Thursday, September 13, 2007

The sort of thing that terrifies me

You can cower in fear of 'terrists' if you want. I choose to be terrified by the prospect of Idiocracy as prophecy.

The results of a study conducted for the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center is the sort of thing that scares me much worse than any terrorist.

  • Only 15% of Americans can identify the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (John Roberts). To contrast: 66% know at least one of the judges on American Idol.
  • Only 30% realize that the Supreme Court is the last stop on the litigation train. 32% believe that Supreme Court decisions can be appealed, and 38% either "didn't know" or "weren't sure."
  • 55% do not know that when the Supreme Court rules 5-4 on a case, that decision is the law of the land and must be followed.
  • 14% believe that 5-4 decisions are sent back to congress for further consideration, 7% believe it goes back to the lower courts, and 34% simply "don't know."
It is easy to take the civil rights away from a group of people who do not know they have them.

I see ignorance among the populace as a far graver threat to the American way of life than any terrorist anywhere. I don't care how determined or deranged that terrorist might be. Until the nation as a whole gets smarter than a fifth grader, we are screwed - seven ways from Sunday.

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