Natural selection should, in theory, favour the smartest and strongest, but what happens if it actually results in a dumbing down of the population? Evolution rewards those who reproduce the most, and in Idiocracy, intelligent people have become an endangered species.
I didn’t really care for this movie when it first came out, but waking up to a world in which Donald Trump is president brought this immediately to mind.
Luke Wilson plays a very average dude waiting out his pension in an army library until he’s chosen to pioneer an experiment. Maya Rudolph, a prostitute, is also extremely average, and both have the added benefit of being completely friendless in the world, so no pesky family members to ask nosy questions when the army turns them into human popsicles in order to determine if humans can successfully “hibernate” for a year. Verdict: never trust the army, for starters. The experiment is neglected and its two subjects lay dormant for years. Meanwhile, humanity gets stupider at an alarming rate.
It’s a pretty dismal picture for the future of mankind, but as far as Idiocracy goes, it doesn’t go far enough. It fails to account for the reality TV host of its fictional show “Ow, My Balls” not only running for president, but actually winning. That’s one little nugget that even Mike Judge couldn’t fathom, and he’s the guy that divined a Carls, Jr. burger-dispensing device that also confiscates children from unfit mothers. Reality is turning out to be even stupider than the most low-brow satire had the balls to portray.
The rest of the world is horrified. Nauseated. And not just at the 59 million racist, misogynist Americans who voted for a smug, clueless, unapologetic (boastful, even) rapist, but for the millions more who didn’t show up at all to stop him. Of course I’m heart sick and nervous about so many of my uncomfortably-close neighbours to the south harbouring such hatred in their hearts, but I’m almost as upset about the apathy, and what that apathy means. It means that a man can run a campaign on blatant lies, zero experience, and rampant xenophobia, and people will let him. It means Americans are not the people we thought they were. That progress is rolling backwards in that country. That now our own rational, credentialed, professional world leaders will be forced to treat Trump like an equal even though he has proven himself unqualified to open his own car door. We have embraced “sunny ways” up here in Canada but see nothing but dark days across the border. I wouldn’t have wished a Trump presidency on my worst enemy, and never wanted to believe that this Neanderthal would succeed. Would be allowed to succeed. Nevertheless, he is the president-elect, and maybe the president they deserve. It’s a wake up call to all of us. We are not without problems in Canada and as the U.S. is usually our cultural mirror, it’s safe to say we should all be taking a much longer look at ourselves and each other. We can do better than this. We ARE better than this. Even Idiocracy offers hope: in the end, the smartest man is elected. Order is restored. The righteous are vindicated.
Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. – George Carlin