“Voltaire sort of summarized all thinking up until his time when he said: ‘that the only way to get an inkling of what mathematicians mean by infinity is to consider the extent of human stupidity’. But that’s because he was considering religious stupidity. If you look at political stupidity, you find that the stupidity doesn’t tend to be so long lasting. The general pattern is religious stupidity exists for milleniums, political stupidity exists for centuries, scientific stupidity exists only for generations before it gets cured.

So there are different rations for recovering from stupidity depending on what method you’re using: the theological method sort of guarantees that you can remain stupid indefinitely (or until a major calamity forces a change), the political method allows you to remain stupid for many generations until you’ve antagonized enough of the world that they come in and sack your city, scientific stupidity only lasts until a generation is born bright enough to start asking basic questions again and not just following what their teacher tells them” – Robert Anton Wilson