POLITY IDIOCY: “Are Americans Too Stupid For Democracy?” / Joshua Holland



Widespread ignorance of objective reality poses a genuine threat to democracy. The people of the United States have ignorance in abundance.

The way representative democracy is supposed to work is pretty simple: you protect the fundamental rights of the minority (so it doesn’t become two wolfs and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner), and then the majority of citizens, acting in their own rational self-interest, elect representatives who will pursue the greatest good for the greatest number of citizens.

That’s the theory, but “rational” is a key word in that formulation. What happens when lots of citizens don’t have a solid grasp of what’s going on in the real world?

Consider some examples that are especially relevant to our current political scene.

– People Don’t Recognize Their Lack of Competence, Can’t Judge the Competence of Politicians

– Politicians Think Their Constituents Are Much Further to the Right Than Polls Suggest

– The Wealthy Think the Wealthy Should Pay More Taxes, But They Don’t Think They’re Wealthy

– Americans Like Sweden’s Distribution of Wealth, and Think They Already Have

– Government Spending Has Decreased Under Obama, But Nobody Knows It

– The Deficit Has Been Stabilized and Is Shrinking, But Only 6 Percent of Americans Know It

– Foreign Aid Is Pocket Change

– So, Should We Just Give Up On Democracy?

Read more . . .

1 thought on “POLITY IDIOCY: “Are Americans Too Stupid For Democracy?” / Joshua Holland

  1. It doesn’t meet the standards of testing science, but we already knew about the current affairs knowledge of Americans from Jay Leno’s ‘Jaywalking’ or ‘Man on the Street’ interviews. And, uh, bye-bye, Jay!

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