The first decade of this new millennium is in the books. We started with a recession, entered two wars, experienced fake economic growth based on bad credit, and ended with a recession. The only shining light of this decade is the iPhone.

This decade was full of potential. The new millennium, the 21st century, the 2000s. This decade really deserves a nice FAIL on it. In order to move on into the future, we must look back on our mistakes, learn from them, and then pretend we were never actually this stupid. With that, I bring you a highly biased and cynical look at the 10 dumbest ideas of the decade.

Home Ownership: Republicans and Democrats both thought it would be a great idea to put everyone in homes. Just get people into a home of their own and we can start to eliminate poverty. In order to do this they facilitated an environment where anyone could get a mortgage and the government would guarantee it. For a few years it looked like it would work. But this was operating under the assumption that home prices could never go down. The greatest thing is most of the people championing this idea in the early part of the decade still hold their elected positions.

Popped Collars: Long hair on dudes, shoulder pads, leisure suits, giant perms. Every decade has it’s defining styles that make children look back at their parents and say “what the hell were you wearing?” I started this decade thinking that we were mostly free of ridiculous styles, but then people started wearing polo shirts as undershirts for polo shirts. Worse still, they popped their collars as if they were trying to protect themselves from the Sun. Laugh at them all you want, but if you’ve bought jeans with the holes already in them, tucked jeans into puffy boots that you can’t get wet, or bought chucks in a weird color that doesn’t match anything, then your kids will make fun of you too.

No Child Left Behind: This is an old idea now because it was signed into law when Bush was still getting his feet wet. The bipartisan legislation basically decided that all students should be tested the same way, and schools that don’t perform well should be punished with lost funding. It’s forced good teachers out the door simply because they don’t have a certain certification, even though they’ve been teaching for 3 decades and have the good grades to prove their teaching ability. Teachers now teach students how to pass the end of year tests, there is no incentive to “learn”.

Reality TV: TV producers love it because it’s cheap to make. You love it because you think that simply because these people don’t look like actors, they must be real. Reality TV is neither reality nor TV. And this obsession with little people and giant families has to STOP.

Republicans in 2008: “Hmmm, Democrats have a black guy running for president. We don’t have one of those, but let’s put one in charge of our party. We spent too much time fighting amongst ourselves we found ourselves supporting a historically outcast Republican like John McCain and his bear humping gubernatorial dropout for president.” There is no more Republican party, just a bunch of people who aren’t Democrats.

Gay Marriage: Do you remember studying history and wondering why we treated blacks like a second rate race? They didn’t even have human rights. Just about every white person thought this was a good idea. Then we wouldn’t let women vote, just about every male thought this was fine. Then we wouldn’t let blacks vote, and again, people thought this was a good idea. Eventually, public opinion changed. If you don’t support gay marriage today, you will be one of the people that your grandchildren look back on and think “why were so you so close minded?” Religious objections are fine, but there is no reason why two consenting adults can’t enter into a legally binding relationship and get the same advantages I get with The Sheconomist.

Everyone’s a Critic: Blogs, comments, podcasts, Rush Limbaugh, Jon Stewart… Everyone’s a critic and everyone has an opinion and everyone thinks their opinion is worth hearing. I realize this includes myself. We’re in a decade where we think we must define ourselves based on political opinions. No one cares what you think. No one cares what I think.

Creative Credit: The only idea dumber than everyone having a home, is the idea that the equity in your home is a good source of cash. This defeats the whole purpose of owning the home. Interest only mortgages, adjustable rate mortgages, option ARMs, no/low down payments, and all the other creative financing products were terrible for the public. Very few people know how to use these types of loans in the manner in which they were designed. Most of the people that were put in these loans were put there to make the payments affordable. They just didn’t bother to understand those payments would double in a few years.

Health Care is a Right: Please. You have the right to an attorney, you have the right to protest, you have the right to print anything about anyone so long as it’s true, you have the right to practice whatever crazy religion you want, and you have the right to remain silent. I’m with you, health care is in a crazy state and it needs changing, but health care is not a right. Back in the 1780s people had doctors and some people couldn’t afford one. If the founding fathers thought healthcare was a right, they would have included it. Reform, YES. Universal healthcare, maybe. Born with the right to see a doctor, NO.

1) Global Warming: I’m not going to win any friends for this. The rest of the list isn’t numbered because they all are insignificant in stupidity compared to “global warming”. It’s in quotes because this is “global warming” as we’ve been treating it. In the 1970s, the scare was actually global cooling. Scientists haven’t explained that the greenhouse effect analogy doesn’t work. More carbon in the atmosphere won’t simply trap light, it will also reflect it back into space. Science has also proved that more carbon in the atmosphere is good for plant life. But the real reason “global warming” is the dumbest idea of the decade is because of how we’re treating it. Global warming is one of two things. It could be a none-issue based on what we’ll call in a century “primitive science from the early 21st century”. Or it could be the most serious issue the human race has ever faced. If that is the case, we aren’t doing enough. You shouldn’t be wasting your time slowing your carbon emissions and investing in wind energy. It’s too late to stop what’s happening. We have to be focusing our efforts on how we can reverse the effects of global warming. Many ideas have been proposed, but the champion of global warming himself (Gore) ignores these ideas. I’m not saying concern for the environment is dumb, I’m not even saying green energy is dumb. I’m saying the way we treat global warming right now is the dumbest idea of the decade and will be looked upon as a dark period in the history of science and compared to the use of leeches in medicine.

Happy New Year.  Let’s hope this decade is better than the last.

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