Experience teaches us that we can muddle through despite the serious deficiencies in the American public’s capacities. But complacency may not be warranted. Over the last four decades American politics has become increasingly democratic, putting more and more power directly into the hands of ordinary voters. Nothing in our past experience justifies the belief that people in these circumstances are up to the task that history has now given them.
Five defining characteristics of stupidity, it seems to me, are readily apparent.
- First is sheer ignorance: ignorance of critical facts about important events in the news, and ignorance of how our government functions and who’s in charge.
- Second is negligence: the disinclination to seek reliable sources of information about important news events.
- Third is wooden-headedness, as the historian Barbara Tuchman defined it: the inclination to believe what we want to believe, regardless of the facts.
- Fourth is shortsightedness: the support of public policies that are mutually exclusive, or contrary to the country’s long-term interests.
- Fifth, and finally, is a broad category I call bone-headedness, for want of a better word: the susceptibility to meaningless phrases, stereotypes, irrational biases, and simplistic diagnoses and solutions that play on our hopes and
There is enough evidence that one could almost conclude—though admittedly this is a stretch—that we are living in an Age of Ignorance.
==Just How Stupid Are We? (Rick Shenkman)
In the United States, where the wheels are coming off more blatantly with every passing day, it is not surprising that politics is in gridlock and that the ruling elite in Congress is moving dramatically to the right. Simultaneously, the current administration moves the nation toward a total surveillance state, surpassing the former administration in scrutinizing its citizenry.
Our corporate, capitalist, happy-faced culture marinates us in positive thinking.
==Collapsing Consciously: Transformative Truths for Turbulent Times (Sacred Activism) (Carolyn Baker Phd)
The goal of the US surveillance state is to make sure that there is no such thing as actual human privacy, not just in the United States but in the world. That’s its intent. It does that by design. What we are really talking about is a globalized system that prevents any form of electronic communication from taking place without being stored and monitored by the National Security Agency. It’s not just journalists but also dissident groups and Muslim communities that have been infiltrated and monitored. The government is deliberately working to create a climate of fear in exactly those communities that are most important in checking those in power.
==Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World (Tom Engelhardt)
When we were 10 years old our teacher told us that any one of us could grow up to become president. We looked around the room and wondered. But now, seeing who gets elected, we believe she was right.
No impediment – moral or intellectual – is such a handicap that it prevents getting elected. No character failing, no matter how grave, stands in the way of the Capitol or the State House. No lack of charm, intelligence or humor prevents a successful career in politics.
It was remarked of Hubert Humphrey that the only thing standing between him and the presidency was a heartbeat. But a beating heart is the only real requirement, too.
Of course, that’s also the only requirement for voting…
How do Wall Street, oil companies and the shadow government agencies like the CIA and NSA really shape the global political order?
That’s the question author Peter Dale Scott examines in his forthcoming book “The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil and the Attack on U.S. Democracy,” due out on Nov. 12. Scott, a professor emeritus of English at Berkeley and former Canadian diplomat, is considered the father of “deep politics”—the study of hidden permanent institutions and interests whose influence on the political realm transcends the elected.
If You Really Think It Matters Which Party Controls the Senate, Answer These Questions (November 6, 2014)
Please don’t claim anything changes if one party or the other is in the majority. Anyone clinging to that fantasy is delusional.
If you really think it matters which political party controls the U.S. Senate, please answer these questions. Don’t worry, they’re not that difficult:
As America completes another costly, polarized and exhausting election cycle, it’s commonplace to characterize our society as being divided into warring tribes of liberals and conservatives. But this view oversimplifies the causes of our political differences.
Most people aren’t ideologically pure, and most don’t derive their opinions from abstract ideologies and principles. People are more strongly influenced by the effects of policies on themselves, their families and their wider social networks. Their views, in short, are often based on self-interest.
This point may seem obvious, but it is overlooked by many political scientists who focus on other explanations: parents and peers, schools and universities, political parties and leaders, and that abstract and nebulous catchall, “values.” But the most straightforward explanation, demographics, is also the most persuasive.
(CNSNews.com) – Republican leaders say they will “honor the voters’ trust” by focusing first on jobs on the economy.
That means debating and voting on bills that passed the House and then stacked up in the Senate.
“It also means renewing our commitment to repeal Obamacare, which is hurting the job market along with Americans’ health care,” House Speaker John Boehner and presumed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote in an op-ed in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal.
Boehner and McConnell did not say they would repeal Obamacare; they simply renewed their “commitment” to do so.