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Idiot America: How Stupidity Became A Virtue

The author posits that there has always been room in America for "cranks;"  the folks who believes stuff without a shred of evidence.  But only in recent decades have they moved out of the churches and corner soapboxes and into Congress, legislatures, even the White House.  How did that happen?    

How DID ignorance become a virtue in America?  Well,

A. revocation of the Fairness Doctrine in 1984,

B. fringe religion getting back into politics,  and 

C. news organization abandoning all standards of journalism (news has to make a profit), together have created the


Three  NEW Principles of Broadcast Media:

1. its worth saying if it makes money

2. if enough people repeat it, it COULD be factual, or at least worthy of consideration (all opinions are equal)

3.if enough people say it LOUDLY enough (put enough energy into it) it MUST be true, or partly true or true enough, or plausible, or at least it makes money.    

The book is is a brief history of American loonies, their place in society and how the law has traditionally protected them.   The village idiot, the schizophrenic,  the gun nut, the "end-is-near" sign waver did no harm. But now their place has been hijacked by cynical manipulators for profit and power.   Parts of the West are in OPEN ARMED REBELLION with some CONGRESSMEN are supporting them...for votes.     

This very well researched book is hilarious to listen to and really informative.  (Who would have thought, armed revolution by super-patriots?)    


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  • Marky

    Sorry I couldn't stay -- the acoustics were untenable for my hearing. So here's my two cents:

    Pierce and I share a liberal bias, so of course I chortled at his observations and shared his concern about the corporate/congressional co-opting of crank platforms to further profit margins. However, I also noted that he didn't refer to the "cranks" who practice Reiki or those who want to legislate the labeling of GMO foods. He also doesn't point out that findings (and resultant opinions) in science are not monolithic or mutually supportive -- the science of agribusiness in its contribution to global warming (via the depletion of soil carbon) being just one example.

    April 27, 2014

    • Marky

      By all means, call me a crank. :~), However, forensic science isn't climate science -- and conclusions are not facts. (Which is why we have juries and commissions, neither of whom are foolproof.) The same people who went along with the Iraq war -- while a small number of us were reeling from the onslaught of the ensuing insanity and screaming "There ARE NO weapons of mass destruction!" purely from our tiny collective Gut, as well as from whatever we could glean in alternative media -- are generally the same people who want to put JFK and 9/11 to bed -- because the alternative "reality" is possibly too painful for them to consider.

      April 27, 2014

    • Anita B.

      I missed the comments about JFK and 9/11, but here's my thinking: we don't have all the facts and probably never will. Accepting the official story of any situation is a leap of faith. However, accepting any of the conspiracy theories regarding these and other issues is ALSO a leap of faith. I believe people tend to trust their "trusted sources" a bit too much, whether those trusted sources are official documents or documents purporting to reveal mass conspiracy. I thinkIt's important for anyone trying to understand what's happening to explore outside the boundaries of trust and safety.

      April 28, 2014

  • Hollis R.

    My first meeting and was really impressed. Thank you.

    April 28, 2014

  • Christopher G.

    "Who would have thought, armed revolution by super-patriots?" Yes, great fun! I hope their rebellious cattle find their way to the National Mall and graze it into a desert too.

    April 26, 2014

  • Gayle M.

    Looks like I will be in town, so hopefully will make this.

    1 · April 24, 2014

  • Richard M.

    Sure Barb, they will like this sort of thing if this is the sort of thing they like.

    April 23, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    May I bring 2 friends? I can't seem to find a way to update my RSVP.

    April 23, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    How does media drive our 'outer self'?

    April 21, 2014

  • Gayle M.

    Interesting topic, but I expect to be out of town.

    April 14, 2014

  • John H.

    I cant miss this

    April 14, 2014

  • John H.

    I cant miss this

    April 14, 2014

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