Our civil war of stupidity

The two loudest voices in this debate about American policing were, on one side, a president who wanted to send thousands of military personnel onto the streets of our cities against the recommendation of his top staff, and, on the other side, protesters and city lawmakers whose big takeaway from this crisis was that law enforcement should be eliminated entirely.

It’s enough to drive a good person insane: No matter what the news of the day, the dumbest possible response is guaranteed to emerge on one side, triggering the dumbest possible reaction from the other side.

In dealing with the coronavirus, one side’s loudest argument is that the desire to reopen society is primarily driven by whining about a desire for haircuts, and that anyone who wishes to reopen a business is pro-killing grandma. (Or that was the argument, before large numbers of young people and African Americans wished to march in the streets to protest Floyd’s death.) Loud voices on the other side argue that the death rate is exaggerated. There is now a partisan divide over who should wear masks.

When good news comes down the pike, such as the recent drop in the unemployment rate, allegedly respectable voices such as Paul Krugman and Howard Dean speculate that the numbers are fraudulent, and that the Bureau of Labor Statistics is lying in order to help Trump’s reelection.