A number of recent tedious and fruitless conversations have had the effect of turning my thoughts to a concept which I will label elective stupidity. Elective stupidity is stupidity by choice. Electively stupid persons are joyfully ignorant and scatterbrained; relentlessly inattentive, and wilfully obtuse when they consider a mildly complex issue put before them (or a mildly vexing problem which they might encounter in daily life).
It is not always easy to determine if a person is practising elective stupidity - after all, the obtuse and scatterbrained person may simply be stupid - how can we know for sure?
After some reflection on this issue, I devised a perfect hypothetical test which would have established the truth of the matter. Alas, the test will have to remain a thought-experiment as it is probably not ethical.
"Right, I am about to make a brief and simple statement of fact or opinion. I want you to listen to the statement carefully without interruption. Then I want you to reply to the statement in such a way that you give some minimal evidence that you have heard and understood the general nature of my statement. You do not have to agree with me or disagree with me - merely provide evidence that you paid some attention to what I had to say. If you interrupt me during my ten-second statement, or if you cannot give a topic-relevant response, I will be forced to pull the trigger."