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Column: Idiots vs. morons-a deep subject

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At church the other day, someone was talking about the behavior of guests at their farm. Without going further into a description of what they were doing at this farm-because to do so would reveal the identities here-I can say that at this farm they have an open policy where anyone can come in and travel about through dale and glen.

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The dale and glen have had a lot of work put into their upkeep and maintenance-mowing, tree planting, fencing, etc. "Some moron hacked one of the three-foot-tall spruce trees to death," said the farmer, referring to that unfortunate occurrence in the gene pool for those holding up the bottom end of the bell curve to be destructive for no apparent reason.

"They're idiots," said his daughter, adding her two cents to the discussion, at some point in time.

"No," said the farmer, "they're not idiots, they're morons."

Well.

So that's the topic of discussion, which were they. Idiots? Or morons? I asked several people about this. I mean, why go to the dictionary? It's a lot more fun to poll folks in general about what they think is the difference.

"Well," replied one, "'idiot' is more of a technical term, as seen in the usage of the descriptive 'idiot savant'." An idiot savant of course is a kind of one-trick genius, someone who can add any combination of numbers together in their head, or remember what they had for supper 20 years ago tomorrow, but who cannot dress themselves. Einstein, for example, couldn't remember to wear socks, although he could play the violin and produce E=MC2. Not an idiot savant.

All of us are idiots about something. For the life of me, I don't think I could build a nuclear reactor, so to someone who could, I fall into the idiot class, as most of us do somewhere, sooner or later.

I personally define idiot as someone who doesn't know something about something, but does realize it.

A moron does know something about something but goes ahead and does it anyway. (It's a whole other discussion whether morons can be idiots. Let's consider me lucky if I even get the difference between the two figured out.) Anyway. When I tipped a tractor over on me a while ago, I was being a moron. I know steep hills tip tractors over; yet, there I went.

In the world, there seem to be a lot of morons. First on the list I would include those technical people who punctured the earth a mile under the surface of the Gulf of Mexico with a steel pipe, and then were surprised when it blew up in their faces. They didn't know something might happen? You and I wouldn't have known what might happen; but we're not morons, we're idiots. We don't know anything about what's going on two miles down there. Were we to drill that far down and have the whole thing blow up in our face, we'd be kind of surprised as we were flying through the air. Of course we would. We're idiots.

They, while flying through the air, would be morons. They knew something might happen. Anything. They must have a list a mile long of things that might happen. They went ahead and did it anyway, just the way I drove that tractor up that steep side hill. As the farmer put it, that guy that hacked that pretty little spruce tree to pieces knew what that would do to that tree. He did it anyway. Moron.

A politician who solicits gay sex in the bathroom of the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport doesn't know what the result of this could eventually be? Sure he did. Moron.

An Army general who criticizes the president of the United States in a national publication doesn't think the president reads? Unlikely. Moron.

A vice presidential candidate who says she can see Russia from where she lives in Alaska? Apparently she considered her disregard for education in general and geography in particular to be a universal feeling. I just don't think she knew better. Idiot.

A New York State attorney general building a reputation for punishing law breakers solicits sex from a ring of prostitutes. He doesn't understand where this behavior fits in the overall legal scheme? Impossible. Moron.

Some guy in Los Angeles ties a hundred weather balloons to a lawn chair, fills them with helium, arms himself with a BB gun with which to adjust his altitude, cuts the rope holding him down, and bobs up into the busiest controlled air space in the country? He knew better? Uh uh. Idiot.

Insurance companies who daily deal with damage from wind and fire don't have some emergency money immediately for people whose house is blown down? They don't know better? Really! Morons.

Some columnist writes something like this? Ummm...

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