“Stupid is as Stupid Does These words uttered by Forest Gump in the movie of the same name, pretty much describes Americans, at least in the eyes of Charles P. Pierce, in his book, “Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free.”

I would like to report that Pierce is off base in his assessment, but the book's first chapter, "Dinosaurs with Saddles," makes the truth painfully clear. The author correctly shows how Americans ignore or discount expertise in favor of “gut feelings.”

This is how Idiot America engages itself. It decides, en masse, with a million key strokes and clicks of the remote control, that because there are two sides to every question, they both must be right, or at least not wrong. And the words of an obscure biologist carry no more weight on the subject of biology than do the thunderations of some turkey neck preacher out of the Church of Christ’s Own Parking Structure in Deland, Florida. Less weight, in fact, because our scientist is an “expert” and, therefore, an “elitist.”

As Pierce points out, many Americans believe that freedom of speech means their opinions count just as much as an expert’s, they don’t, yet, that doesn’t stop them from believing things that are not only preposterous but just flat wrong. Twenty percent of Americans believe the sun revolves around the earth. A large number of these people vote on issues that affect all Americans.

The theory of evolution and global warming are just two glaring examples among many that Americans allow "gut-feeling" to override expertise, according to Pierce. Whether or not Pierce is correct, he raises the correct points and in a country where 75% of high school graduates never buy another book, it is not surprising.

I have only touched on one-example brought out by Pierce, but the entire book is filled with example after example of what stupidity in America is doing to the country. I characterize the book as a reference for assumptions because it lists examples of how the “gut” overrides concrete thinking and leads to division based on quackery, fiction and rumor.

Is "Idiot America" worth the read? To the informed, it is nothing surprising and strong verification of what they already know. For the "gut instinct" people it is just further proof that as a Dover, PA pastor said, “We’ve been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture.”

That sums it up nicely. Read and enjoy.

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Comment by Pat on October 8, 2013 at 8:38am

There's a redneck comedian (don't know who), who's tag line is, "You can't cure stupid." Unfortunately, it's more of an accurate statement than one would wish. Donald, you're absolutely correct about the combination of morons we both know. There's times when I just scratch my bald head and mutter (loud enough where I can be heard), "You've got to be shitting me! No one can be that f&*king stupid!" Again and unfortunately, I'm wrong and not only can they be, they are.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on October 8, 2013 at 7:59am
Isn't it amazing! The sad thing is I know many of these people. Combined with the people you know makes for a smorgasbord of idocracy of unbelievable proportions. My friend tells me the government is coming to get our guns. I told him that if that were the case it could help with the government shutdown in that it would give much needed work to those furloughed from their jobs. I tried explaining the logistics of such an endeavor. It didn't make a dent. He says the UN has passed a resolution to make us turn in our guns. I told him that without the US there is no UN. Again, blank stars. I wondered why I even tried. Perhaps, I was the idiot after making two tries when I instinctively knew it wouldn't make a difference.
Comment by Pat on October 8, 2013 at 7:30am

While this video is 4 years old, it sadly still holds as true today as it did in 2009.

Comment by Michael Penn on October 8, 2013 at 6:51am

My opinion counts as much as yours. Jebus came from Venus, and once upon a time we all lived on Neptune. Well, you can't prove that it isn't true!

Comment by Loren Miller on October 8, 2013 at 6:18am

Sadly, this is nothing new, nor a particularly original observation:

What America needs to learn, perhaps more badly than anything else, is that sometimes, indeed more frequently than it wants to acknowledge, there are NOT two sides to a story, that there is truth vs. wishful thinking, evidence vs. myth, and complex reality vs. simplistic dogma.

The sad fact is that a great deal of the American population will need to be slapped upside its head hard enough to break bone before it acknowledges this ... and even then, it may choose not to.

Comment by Steph S. on October 8, 2013 at 5:47am

I think I will get this book.



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