June 6, 2008

Stupid is as stupid does... or something.

A bit of scholarship to back up the obvious. Americans are stunningly ignorant for the most part. (not that it's all their fault. There's a LOT of powerful intersts both political and economic that really prefers they stay that way, moronic consuming machines.)

Unfortunately, Americans are doing little to educate themselves about their leaders and their policies, says bestselling author and George Mason University historian Rick Shenkman in his new book Just How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth About the American Voter. Shenkman cites some damning facts to make his case that Americans are ill-prepared to guide the world's most powerful democracy. Only 2 of 5 voters can name the three branches of the federal government. And 49 percent of Americans think the president has the authority to suspend the Constitution. But, for Shenkman, the severity of the problem snapped into focus after Sept. 11, 2001, when polls showed that a large number of Americans knew little about the attacks and the Iraq war that followed. He blames some of the public's misunderstanding on the White House message machine, but he argues that Americans did little to seek the truth. "As became irrefutably clear in scientific polls undertaken after 9/11...millions of Americans simply cannot fathom the twists and turns that complicated debates take," Shenkman writes. Shenkman spoke to U.S. News about the competence of the American voter.


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