Americans are lazy and willfully ignorant

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I had posted the video in my post of Mar. 5, 2013, “Never underestimate the stupidity of the American people.” Here’s Richard Winchester saying the same, but more eloquently, in The American Thinker.
While the MSM should be faulted, I blame the low no information voter more. In this day and age of the Internet and Alternate Media, there really is no excuse for why so many Americans remain so woefully and willingly uninformed, thereby making themselves into perfect dupes of liars and manipulators.
H/t FOTM’s StephanieO
Democrat voters

The American Ignoramus

By Richard Winchester

If democracy requires an informed citizenry to function well, the United States is in serious trouble. Many Americans are political ignoramuses.
It doesn’t take much effort to describe the typical citizen’s political ignorance. The Pew Research Center for The People & The Press, for example, has plumbed random samples of the public’s public affairs knowledge about twice a year since 2007. The questions have varied in substance and format, but the results have been uniformly dismal. The average correct score is usually just above 50% which, if judged by the usual academic standard –90+% = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, 60-69% = D, <60% = F — would be F.
Since people who cannot be contacted or refuse to take part in polls are more politically ignorant than those who do, these are generous estimates of the public’s political knowledge. It’s estimated that 25% to 33% or more of the adult populace is “missing in action” when poll results are reported. Were these people’s ignorance added to poll results, pollsters tell us that the public’s grade would be F-.
One particular Pew Research Center poll illustrates the average citizen’s paltry stock of political information. Between July 26-29, 2012, the Pew Research Center asked a random sample of adults twelve questions tapping knowledge of the presidential election. Some questions probed knowledge of where the candidates stood on key issues; others plumbed information about the candidates’ background. The average score was 6.5 questions right, or 54% of the total. Forty-nine percent got six or fewer questions correct.
If you think a poll from late July is too early in an election year to provide evidence of what people know on Election Day, history tells us not to expect much learning during a campaign. Moreover, partisans pay heed mostly to stories about their preferred candidate; they generally ignore, or largely discount, information about the other candidate(s). Even when information concerns one’s preferred candidate, all too often it’s “in one ear, out the other.”
People need “old” information to help process and retain “new” information. This is known as “the Matthew principle,” after the passage in Matthew 25: 29, which asserts, in effect, “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”
Many individuals cast ballots knowing virtually nothing about candidates and where they stand on major issues, their country’s history and political institutions, the ideals that have motivated earlier generations, and the likely consequences of their vote. These “low-information voters” cast ballots mostly on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, partisanship, and/or class envy.
Ignorance is not just a problem on Election Day. Many individuals have only the dimmest awareness of important aspects of their locality, state, or nation. People know virtually nothing about important issues confronting their governing officials. Many can’t even name their local, state, or national leaders. Finally, “dark areas of ignorance” aptly characterizes the public mind when it comes to foreign affairs.
What are the consequences of widespread political ignorance? Manipulation of ordinary people by what Angelo Codevilla calls the “ruling class,” which includes political leaders, the news and entertainment media, and special interest groups. Instead of public opinion shaping public policy, most of the time Jane or John Q. Public has no political influence, because she/he knows little, if anything, about what is going on in the corridors of power.
Unless someone can find a way to stimulate greater grassroots political attentiveness — the more interested people are in public affairs, the better informed they are — expecting a substantially better-informed citizenry is wishful thinking. There are just too many spheres of life, such as family, friends, work, health, faith, recreation, entertainment, etc., that people believe are more pressing than public affairs. In the main, politics is a matter of tertiary concern.
Since almost all American adults rely on the mass media for the news, patterns of media dependence and styles of media coverage of politics also preclude the possibility of a much better informed public.
A Rasmussen poll in late February, 2013 found that 56% of “likely voters” said they got most of their news from either cable TV outlets (32%) or traditional network telecasts (24%). Another 25% claimed to rely most on the Internet for the news, 10% said print newspapers were their main news source, and 7% picked radio.
That mix of news sources helps understand the public’s low levels of political knowledge, since electronic outlets (TV and radio) provide less information than print news. The internet’s efficacy as a source of the news is less understood, although some claim the internet “makes us dumb” because it conveys information less effectively than traditional print outlets.
In addition, the substance and style of media coverage of public affairs has shifted in recent decades from “hard” to “soft” news. Hard news refers to media accounts of serious topics such as politics, business, or international events. These accounts are normally longer and convey more detailed information than soft news stories. Soft news stories typically focus on entertainment, the arts, and lifestyles, and tend to be aimed at tugging at the audience’s heartstrings.
In summary, most people, most of the time, aren’t very interested in public affairs, and consequently don’t know a lot. Moreover, given patterns of media exposure and a larger amount of soft news, it’s unlikely that things will change much.
What does it mean? At best, the U.S. will have bad political leaders, chosen by low information voters. At worst, American democracy will slowly shrivel due to widespread ignorance.
Ignorance seldom leads to happy endings.
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0 responses to “Americans are lazy and willfully ignorant

  1. We don’t consider how lucky we are to have had the opportunity to be fat and lazy , and by not realizing how we got this way we are being led to slaughter by our own ignorance of how we got this way !!!!!
    And heres how they did it while we were appeased with easy credit to not realize the very element that creates a Job and Qualifications for a Credit rating was being taken away from our sovereign access … treasonous ain’t it ???

  2. The above makes me recall Goethe’s remark that “There is nothing more terrible than ignorance in action.” Much of our present grief stems from far-too-many having far-too-much access to powers and forces they barely comprehend. This is, of course, one of the major reasons for a conservative approach to life and our living: it requires the passage of decades before some measure of wisdom is part of a young person’s life, no matter how ‘informed’ s/he believes s/he currently is.

  3. Where there is no vision, the people perish. In a nutshell. While we citizens really have very little excuse not to be in full possession of much of the pros and cons of the intensely complicated situation that has developed, the principles that are being violated remain constant. Those principles that undergird our Constitution are based on moral fortitude that came about as a result of generations of oligarchical oppression, and at that time we did not posses weapons of mass destruction. Now that the monetary system and the genocidal policy that runs parallel to the manner in which the ruling elite govern most of the people living on this planet today, is not fully understood. At least in a way that can be expressed verally. People get it that their dime isn’t buying very much any more, that it’s really hard to find a decent Christian Radio Station broadcasting any longer, that religeous leaders are embracing more and more intrusions into the sound doctrine set forth in the Holy
    Scriptures. Unless we snap out of this madness we will perish, because we need a vision. Dennis Kucinich published a transcript of a speech he just now gave in Santa Barbara about the important of a Truth Commission to cover the real reasons and background for the wars we are engaged in and to expose the criminal behavior that is behind them, so that the citizens can be educated en masse by decent leaders, that there truly is a need to repent, to turn from our wicked ways and pray, to earnestly seek the face of God, so that our land might be healed.
    Cowards are cured of cowardice when they suddenly realize a gun is being put to their heads, the threat of nuclear war coupled with the brazen looting of peoples’ savings and robbing them of their homes and jobs, is just that. The sequester etc and austerity is enough to get people to start looking and quick, for a vision of the future which includes being alive and with civilization intact. It’s certainly about NOW…………………………
    Marcy Kaptur’s bill for the reinstatement of Glass Steagall is on the table in the House of Reps, and a plan for the human economic recovery is to be found if you just type it into Google search. The Holy Ghost is leading us into all truth, so hey, it’s all good.

  4. I have been screaming this for years.
    We have truly become a nation of dumbMasses, and I really see no way we are going to be able to survive it.

  5. If the average american is stupid that means 50% of them are dumber than that. (apoligizes to George Carlin)

  6. When I was taken the other night to the hospital, I went my ambulance. I was an EMT for a while so I knew one of the guys in a 2 man crew. I mentioned something about Obamacare, being careful not to offend anybody (I do try) but mentioning it was prolly going to really mess up their lives. Immediately, as it has happened in every case since that man was elected, one fellow said, most vehemently, “we (meaning the ambulance company) ” are gonna get killed on that one!” The other fellow TRULY, and I mean this w/ all the sincerity I can muster, simply DID NOT EVEN KNOW ABOUT OBAMACARE! Exactly NOTHING, zero, zilch, even shocked the guy who did, w/ him saying “You mean you haven’t even heard of it???” Now yes, this fellow is “slow”, an accident shortly after he was born, but he does make a slammin’ paramedic! That boy KNOWS his stuff! But he had, literally, NEVER heard of Obamacare and he’s in the medical profession.
    Altho I hadn’t thought of it that way before the other night, when it struck me they’re going to have their paperwork go thru the ceiling, (and they have reams of it already!), and they guy who know said “Yeah, it’s gonna kill us, we’re NEVER going to get paid now!” He’s right, in the scheme of things, who thinks of paying the ambulance companies?? They do not work for free, if they even have volunteers, which anymore, are hard to come by w/ 2-3 jobs and turnout/medical gear\what-have-you and all the new training regs thanks to O’Malley, the worst Dem goose God ever created and WE have the privilege to have him as our governor. Yay. *slow clap*
    But it just flummoxed me that this boy had never even HEARD of this Obamanation before last night, being in the medical profession, whoever tangentially. And I bet by tonight he’s forgotten all about it. I suppose you might count him an “idiot savant” when it comes to medical care, but he wasn’t born slow, a car ran into the house he lived in and he was in the bed w/ a wheel still running on the side of his head. All three of the kids were in the same bed and sustained injuries. I sure hope he ascribes to the country boy way of thinking around here – “My vote won’t change anything and it’s all fraud anyway and if it isn’t, they all go to DC and lie a lot and steal, so why vote?” Usually I rail against that mindset, but in this case? Yeah, please don’t vote!
    I swear all this on my children’s heads, because I know it’ll be virtually impossible to believe it otherwise! I was glad to have Cliffie as my medic, (and twice on Sundays!), but I sure don’t want him in my voting booths!! I’m pretty sure he won’t ever be in one, tho. He has no horse in this race, why should he care? I would have fallen flat over it I wasn’t strapped to a gurney! So that “no-information-voter” quote is WAY more true then your worst nightmares…
    Sorry this was so long, took a bit of explaining to set the scene.


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