Dear Editor: Stupidity kills—neither God nor sunlight was ever going to save us from Covid

Stupidity kills. That’s not an exaggeration. Stupidity coupled with ignorance is an even deadlier combination. Just Google ‘Darwin Awards’.

Weeks ago, I predicted a rise in Covid-19 cases in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T). It wasn’t difficult to foresee the current spate of infection growth.

A little time spent learning the nature of the virus (Google is your friend) would have dispelled ignorance about it, including many myths—like promoting the ideas that exposure to sunlight and ingesting bleach would kill the virus.

Photo: Sunlight will kill Covid?

For grown, hard-backed men and women occupying high political offices to be spouting this hogwash is yet another sign that stupidity infects every level of society.

The rise in infection spread is no joke, and was not unforeseeable. The difference with this virus and the common flu virus, to use a ready comparison, is that the Covid-19 virus is many, many more times transmittable. Research has shown that merely speaking can transfer droplets up to more than two metres away. Imagine what a cough or sneeze will do. Hence, the advice to wear face masks is good, sound advice.

The typical behaviour of local citizens has always been one of laxness. After all, ‘God is a Trini’, as highlighted in yet another letter to the editor in today’s Daily Express by Linus F Didier from Mount Hope.
His letter is stupid (I make no apologies for that word) for the simple reason that divine intervention has absolutely nothing to do with anything in T&T.

To rely on divine help in dealing with Covid-19, or indeed any other adverse situation, merely demonstrates that stupidity has no limits.

What we know about the virus so far:

  • it is highly contagious;
  • it wreaks havoc on the body, with many people still suffering from its effects months after being infected;
  • it kills more people than the common flu because it infects more people than the common flu;
Photo: The novel coronavirus.
  • social distancing is a must, above and beyond economic considerations – the choice is simple, live life as normal and risk being infected or infecting relatives and loved ones, bringing death and destruction, or take the necessary precautions to avoid this;
  • This virus will never go away. Just like the influenza, HIV, and other viruses, it will linger with us causing repeated spikes;
  • It also mutates like other viruses so we may see different strains on an ongoing basis;
  • We can only control the rates of infection, and that only by following sound medical advice and not by listening to ‘pie in the sky’ political leaders;
  • Life will never again be ‘normal’ as we knew it pre-Covid-19.

I am reminded of the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

“Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease.

“Against stupidity we are defenceless.

  • Neither protests nor the use of force accomplishes anything here;
  • reasons fall on deaf ears;
Photo: Wait… What?!
  • facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed
  • – in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical –
  • and when facts are irrefutable, they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental.

“In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for when dealing with a stupid person than with a malicious one.

“Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.”

Stupidity kills. If not you, it will be people you know.

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About Mohan Ramcharan

Mohan Ramcharan is a Trinidadian living in England, an LLB (Hons) law graduate, systems thinking practitioner, and critical thinker. He is a product of two cultures and strives to be ethical and impartial in his thoughts and actions.

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  1. Well said/written.’Suffer fools gladly”may be very good advice.

  2. Amazing article! I think only intelligent people will read though.

  3. Good letter! Stupidity has always killed. Let’s not forget the stupidity of selling a certain substance legally, which when used as directed – kills! This sort of stupidity has prevailed for that substance – when it was known to kill over 50 years ago. There are several other similar examples which I won’t go into.

    So the reality is, that stupidity on its own is doing a fine job of killing people. The COVID-19 virus is just ‘helping out’.

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