Monday, December 06, 2004

The good guys are to blame

One of my pet topics is bad driving, so when I was reading this post—and it's worth reading the whole thing—one sentence jumped out at me:
It’s like bad drivers: a small number of them are so impenitently dangerous that they should be prosecuted as felons, if only to get them off the roads; but they’re hardly the main source of unsafe driving.
Now, I understood this remark to mean that a lot of bad driving is the product of a few consistently horrible drivers. But there are too few of these to explain all the bad driving that goes on. Most of it results from mistakes made by generally competent drivers. So taken as a whole, good drivers are a bigger problem than bad ones.

That's what grabbed me—the connection between bad driving and another pet topic: How many genuinely stupid people are out there, and are there enough of them to account for all the stupid behavior that goes on? Although I can't think of any way to prove it one way or another, it's possible, even likely, that most of the stupidity we're seeing these days comes from smart people.

A possible corellary is that most of the evil in the world is perpetrated by people who are mostly good.

It could be that I'm just fooling myself here, because of my dear wish to believe that most people are reasonable, and reasonably kind and smart. But nobody's perfect, and it's beginning to look as if all of our collective imperfections are beginning to pile up on us.


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