Wednesday, June 02, 2010

States of Unrest

States are unhappy with the federal government, for doing what they shouldn’t be doing - and not doing what they should.

We call our country the United States, and the key word is states. Washington has forgotten that. They united in 1776 to throw off an oppressive foreign government and establish their own, constricted central government. States prized their autonomy and strictly limited the new federal government when writing the Constitution. In case there should be any doubt about their intention about restricting its powers, they emphasized it again at the end of the Bill of Rights:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

That is the Tenth Amendment, and the federal government is behaving like it doesn’t exist. This is a problem as states are finding themselves more and more in conflict with Washington. They believe Washington is seizing powers the Constitution didn’t delegate. At least thirteen states filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming Congress and the president violate the Constitution by forcing a health care mandate on them without providing money to pay for it. So-called health care “reform” sparked a grassroots rebellion growing rapidly throughout the country over the past fifteen months. People are outraged when their congressmen vote for huge bills with enormous price tags that they haven’t even read.Conservative Americans expect the federal government to defend the country, coordinate interstate communications and transportation infrastructure, run the post office, and maintain a currency. Other than that, most want government to leave them alone to take care of themselves - and this may be the last place on earth where that’s true for a majority if citizens. Greeks riot because government isn’t doing enough. Americans in the expanding Tea Party movement peaceably assemble to protest because government is doing too much. To them, government as a necessary evil which should be as small as possible and they’ve set out to shrink it. They’re fed up with Democrats and Republicans who enable a bloated, inefficient and power-hungry federal government.How do the two old parties deal with Tea Party? So far, it looks like Republicans are trying to kiss up to them while Democrats and their mainstream media minions are trying to demonize them as racists or right-wing fanatics, but neither approach will work. To understand what the Tea Party is about, all they need do is read the signs. The first ones protested health care “reform.” Members knew more about the pending bills than their representatives in congress did, most of whom hadn’t read them. They were outraged that Congress would vote on something they didn’t understand. Now they’re protesting Nanny-state socialism, unaffordable entitlements and unsustainable debt. They’re trying to prevent Washington from squandering their children’s and grandchildren’s heritage and driving America off a cliff. Most are disgusted with Democrats and don’t trust Republicans.Other Americans, however, want government to take care of them. They’ve willingly given up their liberty to the Nanny State to be supported from cradle to grave, and they vote Democrat. The Democrat party sees 12-20 million illegal aliens who sneaked into our country as new voters after they pass “comprehensive immigration reform” which is code for amnesty. Democrats represent Americans who want to live off the labor of other Americans.

The federal government is abdicating its responsibility to defend the states. It’s not even pretending to control the invasion by tens of millions of illegal aliens anymore. Lately, it’s blatantly refusing. Border states like Arizona are overrun and trying to cope but how do the feds respond? US Attorney General Eric Holder has threatened to file suit against Arizona claiming it’s new law is unconstitutional, though he hasn’t even read it! US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano condemns the law too but hasn’t read it either though it’s only ten pages long. I give my eighth graders more to read for homework, but smug cabinet officers make threats against a state without doing theirs.

This is bad. How bad?

The president of Mexico went to Washington DC recently and accosted Arizona for trying to prevent an invasion by millions of Mexicans - which he encourages - in our Capitol! How did Congress respond? By giving him a standing ovation! This guy is president of a country run by warring drug lords, who encourages his people to sneak into ours with impunity while harassing poorer people coming into his country from the south. And he dares lecture Arizona for trying to deal with an invasion by hundreds of thousands of foreign scofflaws and criminals?

Allahpundit says it best on hotair.com: “If the feds can’t handle this issue, fine; just don’t cry when state and local governments decide that they can.”

43 comments:

Irregardless NH said...

Educator McLaughlin really ought to consider confining himself to pieces about Maine and Maine history. Those contributions are, at least, readable and at one with rationality.

Anything else is too rabid for newsprint. Or the Planet Earth.

Anonymous said...

Oh, goody, Tom has re-used the old photo-shopped picture of Obama looking like he is flipping the bird!!!!!

lol

Oh, god that is so funny....even funnier the second time around!!!!

Oh, how clever!!! Old re-hashed columns to fo along with old re-used photos...brilliant!!!

Maybe next week we will return to another old standby, the leather-clad gays!!!! Oooh, I can hardly wait.

You go Tom, you may not have much to work with but you milk it for all its comedic value!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work, Tom. The liberals and socialists get real excited when you drop a brick on their toes, don't they.

Let's take this country back!

Stephen said...

As Republicans and conservatives have scrambled to rally the support of the Tea Party movement, many have failed to take notice of some of the important inconsistencies implicit in the Tea Party message. A recent New York Times/CBS poll reveals some interesting information about the movement and its fundamental “principles.”
According to this poll, 91% of Tea Partiers want a smaller government with fewer services. Despite this hostility to big government, 62% of Tea Partiers believe that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are worth the cost (apparently no one bothered to tell them that Social Security and Medicare are evil Godless socialist programs). This would suggest that in order to achieve fiscal sanity the Tea Party believes that spending cuts are to be implemented elsewhere within the vast expenditures of the federal apparatus. However when one examines their beliefs on paying down the debt, the result is somewhat troubling. When asked whether they preferred deficit reduction or tax cuts, 49% of Tea Partiers said they would favor tax reduction while 42% would prefer deficit reduction.
So, tax cuts are preferred to debt reduction, and social security and Medicare are well worth the cost. This sounds less like a movement of mature fiscal hawks and more like one of whiny adolescents (who actually happen to be middle-aged) who want their current taxes lower and their future benefits higher. They are only concerned with fighting government spending that benefits other people and are desperately seeking to save their own precious benefits. They think the costs are well worth it and they have no intention of shouldering the burden themselves. These costs will be incurred by future generations whose taxes will be higher and whose benefits will be lower or nonexistent.
If Republicans and conservatives are serious about conserving and reforming entitlement programs (as they should be) they need to find ways to overcome this cultural mindset which believes rights and benefits come free of any obligations and responsibilities. They must come to realize that these obligations extend to their fellow citizens as well as future generations. Maybe in between talk of death panels and the rising specter of Marxism, the adults can return to this national conversation and take the lead.

http://www.frumforum.com/tea-party-hypocrisy

Anonymous said...

This "take our country back" stuff is funny. That was the rallying cry to oust republican leaders and we were very successful in taking our country back in '08. Singer Greg Brown had a great song with that very title. Can't conservatives come up with something of their own?

Anonymous said...

I really don’t understand the Tea Party movement. Do they not realize that they are currently the most hypocritical group of people on the planet? Or are they just too stupid to realize that their arguments make absolutely no sense? They bitch and moan about too much government control, unless of course the government wants to control something that they are in favor of, like same-sex marriage. They complain about President Obama supposedly taking away their civil liberties, but when Republicans trample all over our civil liberties, not a peep from them. They also complain about the recent health care legislation being unconstitutional, but do they not recall the Patriot Act and the suspension of habeas corpus by former President George W. Bush.
One of the current arguments made by the Tea Party is that they want less government control of health care, business, and their lives in general. We’ve all heard the argument that less government intervention and control is the way to go. I want the Tea Party to explain why they are in favor of controlling what Americans put into their bodies and what Americans do in their bedrooms. Why is the Tea Party in favor of the government telling us who we can marry and what we can do with our sexual partners in the privacy of our homes? You would have a hard time finding a Tea Party member who is in favor of same-sex marriage, and up until the early 21st century, 36 states had laws against sodomy. These laws present a textbook case of government control. Why doesn’t the Tea Party protest about this? The fact of the matter is, those affiliated with the Tea Party are perfectly fine with government control and regulation, as long as the type of control vibes with their personal agenda and beliefs. Either you are in favor of government control, or you aren’t. You can’t have it both ways, unless you’re hypocrite.
The Tea Party complains about President Obama’s health care plan, they say the mandate is unconstitutional. Where were they when the Patriot Act was being pushed through Congress? The Constitution strictly prohibits unwarranted search and seizures. Where was the Tea Party when this unconstitutional bill was being passed? Where were the protests? Where was the “revolution” that that they are calling for when George W. Bush was in office? They are hypocrites. Republicans can enact any piece of legislation they want without a peep from these hypocrites. Make no mistake; they don’t care about the Constitution. They are protesting because they hate President Obama and the Democrats, that is the ONLY reason.
Don’t be fooled, the Tea Party is comprised of hypocrites. They are only concerned with their own self interests. They don’t care about you or me. They only care about themselves.

http://www.theyoungturks.com/story/2010/3/31/0218/31644/Diary/Tea-Party-Hypocrisy

Anonymous said...

In a conversation with someone who voted for Obama, I asked their opinion of his performance so far. The reply I received was: "I'm so disappointed. He has not lived up to his promises, and there is no way I will vote for his re-election in 2012". Hindsight gives the ability to see through empty rhetoric.

MaineMom said...

I attended the 9/12 March on Washington and support the Tea Party Movement - FYI I did not support Bush signing the Patriot act OR Obama keeping it in place...there are many of us Tea Party folks who are Independents and free thinkers and who actually do want smaller government. Some of us have our eyes open and realize that no one party can change things Maybe some of you should actually try talking to some tea party folks, you may find you have more in common with some of us then you think. And BTY tea party members are for limiting budget/spending when you see the word deficit think budget, tea party members are for reducing the budget thereby reducing taxes. Can you believe that spending less would mean a reduction of debt - amazing, so I guess tea party folks (myself included) are for reducing debt AND deficit. By the way gay marriage is legal in NH so chill out on that one, the federal government has historically had no business in marriages - I have no idea why this topic was even brought up in response to Tom's article.

Anonymous said...

In a conversation with someone who voted for Obama, I asked their opinion of his performance so far. The reply I received was: "I'm so thrilled. I'll definitely be voting for him again!"

Reasons included:

Moving quickly to tackle the nation's worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression.

Swiftly winning passage of legislation aiding women who face discrimination in the workplace.

Significant legislation expanding veterans health benefits.

Winning major weapons system acquisition reform -- a rare bipartisan achievement.

Winding down involvement in Iraq and concentrating on Afghanistan, which Bush should have done from the beginning.


HEALTH CARE REFORM!!

DAWN said...

Good stuff Tom. God Bless the Tea Partiers! They are the sane ones and could very well be our ticket out of this mess.

So far every person (but one) that I know that voted for Obama regrets it. The one person is still on the fence and...

Go MaineMOM!

Anonymous said...

I noticed the reuse of the Obma photo as well. It seems that working with kids is really rubbing off on Tom as he comes off as incredibly juvinile. Would Tom condone the usage of such immature photos in a school report?

Granted, the photo fits very well with his sophomoric writing, and seeing how he seems to have little regard for being taken seriously it seems he can get away with such silliness.

Overall, another very humorous and entertaining column. Now I will return to my Mad Magazine to get more of the same.

Anonymous said...

regarding Obama photo:

Well, what else can Tom do? When do don't have any real ammo you are forced to make stuff up (altered photos) and use it over and over again. He is simply following the conservatives modus operandi - repeat lies over and over in the hopes that people will eventually believe them. Without reality on your side that is what you are reduced to.

Anonymous said...

Exactly! From death panels, socialist takeovers, freedom fighting to "charge of the light brigade," all are constant themes from the playbook. The intent is to say the most ridiculously bizarre things in order to make sure they get repeated. Whether or not it's true is of no concern. Eventually the crazy talk sticks in people's minds and becomes truth.

Fox News will repeat it enough that it becomes GOP gospel (they do it nearly every day). Like when she says that President Obama has ran up more debt than all 43 past presidents combined, something so laughable that only a complete idiot could believe. The crazier the soundbite, the greater the chance it will be cheered and applauded by Republicans and mindlessly repeated on Fox News and hate radio.

In the GOP Fantasy World facts mean nothing. They will believe nothing unless it's on their Fox News teevee sets.

Yes, this is the way Tom does things. He wins over NO new supporters, he simply throws poison meat to the rabid "believers".

Poor guy probably has dreams of being a real journalist, but with no talent he has stick to the attention grabbing lies. Still not to late for him to grow up though, my grandparents didn't give up on the conservative movement until their 80's.

DAWN said...

"he simply throws poison meat to the rabid "believers"."

too bad it gets taken from them tho; from the rabid unbelievers because that's exactly what they do best. Take from those who have (and do) and give to those who don't have. In this case, take the words from the "believers", twist them and regurgitate to the unbelievers".

Been happening since the garden of Eden so no surprise there. Same old bag of tricks.

oh and btw..."One man's poison is another man's medicine."

Anonymous said...

Dawn, get back to your bible land, the real world is too much for you.

Anonymous said...

Tom said:

"So-called health care “reform” sparked a grassroots rebellion growing rapidly throughout the country over the past fifteen months."

Grassroots? Is that how it is being spun? Pretty funny. Honestly, I can't tell if you are one who is spreading these lies knowingly or simply another gullible dolt.

The 'Tea Party' movement is not a grass roots 'movement'. It was 'cooked up' by a GOP-dependent political consulting firm and decided upon after numerous studies, analyses and focus-group sessions. It's all 'top down', the very anti-thesis of 'grass roots'.

This movement has no interest in representing the real concerns of real people. It's raison d'etre is the preservation of the welfare state and by that I mean the 'corporate welfare' state. It is also dedicated to, defined by an equal commitment to the 'warfare' state from which only the Military/Industrial Complex benefits.

The tea bagger movement owes its very existence to Fox News which it adores and depends upon for misinformation, i.e. anything designed to reinforce or encourage their prejudices. It is the 'top down' product of the corporate/fascist establishment and mentality that brought you 'corporate personhood', in fact, 'corporate privilege'/people enslavement!

The tea bagger movement is a by-product of the blind eye given Halliburton-BP, the corporate authors of disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. This is the mind-set behind the Reagan 'tax cut' of 1982 which began the transfer of wealth upward so that now just one percent of the population owns more than 95 percent of the rest of us combined.

The tea baggers are enemies of Democracy and our republic.

Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Anonymous said...

"Other than that, most want government to leave them alone to take care of themselves "

Unless it comes down to having the government enforcing what goes on in peoples bedrooms.

Ralph said...

"At least thirteen states filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming Congress and the president violate the Constitution by forcing a health care mandate on them..."

Anybody want to take a wager on the success of these frivolous suits? I'll bet dollars for donuts that they are unsuccessful.

What a waste of state funds during the an economic crisis. Just what we need - delay, obstruction, hypocrisy and political gamesmanship.

As Cal Jillson says, (a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Texas) the Constitution says laws passed by Congress trump state laws.

"We've got a very conservative Supreme Court, but they're not about to overturn 200 years of Constitutional history and interpretation and declare that the supremacy clause is no longer in effect,"

Anonymous said...

"To understand what the Tea Party is about, all they need do is read the signs."

lol

Holy cow, this sentence had me busting a gut with laughter. Go ahead, google TEA PARTY SIGNS! See for yourself what they are all about!!!

"DON'T STEAL FROM MEDICARE TO SUPPORT SOCIALIZED MEDICINE"

"Make English America's OFFICAL language"

"If you can read this sign YOUR smarter than Nancy Pelosi"

"Respect ARE country"

"Obama - LIER in chief"


The movement appears to be about a bunch of ignorant imbeciles!!!!

Anonymous said...

You would think a history teacher would take the time to read, and learn, the Constitution. Not our Tom, nope, he bases a whole column on how he mistakenly believes power is delagated. No wonder our school children are suffering.

"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding."

U.S. Const. art. VI, Paragraph 2

Tom McLaughlin said...

I suspect those misspellings were mostly plants by leftists trying to make the Tea Party look bad.

Americans are tired of smug, Ivy League elitists running our country into the ground.

Obviously they still impress you and your ilk, but you'll be in the minority on the first Tuesday in November.

Anonymous said...

The signs were leftist plants!!

lol

I suspect that YOU are a leftist plant trying to make far right conservatives look bad!!

Trying to make the tea party look bad?!?

As if they need help in that regard!

Oh, and I am VERY tired of billionaire elitists ruining our country in the name of uncontrolled capitalism. I too will be doing my best to vote out incumbents...not many of them seem to be doing a very good job.

Anonymous said...

Lawsuit Abuse, GOP Style The state attorneys general efforts to block health care reform aren't just wrong. They're frivolous.

By Simon Lazarus and Alan

Usually it's Republicans who complain about "lawsuit abuse"—frivolous claims brought without legal merit. And yet that description perfectly fits the complaints filed to challenge the new health care reform law as unconstitutional. The Justice Department says it intends to ask the courts for immediate dismissal. If DoJ gets its wish, the courts should also seek sanctions against the politically motivated attorneys general who filed them.

These cases are all but sure to be promptly tossed out of court for procedural reasons obvious to a first-year law student.


The attorneys general are surely aware of these fatal weaknesses in their legal theory, but those procedural barriers appear to be of no importance to them. Several of the AGs, including lead plaintiff Bill McCollum, are featuring the suits in their campaigns for higher office. And, of course, the suits make for great talking points in a general campaign to discredit health care reform.

Most lawyers would agree that if a case is filed in the teeth of well-established procedural barriers that obviously preclude a court from getting to the merits, that case is legally frivolous. The remedy is that the lawyers who brought the action should be required to pay the costs of defending the action, or otherwise sanctioned by the presiding judge. Given the grandstanding of these attorneys general, they have flouted in particular the federal procedural rules forbidding cases from being filed for "an improper purpose." If this isn't lawsuit abuse, it's hard to know what would be.

Steve said...

Tom - I admire your patience with all the anon posts that have nothing to do with your written topic. You've written about how media, left, and right have reacted to the Tea Party yet the anon's see this as an opportunity to smear your name and question everything except your opinion. In the article you mention Tea Party 3 times - comments total well over 30. This article is <10 paragraphs long and the Arizona bill is 10 pages long. If the opposition to the law can't read 10 pages, I suppose I should expect your opposers to read your 10 paragraphs.

As far as the picture goes and its reuse - who cares. Like I haven't seen a photoshoped Bush photo.

Keep up the good work Tom!

Anonymous said...

I notice Steve (nor Tom, except for his wacky conspiracy theory)could dispute anything said against the juvenile column.

Keep up the good work guys!

Tom McLaughlin said...

It's not a matter of can't dispute. It's a matter of not wasting time. I can tell by your tone that you're not interested in debate, but only trying to grandstand.

I will say that as for use of the word "delegate," it's in the 10th amendment as I quoted. You don't seem to realize it, but that's part of the Constitution since 1791.

As for the lefty plants? Check here:

http://www.frugal-cafe.com/public_html/frugal-blog/frugal-cafe-blogzone/2010/04/16/infiltration-fail-left-wing-tea-party-fakers-foiled-photos-of-soros-paid-statist-crashers/

Anonymous said...

Steve, when you whine about posts that don't relate to the column were you referring to Dawn's posts or to the anon who went on about Obama voters he suppossedly knew? Or mayber you meant the anon who babbled about bricks on toes?

Anonymous said...

Good excuse, Tom! You COULD debate the matter intelligently but you choose not to!! I get it! You LIKE looking like a dope who can't defend his own statements!

Let's carry on our conspiracy theory games....I say that the so-called "plants" are really double-agents who are trying to hide the stupidity that runs rampant amongst them by trying to make it look like the stupid ones are "plants"! Follow that? Boy, aren't these tin-foil hats fun?

Ah, but let's get back to your refusal to defend yourself because it is a wast of time. Why then are you defending the dopey sign-holders? The only conclusion I can reach is that it is the only thing that you feel you have a chance of successfully defending....although a conspiracy theory defense doesn't bode well for you.

DAWN said...

"Steve, when you whine about posts that don't relate to the column were you referring to Dawn's posts"

Why are you bringing me up? What did I say that was off topic? Usually when someone does this it's to make themselves look not so bad in comparison. Instead of standing on your own two feet you have to drag another in to help hold up your rear? Stand on your own and don't drag me into it.

My second post was a direct response to an Anon (was it you?) who doesn't know what he's talking about. So if you don't like my answer (or anyone else's) then don't make stupid comments.

Sam Bucknam said...

"Americans are tired of smug, Ivy League elitists running our country into the ground."

I get it now. Tom was once rejected from an Ivy League school so now he is like a woman scorned. LOL.

Oh, and Dawn, you're still a moron.

Anonymous said...

"Americans are tired of smug, Ivy League elitists running our country into the ground."

I get it now. Tom was once rejected from an Ivy League school so now he is like a woman scorned. LOL.

_________________________________


Can you believe it? A so-called educator who frowns upon people getting educated!!!

Hilarious if it didn't come at the expense of his students...god forbid he steers them onto the path of being intellectual.

Tom certainly does have issues with education. Perhaps he WAS turned down from a good college? Perhaps he realizes he is not the sharpest tool in the shed and resents smarter people. Who knows, but sad indeed.

Anonymous said...

While surfing the web to try and understand this weird disdain for smart people, I cam across this comment:

...because they [intellectuals] are capable of cutting through all their BS rhetoric. If you ever notice, they usually bury you in a mountain of rhetoric and sophistry. But once you wade through all that and show them their faulty logic and sophist tricks, they resort to name calling and other childishness..



BINGO! I think this nails our childish Tom perfectly.

Anonymous said...

Did anybody hear Paul McCartney's quote when he visited the Whitehouse? He said he was glad we have a liberal intellectual in the Whitehouse instead of an anti-iintellectual.

Anonymous said...

The really far out/far right wacky covservatives have no choice but to be anti-intellectual. Just look at their last president. Look at their new hero (Palin). Look at the babbling morons like Rush, Beck, Hannity, Savage, Coulter.....all lacking in intelligence. Hell, if these people were smart themselves then they wouldn't be wacked-out conservatives on the lunatic fringe.

Asking why people like Tom are against intellectuals is like asking the proverbial fox why he doesn't like grapes.

Anonymous said...

DAWN SAID:
What did I say that was off topic?

Well how about this tidbit about the only Obama voter you know...

"So far every person (but one) that I know that voted for Obama regrets it."

There was also that babbling about the garden of eden....

DAWN said...

"DAWN SAID:
What did I say that was off topic?

Well how about this tidbit about the only Obama voter you know...

"So far every person (but one) that I know that voted for Obama regrets it."

You've got to be kidding me!! You mean my response to the Anon who posted right before me?

I just love to see all the anons coming out talking about intellect.

So far mentioned here are liberal-intellects and anti-intellects as if that's the only choice. How about anonymous intellects? Is there such a thing?

Priceless!

Anonymous said...

Dawn, you are babbling again....focus.

Larry M. said...

Here is an article from AlterNet / By Terrence McNally -

(you can get the full article on their website)

How Anti-Intellectualism Is Destroying America


Sad but true: Intelligence is a political liability in the US. Author of The Age of American Unreason Susan Jacoby explains why.

August 15, 2008 | "It's like these guys take pride in being ignorant." Barack Obama finally said it.

Though a successful political and electoral strategy, the Right's stand against intelligence has steered them far off course, leaving them -- and us -- unable to deal successfully with the complex and dynamic circumstances we face as a nation and a society.

Larry M. said...

More on this from The Guardian:

How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington

The degradation of intelligence and learning in American politics

George Monbiot The Guardian,

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?

Like most people on my side of the Atlantic, I have for many years been mystified by American politics. The US has the world's best universities and attracts the world's finest minds. It dominates discoveries in science and medicine. Its wealth and power depend on the application of knowledge. Yet, uniquely among the developed nations (with the possible exception of Australia), learning is a grave political disadvantage.

There have been exceptions over the past century - Franklin Roosevelt, JF Kennedy and Bill Clinton tempered their intellectualism with the common touch and survived - but Adlai Stevenson, Al Gore and John Kerry were successfully tarred by their opponents as members of a cerebral elite (as if this were not a qualification for the presidency). Perhaps the defining moment in the collapse of intelligent politics was Ronald Reagan's response to Jimmy Carter during the 1980 presidential debate. Carter - stumbling a little, using long words - carefully enumerated the benefits of national health insurance. Reagan smiled and said: "There you go again." His own health programme would have appalled most Americans, had he explained it as carefully as Carter had done, but he had found a formula for avoiding tough political issues and making his opponents look like wonks.

It wasn't always like this. The founding fathers of the republic - Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton and others - were among the greatest thinkers of their age. They felt no need to make a secret of it. How did the project they launched degenerate into George W Bush and Sarah Palin?

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? Susan Jacoby's book The Age of American Unreason provides the fullest explanation I have read so far. She shows that the degradation of US politics results from a series of interlocking tragedies.

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.

MaineMom said...

Larry,

Could you please list the source of the following stat:

"one adult in five believes the sun revolves round the earth."

DAWN said...

"The US is the only rich country in which Christian fundamentalism is vast and growing."

Larry:

Actually this isn't true. And if this isn't true what else in your piece isn't true?

Christianity is growing rapidly in Communist countries like China for instance. The underground churches in Muslim and communist countries are stronger than the churches here. They have more at stake.

My husband is a Pastor. We have contacts all over the world. My husband actually says this country needs a little persecution because it's when the tough times come that people genuinely turn to God.

Right now, in this country we see either half empty churches or mega churches filled with mostly non-believers. It's only when things start hitting the fan does it become evident who is real and who is counterfeit.

Also as far as the students are concerned. You ask any teacher and they'll tell you that almost nobody goes to church anymore. If they were to have hands raised in response to how many go to church on a regular basis they'd be lucky to get three hands in one classroom go up.

So don't blame religion as a factor for kids' lack of knowledge. In fact almost all homeschoolers are schooled by very strong Christian parents and they have the public schools beat by a mile. Ask any college admissions.

So you may want to rethink your last statement. That is so far from the truth you have no idea.

pinko said...

The racist sombrero photo is a nice touch, Tom.

As always, this sophomoric bit of agitprop would be greatly enhanced by photos of burly leather clad gay men.

Anonymous said...

Could you please list the source of the following stat:

"one adult in five believes the sun revolves round the earth."



http://www.gallup.com/poll/3742/new-poll-gauges-americans-general-knowledge-levels.aspx


What is way more frightening than that is that almost one-third of Americans claim to take the bible literally!!!!!