Monday, February 7, 2011

The Idiot Test

There are an awful lot of people about, and I'm slightly
misanthropic. As a man said, I love humanity, it's people I don't
Filtering the many people who could be a drain on my time and mental energy led me to formulate an Idiot Test. This can be applied to individuals, organisations and any source of information.
Specifically in relation to criminal justice, the test is the following -
1. Do you believe that the average length of sentences has reduced in recent years?

2. Do you think that the average Life sentence amounts of under
ten years?
3.      Do you believe that DNA means that innocent people are rarely
4.                         Do you believe that everyone in prison is a violent or sexual
If you answer yes to any of those them you are profoundly ill informed, so why should I give you any head-space??
Of course, the Idiot Test also applies to a more general sphere, not just criminal justice. The following items are what I use to weed out people who are oxygen thieves.
Do you believe any of the following -
1.          That JFK was killed by a wide conspiracy of people.
2. That Princess Diana was murdered.
3.            That aliens visit and chat with humans.
4.         That history is a matter of conspiracy rather than cock-up.
5.        That evolution is plain wrong.
If you do, I regret to say that you score very highly on my Idiot Test. If anyone is mad enough to believe any of those statements above, why should I trust their judgement or opinion on anything at all?
Or am I being too harsh?


  1. Yes, you are being too harsh... but I will quickly answer your idiot test so you can judge:

    1. Average sentences? No idea. Time actually served? (more important) also no idea. I am more interested in less re-offending but then I see the cost of prisons coming out of my pay packet and I'd like to cut costs.

    2. Average life sentence under 10 years? Average? not likely. In fact I am certain it isn't and don't recall cases given a life sentence with a tariff less than 10 years.

    3. A DNA test proves... possibly that someone's DNA was there. It does not always shed light on how or when it got there and whether it was neglect on the part of the criminal, by accident or the design of another. That said, I do think it improves thing a bit. (But I may be wrong).

    4. No. Most are idiots, drug addicts, and so on. Then there are white collar criminals who whilst neither physically or sexually violent can wreak havoc on the innocent far more effectively than a street robber.

    The other set;

    1. Was JFK assassinated by a conspiracy? No, but it is possible, that said you would have thought something would have leaked by now.

    2. Princess Diana murdered? No, but see above. (possible if unlikely)

    3. Aliens visit and chat with humans? If they do they must have a remarkable sense of humour, picking only those who no one would believe. Could bode well for us.

    4. History... well, it has been running for a while so it would have to be one hell of a conspiracy!

    5. That evolution is plain wrong... no, but then I don't actually believe it goes against the bible either.

    Now... are you being harsh... in some ways yes, because people frankly don't know. They can come up with all sorts of ideas on the basis of what they read in the papers etc, the fact that their only sources of information are skewed does not make them an idiot. That said they should be more cynical.

  2. Yes, you are being too harsh.

    Being an idiot is about ones intentions; whether you seek to further the cause of humanity or whether you seek to hinder it.

    It could be a conscious or unconscious thing and obviously those whose cause is hindrance are idiots.

    Whether you like people or not, the fact is that you and everyone here on this planet needs one another to survive.

  3. I agree with both the comments above.
    Saying that, if there wasn't the constant manipulation of the media, better decisions could probably be made.

  4. I have my own idiot test. It wouldn't say much about my brains if i couldn't work out someone was an idiot, or full of shit, after a 10 min conversation.

    I like educated people, because you can learn things, I like streetwise people, they are facinating, rarely you get both. I don't like what i call, Jeremy Kyle people, as i wouldn't choose them as friends, but even they have an entertainment value. I don't know if Ben would want to be friends with me, my answer to all the questions is no, bar the Diana one. Still, after a ten min chat with Ben, i would soon tell you.

  5. Hihi

    You're being too harsh in the first four, the last five are spot on I think...

    Not everyone knows as much about the criminal (in)justice system as you do.

    I would add another criteria though..

    Anyone who uses the word "Sheeple" is automatically a moron.

  6. Yes, you're being too harsh. If someone is ill-informed: inform them.

    There are few reasons people would know the answer to the first or second questions (and the second one doesn't make sense).

  7. Kinders - 'the second one doesn't make sense' - looks a bit like a typing error to me! Agree that if 'someone is ill-informed - inform them' - but will they listen? Most of what Ben has written is what large portions of society believe - and of course, they are not right! Too many people are swayed by the media (Daily Mail type). Not too harsh Ben - but I am sure there will be a lot of people who think you are! Keep writing.

  8. Yes too harsh. Too patronising. Too self regarding. Too... Well stupid really. Sorry Ben you did ask.

  9. Too harsh? Not sure but it is a personal list of criteria for you Ben, and not one I would use! I'd give most people the benefit of the doubt to be honest - (hypocrites being the type of people I find most difficult to like or spend time with though). If you don't know the answer to something and admit it - well to me that doesn't make you an idiot, it makes you authentic. And by the way, I'm with Benedict on the evolution issue.

    The way I see it, people bear with me and my faults so the least I can do is bear with them and theirs! :)

  10. I'm with Jim here. Ben, you can come across as an arsey little tosser. Your propensity to heap scorn garnished with derision on people frequently dismays your readers. They may not say it, but it's so. Ideally you'd suffer more nobly in the manner popularised by -- well, any of those exemplar noble sufferers. There, I've said it.

    In mitigation, I have to confess that your anger resonates in me. You live in an environment where I know my rage would consume me. And those who have never been in a prison need to know that that the sheer idiocy of most prison conversations, in which the Illuminati often have a starring role, is enough to drive one to distraction.

    So, actually, I'm with you on this. You may not come out of it terribly well, but I think I know exactly where you're coming from. And there is integrity in your unspun honesty. Do these feelings do you any good? Well, that's another topic entirely. I've said enough for now.

  11. Ha ha. Ben *is* an arsey litte tosser, haven't you realised that yet? ;)

    I agree with "if someone is ignorant, educate them", but there are some who do not wish to be informed. I think Ben's point may be that the truth of all those points is easily accessible and if you haven't bothered to find them out then you probably aren't that interested and why should he waste his time educating you if you don't really want to know?

    They are his low water mark for whether you have done enough on your own to make it worth his while engaging with you on the rest. Ben must meet a lot of opinionated arrogant and ignorant folk with grossly wrong opinions on criminal justice, I don't blame him for not wishing to educate all of them and finding a set of first-pass criteria for weeding out those not worth his effort. Nor do I blame him for finding his spirit crushed enough by such people as to class them "idiots".

    He also believes that everyone, however idiotic, should have a voice and that's why he doesn't want moderation on the comments here, so he obviously doesn't apply his "Idiot Test" to all situations.

    There is a difference between "you are stupid and beneath my contempt: I despise you" and "you are too ill-informed for me to waste my time debating with you". By calling it an "Idiot Test" Ben has implied he believes the former, but I suspect the truth is closer to the later, although I am very wary of speaking for him!

  12. Ben, you arsey little tosser, your blog is good, its entertaining and informative, we wouldn't like you to be any other way ; ) and that is the truth!

  13. Mary - if most of the statements in Ben's list are what large portions of society believe, Ben's going to be refusing to interact with large portions of society. I'd counter your assumption with the assumption that, yes, most people are open-minded enough to listen. Better to educate people than to shun them.

  14. Actually, I find most of the people who comment on this blog idiots. I enjoy reading Ben's posts, but my god. You lot.

  15. anonymous above: you must be the prize idiot of all because Ben would probably soon dry up on his posts if no comments were made and what a sweeping generalisation you make by God

  16. Anonymous @ 11.25am - really, what a statement! If it wasn't for 'us lot' Ben would be talking to himself mostly, and what would be the point of a blog that no-one reads or comments on!

    I would be interested in what YOU class as an idiot! Surely not people who are willing to engage with others and express their sincerely held opinions, which is what I think most of us do on here?

    Try looking for the positive in people rather than the negative anon. I promise you will find life so much more rewarding.

  17. Ben, You just empower other people to think badly of you and behave badly toward you when you deride and scorn them - straightforward reciprocity.

    Your derision and scorn probably seems justified to you. You feel the world has dealt you a shit hand and so you reciprocate in kind by behaving like you do and so the cycle continues..

    It's time you rose above that child like state. Start treating people like you would like to be treated, not how you think you have been. Eventually, like you, they will work it out, and start to reciprocate. But don't do it for that reason - just do it because it's right.

    Like Jules said look for the positives in people and look to those you admire for inspiration. Best. Jim

  18. I do wonder whether Ben allows his general contempt for anyone who hasn't served time in prison and his unfortunate air of "you're all idiots and I'm the reincarnation of Gandhi" to show in front of parole hearings. Might explain why they never seem to sympathize with him.

    Has Ben also considered that, should these aliens exist, they may not be so dumb as to visit places where humans lock up their criminals? I mean what are they going to do? Visit Ben in his cell and say "take me to your leader"? What alien is going to go to all the trouble of visiting Earth for a meeting with a prison governor or with Big Charlie on C Wing?

  19. Steve H, I don't think Ben thinks aliens don't visit earth because they haven't visited him personally... It's a shame if your first para is truly all you have taken away from this blog, your interpretation is causing you to miss out.

    I personally am disappointed that what was obviously meant to be a jocular post has stirred up such a negative reaction in people. Judge him on his whole canard and not just this one entry - he is clearly far from full of derision and scorn for those who are not full of derision and scorn for him.

    But surely you must all be able to see that a man who most often meets that attitude in others is liable to form some protective mechanism so stop him having to engage with them? That's all this is: a way for Ben to weed out those with whomever a discussion would be unproductive. Like all screens, he'll get a few false positives, but that's life. Relentlessly looking for the positives in people who hate you sight unseen is demoralising and hurtful, advising him to do so naive and cruel.

    Ben doesn't like people who take against him without bothering to understand anything about him or why he is where he is, that's very sensible, get over it.

  20. Very well put Wigarse, I agree with your comments, and sometimes think people take themselves too seriously on this blog....I too made a comment about Ben being harsh, which was intended in a very tongue in cheek way.
    What has annoyed me more than anything Ben has to say is the comment by Anonymous @ 11.25 9th Feb, that most of us on this blog are idiots!! Added a lot to the points Ben raised didnt it?

  21. Wigarse, I think some of the comments you find naive and cruel may actually be well-meaning. It is going to be extremely difficult for Ben on the outside because what works in prison is not always going to work out here. Being able to get along with people of all kinds will be so vital for Ben as he tries to build his life after release. I for one can quite understand though why he would want to 'filter' people, especially if he still suffers with depression.

  22. Jules, beware well-intentioned people, in my experience they do the most harm. Naive, cruel and well-intentioned are not mutually exclusive.

    Queenie, I'd ignore anonymous, I don't actually think it was deliberate trolling on this occasion, but the effect was the same. Anyway, some of us *are* idiots ;)

  23. Wigarse its a shame you say "beware well-intentioned people" because it is necessary at times to be cruel to be kind for one thing, and, as I said before what is in your heart, or your intentions matter, ones intention to do good or bad, simple.

    Some of the comments on this thread are aimed at reaching out to Ben from one person to another and they are not trying to make any personal gain or capital out of their criticism.

    No-one is above criticism from others, and it takes maturity to take on board what others are saying.

    As for filtering people, everyone does it, its not so special, but it might be wise to keep your criteria to yourself if it could upset others and paint you in a vain light.

    If you think that well intentioned people "do the most harm", you must be living in a very strange and closed off world, maybe you could give some examples of these scenarios?

  24. @ Wigarse
    Lol....Your are absolutely right about idiots, we all can be at times!! My rising to the comment from anon was one such moment for me!! xx

  25. Infamous,

    Perhaps I should have qualified my comment with "often". Obviously acting from the best intentions doesn't always do more harm than deliberately aiming to hurt someone.

    But if you want an example of well intentioned people doing inordinate harm you need only read some of the history of the British empire or look to any church. I have gay friends who have suffered inordinately at the hands of their own parents attempts to counsel them into being straight because the parents genuinely fear their children will spend eternity in hell and are acting out of genuine fear for their welfare. And how about adherents of homeopathy who allow their children to die of curable diseases because they mistakenly believe "natural" medicine is better for them?

    I could list many many more examples from general history and my own personal experience and, all in all, I have come to the opinion that "being cruel to be kind" backfires and does harm far more often than it does good.

    At the end of the day, unless you are the person going through the experience, you cannot understand what it feels like to be them, or what the best thing for them is. Far better to stay out of other people's business, whilst at the same time making it clear you will be there for them if they ask.

    That view extends to the furthest reaches of life and politics; it would be much better for the Middle East right now if the West stayed well out of the way whilst extending the offer of support to the people trying to set up their new democracies should they want it.

    And it also extends to this blog where I am often irritated by well-meaning advice given out to Ben by people who cannot possibly understand what it is like to be in his situation, hence my defending of him here.

  26. Wigarse, agree with the general response to your input. I don't think you are helping Ben by trying validate his behaviour when he scorns and derides others. It's not helping him. As you said to Jules ' Jules, beware well-intentioned people, in my experience they do the most harm.'....

  27. Superb idiot finding list.
    Beautifully summarised, practically faultless.

    Um... as for the critics of this first rate numb nut identifying inventory, what or how, exactly, would you describe/find as an idiot?

    Perhaps there are no idiots?

    Oh yes!, thats right! i've just realised!, i was wrong all the time! haha i forgot! we live in a perfect world where all the idiots are in prison! oh how silly of me! gosh o golly.

    F.....n retards.

    Jules, the strength you will one day give to this man is immense.

    Just to clarify, (i re read the list) the list is'nt practically faultless as i mentioned.

    It IS faultless.

    I challenge anyone to read the list carefully, contemplate the ramifications of all of the answers and come to the conclusion that the best of humanity has been caused by that in opposition to what ben has said.

    Or...we could make ignorance an excuse....

    Do you know what? I aint gonna let this one lie...

    He's specifically targeting 'lazy', 'it suits me', 'apathetic', 'never gonna effect me before i die', lets expolit as many as we can type attitudes. He's excused his own "harsheness" with his polite, sarcastic manner.
    He IS tolerant. Omg.

  28. Philippe you come across as a creep, which I am sure you are not.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.