On The Road To 2008 - Commentary on issues as we countdown to the next opportunity to change the direction of America

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

A Nation Of Idiots?

You have to wonder sometimes.

The latest Harris poll published February 14 (as I mentioned previously in my last blog entry) finds that a large percentage of adolts still believe things for which there is no evidence and experts believe to be untrue (and I'm not talking about divine beings or Santa Claus here):

- 47% of adolts believe that Saddam Hussein helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001.
- 44% of a
dolts believe that several of the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11 were Iraqis.
- 36% of a
dolts believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded.
You'd think that over time, and after the facts have shown otherwise, over and over again, these numbers would be going down. Instead they are increasing. Only 41% of adolts believed Saddam was behind 9/11 the last time Harris asked in November. Only 37% of adolts believed that 9/11 terrorists were Iraqi.

These numbers don't represent a majority, but they do represent a significant minority for such falsities, and therefore are very alarming.

Even though it has been well documented how much the Bush administration insinuated the strength of an Iraqi connection to 9/11, the problem surely also has something to do with the geographic illiteracy of this nation. Back in 2002 National Geographic conducted a Global Geographic Literacy survey of over 3000 18-24 year olds in nine countries: Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden and the United States. The U.S. came in next to last! Get this: 11% of the Americans couldn't even locate their own country on a map! 29% couldn't locate the Pacific Ocean (how big does a body of water have to be?). Only 13% had any clue where Iraq was, even though the nation was in the midst of a showdown with Saddam Hussein and the country was constantly in the news. Only 19% could name four countries that officially acknowledge having nuclear weapons.

Obviously people in this country have a poor awareness of the world around them, so it should not surprise us then that we'd, in effect, score so poorly in common knowledge facts about Iraq and 9/11. Yet, perhaps more than during any other recent presidency, Americans have had world affairs thrust into their living rooms on an almost daily basis. Between "news" about Jen and Brad, or the once omnipresent Scott Peterson trial, it has been hard to avoid news about the Iraq war, or about nations with nuclear weapons (or perhaps looking to build them), such as Pakistan, India, Iran and North Korea. Was nobody paying attention?

One can only imagine how many people might still believe Saddam Hussein is still in power in Iraq, or that the U.S. did find WMDs there. I'm willing to bet a large minority of adolts actually do.

They say, "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." I say, fool us again and again and clearly we must be a land of idiots.

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