52 Books a Year: #7 - Just How Stupid Are We?

Posted by Brian Mon, 02 Nov 2009 21:59:42 GMT

Just How Stupid Are We?
By Rick Shenkman


The Myth of the People is quite possibly at an all-time high in America. The wisdom of the people is absolute and more direct democracy is the answer for all of our ills. You hear it all over the place. Here in Cincinnati we have referendums on the ballot asking whether the city council should be able to form a regional water authority or spend any money on rail without a referendum. We’re not voting on a plan. We’re voting on whether our elected leaders are even allowed to have a plan without asking for permission.

Just How Stupid Are We hits back by showing that as the American public has been given more power it has shown itself to be less and less prepared to wield it. Most Americans don’t know who any of their elected officials even are, let alone if they are competent. Does public support for a war in Iraq mean much when only 1 in 7 of those people can even point out Iraq on a map? This, combined with increased marketing and spin applied to political rhetoric, has left the average voter with little understanding of the consequences of his vote.

Shenkman’s style is brisk and the subject matter is depressing, but if you want to see just how ill prepared the average citizen is to field his democratic power then this book is for you. He tries to provide a glimmer of hope at the end by outlining a plan for improving the situation, but there is very little hope of any of that happening. The American Empire is in full decline.


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