My latest favorite Internet quiz is one with some real substance. Our Fading Heritage is a program provided by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute American Civic Literacy Program. You may take their CIVICS QUIZ here.
The major finding from three years of doing this quiz, the survey and the study related to it:
* Americans Fail the Test of Civic Literacy
* Americans Agree: Colleges Should Teach America’s Heritage
* College Adds Little to Civic Knowledge
* Television—Including TV News—Dumbs America Down
* What College Graduates Don’t Know about America
I scored a 90 percent, 30 out of 33, missing three economics questions (#’s 27, 31, 33) , admittedly my weakest area – although I did answer the other economics questions correctly.
Leave a comment if you take the quiz. I’d love to know how you did, and what you thought.
My chief complaint, other than it being an internet quiz which can only tell us so much, is that is assumes rather uncritically that free market capitalism is the best economic system available. In the last century, arguably the two most successful economic programs our country has seen were the New Deal and the Great Society reforms. Both of these packages of socially oriented economic efforts were socialist programs. Both aimed to provide for the Commonweal, they aimed to ward off poverty for millions of our citizens, especially the most vulnerable and most at risk including our elders and our children, they tackled foundational social issues such as jobs, education, health care, and equal access. They were about the promise of America and all of us being in this together. Unchecked free market capitalism brought us the Great Depression and our current mess. So, not that capitalism per se is an evil or that socialism is a divine cure, but, to keep in mind that the survey just takes that as a given that capitalism is the THING.
The survey is excellent in reminding us about Jefferson, Lincoln, The Constitution and Declaration of Independence and MLK – and what did these people and documents actually say – do YOU know?
Average score for ALL Americans taking the test was 49%; college educators scored 55%. The truly frightening part was that the average score for elected officials taking the test was 44%. No wonder we’ve spent the last 8 years shredding the Constitution – none of the people doing it know what is in it! As Jesus said, “forgive them, they know not what they do.” Literally, in this case. There ignorance doesn’t forgive their behavior, but it seems we may have gotten the PATRIOT ACT, and rendition and wire-tapping, and a President who thinks it’s the President’s job to declare war (The Decider) instead of Congress’ because, well, they actually didn’t know. Now that’s just plain frightening. And the next time someone suggests YOU run for office, don’t think for a minute you’re less qualified than they people who are in office, because after you take this test, you might find out just how much more qualified than our current pols you actually are.