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Gadfly 2 by Robert Macklin

The best thing about Donald Trump’s election to the most visible office on earth is his stupidity. For the first time ever, the consequences of that lovely catch-phrase ‘I’m with stupid’ are emblazoned across the stratosphere for all to see.

It’s quite a turnaround.

In the days before Donald, the clever folk ran the show based largely on what produced the greatest good for the greatest number. Whether the issue was climate change or globalisation, they looked at the facts and based their response on reason and logic. The stupid people congregated in the shadows and fired their dumdums bullets from weapons forged by ignorance, prejudice and self-interest.

Now the shoe is on the other foot – ignorance and prejudice rule the roost; and the clever folk don’t quite know how to respond, especially since their ‘facts’ are derided as ‘fake news’ and their reason is ‘dishonesty’. In this new world, Trump’s chaotic administration is, according to Donald, ‘a fine tuned machine’ and the naysayers who report the judicial rejection of his anti-Muslim travel decree or the sacking of his National Security Adviser are ‘out of control’.

Of course, the clever people were not perfect. They did a terrible job of selling the awful consequences of climate change. They called it ‘global warming’ which sounded perfectly pleasant, even beneficent; and they failed to provide the semi-skilled workers of the First World with interesting and well paid new jobs when their old ones were exported to the Third World or were lost to technology.

In response, a small majority of the Brits reverted to their atavistic embrace of past glories in Brexit; and an even smaller proportion of Americans gave Donald enough electoral college votes to take the presidency (but 2.8 million fewer popular votes than his opponent, Hillary Clinton).

The result is wondrous to behold.

Britain has begun the slow slide into irrelevance; and in America the stupid people are glorying in their moment in charge while the clever people wring their hands in tearful frustration.

And no one knows what will happen next.

But lest we become too smug and superior, a moment’s reflection reveals that we’ve all contributed to the rise of stupidity. Think of all the people who prefer the fairytales of religion over the progressive discoveries – via reason and logic – that make a mockery of the claims of the faithful.

Think of the reluctance of the clever people to call for the dissolution of a church that became a worldwide front for paedophiles who preyed on children in their care.

Think of our ready acceptance of a clever President Obama who ended every speech with a benediction that ‘God bless America’; or of our own continuing devotion to a foreign heredity aristocracy to produce our head of state.

Even closer to home, think of our own august journal CityNews that devotes most of an entire page to an Astrology column. And what of your ‘clever’ columnist himself, who – against all reason and logic – contributes $16.70 a week to a numbers game (Powerball) without the slightest possibility of the promised riches!

Yep, much as I hate to admit it, ‘I’m with stupid’ too.

How about you?

reprinted courtesy of Robert Macklin has carved out a unique place among Australia’s literary biographers and historiansHe has won numerous literary prizes including the 2009 Blake Dawson award for business literature with Peter Thompson for their classic THE BIG FELLA – the Rise and Rise of BHP Billiton.His Kevin Rudd: The Biography was shortlisted for the ACT Book of the Year; and he has won three Critics Circle Awards for his military biographies and histories. He has completed a lecture tour of three Chinese universities based on his works and is presently writing a history of Australia/China relations over the last 200 years.Queensland born, he has been a journalist at the highest level, a confidant and biographer of two Australian prime ministers; a documentary filmmaker in 32 countries of Asia and the Pacific; and is also political columnist and commentator in the nation’s capital. He presently divides his writing time on fiction, non-fiction and screenplays between Canberra and Tuross Head on the NSW South Coast.You can follow Robert Macklin's excellent commentary at CityNews

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