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Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth…
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Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth About the American Voter

by Richard Shenkman

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While I appreciate the fact that others are not as political as I may be, I find it appalling how ignorant and lazy the American voter can be. John Dewey, American philosopher from the turn of the century, "warned that in a consumer society, which at the time had not fully materialized, voters would be hard-pressed to fulfill their responsibilities as citizens given the available distractions. A people who spend their evenings atending movies, listening to the radio and taking automobile rides would take less interest in politics, making them increasingly vulnerable to manipulation" ( )
  lindap69 | Apr 5, 2013 |
A fascinating account of how the American voter has and continues to expect to be entertained and appeased rather than study the character (or lack thereof) and issues of our time. ( )
  jocraddock | Aug 25, 2010 |
Spoiler alert: We're really stupid. Don't read this if you're easily frightened. ( )
  ejp1082 | May 17, 2010 |
"Just How Stupid Are We", written by Rick Shenkman, might be the first book that has unequivocally substantiated my long time belief that we are really stupid people. It uses political elections to portray the public’s stupidity, and how easily the masses are swayed. It lays out factual data and mixes in his opinions on how easily politicians shift the public to vote one way or the other. I love it when he states things like how the masses are more interested in Palin's daughter giving birth out of wedlock. The gossip garners more attention than the fact that Biden was booted out of the 1988 Presidential election for Plagiarism.

The historian gives examples of several different elections showing us how we might back into good candidates, or we might elect people who are really just as dumb as all of us. Everyone is simply swayed by rhetoric and good speaking skills. The point is that no matter who we elect, we do it based on sheer stupidity. Now that I have read his book it makes much more since how Palin was thrust into our national spotlight to begin with. Nothing against the card carrying NRA Governor but please, is she really that interesting.

Keep in mind that Rick Shenkman is a liberal so his ideas of good and bad decisions may not necessarily coincide with us stout conservatives, but he does make some valid points. One of my favorite quotes is when he states, "I presume that a majority still do not know that the only country that has used nuclear weapons in a war is their own." Obviously he is speaking of us when he talks. I remember a few years back hearing of a study that asked random citizens where New Mexico was located and a large percentage didn't even know it was a state. Mexico is down south.

Whether you believe his political conclusions and support his liberal viewpoints or not, it is a very interesting read. How can we as the people be opposed or support a war in Iraq when most of us can't even find it on a map. Makes you wonder what they are teaching in our schools and who exactly is not getting left behind. One thing is for sure, Obama is black and he was elected President. That is a huge move in the right direction to unite our country, now if we can only figure out what this Congress thing is that everyone keeps talking about and who controls it we might be in business.

I would consider this book a must read for everyone and after you are done you will most likely subscribe to that newspaper you have long since given up on. The internet is a wonderful tool but we seem to be losing touch with what our nation is about. Electronics be damned, I can't understand how that little hanging chad didn't get punched all the way through to begin with. ( )
2 vote DuncanMoron | Apr 14, 2010 |
Full review can be found at my website
  SherryPeyton | Jun 29, 2009 |
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Shenkman, Richardsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0465077714, Hardcover)

Levees break in New Orleans. Iraq descends into chaos. The housing market teeters on the brink of collapse. Americans of all political stripes are heading into the 2008 election with the sense that something has gone terribly wrong with American politics. But what exactly? Democrats blame Republicans and Republicans blame Democrats. Greedy corporate executives, rogue journalists, faulty voting machines, irresponsible defense contractors-we blame them, too. The only thing everyone seems to agree on, in fact, is that the American people are entirely blameless. In Just How Stupid Are We?, best-selling historian and renowned myth-buster Rick Shenkman takes aim at our great national piety: the wisdom of the American people. The hard truth is that American democracy is more direct than ever-but voters are misusing, abusing, and abdicating their political power. Americans are paying less and less attention to politics at a time when they need to pay much more: Television has dumbed politics down to the basest possible level, while the real workings of politics have become vastly more complicated. Shenkman offers concrete proposals for reforming our institutions-the government, the media, civic organizations, political parties-to make them work better for the American people. But first, Shenkman argues, we must reform ourselves.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:30 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Bestselling historian Rick Shenkman takes aim at the wisdom of the American people. He writes that American voters are misusing, abusing, and abdicating their political power.

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