is perfect: every party has done things members would rather forget.  However, all political groups have philosophies that, when actually practiced, provide an approach to government that voters can choose between.

4) No one will try to force everyone to believe one set of religious views.  As an increasing number of Americans turn away from organized religion, this approach is hateful and arrogant.  It also demonstrates immense unawareness that beliefs have changed and continue to change.  What is believed today will not be believed in the future and was not necessarily believed in the past.

Any attempt to harden a belief simply turns it into a fossil. 

5) No one will thoughtless ignore others on this planet.  As a result,  no one will: step on the brakes while going through a green light;  forget to signal a turn; play anything at home or in a car that intrudes into someone else’s privacy; carry on private conversation in public on cellphones; and  puff on anything anywhere so that someone else is forced to inhale the same smoke.

6) No one will say anything negative about someone’s skin color, age, body art, religion, national origin or anything else.  We’re all the same genetically.  Bigotry is plain stupid.

You are welcome to add to this list.

ENA Day will not end drug use, alcoholism or other stupid behaviors that demonstrate abject ignorance.  It won’t made students decide to study or force anyone to consider the consequences of sketchy choices.

However, we have to start somewhere.

Happy ENA Day!

Long-time religious historian Bill Lazarus regularly writes about religion and religious history with an occasional look at contemporary life.  He also speaks at various religious organizations throughout Florida.  You can reach him at  He is the author of the famed Unauthorized Biography of Nostradamus; The Last Testament of Simon Peter; The Gospel Truth: Where Did the Gospel Writers Get Their Information; Noel: The Lore and Tradition of Christmas Carols; and Dummies Guide to Comparative Religion.  His books are available on, Kindle, bookstores and via various publishers.  He can also be followed on Twitter.

You can enroll in his on-line class, Comparative Religion for Dummies, at

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