Idiocracy: from Fiction to Reality
Idiocracy is an American science fiction comedy film released in 2006. It follows Joe Bauers, a US Army librarian, and Rita, a prostitute, who are both selected, as the most average people, to take part in a government hibernation experiment. The experiment goes wrong, and both of them wake up 500 years in the future, only to find that the world has become significantly dumber (as smarter people had less children), and that they are now the most intelligent people on the planet.
Popular Entertainment & Incompetency
The people Joe finds in this new society live extremely hedonistic lifestyles, meaning they put pleasure before anything else. They spend the whole day consuming foolish and vulgar TV shows and movies that keep them as ignorant as they are.
A clear case of panem et circenses; meaning bread and circuses in Latin, which can be defined as the ‘sustenance and entertainment provided by government to appease public discontent’. In other words, the more people are absorbed by this cheap entertainment, the less they think about their surroundings and the conditions they live in, which enables the government to have more control over the population. That control is actually quite explicit in the film as the population is treated as cattle being tattooed and traced with a bar code.
Many people spend the whole day watching Netflix or scrolling social media and do not think or do anything else. And therefore, they end up ignorant in many ways and unable to understand the problems around them. Those people that cannot think by themselves are more susceptible to follow the government blindly.
A clear example of this control through entertainment was during the 2020 lockdowns when people were too busy in front of Netflix to even notice they were being held captive in their own homes by the government.
Of course, I do not mean that watching films or TV series is an issue by itself, but it is the excess of it like anything else that is toxic, especially if we are talking of poor-quality entertainment.
A consequence of this idleness and overconsumption of entertainment is that people do not learn useful skills and become weak and incompetent. Joe and Rita find themselves in a society where things clearly do not work well. The economy is in a terrible state, and this shows in the form of food shortages, unemployment, poor infrastructure and misfunctioning technology, although it still exists.
It is something we are currently observing in our societies, young people hardly know how to do anything, and we are starting to see in Europe a shortage of people with technical skills that are needed for a society to work well, such as electricians, plumbers, truck drivers etc.
Worldwide Decrease of Intellectual Quotient (IQ)
After Joe wakes up from his hibernation, he starts wandering around Washington D.C, where he finds a population that became deeply ignorant. People have a lower English repertoire as the language deteriorated into a vulgar mixture of slangs and they have difficulties to understand ideas which are not oversimplified.
Studies have shown that the Flynn effect, which is the ‘substantial and long-sustained increase in both fluid and crystallized intelligence test scores that were measured in many parts of the world over the 20th century’ had started reversing in many countries since the 1990s.
In other words, we are currently observing a general decline in IQ scores, which means the current generations are becoming less intelligent than their parents and grand-parents were.
Additionally, teachers, (including in my home country, France), have been noticing poorer language skills from the students in the recent years. Their spelling and grammar mistakes are increasing, as well as their use of simplified slangs.
Flaws of Democracy
Idiocracy shows very well how democracy naturally ends up with stupid people in charge. If you give the power to choose for everyone, to a mostly ignorant population, they will choose ignorant people that will make a mess out of society, and that ends up into an actual ‘idiocracy’.
Something we can observe in our current societies, as woke politicians, all around the world, who are absolutely ignorant, are destroying our economies with inflation, disruptions of supply chains and absurd legislation.
Another inevitable outcome of democracy is corruption. The film shows a clear case of corporativism, as the thirst mutilator company Brawndo is using the politicians to have a total monopoly, which they get until Joe challenges them, since until then, water is completely substituted with the Brawndo drink, even crops are being watered with it.
Again, corporatism is constantly present in our democracies, an example is the tech companies, that get special privileges from the government; such as receiving subsidies from the taxpayers’ money, in exchange for monitoring the population and controlling the information according to the State’s will, which also has been proven to be something real and the latest example could be seen recently through the Twitter Files, leaked by Elon Musk after purchasing Twitter, showing American government agencies asking for help to control and to manipulate the information to influence the popular opinion around the globe and how Twitter had been cooperating with these agencies.
The worldwide decadence is quite alarming, and if we do not want our societies to really end up like in this film, we have to spread knowledge, and promote freedom in every way we can. This can be done through education, by teaching our children important ideas and skills, but also through culture, by creating content, be it a film, a tv show, a book, a song etc., that will be reflecting ideas of freedom. People cannot forget how important freedom is and it is our job that they do not.