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Monbiot says it better

October 30, 2008

With regard to my recent post about the role of stupidity in American politics, George Monbiot gave the subject a rather more thorough treatment than me in today’s Guardian.

It’s worth reading the whole piece, but if you don’t have time, here are some choice snippets.

How was it allowed to happen? How did politics in the US come to be dominated by people who make a virtue out of ignorance? Was it charity that has permitted mankind’s closest living relative to spend two terms as president? How did Sarah Palin, Dan Quayle and other such gibbering numbskulls get to where they are? How could Republican rallies in 2008 be drowned out by screaming ignoramuses insisting that Barack Obama was a Muslim and a terrorist?

….

On one level, this is easy to answer. Ignorant politicians are elected by ignorant people. US education, like the US health system, is notorious for its failures. In the most powerful nation on earth, one adult in five believes the sun revolves round the earth; only 26% accept that evolution takes place by means of natural selection; two-thirds of young adults are unable to find Iraq on a map; two-thirds of US voters cannot name the three branches of government; the maths skills of 15-year-olds in the US are ranked 24th out of the 29 countries of the OECD. But this merely extends the mystery: how did so many US citizens become so stupid, and so suspicious of intelligence?

One theme is both familiar and clear: religion – in particular fundamentalist religion – makes you stupid. The US is the only rich country in which Christian fundamentalism is vast and growing

Nice one, George.

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