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Friday, November 21, 2008

Testing American Knowledge on Politics, Economics and History: Can You Pass It?

Cross posted from Snoopers Take Our Country Back.

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute created a 33 question test on political and economic knowledge and American history. The results were sadly predictable. The following article is a must read - follow the link and read it all:

More than 2,000 people were administered a 33-question test this Spring on American history and our political and economic institutions. Of them, 71 percent -- college and non-college educated alike – got a failing mark, ISI’s Josiah Bunting III said, presenting the study at a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Thursday. “It can truly be said that we are suffering from an epidemic of civic ignorance,” Bunting said. “The extent of failure is pervasive, cutting across every segment of the American population.

“Young Americans failed, but so did the elderly,” said Bunting. “Men and women, rich and poor, liberals and conservatives, Republican and Democratic, white, black, yellow and brown – all were united in their inability to master the basic features of America’s constitutional form of government.”

The overall average score was 49 percent – an “F” on any grading scale, he said. Liberals scored 49 percent, conservatives scored 48 percent. Independents and Republicans scored slightly better than Democrats (52 to 45 percent).
But it gets worse.

Only 32 percent of politicians can actually define what the free-enterprise system is – even though many of them may have campaigned for office pledging to defend it.

College graduates (whose average score was 57 percent), didn’t fare much better than those who didn’t get a college degree (whose average score was 44 percent).

“For each year of college attained, college graduates answered only one more question correctly than their high school counterparts,” Bunting said. “If you can get as much civic education from a library card and newspaper subscription as you can from an expensive college education, then something is terribly wrong with the activities on our campuses.”
The article is incredible in its honesty about where we are in this country intellectually. How a free people can defend what they do not understand is a question afraid to contemplate its answer. Our politicians appear more confused than our citizens, and our college educated may know the words but can't express the meaning behind them. We are like slaves bound by ropes in a cave, watching the shadows flit across the walls and thinking it reality. What we don't know endangers the shadows and the fire alike.

Take The Test Here. Clear your desk of books and cheat notes and test yourself. Use the results to strengthen your weaknesses and refine your knowledge. Only when you know where your knowledge ends and ignorance begins can you start to move forward the bar of competence.

If you're courageous enough, please leave your scores in the comments!