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Is The Average American Stupid?

I was in a meeting with an investment banker, a really high end kind of guy, who asserted that Americans were simply stupid, and that we don't live in a democracy. I gently disagreed with him, pointing out how Americans have tossed both dems and gop out of congress convincingly in the past- that this is reflective of both intelligence and democracy. But it is interesting to note that many people on the top of the food chain here think the rest of us are simply dumb. I strongly disagree.

Fri. May 18, 8:30am

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start listening to Glenn Beck radio show, and or if you are lucky enough to have cable, watch his show on Headline News- there is hope if we all keep talking and seeking the truth.

Friday, May 18, 2007, 9:09 AM

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simple answer- yes.

Friday, May 18, 2007, 9:11 AM

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I think it's an unkind way of saying we're naive, and I think, unfortunately, the average American is naive to a fault.

Friday, May 18, 2007, 9:38 AM

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Sorry most Americans are idiots. They vote for idiots, they only do with the current media propoganda tells them to do, and don't bother to research the facts and make informed decisions for themselves.

Most can't even handle simple finance.

Friday, May 18, 2007, 9:38 AM

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Ask anyone this question in any given situation and you'll really be tempted to think 'yes'. The question is: "Does this make sense?"

While I don't think Americans are stupid, I do believe (my personal opinion) that critical thinking skills have really declined after a couple decades of media overload and test-based teaching. I don't blame these things exclusively mind you but they really epitomize the complacent American who just sits back and is content to parrot spoon-fed information ('I read it on the internet somewhere') without ever really asking the question "Does this make sense?"

Friday, May 18, 2007, 9:38 AM

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I think a lot of people -- not only Americans, for sure! -- are willfully ignorant, and/or self-satisfied. They get to a point where what they know or what they can do is enough for them, and think it ought to be enough for anyone else.

For instance, PT has the never-ending argument about spelling and grammar. There are a number of people, for whom English is a first or only language, who make really basic mistakes. Someone always points it out. There are then two different responses: "Thanks, I would hate to have had my boss point that out to me!" or the more common, "You're rude to point out to me that I've mis-spelled 'lose' about 4000 times! Who cares whether I can spell?" Well, someone who wants to keep growing and learning tries to improve things like that.

In general, I think PT is a self-selecting community: a LOT of people who want to educate themselves about nutrition and exercise.

Friday, May 18, 2007, 9:43 AM

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One of the most obnoxious traits I come across in a non-American is a persistence to bully us, on an individual basis, into "admitting" our own stupidity. I attribute this to a type of "little man" syndrome - they're annoyed that, despite out faults, we are the biggest swinging d*cks on the world scene at this moment in history.

Bear in mind, foreign media spoon-feeds them our supposed stupidity by "reporting" on that snake-worshipping cult out west and showing the worst examples of in-bred jesus freaks during the Katrina aftermath.

Friday, May 18, 2007, 10:55 AM

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Um. not to pick sides here, but I think that technically, the investment banker is actually right- I'm pretty sure that the U.S. is officially a republic, not a democracy.

For presidential elections, we the people do not directly select our president- the electoral college does, which is why you can, as GW did in 2000, lose the popular vote but still win the election.

here's a great link explaining the difference-

Here's a quote from "men in black" that pretty well sums up the smart/dumb thing- "a person is smart, but people are dumb, panicky idiots."

And forgive my poor spelling- I'm kinda dumb that way.

Friday, May 18, 2007, 12:44 PM

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I agree with 12:44-the US is really a republic, not a democracy.

And yes, I agree that most American's today are dumb/ignorant. Most of us don't know anything about the rest of the world except in how it affects us. And even then, we barely understand things-sure because gas prices are high and because we're in a war in the Middle East we are slightly more informed in the conflicts that have been going on there for centuries. But slightly is the key word here. We're so focused on our cell phones, SUV's, and other material things is our small little world, that no one else and nothing else matters. No, not all Americans are like this, but I know way too many who fit the build to a T.

(I'm an American.)

Friday, May 18, 2007, 12:52 PM

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Plus, figure the rest of the world is just as dumb as we are... I mean, a european asking an american about EU politics is going to get a puzzled look and a "huh?" from the american, but I would bet that if an american asked a european about NAFTA or some other piece of contentious American policy that doesn't really involve europe, you'd get the same puzzled look and "huh?" from them.

Of course we're involved with out own lives- those are the things we can actually change.

Friday, May 18, 2007, 12:59 PM

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It's interesting how often this topic devolves into "Americans are ignorant about world politics". That may be a side effect, but most folks I meet are also woefully ignorant about their own country, basic skills (reading comprehension, math, grammer) and simple logic.

Ex: Ask the average person to calculate the change they would get back from a transaction in which they give the clerk a $20 bill for a total of $12.53, and the scene would be embarassing. And don't ask the clerk to count it back either (without looking at the cash register) - that would be equally pathetic. Simple arithmatic and most folks can't deal with it without some electronic device at their disposal.

Friday, May 18, 2007, 1:59 PM

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I miss the good old days...

When lions ate humans! Only the dumb we eaten (well and some slart ones too).

Friday, May 18, 2007, 5:49 PM

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May 18 10:55
Hell ya!!! Obviously something is working or we wouldn't rule this f*cking planet

Monday, May 21, 2007, 5:38 AM

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I think generalizations get a lot of people in trouble. I also think that this person has some prejudices of his own that he needs to clear up.

Clearly, he thinks he is better than everyone else and enjoys picking on those who are different or less fortunate, to make himself and perhaps his countrymen seem superior. You are more certainly the better person in this situation.

Also, he is right. Technically, America isn't purely a democracy, it's a constitutional republic.


Monday, May 21, 2007, 5:10 PM

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I really hate to say this out loud but I have found that the more people I encounter on a daily basis the less common sense they seem to have. How can it be possible that there are so many slow, stupid people out there? And it seems the younger they are the worse it is.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007, 12:44 AM

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I don't think the avg american is stupid, just naive. They think that the media is ALWAYS right. If you don't ask questions of the media then they have the power...and will only report their side of the story.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007, 12:56 AM

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Americans aren't any dumber than the rest of the world. We all have our share of idiots. I think the real difference is that Americans have more accessible outlets to broadcast their stupidity to the world. We tend to be proud... and loud.

I agree with the OP that people at the "top of the food chain" tend to have superiority complexes. Fortunately, our current government is constantly reminding us that power and money don't equate intelligence.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007, 5:09 AM

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Wow. I can't believe all the negative responses. I don't think Americans are dumb/stupid or ignorant. In fact I think quite the opposite. We live in the greatest country in the world and it takes people of all kinds to make that happen. Modesty isn't an easy charcter trait to acquire, but it makes us a lot more likeable if we posess it.

By the way- Aren't most of us here for advice because we don't know something?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007, 8:02 AM

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I totally disagree, this did not become the richest most popular country in the world by being "stupid", I think this decade we have made some wrong decisions and have let the media dictate what is right or wrong and yes...we have let media influence our lives, I don't think Americans like myself are stupid in general, just making some stupid decisions lately.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007, 8:10 AM

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I would bet money that in every country, there are people who also believe that their own people/countrymen are also stupid. Is the average Russian, German, Korean....etc. stupid?

Every country has its problems, but I would rather be here than anywhere else. We need to stop romanticizing other countries and appreciate the freedom and resources you have. Although it's important to know world politics because it helps shape government policies, most people in this world are more concerned with feeding their families.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007, 8:43 AM

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