Understanding Stupidity #6 – Stupidity Of Following The Herd

This is a continuation of my series following Dietrich Bonhoeffer words about his belief that stupidity caused the Nazi era in Germany. I am trying to learn if his experiences mirror what is happening today in the U.S. Up to now, we have learned that you can’t defeat stupidity by reasoning with the person. The only way to make him realize his misguided faith is to take away his power. Then he will be open to internally realizing his thinking is stupidity.

This post is about a possible cause of stupidity in the masses.


“We note further that people who have isolated themselves from others or who live in solitude manifest this defect less frequently than individuals or groups of people inclined or condemned to sociability. And so it would seem that stupidity is perhaps less a psychological than a sociological problem.”

— Dietrich Bonhoeffer

In the 1940s of Bonhoeffer’s time, it was possible to be uninformed about things. The major source of information was the newspaper, and of course, the Nazis had total control of that. People who lived in the countryside were pretty much immune to the idiocy that Hitler spewed out.

Today, with the Internet, practically no one is isolated from information, but they can easily choose only what they want to believe about any situation. The quote above basically says that type stupidity is probably social instead of psychological. To me, that says that

Lazy minded herd mentality is a prime requisite for believing stupid things.

Let’s face it, lazy minded people often believe what they told because they don’t care to think for themselves. They don’t question much of anything. They have stopped learning new things long ago. It is simply much easier to just follow along with something, no matter how flawed, or self-defeating it is.

Herd Mentality is something that is very foreign to me. I can’t understand why anyone would take that path in life?


Next week we will see what Bonhoeffer considered to be one of the major character flaws that leads to stupidity.

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