It cannot be said enough: Dumbing down the populace has always improved the GOP's ability to get people to vote against their interests. AlterNet's Sarah Seltzer looks at some of the dumb things that Americans apparently believe, most of which is due to right wing demagoguery on the issues:
We’ve gone far beyond Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness” into a more “truth-be-damned” environment; what Rick Perlstein described in the Daily Beast as a “mendocracy. As in, rule by liars.”Here are some examples of recent ways we have made inroads in ignorance:
- Polling data during and after last week’s midterm elections suggested that many Americans genuinely believe President Obama has raised their taxes -- even though the reality is that our president actually lowered them for most of us. This means that people trust pundits like Rush Limbaugh, a major force behind spreading that lie, over the numbers on their own tax returns.
- Another recent phenomenon? Half of new Congressmen don’t believe in the reality of global warming. It’s not that they don’t just disagree on the source or the severity of the problem. They flat out don’t think the world is getting warmer--despite the evidence outside their windows.
- The new Congress will probably try to restore millions of dollars of funding for scientifically inaccurate, largely disastrous abstinence-only curriculum in schools, many of which have been shown to spread lies like "condoms don't work" and "abortion causes cancer."
- News outlets picked up a wildly inflated and completely outlandish claim from an Indian blog that Obama’s trip abroad cost $200 million a day--and listeners have swallowed it. (In this case, the White House flat-out denied it.)
And that's only the tip of the idiotic iceberg.
- Nearly one-fifth of Americans think Obama is a Muslim. Thanks, Fox news, for acting like this was a matter of opinion, not fact.
- 25 percent of Americans don’t believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution while less than 40 percent do. Consider the fact that several of our newly elected officials, specifically newly elected Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, share that belief.
- Earlier this year, nearly 40 percent of Americans still believed the Sarah Palin-supported lie about "death panels" being included in health care reform.
- As of just a few years ago, about half of Americans still suspected a connection between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of September 11, a lie that was reinforced by none other than Dick Cheney.
- While a hefty amount of this demonstrable cluelessness gets better as the respondents get younger, all is not well in the below-30 demographic. A majority of “young Americans” cannot identify Iraq or Afghanistan--the places their peers are fighting and dying--on a map.
- Two out of five Americans, despite the whole separation of church and state being a foundation of our democracy thing, think teachers should be able to lead prayer in classrooms. So it seems those right-wingers clamoring to tear down the wall between church and state aren’t the only ones who don’t know their constitutional principles.
- Many Americans still believe in witchcraft, ESP and other supernatural phenomena. Does that explain why Christine O’Donnell was so quick to deny her “dabbling”?
- Speaking of antiquated religious beliefs, about a decade ago, 20 percent of Americans still believed that the sun revolves around the earth. That's just sad, considering that even the Vatican has let Galileo off the hook for being right.
- Only about half of Americans realize that Judaism is the oldest of the three monotheistic religions. Other examples of wild misunderstanding about religion and the separation of church and state can be found in this fall’s Pew survey on Americans’ religious knowledge.