This I Believe

Alison - reno, Nevada
Entered on December 11, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that most people are idiots. This may sound like the rant of a misanthrope, but that’s hardly the case.

For example, people are oblivious to themselves and others around them. To be oblivious to oneself is to lack those essential features that make one a human being: to be able reflect on the direction of your life, to exercise a sense of refined judgment, and to argue for the value of your opinion. To be oblivious to others is to lack the ability to get along with others in one’s community, which, according to Aristotle, is to lack the virtue of political wisdom.

Today’s average Costco shopper provides a common and concrete example of an idiot. The above three hallmarks of humanity are absent from this creature.

At Costco, people charge themselves into debt via credit. Buy a grill. Get a flat screen. Get a refrigerator. Dryer. Stuff, stuff, and more stuff. On credit, this shopper gets some new, if not expensive, item each visit. To do this is to not exercise foresight—the distinctive human virtue of prudence.

People at Costco also lack the ability to exercise a refined sense of judgment. Some of the frozen food is inedible. It’s so gross, I can’t believe people put it in their bodies. The fact that the food is gross and unhealthy does not stop people from buying it. On the other hand, Costco also has a great selection of wines, cheeses, salsas, and other foods. The same is true for their movie selections. Some DVD box sets are really a good deal. Others only take up space on the planet. However, idiots need their soft-core, action box sets—and the latest release each visit. It’s weird, you have two kinds of Costco shoppers: the shrewd and the lewd.

Finally, at Costco, the idiots never justify why it is that they cut in front of you in line, leave a shopping cart behind your car as your backing out, or let their children run around your feet as your trying to carry toilet paper back to your cart. The idiots can’t justify what it is that they do, because by definition they’re incapable of using reason to articulate their opinion. Thank God we have soldiers in Iraq fighting to defend the freedom of such inarticulate idiots to choose between X and Y in the shampoo aisle.

Costco also shows us that people are territorial and petty. This causes more distress and turmoil in the world than need be. For example, if a car is signaling to change lanes in the Costco line for gas, do you speed up to block its lane change? Be honest. On the other hand: if you’re a shopper on your way into the store walking slowly in front of the cars, don’t abuse your right of way. Nevertheless, don’t be an ass. Pick up the pace.

There you have it. The majority of people who shop at Costco are idiots. Moreover, since Costco is a big shopping outlet visited by many people everywhere, most of them must be idiots. Idiots are only minimally capable of individual and communal living.

An idiot reading this might say, “Hey, that’s just your opinion about other people. Don’t you know that opinions are like assholes—everybody has one.” Whenever I hear this, I think to myself, “Spoken like a true idiot.” From the fact that everyone has an opinion, it doesn’t follow that all opinions are of equal value.