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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Plus ça change...

...plus cest la même chose.

Ya think? I frequently bemoan the way that public "schools" (also known in my circle as "prisons for kids") are churning out an increasingly stupid product. But it's been going on for a long, long time. I don't have the source material behind this quote from an article by Jonah Goldberg, but I'm sure he does:

"...Just this month, the ABA (hint: the lawyer thing, not the bunch with the red, white and blue basketball), released a poll that found that 22 percent of Americans think the three branches of government are Republican, Democrat and Independent. In 1991 another ABA survey found that one-third of Americans didn't know what the Bill of Rights is. In 1987, 45 percent of Americans thought Karl Marx's dictum "from each according to his ability to each according to his needs" was in the U.S. Constitution. In 1964 (!) only 38 percent of the American people knew the Soviet Union wasn't in NATO."

Yeh, and besides being blissfully unaware of critical facts about their own government or world affairs, "the people" are the expression of democracy's wisdom at the polls.

One reason the Founders and Framers sought to limit the franchise was simply to eliminate as much of the "stupid vote" as possible. But pols today, of course, seem to want a stupid electorate. In fact, it's their primary protection against removal from power.