American Ignorance

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Image links to Big Think Article

Big Thinks’ Steven Mazie looks into the knowledge gap of us Americans. He considers both the whys and why nots and even touches, whether he meant to or not, a Huxley idea. Now, I will be the first to admit that I couldn’t answer all the questions. I am not the all knowing of everything, but I am tired of knowing jack and am slowly working to fix that. Follow the link for a video.

“Facts are important, of course, and responsible citizenship requires a basic familiarity with some of them. But I am beginning to tire of the stream of commentators who are shocked — shocked — to find out that so few Americans are wise to the details of federal budget expenditures and nationwide, big-picture snapshots and trends. Weak civics curricula, partisan propaganda and misplaced priorities of the mainstream media all share some blame for American ignorance. But leaving these scourges aside, how would anyone develop an intuitive, educated layman’s idea about America’s wealth distribution? You probably know how much you have, and you might have a sense of how wealthy your neighbors and co-workers are, but why would you have any sense of how many hundreds of millions of dollars Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has? Or how many billions are stuffing the portfolio of NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg? Or how many Blankfeins and Bloombergs there are in the United States, and how much they own collectively? On the other end of the spectrum, how would you know how much the bottom 20 percent have, and how little wealth they command relative to the riches of other quintiles? These are all important questions for our polity. I don’t mean to say they are inconsequential. But for average Americans busy with jobs, school and their families, poring over demographic and budgetary data just aren’t likely pastimes.”

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