T Nation




This blows me away, 1 in 1000 people can't name the first amendment freedoms.
I remember back when I was a freshman in college, a prof having the class name all of the Brady Bunch family (including the dog), but no one knew more than two supreme court justices. This I can kind of understand, but one in one thousand not knowing our basic freedoms? I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I guess I am.


You mean the answer is not "freedom fries" and "freedom toasts?"


You have the right to remain silent?


Why, this is SHOCKING! Simply shocking........and to think we are supposed to be EVOLVING.....?

Seriously, if you look at some books and articles from 100 years ago or so written for the average guy, you would see that we have certainly "dumbed down" as a society. Watching TV 2-4 hours a day, as many Americans do, leave little time for more mind expanding pursuits such as reading.

Therefore I am not surprised at all. In fact, there are many people who cannot even name who their elected officals are, while they could easily name the most popular movie, actor, etc.


The right to remain silent is inferred from the fourth admendment.


Wasn't there an issue a few years ago where some kids couldn't even point out America on a globe?

If they don't even know where they live, I am not surprised that they don't know First Amendment Rights. Just to be honest, aside from those of us arguing with each other about politics, scientific data, or ancient history on this site, how often does ANYTHING like that come up in your daily life? Does anyone here argue anywhere else about the shit we debate on this site?


I was trying to make a funny.


The right to remain silent is inferred from the fifth.

I guess I should not be shocked at the numbers in the study, but it still blows me away that we have so many people touting their freedoms without knowing where they came from, and thus I would imagine, not fully understanding them.


I was going to respond too, but I did not know if you were making a funny because you are from up north. Speaks volumes that you know enough to make a funny, when 1 in 1000 Americans don't.


Good point.

I seem to go months without "debating" any political point.


I agree partially; most of our (I'm assuming) daily conversations with "real" people center around the weather, sports, entertainment, food, etc.

But...this is sixth grade stuff! I'd wager that virtually no one above the age of 25 does algebra on a daily basis, but wouldn't you expect that people could do a BASIC problem, if asked?

Maybe it's naviete on my part, maybe it's being around kids who have been taught this stuff recently, but when I meet someone who is totally oblivious to the facts that make up modern (and especially American) life, it still does surprise me.


I agree to a point, while it can be fun to discuss history, science, and what not, most of these things do not make up part of our daily lives, knowledge of algebra may not affect us in any way. I do think that most of us here could relearn that sixth grade algebra problem if we had to though, and with all the current events going on, there are a lot of folks opening their mouths that should be relearning some basics about our government.

An example, Bush and the domestic spying issue, how many folks out there are complaining about these policies infringing upon their rights, but they don't know what their rights are?
You have a good point about the sixth grade knowledge though, and this survey is only testing what people know off the tops of their heads. It could be possible that many Americans just grow up with this stuff and take their freedoms for granted.

Although I was born an American, I was not born in America, and did not move here until high school, and I am willing to bet that many immigrants who have moved here look at these things a little differently because they did not grow up with them, and did not learn them until they were older and thus they became more meaningful.


I've seen this asked different ways, with different results.

When the question says "First Amendment rights", people lock up because they don't know specifically what is mentioned in the First Amendment. When the question says, "Constitutional rights" people tend to come up with more of them.


This is because the government doesn't want you to know the constitution and your constitutional rights so they can slowly taken them away without you knowing it.


I watched some sort of reality show not long ago. They were stopping people at random and asking them very basic questions about government. It was surprising what people didn't know.

Many didn't know who the most recent former President was. They didn't know who the current VP was.

Not good.


Well the liberals have near absolute control over the education system. At some big teacher's union recently, more than half the resolutions they drew up were politically motivated, and only like 12 dealt with actual classroom learning.
This is not to say a conservatively dominated education system would be any better, just saying the liberals are the ones to talk to.


This post was pure idiocy. Blaming the liberals for why kids don't care about government? The liberals are who you talk to? Two of the loudest conservatives in this forum are teachers. This truly makes me wonder just how many people see the world in "conservative and liberal". What a fucked up way of thinking.


They do stuff like that all the time on Jay Leno. My wife thinks it's hysterical, but to me; it's frightening just how little the American public actually knows.


I have looked at old Physics and old Calculus texts from the late 19th and early 20th century, and we are definitely on a downward path.

This reminds me of Orwell's 1984, where words and concepts (like freedom) are simply eliminated from the language.

I realize, of course, that only a privileged few went to university (or even high school!) not too long ago, but there is no question that the material is much easier today.

It is quite likely that we, like cattle, will be controlled and managed simply because we won't know any differently.


Read the teaching philosophy of John Dewey. Real eye-opener. Dewey and his minions at Columbia wanted to eliminate individualism and individualist-thinking, in favor of group thought. Their dream was to turn the United States into another Soviet Union.

I am not making this up.

Dewey is the 'father' of our educational system.