Are Americans Stupid?


I was listening to Bill Maher’s Real Time show because I dig the format and he often has great guests on there, but I have to tackle Maher’s take on the Jonathan Gruber comments that Americans are stupid. Maher agrees that Americans are stupid. He thinks he’s some rebellious commentator by “having the balls” to say it. Nah, Maher’s as much status quo as Bill O’Reilly or Rachel Maddow, but the slickness of HBO’s production shields it some.

Anyhow, are Americans stupid? If you look at some statistics on “what Americans know,” decent swaths of Americans don’t know a whole lot about basic operations of the government or they say they like the Affordable Care Act, but hate Obamacare. Things like that. But I have three points to that:

1.) Let’s grant for the sake of argument that some or maybe more Americans are in fact stupid, if you believe the metrics and think they are good metrics for intelligence: So? I can’t abide by elitism. I can’t abide by the streak that stains progressivism and has since the days of Woodrow Wilson: We know what’s good for you, you stupid person, so let us take control and guide the workings of the economy and so forth. Even if I agreed that Americans are stupid, that doesn’t mean I want to put intelligent people in charge of running things. Because I don’t want anyone running things. Intelligent people are especially dangerous with power precisely because of their intelligence.

2.) I’m not totally convinced, as I mentioned above, that metrics on civic government are a good marker of intelligence or at the minimum, it’s certainly not comprehensive. Moreover, overlapping with the elitism theme, people lead busy lives with the problem of immediacy (i.e. problems that are impacting them right now, bills, kids, relationships, etc.).

3.) Related to #2, I consider myself “tuned-in” to politics and even I’m not going to sit here and sift through 974 pages of the Affordable Care Act. Maybe the problem isn’t the “stupid Americans” but the “stupid government.” Maybe people are tuning out because the beast of government is too large to wade into.

Nah, it’s just stupid Walmart-going fat fucks that need our paternalism.

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