or: Agnocracy in Action?
Drum points us to this by Jeff Stein. It's a follow up to this. It's not for the faint of spirit. It is, to say the least, not going to increase your confidence in those who govern us.
If our elected officials really are this ignorant, then they are, in effect, governing us blindly. This is a very bad thing. Look, you don't--or at least shouldn't--pick a doctor primarily because of his bedside manner... An affable but ignorant guy poking around in your guts with a scalpel is just a friendly killer. But this seems to be how we choose our leaders--on the basis of the analog of their bedside manner.
I think we should demand that reporters routinely quiz lawmakers about this sort of thing. And the results should be tabulated and made public.
Stein indicates that some other agency officials and members of congress have known the answers. But he doesn't tell us what the actual percentages are like, and probably hasn't done enough interviews to know. But the preliminary data suggest(s) (damn quasi-plural terms) a fairly alarming and depressing hypothesis about how much our leaders know and how much they don't.
Look, this seems like an extremely serious problem to me. It's bad enough that those who are making decisions about Iraq and the GWoT/G-SAVE/PREFAB or whatever the hell it is now are too ignorant to make reliable decisions... But there's an even bigger, scarier question here, which is, obviously:
Is their knowledge of this subject representative of their knowledge about policy-relevant information in general?
Are we really being governed by the ignorant?
We need a term for this, but to my shame I don't read Greek [humiliating admission number 67,498] [though I can, um, like, order beer and stuff in modern Greek...so, um, there]. But--if we can extrapolate from words like 'agnostic' and 'agnosia'--my guess would be something like 'agnocracy'.
So, supposing provisionally that that's right, may I suggest that we do our best to out the agnocrats?
And then to demand that they educate themselves about at least the very most fundamental and absolutely indispensible facts the recognition of which constitute the absolute minimum level of understanding FOR RUNNING THE WORLD'S SOLE REMAINING (but perhaps nor for very much longer) SUPERPOWER?!?!?!?!?!?
And that if they remain thusly ignorant, that we kick their sorry, ignorant butts out of office?