Newsweek Asks Americans “How Dumb Are We?”

The dumbing down of America…real or imagined?

Mario Piperni

How bad are Americans when it comes to knowledge of their own history and system of government?  Well, going by a recent Newsweek poll, it’s not pretty.

They’re the sort of scores that drive high-school history teachers to drink. When NEWSWEEK recently asked 1,000 U.S. citizens to take America’s official citizenship test, 29 percent couldn’t name the vice president. Seventy-three percent couldn’t correctly say why we fought the Cold War. Forty-four percent were unable to define the Bill of Rights. And 6 percent couldn’t even circle Independence Day on a calendar.

And when it comes to international affairs, Americans fall far behind Europeans in depth of knowledge. No surprise there.  Unlike real news organizations like the BBC and CBC, American television news rarely reports on anything of international significance unless a 1000 or more locals (or at least 2 Americans) have died in an act of nature or unless the U.S. is waging a war in that country.  Seriously, if one got all their news from Fox, they’d be hard-pressed to name a country in the world other than the United States, Iraq and Afghanistan.  OK, and Japan.  The same can be said of MSNBC, CNN and the major networks. 

In the 17th century, Galileo did his best to enlighten the masses by informing them that Earth was not the center of the universe. If he was around today, he’d be trying to tell Americans that the U.S. is not the center of the universe. I have no doubt that he’d be treated no differently now for his heretic beliefs than he was by the Catholic Church 400 years ago. Getting the truth out is always a difficult matter when up against a lifetime of ignorance.    Continue reading…

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