The Bell Curve of Pinky and the Brain

by Bob Wallace

In the spirit of all my semi-autistic Keynesian economics teachers, who thought that everything could be quantified, I will now prove, scientifically, that a) democracy is hopeless b) ideas rule everything c) Mass Man is as hopeless as a) and d) who needs Harvard and Yale when you've got cartoons?

I shall do all of this with the aid of a bell curve, which I call "the Bell Curve of Pinky and the Brain," after one of my favorite cartoons. But first, I'll explain about cartoons.

Cartoons are just modern-day myths. They're old stories in new clothes. The fact they are modern-day myths explains their popularity. Indeed, the most popular programs today are nearly all cartoons--SpongeBob SquarePants, The Simpsons, and South Park. The best ones are satires that lampoon society, which is why I can predict that Team America, by the creators of South Park, is going to be hysterical, and a huge hit.

Now, about bell curves. They are best known for showing the distribution of intelligence, but they apply to lots of other things, too: height, weight, looks. Lookswise, Madeleine Albright, for example, would be so far to the left she'd be off of the computer screen. Hopefully, she'd be in the closet.

That vertical line in the middle illustrates the mean average. That's where the stereotypical Mass Man is. For all practical purposes, that's where Pinky is. Homer is there, too, as is Cad, who was the henchman of Simon Bar Sinister, the Evil Genius in the old Underdog cartoon. Cad could do little more than say, "Duh, okay boss!"

At a glance you can see that Homer is smarter than Pinky, and Pinky is smarter than Cad. But what all have in common is that they are representations of Mass Man.

What I find curious, and a bit scary, is that in cartoons, Mass Man almost always follows the Evil Genius Who Wants to Conquer the World. If you don't think this is true, watch Triumph of the Will sometime, in which hundreds of thousands of people in a crowd part to let Hitler walk through.

Politically, I consider this problem to be "leftist." If you consider heroes like Batman, Superman and Underdog to be "rightist," you'll find they don't have sidekicks who follow them slavishly. Either they don't have sidekicks, or if they do, their sidekicks, like Robin, are pretty independent. Mass Man following Evil Geniuses is a left-wing phenomena, because a true rightist will always say, "Don't follow me and instead stand on your own two feet."

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn was right when he said, "'I' is from God, and 'We' is from the Devil." Individuals can think, but masses cannot. They can only feel, and what they feel are primitive emotions such as bloodlust against anyone outside of the group.

But back to the bell curve. At the far right side of the curve we have the Evil Geniuses such as Simon Bar Sinister, Superman's nemesis Lex Luthor, and the mousy Brain. Since they want to conquer the world, I'd pretty much have to consider them all leftists.

That vertical mean average line in the middle of the bell curve not only illustrates intelligence, but also a few more things. Mass Man is not only defined by average intelligence, but average everything. Average curiosity and average ambition, for example. He really doesn't pay a whole lot of attention to what's going on in the world, and often thinks his leaders know what they're doing. He's generally more interested in bread and circuses, and when he does get involved in politics he tends to rabidly support his candidate or party, even if neither makes any sense.

Those guys at the far right demonstrate greater intelligence and greater ambition. Especially greater ambition, which is not always a good thing, not when they want to rule. Satan wanted to rule others, too.

And now the problems start. Mythologically, Mass Man has always been called "the sheep," and those other guys "the wolves." But how does a tiny minority of the wolves rule over the sheep?

Because they're sheep, that's why! They aren't that smart! That's why the wolves con them! The wolves tell the sheep they're eating them for their own good, and the sheep fall for it. Both Jesus and Aesop noticed this, which is why both made the comment, "All tyrants call themselves benefactors."

In fact, the wolves get the sheep to vote for them. That proves a) why democracy is hopeless. Anyone who tells the truth to the sheep, such as "You can have liberty, but security isn't possible," is never going to get voted in. On the other hand, any wolf who says, "We'll give you security, and everything else you want, for free" is always going to get the majority of votes. Democracy is the sheep voting the wolves into office.

It can be no other way. Mass Man will always outgun everyone, because there are so many of him. That's why c) Mass Man is hopeless, is true. Mass Man is hopeless, and so is democracy.

Now, what about b) ideas rule everything? Ideas lie at the right side of the bell curve. Neither Pinky nor Homer or Cad have any ideas to speak of. But villains like Lex Luthor and Brain and Simon Bar Sinister have plenty of ideas, almost all of which involve conquering the world for various reasons, and using Mass Man as cannon fodder to implement them. Obviously, those are very bad ideas, ones defined more by arrogance, blindness and hubris than anything else.

There are also good ideas, ones promulgated by libertarians and true conservatives. Those people lie at the far right, also. Those ideas include such things as liberty and self-responsibility, and peace instead of destruction. They also include some awareness of limitations. That's why Underdog was Humble Shoeshine Boy in real life. Humility, not hubris, has always been a virtue. Hubris, on the other hand, is perhaps the worst sin of all.

What we've got, then, is a fight over ideas. These ideas, ultimately, end up ruling Mass Man, once they percolate down to him. "Ideas Have Consequences," wrote Richard Weaver in a famous book of the same name. "He who works with the head, rules; he who works with the hands, is ruled," goes the old Chinese saying.

This fight over ideas is the most important one in the world, because whoever wins determines where Mass Man will go. And Mass Man doesn't even know it. He's non-reflective sheep.

I like to use the Gospels as an example of a fight over ideas. In them, the fight was between Jesus and the Pharisees. We know who won. These days, to call someone a Pharisee is an insult. It was essentially a fight over ideas between one man and a very small group of men. Yet, today, there are about two billion Christians in the world. That illustrates the power of ideas.

If both democracy and Mass Man are hopeless, what then is the proper form of government? Ideally, no one would rule anyone else. This, however, requires everyone (or nearly everyone) to be an adult. But is it possible for Pinky and Cad and Homer to be adults? Homer can pretty much run his own life, but can you imagine what would happen if he was a politician? Yet people like him vote politicians into office. Pinky and Cad do, too.

Perhaps Kuehnelt-Leddihn had it right when in Leftism Revisited he suggested some sort of constitutional monarchy was the best form of government. His evidence for it is impressive. The problem is preventing the Evil Geniuses from becoming kings. They can't be prevented under democracy, that's for sure. Can it be prevented under a constitutional monarchy? I don't know.

But what I do know is that the few will always rule the many. The bell curve shows us that. Somehow, we have to make sure the few who rule believe in liberty and self-responsibility. Mass Man, then, will ultimately follow them, because in the long run ideas rule everything.

Hey, who needs any of the "Best and Brightest" from Harvard and Yale, when you've got cartoons? Those are the guys who got us into Vietnam, which was the blind leading the blind and both falling into the ditch. That's what happens when Mass Man follows Evil Geniuses, when Pinky follows Brain, and when Cad follows Simon.

Even today those Evil Genius types are leading Mass Man into the ditch, and Mass Man is following him willingly. Only today they're called "neocons," and there are maybe 25 of them. Twenty-five people, who have infested the government, and Mass Man supports them, thinks they know what they're doing, and is happily jumping into the handbasket going straight to Hell.

The Evil Geniuses Who Want to Conquer the World must always be fought, and the fight lies in the realm of ideas, by those Underdogian heroes who understand liberty and self-responsibility, creation instead of destruction.

Where's Underdog when we need him? He could sing a modern-day version of his rhyme:

"When America's in trouble
I am not slow!
It's hip-hip-hip
And away I go!"

Underdog may be the underdog, but he never gives up, and in the long run, he wins.

published at Endervidualism on  10/14/04

Bob Wallace has a degree in Journalism. Formerly a reporter and editor, now an author, Bob penned I Write What I See. Visit his Shameless Book Promotion Page and his Page Full o' Fun. He also blogs. Bob has previously written articles and essays which have been published by LewRockwell.com, The Libertarian Enterprise, Sierra Times, Strike-the-Root, and The Price of Liberty, in addition to Endervidualism.