Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Rick Shenkman

Rick Shenkman is the editor and founder of George Mason University's History News Network, and author of the recently released Just How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth About the American Voter. From a Q & A with the author at U.S. News and World Report:

What made you first ask the question, "Just how stupid are we?"

There's been no issue more important in the last generation than 9/11 and the Iraq war, and Americans didn't understand basic facts about it. I found that very disturbing, and I wanted to explain how to account for that and then how to have an intelligent conversation about this. It's a very sensitive subject. I want us to be able to sit down, calmly review the evidence, and one, like alcoholics, admit we have a problem; and, two, try to figure out how we remedy that problem.

What evidence most concerned you?

Even after the 9/11 Commission, a majority of Americans believed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq even after the Commission said there weren't. Only a third of Americans understood that much of the rest of the world opposed our invasion. Another third thought the rest of the world was cheering our invasion, and a third thought the rest of the world was neutral. If you're going to get that much wrong about the most important issue facing us, it's hard to have much confidence in our democracy.
Read the complete Q & A.

The Page 99 Test: Just How Stupid Are We?.

--Marshal Zeringue