By Fred Reed for the Saker Blog
Listening to Biden prattling about democracy, democracy, democracy, and how we must save American democracy from swarming threats to democracy, with the insistence and urgency of a starveling aluminum-siding salesman, I am filled with wonder. Convincing people that they live in a democracy is a lot of work, like pumping air into an inner tube with a leak. America is no more a democracy than it is a potted plant.
Functional Illiteracy at Fourteen Percent in America: Department of Education
Functional illiterates cannot fill out a job application, manage a checkbook, read a simple story in a newspaper, or use the social media. Those who can’t read don’t, and another large number who can barely read don’t either. At a low estimate they must amount to a quarter of the population. They vote.
Democracy is best suited to towns of a few hundred people who, however dim of wit in many cases, may understand such questions as should we build a new school which will cost me so many dollars in higher taxes. Even here the more crafty and avaricious will likely prevail.
Shocking Facts: 23 Statistics on Illiteracy in America
A problem in democracies—“democracies”—is of course that the dim, the inattentive, and those who are both dim and inattentive, will always outnumber the bright and informed. However, the syndrome worsens as the domain upon which the electorate is to make judgement expands from town to state to country to world. The number of unintelligent is constant. The number who are insufficiently attentive rises with the complexity of things needing attention. A cardiac surgeon is no fool, but has work, medical literature he needs to read, family, and a hobby or two. Little time is left to worry about semiconductor sanctions against China or Washington’s desire for Russia to invade the Ukraine.
Americans Know Literally Nothing About the Constitution
“Take your pick from this bouillabaisse of ignorance:
* More than one in three people (37%) could not name a single right protected by the First Amendment. THE FIRST AMENDMENT.
* Only one in four (26%) can name all three branches of the government. (In 2011, 38% could name all three branches.)
* One in three (33%) can’t name any branch of government.“
People so innocent of political grasp can have only the most vaporous notions of pressing political questions. They are either fools with minds best suited for working as gardeners or so little engaged with the surrounding society as to achieve the effect of being fools while still able to find their way home at night. Still others are not unintelligent but not interested. None of these should vote.
One in Four Americans Thinks the Sun Revolves Around The Earth
“A quarter of Americans surveyed could not correctly answer that the Earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around, according to a report out Friday from the National Science Foundation.”
This is so astonishing that one might suspect it of coming from some crackpot blogger with no girlfriend living in his parents’ basement. But no. The National Science Foundation is about as respectable as they come. A quarter of the population are at the level of an undiscovered tribe living in the rain forests of the Amazon Basin and eating grubs fished from rotting logs. Little prospect exists that people in such darkness know much of anything else. Yet we encourage them to vote.
Several Baltimore Schools Report No Students Proficient in Reading, Math
“Six Baltimore City schools — five high schools and one middle school — were found to have not a single student who scored proficient in math or reading in 2016, Fox News reports.”
Others schools had only a handful of literate students. Math results were as grim. These “students “will be around for another fifty years if they are not shot, virtually unemployable. Yet they can vote.
The schools mentioned are all black, and similar figures would come out of similarly black schools in many other cities. What does this say about “democracy “in America?
Gallup: Forty-six Percent of Americans Believe in Creationism
The distribution of intelligence being symmetric, half of the population are below average. A man with an IQ of 90 is not actually stupid, doesn’t mumble or bump into things, and can successfully raise a family and drive a truck. Yet he is unlikely to grasp the foreign policy of the United States or, really, to have heard of it. If he has any knowledge at all of public affairs, it will be at the level of The Russians are bad, wherever exactly Russia is, so we need to spend more on Our Boys in Uniform.
A lot of people get their news from television, the medium of the illiterate and semiliterate. Obviously, not everybody who watches television is illiterate, but everybody who is illiterate watches television. Many don’t watch the news at all, it being complicated and mysterious and talking about the inexplicable and unknown, such as Kazakhstan and Nordstream Two. The consequence is that if MSNBC and CNN say over and over that the Chinese are doing something terrible, most will believe it. Judging by the intellectual level of much of television, a sentence with a dependent clause will exceed the capacities of many. They vote.
Lincoln famously said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” You don’t have to. Being a politician, he didn’t add that you can fool enough of the people enough of the time, and that is enough. This is the basis of American democracy.
77% Of Students At One Baltimore High School Read at Elementary, Kindergarten Level
”In reading, 628 Patterson High School students took the test. Out of those students, 484 of them, or 77%, tested at an elementary school reading level. That includes 71 high school students who were reading at a kindergarten level and 88 students reading at a first-grade level. Another 45 are reading at a second-grade level. Just 12 students tested at Patterson High School, were reading at grade level, which comes out to just 1.9%.”
Democracy? A democracy of fools is no democracy. It allows the very smart, concentrated in New York and Washington, the governing suites of major corporations and, nowadays, the distributed wunderkind of the tech firms, to run the country from behind the scenes. Whether intended or not, the drive to lower the voting age and enfranchise the ghetto populations serve only to further diminish the pitiable competence of the electorate and allow the elites to keep these untermenschen out of the hair of their betters.
Pelosi says she backs lowering voting age to 16
“I myself have always been for lowering the voting age to 16,” Pelosi said. “I think it’s really important to capture kids when they’re in high school, when they’re interested in all of this, when they’re learning about government, to be able to vote.”
The less bright, less informed, and less experienced of life are easier to mold and manipulate. Who could be better than children?
If America wanted a functional democracy, which it doesn’t, it would, first, raise the voting age to 25 or 30. The idea that adolescents of eighteen with no experience of life beyond libidinous frat parties, much less sixteen-year-olds, can vote intelligently is silly. (Not that I have anything against libidinous frat parties. They just aren’t qualification for voting)
This would require a recognition that voting should be a privilege, not an entitlement and that government should be done by people able to do it.
Second, a demanding version of the old literacy test would serve wonderfully. This should demonstrate at a minimum a reading fluency of political ideas express in standard English. A reasonable grasp of world geography and American government might profitably be required. Perhaps a measured IQ of 120 or better should be in the mix.
This would make the bamboozlement and competitive shooing of the puzzled much, much harder, which is why it will never fly with the elites who find an electorate of the easily led congenial.
These measures would also screen out various minorities disproportionately. They would also ignite the resentment against the bright and cultivated that forms the bedrock of American society.
Comprehensive ignorance extends to groups many of whom are presumably well educated. Consider the following:
Poll: 44% of liberals say more than 1k unarmed black Americans killed by police in 2019
“According to the Washington Post database, regarded by Nature magazine as the “most complete database,” 13 unarmed black men were fatally shot by police in 2019. According to a second database called “Mapping Police Violence”, compiled by data scientists and activists, 27 unarmed black men were killed by police (by any means) in 2019.”
This shows that forty-four percent of liberals are incompetent to vote. If the misestimate is reduced to five hundred, many more believe it. Similar numbers could probably be compiled for conservatives on other questions, conspiracy theories being promising candidates.
Race is the most dangerous, destructive, and intractable problem facing America, yet these people are too stupid, lazy, inattentive, emotional, or worm-eaten by ideology to have even a faint grasp of what is happening. But they vote.
If liberals, a category including academia, the media, and a great many of the highly educated believe such wildly erroneous numbers, it is likely that blacks, a group in large part poorly educated, believe these things at a higher rate. Do you suppose convincing them that they are being slaughtered en masse improves race relations?
The very bright will always rule, though not always obviously. An IQ of 140 is said to be entry level for Wall Street. This excludes well over ninety-nine percent of the population. Mike Pompeo, while a wretched human being, was first in class at West Point and editor of the Harvard Law Review, Hillary a National Merit Fninalist, putting her in the upper .5 percent of test-takers in Illinois. Bill was a Rhodes scholar.
Intellectual mediocrities will often be in prominent positions, Joe and Kamala being examples, in Congress and the White House, these being storefronts for the very smart. The brains, and the power, are in the shadows. But, methinks, a genuinely bright electorate would be less likely to anoint freaks and rogues.
Interesting question: What would be the effect of requiring an IQ of 130, the cutoff for Mensa, to vote? The idea will arouse shrieks from an American public famously resentful of excellence except in football. (I am reminded of a fellow fourteen-year-old in Athens, Alabama who, seeing me reading a book on biology, said angrily, “You ain’t no gooder’n me.”) A test for voting of course runs against the current policy of enfranchising the mentally lame and halt. Would the upper two percent of the population do a better job of electing leaders? They would certainly be much more difficult to con.
I will now go to the American Legion in Chapala, which makes really good huevos rancheros, which I will accompany with a double bourbon, and pretend that things aren’t as they are. Sometimes, it works.
re: If America wanted a functional democracy, which it doesn’t, it would, first, raise the voting age to 25 or 30
Yes: Most people are considered to be legally grown-up by the time they reach 18 years of age, but neuroscientists have said that the human brain may not have fully reached maturity until age 30, give or take a couple years.
I consider I raise adults, not kids. They’re not living on my couch for life.
There can be no democracy in the presence of a media which deliberately lies to and misinforms the general public according to instructions given by the body politic.
The only purpose of the opinion poll is to monitor the effectiveness of media misinformation and propaganda.
They feed you a diet of lies, then conduct a poll to find out how many people were effectively brainwashed.
Let’s all keep in mind that for the rulers of the West the word “democracy” is a propaganda code word for the control of the social space by private money power. Marxists call it bourgeois individuality. And “capital fetishism.” Very accurate designations in my opinion. And that all orbits around individuals controlling the social space with their private money power. Nothing democratic about this “democracy” at all. So for these desperate propaganda maniacs democracy really just means totalitarian capitalism. But they think they can sell that by calling it “democracy.” It is a democracy devoid of human connectedness, which is just the way they want it.
So they are hell bent on controlling how we think of “democracy.” Control the democracy narrative and you control the world. But it appears more and more that both China and Iran (Zone B) have a much better grasp on real democracy than the Western rulers. Functional Democracy needs an internal self maintenance mechanism to hold it together and the bourgeois West has none of that. So Western democracy rots. When China, Cuba, Venezuela and Iran operate their versions of coherently self managing democracies the West tries to condemn it has “authoritarian.” But that is just another propagandist lie.
Control the democracy narrative and you control the world.
Everything will fall into place…
In defense of the dumb Americans, the best and brightest, i.e., the elite, steered the ship of state into the ground
I don’t think we can assume that all our illiterates are dumb. The genetics of our population haven’t changed in a generation or two, though it has been striking lately that high school age kids are baffled by making change, but are still apparently all that retail stores can find.
Back in early September I asked a teacher, given that kids used to learn to read and do basic math in school, and now they don’t, why is that? She agreed that they don’t and said, not enough time, which puzzled me, since I hadn’t been paying attention to the woke movement or the CRT etc. agendas.
We seem to have been doing terrible things to our country’s children, besides the masking etc.
Voting should be done by people able to do it.
(Quotes and answers)
Functional Illiteracy at 14% in America.
Answer: Then teach them better.
Americans Knows Nothing about the Constitution
Answer: Then teach them better.
One in Four Americans Thinks the Sun Revolves Around the Earth
Answer: Then teach them better.
Several Baltimore Schools Report No Students Proficient in Reading and Math
Answer: Then teach them better
46% of Americans Believe in Creationism
Maybe they also believe in the evolution of species, but realize that evolution does not explain the origin.
77% of Students at a Baltimore High School Read at Elementary, Kindergarten Level
Answer: Then teach them better.
Just 1,9% of students tested at Patterson High School, were reading at grade level.
Answer: Then teach them better.
In the 50s even 18 year old kids had generally more knowledge than 25year old “kids” of today.
Answer: Then teach our children of today better.
I asked a teacher why kids used to learn to read and do basic math in school, and now they don’t? She said, not enough time to each pupil.
Answer: We have accepted a dumbing down educational system to replace actual education of our children since the 70s. Thus we can’t assume that all illiterates are dumb.
The less bright, less informed, and less experienced are easier to manipulate.
A democracy of fools allows political Agents in Government, the governors of major corporations, the tech firms, and the MSM to run the country from behind the scenes, by hijacking democracy.
Part of the problems is a media which deliberately lies and misinforms the general public in Fascist conspiracy with political agents operating on behalf of Global finance and Global corporations.
In defense of the dumb, even the brightest (The Globalist Elite) have steered western society into the ground. As they are bright, they could not have done so out of stupidity. Thus it must have been by willful design.
You assume there exists a mass of professional teachers who can impart critical knowledge skills to children. They do not exist at this point in time.
K-12 teacher education is all about creating those persons who will indoctrinate the young. Anyone who is not willing to be subsumed into the collective is weeded out.
Education requires parents, in the home, who value education over entertainment.
I do not assume that there exist a mass of Teachers who can impact our children’s critical knowledge skills, as they don’t exist no more. Since the 70s western teachers has been taught (and have accepted) the (Globalist Elite Dynasty) Rockefeller educational curriculum and today teachers must educate children about equal rights, sexual deviations, team work, and political correctness.
This leaves little time to educate a much larger class quotient of pupils about critical skills, than back in the 70s.
Igor wrote: “K-12 teacher education is all about creating persons who will indoctrinate the young. Anyone who is not willing to be subsumed into the collective is weeded out”.
My comment: I fully agree.
Igor wrote: Education requires parents, in the home, who value education over entertainment.
My comment: Yes, sadly we have to start all over again, by building up an educational system which is able to teach our children those most basic skills.
And the parents are the first who must realize and react to the dumbing down of our children.
They are no longer taught the skills, critical to make an independent logic decision.
i listened to andrei martyanov on liz truss’ visit to moscow. he makes a strong case for the western elite being imbeciles. contradictory?
If America was a democracy, then we’d get a chance to vote on the question of whether we want WW3. And not by electing some stooge we can’t control, but a direct democracy national referendum.
Are you in favor of America starting World War III? Yea or Nay?
Let us hear the voice of the American people.
“By the time you got to the first Bush administration, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, they came out with a national defense policy and strategic policy. What they basically said is that we’re going to have wars against what they called much weaker enemies and these have to be carried out quickly and decisively or else there will be embarrassment—a way of saying that popular reaction is going to set in. And that’s the way it’s been. It’s not pretty, but it’s some kind of constraint.”
““Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.”
Ahh… the Ledeen Doctrine.
A rare moment of honesty from within the US elite. I do use the word ‘elite’ guardedly.
Hicks aren’t dumb right mr freed?? Of course. I thing like the bright Anglo sax
Complementary to the many explicit examples of ignorance listed in the article, the author is generous enough to provide insight into his own personal dimensions of ignorance by stating “A quarter of the population are at the level of an undiscovered tribe living in the rain forests of the Amazon Basin and eating grubs fished from rotting logs.”
This combined exposition indicates a very good understanding of the problem’s existence, but minimal capacity to understand its essence and the constructs most relevant to a usefully remedial response.
the suggestion here seems to be .. if only the population was capable of accessing and digesting information, then we would have a democracy.
Nope .. there is not even a foothold for democracy if there is no free access to a full spectrum of information untainted by perception marketing -> no unfiltered, untainted info = no democracy (so education is not needed for US style democracies).
Western democracy is periodic theatre designed to guarantee the public has no influence on the process of government – merely give the pubic a sense of being participants in choosing from a selection of actors who play the public face of government.
ps: government is whatever controls you .. that includes corporate power. Government via Corporate Power totally beyond public voting .. education and info regardless.
Ain’t free market capitalism great, which works to destroy any country and ours is well on its way, no hi-speed rail which all industrial countries have, no re-built cities seeing homeless camps are the new norm the lack of education the lack of a viable health care program but yet think the rest of the world should be the same way.
“I say So, so it Is like that” (USA elites at their best)
I do not know the origins of the word democracy , but I think it implies “Inclusivity” in intellect and action . Psychologically, the opposite of inclusive is “Identified” / biased . A democratic intellect is open, embracing and expanding (borderless). The dualistic opposite to inclusive is “excusive” . An exclusive intellect is closed. identified and shrinking.
Politics & Religion are exclusive in nature, hence non-democratic. Both institutions are biased (one idea reigns supreme above else) and violent. As for American politicians infatuation with the word democracy , I personally think it is play acting as in a Hollywood movie. In fact I think American politicians are paid actors & success depends on how well they can play their roles.
Going through the article I get the feeling that the writer thinks that voting is democracy. Hence the voracity of the process is negatively affected by certain disqualifying features such low IQ , low education & race. I wonder if the basis of such confusion are not McCarthyism.
In “The emperor’s new clothes”, it is the child which sees and utters the obviuos, whilst the adults are conditioned and afraid, keep silent.
Accordingly, the Canadian truckers, the IQ 90 guys as the author puts them, are seeing the nonsense and act. Whilst the high IQ guys worship some “raising numbers”.
Agreed. Upton Sinclair said that it is very hard to make a man understand something, if his salary depends on him not understanding it.
Since 1986 we have been taught about man made global warming by carbon dioxide emissions. After all that teaching, how many of us know the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere?
. . . Thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth (25%).
Well, this is a statistical increase from prior numbers, since after the second war it was closer to 90% of the population who felt this way, and something like 99% just a few decades before. Yes, fundamental reality, has shifted dramatically in a hundred year’s time, so it mustn’t be overlooked that such great strides in furthering the cause of civilization by the education of the population has results like this. Of course this only leads to secondary questions, because if it’s possible to show basic results like this in cosmology, why can’t similar results be seen overall — such as a basic improvement in the cultural development of homo sapiens? Unless we are to believe that in the past it was always worse, and dumber; which very many people do, since it’s common belief that before the silicon chip there were endless eons of rampant masculine toxicity, i.e. traditional societies. Although some few have opposing views and state that modernization is a death knell to genuine culture, and therefore the death of everything isn’t far behind it, because man’s spirit simply can’t breath in this polluted milieu of modernism. But we have a correct view of the Sun as solace for our deathbed, as it swiftly sets toward the twilights of our existence, and we may have the last laugh on our countless unknown ancestors who for millennia foolishly believed their own senses in thinking the heavens revolve overhead — what dupes!
“Worthy endeavor with an interested motive nearly always results in the exact opposite of what was intended. Thus, education aimed at producing literates for industry produces illiterates for anarchy. The more motorways the more accidents, the more psychiatrists the more lunacy, hypochondria burgeons with health service, and delinquency with remedial prisons.” Malcolm Muggeridge love, love him!
America is nation to preoccupied with pleasure and its pursuit. This is what wealth ultimately does it creates Disney world and Disney land for the masses. It’s become such that regular folk are even turning their own backyards into their own theme parks. Watch pool kings.
When one has reached the place of having need of nothing because well you have everything who cares really about what is occurring elsewhere until that is your retirement disappears?
Will voting in a democracy then save you?
The effect of only allowing people with an IQ above 130 is that soon we will find we need to raise the requirement to 140, then again to 150. Soon only one small group will be in charge, just like now.
I tested into Mensa when I was an undergrad, and went to some of their get-togethers. I realized these were not people I wanted to hang out with. Nor were they the sort I would like to see “in charge “
If there is one thing that I absolutely love about the Bible it is these words:
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Why? Because isn’t that what the human race so desperately needs? A way to test / judge the thoughts and intents and attitudes of the heart and thereby learn whose one enemies are and who are ones friends!
No democracy or any other political structure could ever hope to accomplish the same.
I agree. Understanding requires much more than high IQ. IQ measures mostly pattern recognition. You don’t have to know very much nor have much life experience to get a high score.
Great! Democracy, but only for the Ivy Leaguers. That will definitely solve it (not). And as if the vote equals democracy. When was the last time in the USA that an employee was allowed a say in how the business was being run? Hint: never.
The USA is the most hyper-individualistic society on the planet. If someone succeeds, well it is wholly and solely down to their own individual merit. And if someone fails, it is wholly and solely down to their own personal deficiencies. USAmericans are constitutionally incapable of appreciating the benefits of collective action in pursuit of the collective good. You know, things like decent schools, libraries and health care. If you want to raise a USAmerican’s heart rate, just introduce into the conversation the topic of communism, or even just common garden socialism. You will soon have them frothing at the mouth.
Fred Reed appears to be no exception to any of this.
“Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens
Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page
Each of four theoretical traditions in the study of American politics—which can be characterized as theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic-Elite Domination, and two types of interest-group pluralism, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism—offers different predictions about which sets of actors have how much inﬂuence over public policy: average citizens; economic elites; and organized interest groups, mass-based or business-oriented. A great deal of empirical research speaks to the policy inﬂuence of one or another set of actors, but until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions against each other within a single statistical model. We report on an effort to do so, using a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues. Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent inﬂuence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism. “
“…either fools with minds best suited for working as gardeners ” I saw what you did there…. Chance.
““Six Baltimore City schools — five high schools and one middle school — were found to have not a single student who scored proficient in math or reading in 2016, Fox News reports.” Can such institutions creditably be called schools.
What is ignored is that these numbers were quite different in years gone by. The results you see are the results required by the educational, media, legal and religious systems as currently guided by our elites “liberal” and “conservative”. The game has always been to keep the rabble distracted and docile. Perhaps instead of telling us how effective they have been (We’ve seen that up close for far too long) perhaps you might opine on what might make them less effective, other than, of course, proposing additional disqualifying criteria.
this sort of filtering for the right to vote is something I’ve argued for since my 20’s, and most people think me nuts for advocating it.
And these things of absolute idiocy in terms of basic competence re the right to vote are an issue in the UK too and other Western countries to a similar extent, which is exactly how the elites like it..
Nice to see I’m not alone in believing this, but nothing will change.
Count me as one of the dim bulbs, since I believe in creationism, however I can still see the havoc that U$ foreign policy has wreaked on the rest of the world, all for the benefit of Jew banksters on Wall Street, and the MICIMATT.
You needn’t worry, however because I don’t vote any more. Because in my voting lifetime, since 1968, when has there ever been anyone to vote FOR, instead of simply voting AGAINST someone else? When has either of the two major parties been anything but two wings of the same plane that is on fire and descending rapidly?
Would lowering the voting age, or allowing dummies like me to vote, really change anything? I think I heard Roseanne Barr say that if voting changed anything, it wouldn’t be allowed. I would support making the legal voting age around 25, though. My criteria for voting would be 25 years of age, valid identification, and most important of all, all prospective voters must present a form 1040 before casting the ballot. If you aren’t paying taxes, then you have no say, damn it.
The cutoff for a job as a Chinese government official is also an IQ of 140. Just sayin’..