Origins and History of the Evans Dictum
The Evans Dictum, which asserts that "There are a lot of stupid people in this world," is an effort at establishing a comprehensive worldview that originated in the 1990s with Charles Evans, Ph. D., M.A., B.S., B.A., a historian living in Northern Virginia. In those years Evans could often be found running errands in his blue, 1982 Toyota pick-up truck. His usual companion on those trips was John Stipicevic, son of Evans' next door neighbor, John Stipicevic.
On many occasions while driving the roads of Northern Virginia, the two noticed incredibly stupid maneuvers by drivers, most notably cutting across two or three lanes of traffic to make a sudden exit--in the process endangering the lives of everyone on the highway--unexplainable traffic stoppages, phone, and other more gruesome activities being undertaken by drivers in their cars, lit cigarettes flying out of car windows, cars speeding through school zones instead of slowing down, crazily excessive accelerations and weaving by drivers imagining themselves on some high speed race track--Not to even begin to mention drivers trying to figure out how to put a quarter in the toll collecting machines on the toll road! Evans also often saw similar unbelievably stupid driving behavior while traveling on the Dulles toll road or the Virginia I-495 beltway to one of his many office locations. There was danger on the roads.
Thinking that he had stumbled upon some new understanding of human behavior, Evans extended his observations to the people around him. His early theories of the perhaps rather low IQ level of people, in general, were then furthered by notice of activities in supermarket checkout lanes. Then it wasn't just supermarket checkout lanes anymore. Suddenly, stupidity was everywhere. Students doing this, or not doing this; students sitting in class sleeping or texting messages. Incredible delays in doctors' offices; dealings with insurance companies. Politicians--need we say more. Thankfully, I don't have to use laundromats anymore, or that would be another place lending high support to the validity of the Evans Dictum. Administrators and bureaucrats devising meaningless, additional paperwork procedures and processes. Cell phone users broadcasting details of their intimate details to the rest of the world--not to mention which brand of toilet paper they want to buy at the supermarket. Moms organizing things for their kids to do. Parents doing things that were totally unbelievable, supposedly for the benefit of their kids. (Note: The Evans Dictum does not apply to kids. They are far smarter than most of the adults in the world, but there is some regression principle at work from kid-hood to adulthood that Evans has yet to figure out. That regression results in the originally smart kid becoming just another adult subject to the principle of the Evans Dictum. The regression process has been known to start at different ages (for some at age 2, some at 22, some at 52).1
After considering his extensive observations, Evans decided that his rule of fundamental human behavior should be a dictum, the Evans Dictum.
Note: Sometimes the Evans Dictum appears with an additional phrase, "There are a lot of stupid people in this world, and there goes one now." This expanded version is mostly known to have been used in traffic situations.
1. Who says kids can't figure out the world around them. My seven-year-old-said to me one morning, right out-of-the-blue, after just waking up, "Some people aren't so smart, and some people are smart." Further, independent observation corroborating the Evans Dictum.