Thursday, March 02, 2006

Lowbrows, No-brows and Ignorami

A new study from the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum in Chicago proves what Lisa Simpson already knows: as a nation, we're a stultifying pack of slack-jawed yokels.

The study quizzed 1,000 random Americans on their respective knowledge of The Simpsons and the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
...just 28 percent of respondents could name more than one of the five freedoms listed in the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment—about the same proportion that could name all five Simpson family members or could recall the three judges on Fox TV's top-rated "American Idol."
Only 8% could name three freedoms listed in the First Amendment, and an embarrassing one person could name all five. (They are press, speech, assembly, religion and petition for redress of grievances, by the way.)

Considering the recent debates occasioned by the Muhammad cartoon crisis, it may come as a surprise that fully 1/3 of those polled forgot freedom of speech and only 24% recalled freedom of religion. A mouth-breathing 20% believed that the right to own and raise pets is guaranteed by the First Amendment.

In the immortal words of Mark Twain, who had our country pegged over a hundred years ago and still does:
It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either.
Or, in the words of our new ant overlords, whom I, for one, hail: "Freedom! Horrible, horrible freedom!"
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