Who’s a Dumb American?

OK ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s time to play Who’s a Dumb American?
If anyone caught Real Time with Bill Maher this week, there was a short segment of the show that highlighted an article in Newsweek entitled “How Dumb Are We?”  And the answer is – really damn dumb!  Who knew?
Maher proceeded to joke about how we need to dumb down the test, you know, make that bar just high enough to step over without straining a toe.  But the actual results of the test are appalling by any measure.  For instance, did you know:
  1. On what date was the Declaration of Independence adopted?  33% of Americans didn’t (that’s 1 out of 3 for the percentage-to-ratio challenged)
  2. What did the Constitutional Convention do?  65% wrong!
  3. Name one of the authors, any one, of the Federalist Papers – 88% could not
  4. How about this softball question – who was the president during World War I – 4 out of 5 couldn’t hazard a correct answer.
  5. 40% couldn’t name the countries that comprise the Axis in World War II
  6. 73% were oblivious as to why we were in a Cold War, let alone who we were in a Cold War with…
  7. 59% didn’t have a clue what Susan B. Anthony was famous for.
  8. Here’s a fun one – 27% (more than 1 in 4…) don’t know who’s in charge of the executive branch of government.
  9. Do you know how long a senators’ full term of office is?  61% do not.
  10. 86% of Americans give up when asked how many representatives are in the House of Representatives.
  11. Love this one – 4 out of 5 people asked could not name one (1) express power of the federal government. (think about that one everyone with a Constitution in their wallet)
  12. Do you know how many justices are on the Supreme Court?  Seriously, I’m not asking for their names – just the total number.  63% couldn’t come up with that number.
  13. Here is an actual tough one – any idea on the number of amendments to the Constitution?  Only 6% got the right answer on that one.
  14. Do you know who the Vice President is?  Neither does a third of Americans  – Scary huh?
  15. How about another softball – what is the economic system we pretend to have in America?  I guess that’s forgivable that 2 in 3 got that one wrong.
I didn’t want to spoil it for anyone by giving away the answers.  As a reader of this blog, I’m sure you are among the elitist snobs vying to run this country under a system of liberal social-fascism or whatever derogatory term du jour can be come up with.  If you want to know and don’t want to look it up – shoot me an e-mail 🙂
There is a point to all this.  America is getting dumb and dumberer by the day, and as Bill Maher commented, those that are are getting” arroganter” [sic] about it.  Who needs an education when you have God and confidence?  On top of that, we need to slash the money spent on education!  Head Start?  Off with its’ head!  Screw those poor people – I’m tired of paying subsidizing taxes!
Here’s the thing – if we don’t turn this around soon, we are headed, rapidly, towards Idiocracy.  If we don’t pay the price of investment in education today, the jobs of tomorrow will be forfeit to India, China, and Brazil – and that’s not to say I’m against the BRIC’s (Brazil, Russia, India, and China in the event you weren’t aware…) from achieving solid economic development – it’s about America slipping from a First World Nation to a Third World backwater.
From the Newsweek article:
It doesn’t help that the United States has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the developed world, with the top 400 households raking in more money than the bottom 60 percent combined. As Dalton Conley, an NYU sociologist, explains, “it’s like comparing apples and oranges. Unlike Denmark, we have a lot of very poor people without access to good education, and a huge immigrant population that doesn’t even speak English.” When surveys focus on well-off, native-born respondents, the U.S. actually holds its own against Europe.
It goes on:
A 2010 World Public Opinion survey found that Americans want to tackle deficits by cutting foreign aid from what they believe is the current level (27 percent of the budget) to a more prudent 13 percent. The real number is under 1 percent. A Jan. 25 CNN poll, meanwhile, discovered that even though 71 percent of voters want smaller government, vast majorities oppose cuts to Medicare (81 percent), Social Security (78 percent), and Medicaid (70 percent). Instead, they prefer to slash waste—a category that, in their fantasy world, seems to include 50 percent of spending, according to a 2009 Gallup poll.  Newsweek
So let’s take the next logical step.  Who wants to cut government?  Who wants lower taxes?  Who thinks we pay too much while not paying nearly enough?  No, this is no longer part of the quiz and yes, you already know the answers.   
We’re heading down a path that, if we don’t fix it really damn soon, we aren’t going to make it back from.  Personally, I think we are already passed the tipping point.  We are too far down the road to Idiocracy – no effective leadership, political parties more concerned about winning the next election than fixing this country and a public that would rather know what’s happening with Charlie Sheen [#Winning] than the dynamics of the American system of government.  Some people will just smile and hope for the Rapture to take care of it all.  What’s your exit strategy?
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One Response to Who’s a Dumb American?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I was cruising through the answers when I stumbled on #10 – though I did know it was a fixed number. I pulled through to the end – even tried to name all the Justices. Thank you for reminding me about the Federalist Papers – I remember studying them much more in school that what my daughter has brought home to date. Just as my father thought the younger generation was only interested in fast easy fun, I view my children’s generation generally as bordering on being lazy, unfocused, entitled, unappreciative and uninformed. I have happily turned into my parents as I work with my children. Topic over supper the other evening was explaining why Libya is more important than Katy Perry’s Shattered nail polish color. Then I suggested they consider offering a pet sitting service in May. That discussion took us through to dessert.

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