Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Are the People Dumber Than Bush?

I've always resisted the popular trope that the American people are numbskulls, because of what that implies about democracy. But I'm being worn down, like sandstone in rushing water.

This a.m., nose4news sends me this essay by Paul Craig Roberts, who used to be a Reagan administration official, an associate editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and contributing editor of National Review. Those are SOME conservative bona fides! (And that pedigree pretty much sums up my resistance to the "American people are idiots" argument, because it is promoted so often on the hard right, among people who've never been all that devoted to the proposition that other mere mortals should have the same vote that they do. They basically share with El Presidente the overriding sensation that they are called by God to make decisions for everyone.)

Anyhow, maybe it takes someone with this cat's credentials to understand that Americans now constitute "a population in thrall to disinformation." He fingers Fox News as a chief purveyor. Roberts also cites a Fox/Opinion Dynamics poll that found that 60% of Republicans, 41% of Independents, and 36% of Democrats would support using air strikes and ground troops against Iran in order to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

"This poll indicates an appalling extent of ignorance and misinformation among the American public. The Bush administration will take advantage of this ignorance to initiate another war in the Middle East."

We used to call someone who took advantage of physical weakness a bully. We used to call someone who took advantage of inherent prejudice a demagogue. What do we call someone who takes advantage of ignorance, both his own and other people's? George W. Bush.

Roberts' summation: "There is no prospect of the Bush administration's imposing its will on the Middle East .... if Bush and the neocons don't know this by now, they are too dangerous to leave in charge of the US government."

No comments: