Monday, June 16, 2014
Stupidity is not the native condition of humanity: it is the result of a massive economic and political effort to encourage forgetting. In a generation, scarcely thirty years, a huge raft of domestic skills has gone. They haven't been lost – they've been stolen. The comedians who ridicule the sweater your granny knitted promote sweatshop labour. They want you to buy fashion made by the poorest people in the poorest countries, not to make clothes yourself. This is the new form of enclosure, the theft of common land that started the whole history of capitalism and colonialism. In its latest form, it involves encouraging the youth to mock and refuse the skills and craft they could inherit from their culture in favour of buying things. Not knowing how to cook is not a lifestyle choice: it is collusion in the fast food industry. Dismissing home-made music while paying hundreds for arena concerts isn't cool: it's self-exploitation. Turning knowledge into data and know-how into factories are engines of profit, not intelligence. It is the same engine of stupidity that encourages us to decimate the environment so that only techno-science can produce crops from it. What capital cannot steal from us we give it as a gift. Not very bright.