Saturday, February 16, 2008

Why Dumb Americans Are The Best

By Walter E. Williams
Posted: March 14, 2001
1:00 am Eastern

© 2008

It's generally agreed that American primary, secondary and,
increasingly, undergraduate education is a failure. But that
assessment depends upon just what evaluation criteria is
chosen. By some criteria, American education might be
deemed a remarkable success. Let's look at it.

Pretend you're a politician or high-level bureaucrat seeking low
accountability standards, as well as more power and control over
American lives. Which would you prefer: ignorant and uninformed
constituents, or ones who are educated and informed? Would you
prefer constituents who evaluate public policy proposals in terms
of emotion, soundbites and speaker delivery styles, or would you
prefer constituents who could clearly think through and
dispassionately evaluate public policy?

I'm betting that on balance politicians and bureaucrats, seeking
power, control and lower accountability standards prefer
ignorant, uninformed and emotional clients and constituents.

You might be a politician wanting to keep more taxpayer earnings
in Washington. Your strategy for that goal might be to employ
demagoguery by claiming your opponent's across-the-board
tax proposals are simply "income tax cuts for the rich." You
might make a pretense of concern and compassion by demanding
that any income tax cuts should be for those "working
Americans" who are in the bottom half of income-earners.

Surely you wouldn't want Americans to be so informed as to know
that the lower half of income-earners pay only 4 percent of the
total income taxes. Informed Americans would see through your
scheme and quickly recognize that income tax cuts aimed at the
lower 50 percent of income-earners are no tax cuts at all.

Say you're a politician who wants to disarm Americans with
piecemeal encroachments on the Second Amendment. You'd
surely want Americans to believe that the framers gave us the
Second Amendment so that we can go deer and duck hunting. You
would not want Americans to know that James Madison said during
the constitutional debates, in Federalist Paper No. 46, "The
Constitution preserves the advantage of being armed which
Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation ...
(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."

No comments: