Is stupidity a pre-existing condition?

“Cuba is somewhere in this area”

A few readers criticized me for implying, in a previous post, that the more educated you are, the less likely it is (or should be) that you are chavista.

Putting aside the obvious correlation that leads me to this, I get where they’re coming from. Hopefully, they will make an effort to get where I am coming from.

Case in point: Venezuela’s Health Minister. Today she went on TV saying that the Cuban doctors currently working in Venezuela under the oil-for-stuff scheme currently in place between the two countries … doesn’t cost Venezuelans a cent!

Here is Minister Sader, in all her glorious stupidity:

“People who criticize this agreement are unaware that it is a product of Cuba’s solidarity, because our country does not pay a cent for it, this agreement allows Venezuelan patients to get health care for free.” (Emphasis added)

Oh boy. Where do we start with this one? Since Minister Sader can’t really ignore the fact that these Cuban doctors are there in exchange for tens of thousands of barrels of oil we send to the island every day, it has to be that she doesn’t understand the concept of opportunity costs.

You see, dear Eugenia, we don’t pay for these doctors in cash, we pay for it in oil that we could be selling for cash otherwise. In the end it’s all the same. It’s what we economists like to call “opportunity cost.” Get it? No? Still nothing?

Something tells me Eugenia Sader is not the brightest bulb in the lamp. I wonder where she got her medical degree from. ¿Una caja de Ace?

La estupidez es roja, rojita…

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  1. Famously, “Gegen die Dummheit, kämpfen die Götter selbst, vergebens”, in my free version, “There’s no defense against stupidity”.

  2. Sort of (but not completely) OT:

    Reading the NYT coverage of Sandy — REGION CRIPPLED the headline screams; subhead is Power Failures and Transportation Systems Could Take Days to Repair.

    Vargas – what do you think about that? Days!

    Since 7-O, I think many of us are looking for a way to understand the millions of Venezuelan voters who chose more (more, please!) of a deeply dysfunctional “revolution”.

    Inevitably, one ends up asking some sort of version of this question: don’t they KNOW how it’s supposed to be? How it could be?

    Maybe that’s one of the answers for the opposition — do a better job telling the story of how life could and should be, with good governance.

    • Yes, the oppo story line could be improved. (Though I don’t fault the effort, during the last election, up to 7O — frankly, I thought it was magnificent, given the hurdles, and the need to unify and grow the oppo voting base.) But how to arrest that significant portion of the government’s coerced vote?

  3. Eugenia Sader clearly has great difficulty distinguishing truth from fiction, or even maintaining some sort of consistency from one public statement to another. Let’s not forget that she told us not long ago that Barrio Adentro had saved ‘over two million lives’ – several times more than Venezuela’s overall mortality rate in the period since it was launched. She is not merely omitting here the quid pro quo in the form of cheap (free?) oil but ignoring the fact that Venezuela long ago agreed to pay cash as well ($1275-MM-a-la-Mision-Medica-Cubana-rss-11092012) In politics, however, as in many other walks of life, stupidity may be a plausible explanation but it is not an acceptable excuse. The technical term for this kind of statement is ‘a lie’.

    • Hillary Clinton would disagree. The new technical acknowledgement is “I mis-spoke,” euphemism for “I lied through my ass, because well, y’all are stupid and don’t deserve any better, nor any respect.”

    • Thanks, birdman. I also thought of taking the “lie” angle, but given the pervasiveness of the ignorance about opportunity costs, I thought it would be more likely that she was just being dumb.

      • Of course (to add a bit of nuance to that last comment), one might perfectly well argue – in purely pragmatic terms – that telling lies is not stupid at all, provided you can get away with it. It seems to have contributed to keeping this bunch of screwballs in power for the past 14 years, and at the latest count there doesn’t seem to be much of a down-side. Or maybe that only works if your boss is a messianic megalomaniac with a good line in patter and a massive chequebook.

  4. Examples of stupidity are available in both sides of Venezuelan politics. To really say anything of this sort you’d have to back it up with a statistical study, not anecdotal evidence.

    It’s a very common and shallow mistake to consider those that don’t arrive to your same conclusions as stupid. Even more in something like politics where although there are some objective measures the overall sum of it is always subjective to the point on what you value most and which rumours you believe in most. So, yeah, calling them stupid just ’cause, is well… stupid.

      • But JunCTionS is right when she says that examples of stupidity are available in both sides of Venezuelan politics. She proved her point.

      • nope, my logic referred to calling a whole group of people stupid based on anecdotal evidence. I was calling the action of doing that (not the person doing so) stupid, and in a humorous tone as well.

        • Ok, then you’re off the hook 🙂

          Off course you are right that both sides have examples of stupidity. This woman however is the epitome of it by saying that “stuff” from Cuba is “free”, just because el Pueblo (as well as she) doesn’t see it’s cost. It may just be political rhetoric, but the way she says it seems to imply that she believes it herself.

          The concept of “opportunity cost” is not an easy one to grasp for anybody that hasn’t had some formal education in economics, or at minimum has read a good book about this science. Even the entertaining “Freakonomics” will do, as the authors use the concept in many of their examples.

          • But you don’t really need much education to grasp opportunity cost. Take for instance, a well-known CBC (Cdn broadcasting corp) news commentator when she said, over the radio waves, that the health care system in Canada provides a free service. This was no young thing saying it, either, and I wondered, what is she smoking? Anyone who gets choked by the tax levels in Cda knows that there’s a price for the “free health care” (not always that good).

  5. The opposition is the most stupid in this whole thing by keep saying and doing the same things(oh thats right its insanity not stupid) well either way this revolution is not over by a long shot and will be completed by the grassroots, the rank and militants and the masses…

    Rojo Rojito

    • Cort, what’s the difference between the grassroots, the rank, the militants and the masses? And I need to know if it is too late to plant our tulip bulbs- what do you think?.

      • I defer to Cort’s expertise. But given the urgency of your timeline, may I suggest that you NOT plant masses of tulip bulbs in grassroots. For grassroots are militant and pull rank over tulip bulbs for all available resources. I hope that answers your question.

          • Agreed, the PCV and every other so called “grass roots” parties which broke with the PSUV should be investigated as possible agents of the empire. Cort Greene, as one of their supporters, should also come under the magnifying glass.

            Wreckers such as Cort are holding backs the revolution, and now that they have shown their lack of devotion to the revolutionary plan they should be dealt with harshly. They are even worse than admitted agents of the empire such as Falcon, because they rot the revolution from within, causing all its initiatives to fail.

          • You both are real treasures with your lame attempts at humor. You do know that Chavez has repeatedly welcomed criticism and input from the grassroots. In fact he wants more of it not less and constantly encourages more participation from those very grassroots critics.

          • “VIVA CHAVEZ”, the “straight man” for “Cort The Comedian”–More lame attempts at humor–Chavez likes grassroots criticism as much as he likes a root canal….

  6. I think she may be feeling nervous about keeping her job. Since itis cabinet-shaking time she probably feels the need to gain some points with the comandante and what better way than making outrageous claims that make the revolution look good and boil the blood of the opposition?

  7. Have you really taken to cutting and pasting whole articles from El Chiguire Bipolar? Please tell me you have. It’s the most agreeable possibility here.

  8. Darn opportunity costs… Too complex a concept for someone educated in Chaveznomics (or is it Castronomics?)

    I suppose that oil seeps naturally from the ground, flows by itself to the ports and spontaneously floats across the Caribbean, with no human intervention, up pipes in Cuban ports and all the way to Cuban holding tanks, so it does not cost a cent… DAMN!

    To drop such a pearl of pure… nonsense, you need not be inhumanly stupid, you need to think that everyone else hearing you is inhumanly stupid.


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