Archives for civics

Low Information Voters Twerking to the Bottom

low information votersWhere the culture goes, so goes the electorate and then eventually self-government. So where does that leave us? Apparently “twerking” before the ruling class.

For the newly initiated, “twerking” is described as a “low squatting dance” that involves “moving ones buttocks in a circular, up-and-down, and side-to-side motion; basically a slutty dance derived from strip clubs”. Miley Cyrus demonstrated on national television recently by grinding her rump up against her male co-star on stage. Real classy.

With each passing year, what passes for popular “culture” has become progressively more low-brow and increasingly sexed up. So-called “celebrities” are usually just famous for being famous. Others are sometimes “infamous” for video-taping themselves having sex and then pretending to be upset when it goes public (“That was private, I swear!”). Otherwise, why would anyone know who Kim Kardashian is?

Truly it has been a race to the bottom, going so far into the gutter that you really have to wonder what any of these poor celebrities can do to shock anyone into paying attention to them anymore. Soon they’ll have to start acting like radical conservatives in order to “rebel” and get noticed.

As the country marinates in this stuff we’re becoming overwhelmed with people who know all about who Kim’s “baby-daddy-who’s-not-her-husband” is, but don’t have a clue about the basics of American civics. In the last few election cycles we’ve even invented a new term for these people: “low information voters”. It’s a charitable term which should make the rest of us feel as hopeful for self-government as “low information brain surgeon” would if we were going in for an operation.

So, just how “low-information” are they? Several years ago a Gallup survey found that: 43% of Americans don’t know that the “judicial” is one of the three branches of government; 41% don’t know that their state is represented by two US Senators; 53% don’t know what the “Bill of Rights” is; and 66% can’t identify the document containing the phrase, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”.

A study in the 2001 Annual Review of Political Science found that “Despite huge increases in the formal educational attainment of the US population during the past 50 years, levels of political knowledge have barely budged. Today’s college graduates know no more about politics than did high school graduates in 1950”.

Feel better?

This makes it easier to understand how the ruling class can get away with incestuous corporate/government relationships that privatize profits and socialize failures, and the resulting massive public debts from bailing out institutions deemed “to big to fail”. Too many people are too stupid to know what’s going on, or too busy watching TMZ or Access Hollywood to care, much less know what to do about it if they did care. (“Look, another video of Kim having sex with someone she’s not married to is coming out! Isn’t she cool? Next, on TMZ!”)

With voters like these, it’s no wonder that our country’s fiscal policies deny the realities of basic arithmetic. With jurors like these, it shouldn’t shock us when a jury awards millions of dollars to someone who spills hot coffee on themselves. Why do you think liberals are less concerned about teaching more civics than they are about making sure we’ve got the right “cultural studies” requirements?

It’s almost like were slowly “terraforming” the country with idiots who are less likely to revolt or even know how. It reminds me of the movie “Idiocracy”, where a guy travels into the future to find everyone blissfully wallowing in self-imposed stupidity and sex obsession to the point of not knowing that they can’t grow food by watering plants with soft-drinks instead of water. He of course becomes their new leader.

Clearly our country needs either better civics (i.e. self-government) education, or some sort of reasonable limits on who can participate. Maybe add a simple question to voter registration forms like, “how many branches of government are there?” Anyone who gets it wrong is banned from voting for one year and is given their choice of either a remedial civics class or a subscription for celebrity sex tapes, (which would trigger a lifetime ban).

One has to wonder when (or if) “low information voters” will ever see the contradictions between their relationship to government and everything else in their lives. Will they ever begin to wonder why most things are becoming simpler and more individually customized, but they can’t get their education, health care or retirement plans the way they want?

It’s a little difficult for them to see (or understand) the conflict between their politics and their other preferences in life if they’re too uninformed to know the difference. Meanwhile, they’re twerking (literally or figuratively) in front of the ruling class, and getting what they deserve.

And they’re taking us down with them.