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We still have a ways to go...don't we?

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  • We still have a ways to go...don't we?

    From Bob Harris, over at


    By now you've seen the recent poll which finds that a third of Americans mistakenly believe that WMDs were found in Iraq, and about 22 percent think Iraq actually used WMDs during the war.

    Sounds bad, right? But let's put these figures in perspective, courtesy a quick visit over to, where I pulled out a few numbers, all from recent major polls, just for fun:

    Of American adults, at least 18 years of age...

    65% couldn't describe the basic facts about Watergate
    56% think in war, the media should support the government over questioning it
    48% say the news media acted responsibly during the Clinton Wars
    45% characterized Watergate was "just politics"
    43% attended religious services in the previous 7 days
    40% believe the media was biased in favor of Bill Clinton
    35% say the government should not fund stem cell research
    34% think Rock and Roll has had an overall negative impact on America
    33% believe a wife should "submit herself graciously" to a husband
    30% say the Bible is the "actual word of God" to be taken literally
    29% think people will be "more likely" to afford college for their kids in 2020
    28% disapprove of labor unions on principle
    28% say the government should have the right to control news reports
    27% believe divorce is "morally wrong"
    26% thought various disasters in 1999 might "foreshadow the wrath of God"
    26% think grade-school teachers should be allowed to spank their kids
    24% describe themselves as interested in what celebrities think
    21% told a pollster they'd never met that they had cheated in a relationship
    21% say justice was served in the O.J. Simpson case
    20% approve of the how the Catholic Church handles pedophilia
    20% believe that the killing of civilians in Vietnam was "relatively rare"
    15% were upset at Diana Spencer's death like "someone you knew"
    12% think the United States should have a British-style royal family
    11% stockpiled food and water in advance of Y2K
    11% think "Titanic" was the best American movie of the 20th century
    11% would like "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" as their personal physician
    10% would eat a rat or an insect on a "reality" TV show
    10% think it's advantageous to be a woman in American society
    10% believe Oswald acted alone
    10% say they are "very likely" to become rich someday
    8% could not name a single TV network
    8% fear they are "very likely" to be shot or badly hurt by a stranger
    7% think Elvis is possibly still alive
    6% say Garth Brooks is the best male singer of the 20th century
    5% are ?very afraid? of thunder and lightning
    5% would be "more likely" to buy food labeled as genetically modified
    3% wanted to see the questions on "Millionaire" become less difficult

    So... what to make of all this?

    1) A measurable percentage of Americans will say pretty much any damn thing you can imagine.

    2) Looking at the other opinions floating around 20 percent, I'd say that the extent of lunatic public perception of WMDs is, if anything, surprisingly low, given the constant drumbeat of bullshit coming out of the White House and megaphoned by the press for much of the past year.

    3) About the same number of people who think it's an advantage to be a woman in America would eat a rat on live TV. Clearly, we've got some work to do on the whole gender-equality thing.

    4) Speaking of social progress, there sure seems to be a remarkably consistent hardcore of about 25-30 percent who seem to be living sometime in the late 19th century at best. Beatings as a form of education? Wives submitting graciously? Vengeful gods screwing with the weather?

    Gallup really ought to quiz these people in a little more detail; after all, there's a lot we still don't know the Spanish menace in Cuba, how to handle an acute case of quinsy, and this schoolteacher concocting folderol about our forefathers descending from monkeys.

    So one-third of Americans mistakenly think we found WMDs? Great. We can work with that. After looking at these numbers, I'm just relieved 30 percent don't think Saddam's disembodied wraith is looming in a vengeful stormfront, ready to deflower the womenfolk, lead our children into Satan's bosom, and force the men to read science books.

    end quote

    When it isn't simply hilarious, it's sometimes pretty damned scary to find out just how misinformed some people are...
    I have no problem at all with being proved wrong. Especially when being proved wrong leaves the world a better place, than being proved right...

  • #2
    As a geographer I am sensitive to US geographical knowledge. I should find some stats on how ****-poor Americans are at knowing where things are in this world. It comes as no surprise that if a significant portion of people don't know what nation lies to our north that those same people are going to have stupid responses regarding anything outside of our borders.

    For such an advanced nation, we sure have a lot of ignorant citizens.

    Our forefathers died to give us freedom, not free stuff.

    I write books about zombies as E.E. Isherwood. Check me out at


    • #3
      It's like this in every country .

      Put a bunch of people together and there's no limit to their stupidity. The only real legacy of man.
      "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

      – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Siberian HEAT
        As a geographer I am sensitive to US geographical knowledge.
        I remember the girl in high school who could not discern the land from the sea in the outline maps we were given. Even though the land was full of borders.
        ...a man that can stand up for a principle and sit down on his own stool.
        -the Firesign Theatre


        • #5
          It looks like Bob Harris got his information from the polling statistics listed at

          Harris obviously disagrees with the beliefs of the respondents in every statistic he cites, and some of them truly are objectively unreasonable. But some of the beliefs Harris cites are simply a matter of taste (favorite movie/ best male singer of the 20th Century, etc.) or debatable political controversies like Watergate and the Clinton impeachment.

          But his bias really comes through when he cites religious beliefs, for example:

          -- 43% attended religious services in the previous 7 days

          What’s wrong with that? Is this is a “bad” thing? Does it matter which church/temple/synagogue one attends? Gee, given that 94% say they believe in God, I would have thought this number would be higher.

          And then there was this so-called statistic:

          -- 33% believe a wife should “submit herself graciously” to a husband

          But if you read the poll, you'll see that the actual question was:

          “The Southern Baptist Convention recently issued the following statement: ‘A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband, even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.’ Would you agree or disagree?”

          Agree 33
          Disagree 56
          Not sure 11
          Wifely Submission

          So why did Harris lie about the question? Why didn’t he reveal that 33% believe that a wife should submit AND that husbands are commanded to love their wife, AND to provide for them, AND to protect them, AND to lead their family? Gee, maybe the real question didn’t fit in with Harris' political agenda.

          Another example:

          -- 27% believe divorce is “morally wrong”

          Is that bad? Don’t most marriage ceremonies include some kind of vow before God to stay together? Should it be considered morally indifferent to break such a vow? If you read the poll, you will see that the same people answered that:

          -- 31% believe the death penalty is morally wrong.

          What unenlightened reactionaries! Fry ‘em all! Or:

          -- 93% believe that married people having an affair is morally wrong.

          How can this be? Everyone knows that we are no longer shackled by archaic notions of fidelity – just ask your wife!

          Moral of the Story: take polls with a grain of salt – especially when they are filtered and distilled through the pen of a Left-wing political hack.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Schreck

            Moral of the Story: take polls with a grain of salt – especially when they are filtered and distilled through the pen of a Left-wing political hack.
            Don't worry, the right-wing political hacks are just as bad..... So in the end, the hacks cancel each other out. This is why we need political hacks, to achieve balance within the system


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