It’s the People, Stupid

Imagine you have decided to spend your life evangelizing healthy eating.

And then imagine that you happen upon a population that does nothing but scream out constantly for candy, sugar, and cake.

We want cake! We want cake! We love sugar. We want sugar!

Day in and day out, that’s what the people yell. And it’s all they’ll eat. You show up to their rallies with whole breads and vegetables and you are lucky if you’re ignored.

Then one day a leader emerges in the ranks. A man who claims to have the most candy of anyone. And the most cakes.

Everyone deserves sweet foods! They’ll not force their nuts and grains upon us!

He becomes wildly popular, and is elected president.

When the healthy eaters hear about this they’re appalled.

How can this president say these things about sugar being good for you? How can he say that wheat bread is for unsuccessful people? How can he say that vegetables are for gays?

They assemble. They hold rallies. They protest. Everyone is furious with him. He’s evil, they say. He’s breaking everything, they say.

Except he’s not the problem.

He could not exist without millions of people chanting for tooth decay. He could not exist without people casting votes for diabetes and heart disease.

Without the people, he would be a clown selling candy. But with people who like clowns and candy, he’s an absolute celebrity, and indeed the savior of the sweet world.


It’s a silly story, but the concept is maps clearly onto reality.

People are infuriated with what Trump is doing, but they are ignoring the fact that roughly half the country is still supporting him. They like what he’s doing. 5/5—would elect again.

You keep attacking Trump, but he’s not the issue. The issue is around 180 million dumb people who don’t read books, don’t trust evidence, and can be convinced of anything that makes them feel good emotionally.

Fix that and you fix Trump. Don’t fix that and there will be 1,000 Trumps lined up behind him when he’s gone.

In democracies it’s not the leaders’ fault. If you want to affect change, get the people to read some history and science. If you can’t do that then it doesn’t matter what you say about the leader. You’re attacking symptoms rather than diseases.

It’s the people, stupid.

Notes

  1. I am quite aware that there were good reasons to vote for Trump, and that some small percentage of people might have used those reasons when they did so. But they’re the minority. Besides, the issue also applies to impotent, feel-good liberals who don’t affect positive change. It’s the same problem on both sides; the situation with Trump is just particularly acute.

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