Reading the February/March 2008 edition Scientific American Mind, I ran into a rather illuminating piece, called "Popular Delusions," on the prevalence of misconceptions the American masses seem bound to behold.
If we are to ever evolve past this limited and disadvantageous plateau of human understanding, identifying the source is the first step. Once identified, we are considerably more likely to move out of the dank tunnels of ignorance and into a place where we see ourselves as we actually are.
"According to polls conducted in 2003 and 2007, Americans held several misperceptions about the war in Iraq. For example:
- In March 2003, only 35 percent of Americans correctly perceived that most people in the world at large were opposed to the decision to go to war with Iraq.
- In May 2003, 22 percent of Americans said that Iraq had actually used chemical or biological weapons against U.S. troops.
- In September 2003, 24 percent of Americans believed that the U.S. has found evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
- In 2007, 33 percent of Americans still believed Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the 9/11 attacks."1
If you still would like to refute this, read the following quote and then click here: "On
The Source of our Delusions
The most illustrative and flabbergasting part of this Scientific American Mind article is that "Among those who used Fox News as their primary news source, 80 percent held one such erroneous view." In comparison," 55 percent of CNN watchers, 47 percent of print newshounds and only 23 percent of the PBS-NPR audience believed in at least one such myth."
I think the facts are indisputable here and suggest that unless one genuinely diversifies their news intake, especially with at least one publicly-funded body, they may find that up to 80% of what they believe on a specific issue is total farce.
Is Ignorance Bliss?
For, let us not forget the infamous words of Thomas Jefferson: "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government,"3 and if they are not?
We are likely to end up in more and ever-worse debacles than the Iraq War - Iraq may in fact be just a piece of the result of a generally ignorant American people and politicos.
1 "Popular Delusions."February/March 2008. Scientific American Mind.
2 Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda
3 Thomas Jefferson Quotes