Are most people, including college graduates, civically illiterate? Do elected officials know even less than most citizens about civic topics such as history, government, and economics? The answer is yes on both counts according to a new study by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). More than 2,500 randomly selected Americans took ISI’s basic 33 question test on civic literacy and more than 1,700 people failed, with the average score 49 percent, or an “F.” Elected officials scored even lower than the general public with an average score of 44 percent and only 0.8 percent (or 21) of all surveyed earned an “A.” Even more startling is the fact that over twice as many people know Paula Abdul was a judge on American Idol than know that the phrase “government of the people, by the people, for the people” comes from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.Wow, that's incredibly lame for our nation, especially the elected officials.
What's you score? I scored an 82.8. Take the quiz here.
Freedom is impossible without responsibility, and for that reason I believe democracy can at any moment collapse. Democracy needs a populace of informed and responsible citizens. If the American project fails, it will not be the loss of freedoms but the loss of responsibility by the people.