An Ignorant Electorate

Kathleen Parker notes the results of a recent survey on basic civics knowledge among a cross-section of our voting population. The results are not encouraging.

Out of 2,500 American quiz-takers, including college students, elected officials and other randomly selected citizens, nearly 1,800 flunked a 33-question test on basic civics. In fact, elected officials scored slightly lower than the general public with an average score of 44 percent compared to 49 percent.

The cause is pretty obvious: Public education no longer promotes basic civics studies like they used to. So our pool of prospective voters (and public officials) is increasingly ignorant of the foundation principles upon which our nation is built. Instead, they base their political decisions on celebrity endorsements or populist rhetoric.

The result is exactly what the founders of our system of government sought to avoid: the rule of the mob.

The founding fathers . . . weren’t so enamored of The People, whom they distrusted. Hence a Republic, not a Democracy. They understood that an ignorant electorate was susceptible to emotional manipulation and feared the tyranny of the masses.

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