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smart people failed

How Did the World’s Smartest People Fail So Miserably?


My most popular posts tend to be the ones that come to me in the middle of the night. If the idea is still on my mind in the morning, I’ll start pushing it out on social media — Facebook as my initial scratchpad, Twitter if it does well on FB, Instagram if it’s pithy, and Substack if there is more to say about the topic. 

This is one of those middle of the night posts. It came to me about 3 am on Saturday night. It was still on my mind Sunday morning so I posted it to FB and it didn’t really register (because I’m so shadowbanned there). Then I posted it to Twitter and it blew up — 350,000 views and climbing. These are themes I’ve posted on here before. But somehow this particular version really resonated with people. 

I struggle to find words to describe this: 

Suddenly, in 2020, some of the smartest people in the world — James Surowiecki, Naomi Klein, Nassim Taleb, Noam Chomsky, Slavoj Žižek, and so many more that you can name — stopped being smart. This happened all across the ideological spectrum. The test was simple — apply all of your smart social, economic, and political theories to the Covid response and vaccines. That task is not difficult — spend a few hours reading widely and apply a lifetime of sophisticated critical theory to our present conjuncture. 

They all failed completely and catastrophically. It’s even worse than that actually — not only did they fail to use any of the skills that they developed over a lifetime, but they collapsed into fascism. Regressed into the most raw, primitive, pathological, reptilian parts of their brain — in response to a psyop that can be figured out in about two hours. 

It’s over, that phase of American history, when a bunch of people baptized in the values of the 1960s, could be expected to provide the intellectual framework necessary to move society forward. There is no recovery from what they did, they collaborated with the enemy when the fate of society was on the line. To use their favorite phrase — they became “constitutive of” the predatory system they once sought to critique. Our society is so corrupt that the term “intellectual” no longer has a coherent meaning. 

We continue on without them. Hyper-decentralized, completely grassroots, with an epistemology based on (mothers’ and fathers’) intuition and old ways. All heretofore existing political categories have dissolved. We cannot allow ourselves to ever be led again because power corrupts and even the most radical theorists, once they gain a bit of fame, eventually become absorbed into the genocidal system. No leaders, no institutions.

Individuals, families, communities, nature, and spirit are the way.

Reposted from the author’s Substack

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  • Toby Rogers

    Toby Rogers has a Ph.D. in political economy from the University of Sydney in Australia and a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of California, Berkeley. His research focus is on regulatory capture and corruption in the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Rogers does grassroots political organizing with medical freedom groups across the country working to stop the epidemic of chronic illness in children. He writes about the political economy of public health on Substack.

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