Published: Thursday, Jan. 2 2014 12:00 a.m. MST
Having gone through school in the 60's, in California, I clearly remember
the civics and history, classes that taught me the essentials of what the United
States is about, and how its government works. That along with our
responsibilities of citizenship. I wonder if that stuff is taught in todays
primary schools. If not, then it should be.
If you went almost anywhere and did a random survey most people could not tell
you any local officials, any state officials, who the neighboring states are,
what the branches of government are or what they do. The tonight shows
jaywalking is unfortunately much to true.The U.S. History they teach today
is about events that have occurred in my lifetime, is that really history? We
as a country are sadly ignorant of far too much and I can't see it
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only
exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largess from the public
treasury."From that moment on, the majority always votes for the
candidates promising them the most benefits from the public treasury, with the
result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always
followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest
civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this
sequence:"From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith
to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to
abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to
apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependency back again into
bondage." Alexander TytlerIs a $17.2 trillion national debt
(projected to be + $20 trillion by the time we elect a new President) "loose
And, if not the average voter, who is to make these great, sweeping political
decisions about our future? The "political elites". Oh, that will be
much better . . .
George Will explains why democracy will always be the dream of idealists and
utopians. The quote provided by Thid Barker underlines what Will is saying. It
is NOT in our best interest to make political processes more democratic. Blaming
our education systems for political ignorance is also misguided. Great article.
I don't think it has anything to do with our education system. It has
everything to do with our political and cultural nature. Folks today don't
let facts drive their opinions but let opinions drive their facts. Today, people
make up their minds about history, global warming, and civil rights and then
will pick and choose their facts. Just like the case of global warming or
trickle down economics. Humans are the #1 cause of global warming. Just like
trickle down economics have failed. Yet, no matter what, folks will argue these
points because of religious ties, they liked the actor/President who promoted
trickle down, or they're paranoid about the EPA thinking that it has ties
The Real Maverick makes Will's point. Each of us believes we're the
repository of facts while everyone else is merely opinionated. Well done,
Re: "I don't think it has anything to do with our education
system."No doubt. As I recall, you also don't believe our
"education" system has become the posh, enabling playground of cynical
liberal fat cats, or calcified in an unacceptable status quo by its ties to
trade unionists.Or, at least that's what you're required
to say by a strict liberal orthodoxy which holds you and WAY too many other
liberals in thrall.
"A better ameliorative measure would be to reduce the risks of ignorance by
reducing government's consequences — its complexity, centralization
and intrusiveness. In the 19th century, voters' information burdens were
much lighter because important federal issues — expansion of slavery,
disposition of public lands, tariffs, banking, infrastructure spending —
were much fewer."I'm sorry, Will, but using this list do
you really think that reducing the government's complexity, centralization,
and intrusiveness somehow mitigates the negative risks of government? All of
them were eventually resolved in favor of a stronger federal role. One of them
cost the nation over 600,000 dead and the scars of sectionalism for decades.
Yes, 19th century life was "simpler" than this one. But the
challenges faced then steadily favored federal power. Today's world is far
more complicated, so I see little reason that trend won't continue. Do we
really want to cater to lower information burdens for today's challenges?
Why not try to raise the capacity of voter information instead of shooting for
the lowest denominator? Why not try to get the voters more involved in the
democratic process instead of dumbing down the system?
And of course George stands like a rock above the sea of stupidity around him.
How comforting to be utterly free of confirmation bias oneself....
Re: SEYI agree, Maverick really stepped into that one. But it does
bring up what I think, besides lack of primary education as I stated above, is
an important cause. The web or internet. The problem in todays world is not
lack of information, but too much information. Trying to weed through what is
true/fact vs. false/fiction, or half truths or half lies. All of us will see
in some media source things that support or go against our beliefs. I was
having a debate with a family member over the Christmas holiday about whether we
actually landed on the moon or not. I'm positive we did, but go on the web
and there are many sites that give plausible reasons to doubt it, if you want
to. Just like the 911 conspiracys or the Kennedy assination there are so many
alternative "truths" out there that it is hard to establish a baseline
from which to begin A discussion on many subjects. Particularly political. So
I see things getting worse, not better. Sorry I'm a pessimist.
"those who don't learn from history are bound to repeat it" someone
once said. The high measure of ignorance in the general American voting public
is the reason an imposter like Obama was elected in the first place. The
downfall of America is coming because of the ignorance of the people as sadly
predicted by our founders.
Real Maverick: "Humans are the #1 cause of global warming." This is
far, far from proven, and many real climate scientists would absolutely
disagree. Many warm and cool ages happened in the earth's past, before
Lazy people get a corrupt government. Just look at the posts published daily in
this newspaper. - Look at how many people want to "control"
firearms without a Constitutional amendment. The 2nd Amendment prohibits that.
- Look at how many would trade "security" for privacy and
allow the NSA to spy on our telephone and email. The 4th Amendment prohibits
that. - Look at how many, including Justice Roberts, think that
Congress can tax us for anything that it wants. Article 1, Section 8 lists the
seventeen duties of Congress for which taxes can be levied.- Look at
how many are willing to allow Judge Shelby to legislate from the bench. Article
1, Section 1 allows only Congress to legislate.Don't blame
anyone else until you stand for the Constitution as it is written, not as you
wish that it were written.George Will is absolutely correct.
Lincoln wondered if Government of, by, and for the people might perish from the
Earth in his time. But advocacy of a plutocratic oligarchy was not the
alternative. Democracy comes at a price that expects more than mere survival as
the bottom line.
I am going to go out on a limb and say we landed on the moon...I will call that
a FACT. It is also my opinion. So there!
@SCfan – “I agree, Maverick really stepped into that one.”Could not disagree more… the only thing Maverick stepped into was
(a cogent analysis of) reality.That much of our political debates
are driven by ideology is simply a fact. You can pretend otherwise because you
think you’re ideology is true but it doesn’t negate the Achilles
Heel of any ideology – it gives you the answer BEFORE looking at the
evidence. Then, in the case of climate change, we go through this
song & dance of watching the ideologues cherry pick data, cite
out-of-context statements, or quote agenda driven articles all under the guise
of “looking at the evidence.” Which would be funny if these people
didn’t vote…@RG – “This is far, far from
proven, and many real climate scientists would absolutely disagree.”If by “many” you mean geologists and engineers employed by
the oil & gas industry – otherwise the list of real climate scientists
who categorically deny human caused climate change (vs. those who question some
details of the data or models) is exceedingly small - on par with the percent
who believe Elvis is still alive.
Sey & Maverick you are spot on and several other posters here substantiate
you. Take for instance climate change. Close to 99% of accredited climate
scientist believe man's activities are responsible for the recent, sharp
rise in world tempatures. And just as you can still find people who think the
world is flat, you'll find a few who think humans have no impact on our
climate. Yes, the US debt has grown considerably over the past 5 years but
it is not so much due to spending as it is to revenues decreasing. In fact
revenues are at the lowest levels as a percent of our GDP since the 1950's.
Politicans and pundits will always claim to own the facts but it's
more than likely they own an opinion.
Ignorance allows voters to vote for politicians who say they can cut taxes while
increasing defense spending, and it won't increase the deficit. They
promise to cut some spending, but not anything that affects you.
patriot,"....The downfall of America is coming because of the
ignorance of the people as sadly predicted by our founders."______________________________If that’s truly what the
founders foresaw, they sure went to a lot of trouble for nothing. Their purpose,
as stated In the Constitution, was to “secure the blessings of liberty to
ourselves and our posterity.” Some of that posterity they made
provision for has become pessimist and defeatist. But the founders themselves
expressed great optimism for the future.
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