The Marching

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The Marching Morons

The Marching Morons”

is a science fiction short story by American writer Cyril M. Kornbluth, first published in 1951. The story is a satirical commentary on society and the dangers of overpopulation and the dumbing down of the masses.

The story is set in a future world where the population has grown exponentially, but the average IQ has decreased dramatically due to a combination of genetic deterioration and lack of education. The few intelligent people left in the world are outnumbered and overwhelmed by the masses of ignorant people, who are unable to understand complex concepts or even perform basic tasks. The story’s protagonist, John Barlow, is one of the few intelligent people left in the world, and he is tasked with finding a solution to the problem of overpopulation.

Barlow discovers that the only way to save humanity from itself is to implement a eugenics program to increase intelligence and limit population growth. He hatches a plan to use a time machine to go back in time and find intelligent people to bring to the future, but his plan is derailed when he is kidnapped by a group of “morons” who mistakenly believe that he is a prophet who will lead them to a better life.

The story is a biting commentary on the dangers of overpopulation and the dumbing down of society. Kornbluth satirizes the idea that technological advances will inevitably lead to a better world, arguing instead that progress can be undermined by a lack of foresight and planning. The story also critiques the idea that democracy is the best form of government, suggesting that it is vulnerable to the whims of the ignorant masses and can be manipulated by those with selfish interests.

One of the most striking aspects of the story is its bleak view of humanity. Kornbluth portrays the masses as mindless, selfish, and uninterested in anything beyond their own immediate needs and desires. He suggests that overpopulation and lack of education have created a world where people are unable to think critically or understand complex concepts. The story’s conclusion is particularly bleak, suggesting that there may be no solution to the problem of overpopulation and that humanity may be doomed to a future of stupidity and decline.

Despite its bleak outlook, “The Marching Morons” remains a classic work of science fiction, and its themes remain relevant today. The dangers of overpopulation and the importance of education and critical thinking are issues that continue to concern us, and the story’s satirical take on society offers a powerful critique of our own shortcomings. The story’s conclusion is a reminder that we must be vigilant in our efforts to create a better world, and that progress cannot be taken for granted.

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