LIVING IN THE WORLD OF THE MARCHING MORONS

Curve Balls – When was the last time you were completely stumped by a question, a request, or a situation you found yourself in? How did you handle it?


At my age, I am baffled much of the time. Life is a giant curve ball, full of unanswerable questions. Young people assume it’s because I’m old and getting senile, but it’s exactly the opposite. Old, yes. Senile, no.

marchingn moronsYou see, time has made me cagey, wily, more cunning. But at the same time, it has hardened me. Made me more cynical, skeptical, and ultimately, puzzled by human behavior.

“How can anyone be that stupid?” Garry and I ask each other as we watch a movie, the news, or sports. “Why would anybody do that? What do they think is going to happen?”

From the manager who lets the star pitcher stay in the game until his minor injury accelerates to a major one that will keep him out all next season. To teenagers who think not learning in school is somehow beating the system. To people texting while driving. And seniors buying expensive luxury cars they can’t afford to run much less pay-off on their fixed incomes — all to impress other seniors who don’t care one way or the other — it’s a world of marching morons.

After the irreversible deed is done, someone will inevitably ask us: “So. What do you think about … (fill in the blank) … ” and we are left speechless. What do we think? Why are you asking us now? Wouldn’t the time to ask have been before you did it?  Is it okay for me to say “I think you’re a moron?”

Can I answer honestly? “You are screwing yourself and you will regret it for the rest of your life.” Would that be cruel or worse, politically incorrect? Can I ask, “And how’s that working out for you?”

Probably we should just keep doing what we always do. Smile. Say something bland and hope they leave before we find ourselves saying something we actually mean. Something memorable and likely unforgivable.

It’s a baffling world out there. I used to worry about the march of evil in our midst, how the bad guys keep winning. These days, I don’t so much worry about the bad guys. They have always been with us and always will be. I worry about the morons who follow them. Marching to the beat of a drum they don’t even hear … but marching, ever marching.


The Marching Morons is a science fiction short story by C.M. Kornbluth originally published in Galaxy in April 1951. This dark and prescient story of a future devolved to idiocy remains one of the most frightening visions to have emerged from the science fiction of that decade.

Proposing a future United States overwhelmed by a population of low IQ citizens — a consequence of over-breeding amongst the stupid — Kornbluth was writing of his observed present. The steady, inexorable descent of human intelligence obsessed Kornbluth. It was one of his major themes and reached its truest statement in this novelette.

And sometimes, sixty years later, as I look around me, I get a shiver of recognition down my spine and wonder where the line can be drawn between science fiction and the world in which I live.



Categories: Sci Fi - Fantasy - Time Travel

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

29 replies

  1. I don’t trust intelligent people. They should know better than anyone else how stupid we all are, including them!

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  2. I love your witty responses to the Daily Prompt…I must say, it is often the highlight of my blog reading day. Keep em comin! 🙂

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    • I had this post in mind since Garry got back from town and did a news report for me. He’s still a reporter at heart. He know how to do it for the camera, how to write’em and announce them. Every once in a while when he’s feeling Puckish, he does a news report about a local event. This was one such time. It was much funnier in person, but you had to be there 🙂

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  3. Your titles are always so catchy and amusing Marilyn and your observations so wicked and true – I love it!

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  4. Nicely written. I specifically read only certain things in the News, primarily International news, but I am becoming even less interested in those broadcasts and commercials. I know that evil and war exist but I prefer to choose what to read , primarily in a newspaper and when I CHOOSE to read it with gagging on it.
    There will always be followers.

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  5. Wow, that was an interesting discussion! Don’t feel isolated there are more people out there like you and me than you can imagine. Unfortunately, the young have normalized the present conditions and they know no better. We are the sages of the times, so keep talking. I assure you, many are listening.
    Leslie

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  6. I try to bite my tongue more often, but that does not always work for me.

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  7. Unfortunately it seems to me that moronic ideas are very common amongst politicians. Some seem (mine and yours) to want to think about it before actually doing anything. The dangerous morons do things and don’t think. The moron in between thinks about it, but igores his thoughts and does what he wants. – work that one out. We think and can sleep at nights (unless the dog or cat want to go out).

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  8. I very much agree with you. The world is and always has been filled with a few bad people and a few thousand more people who, for whatever reason, follow them.

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  9. It makes me feel pessimistic to “like” your response to this prompt, but must admit I echo your sentiment. I’ve found my best way of dealing with the truths you describe is simply to march by the beat of a different drummer. (Sorry for that cliché, but you can understand perhaps why it was inevitable.) For the first quarter of my life this made me suspect and I lost a few friends. By the second quarter, I started actually finding
    friends I had something in common with. By the third quarter I had found my own world populated by people who shared my interests and beliefs and by the fourth, I’ve learned to just try to react to the immediate world around me in a manner that sets up obstacles to the marching morons. Our best defense is not to become one of these marchers and not to support those who have. The cyber world has made us all too aware of the stupidity of the entire world and it can become so depressing that we feel the situation is impossible. If we vote according to our intelligence and sense of fairness, then conduct ourselves according to these standards in our own life and immediate environment, it is possible at least to bear living in a world gone crazy. Sorry for the diatribe, but then I think you understand the impulse! Judy

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    • Yes and yes and yes. I never had a choice about which drum I’d march to. My own was loud enough that I’d follow it no matter what. As does my husband. This sometimes makes us feel isolated. Then, looking around, we realize the isolation is our choice. So we associate with those who are sympatico, if not in every way, than at least in the critical areas. And we hope that it gets better, though in our lifetimes, it has not shown any inclination towards improvement.

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      • There are a lot of seemingly intelligent people out there who say or do stupid things. Then, there are the faux intelligent people. And, of course, we have those who are challenged. I prefer those who listen before they speak. Ponder before they offer opinion. I enjoy those who have experience and some notion of history. The dogs and I are about to chat.

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