Home > US News > 16 of the Dumbest Things Americans Believe — And the Right-Wing Lies Behind Them

16 of the Dumbest Things Americans Believe — And the Right-Wing Lies Behind Them


Rush Limbaugh at CPAC in February 2009.

Rush Limbaugh at CPAC in February 2009.

We’ve gone beyond Stephen Colbert‘s’ truthiness’ into a ‘truth-be-damned’ environment.

Americans are often misinformed, occasionally downright dumb, and easily misled by juicy-sounding rumors. But while the right wing is taking full advantage of this reality, the Left worries that calling out lies is “rude.”

Remember when Congressman Joe Wilson stood up during Obama’s State of the Union address and shouted “You lie”? He was chastised soundly by the pundit class. But mostly he drew heat for being impolite, and was compared to Kanye West and other famous interrupters.

Revisiting Wilson’s foolish tirade underscores the state of our upside-down political world. Wilson shouted “you lie” in the face of truth, but President Obama is hesitant to speak up when he’s being slandered with bald, glaring untruths. The dark irony will continue as the Republicans take over the House this winter and the rumors and insinuations from extremist right-wing pundits keep circulating. It feels like no one with a loud enough megaphone has the courage to call a spade a spade, or more accurately a lie a lie.

We’ve gone far beyond Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness” into a more “truth-be-damned” environment; what Rick Perlstein described in the Daily Beast as a “mendocracy. As in, rule by liars.”

Here are some examples of recent ways we have made inroads in ignorance:

  • Polling data during and after last week’s midterm elections suggested that many Americans genuinely believe President Obama has raised their taxes — even though the reality is that our president actually lowered them for most of us. This means that people trust pundits like Rush Limbaugh, a major force behind spreading that lie, over the numbers on their own tax returns.
  • Another recent phenomenon? Half of new Congressmen don’t believe in the reality of global warming. It’s not that they don’t just disagree on the source or the severity of the problem. They flat out don’t think the world is getting warmer–despite the evidence outside their windows.
  • The new Congress will probably try to restore millions of dollars of funding for scientifically inaccurate, largely disastrous abstinence-only curriculum in schools, many of which have been shown to spread lies like “condoms don’t work” and “abortion causes cancer.”
  • News outlets picked up a wildly inflated and completely outlandish claim from an Indian blog that Obama’s trip abroad cost $200 million a day–and listeners have swallowed it. (In this case, the White House flat-out denied it.)

The scary thing is, these kinds of rumors have a way of taking root in the popular consciousness. Just as the election season began heating up earlier this year, Newsweek published a list of “Dumb Things Americans Believe.” While some of them are garden-variety lunacy, a surprising number are lies that were fed to Americans by our leaders on the far-Right. This demonstrates that media-fed lies can easily become ingrained in the collective memory if they’re not countered quickly and surely. Newsweek’s list included the following 12 statistics taken from recent and semi-recent polls and surveys. The first half are directly related to right-wing rumormongering.

  • Nearly one-fifth of Americans think Obama is a Muslim. Thanks, Fox news, for acting like this was a matter of opinion, not fact.
  • 25 percent of Americans don’t believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution while less than 40 percent do. Consider the fact that several of our newly elected officials, specifically newly elected Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, share that belief.
  • Earlier this year, nearly 40 percent of Americans still believed the Sarah Palin-supported lie about “death panels” being included in health care reform.
  • As of just a few years ago, about half of Americans still suspected a connection between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of September 11, a lie that was reinforced by none other than Dick Cheney.
  • While a hefty amount of this demonstrable cluelessness gets better as the respondents get younger, all is not well in the below-30 demographic. A majority of “young Americans” cannot identify Iraq or Afghanistan–the places their peers are fighting and dying–on a map.
  • Two out of five Americans, despite the whole separation of church and state being a foundation of our democracy thing, think teachers should be able to lead prayer in classrooms. So it seems those right-wingers clamoring to tear down the wall between church and state aren’t the only ones who don’t know their constitutional principles.
  • Many Americans still believe in witchcraft, ESP and other supernatural phenomena. Does that explain why Christine O’Donnell was so quick to deny her “dabbling”?
  • Speaking of antiquated religious beliefs, about a decade ago, 20 percent of Americans still believed that the sun revolves around the earth. That’s just sad, considering that even the Vatican has let Galileo off the hook for being right.
  • Only about half of Americans realize that Judaism is the oldest of the three monotheistic religions. Other examples of wild misunderstanding about religion and the separation of church and state can be found in this fall’s Pew survey on Americans’ religious knowledge.
  • This one made a huge splash when it appeared. In 2006 more Americans were able to name two of the “seven dwarves” than two of the Supreme Court justices. And that was before Kagan and Sotomayor showed up. To be fair, Happy and Sleepy are easy to remember.
  • More Americans can identify the Three Stooges than the three branches of government–you know, the ones who are jockeying over our welfare.

BACK to margotbworldnews.com

  1. 204
    November 16, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    And whenever I try to correct someone who believes any of these falsehoods, I get “Oh, you’re a liberal.” Like that automatically disqualifies me from knowing anything.

  2. November 16, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    How sad! This comment specifically is disturbing:

    — “While a hefty amount of this demonstrable cluelessness gets better as the respondents get younger, all is not well in the below-30 demographic. A majority of “young Americans” cannot identify Iraq or Afghanistan–the places their peers are fighting and dying–on a map.”

  3. March 29, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    THE FOURTH MONOTHEISTIC RELIGION
    by BV Bhagavat Maharaja & Isa das
    Which religion is that? You may ask, and rightly so. Most academic and news articles usually talk about the three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Even though these three religions share a common theological precept that there is one GOD ([1]El Kana) and no other, they are anything but unified in describing the path that the devotee must take to reach that one and only GOD.

    Today we have attempts by all three religions to create interfaith harmony through theological fiats at ecumenical conferences that draw people’s attention to the things that unify these three religions as opposed to their differences.

    Hinduism (Vedic Religion, Sanatan Dharma) would like to join this dialog and be recognized as Monotheistic.

    Hinduism (Vedic Religion Sanatan Dharma) appears to be a polytheistic theological conception where a pantheon of deities ([3]Angels) are worshiped, it is actually a systematic process of elevating each individual soul over one birth or millions ([4]Transmigration; Jewish) to greater and greater levels of faith in the divine existence of the one original and infallible GOD ([1]Kana).

    In the Bhagavad Gita which is the book that many consider the Bible of the Vedic Religion, Lord Sri Krishna (Kana) who is understood to be GOD ([5]Allah), The Supreme Personality of Godhead explains.

    “After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” BG 7:19

    “I am in everyone’s heart as the Supersoul ([6]Lord in the heart; Jewish). As soon as one desires to worship the demigods ([3]Angels), I make his faith steady so that he can devote himself to some particular deity.” BG 7:21

    “Endowed with such a faith, he seeks favors of a particular demigod and obtains his desires. But in actuality these benefits are bestowed by Me alone.” BG 7:22

    In these verses Lord Sri Krishna explains how the worship of the Demigods in the pantheon is for less intelligent persons who want the temporary material pleasures of the world and not the eternal spiritual pleasures of eternal spiritual life on HIS Spiritual Planet ([7]The Garden Of Eden). Furthermore HE explains that it is actually HE who provides such temporary material benefits by empowering the Demigods to provide them. Hence directly or indirectly all Human beings are worshiping that one Supreme Personality of Godhead.

    There are many other evidences in the Vedic Scriptures of Lord Sri Krishna’s position as the original Supreme Personality of Godhead , and as the source of, even Mahavishnu ([8]Metatron), Brahma ([9]Abraham), and Siva ([10]Shiva;Judaism) what to speak of lesser demigods like Indra, Ganesha, and Durga ([11]Jewish)

    We find in the Vedas this definition of God all religions can agree on.
    The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete, and because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as complete wholes. Whatever is produced of the Complete Whole is also complete in itself. Because He is the Complete Whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.
    Sri Isopanisad Verse One

    The point of this brief monograph is to give the reader an insight into the real nature of the Vedic Religion which in reality is monotheistic as opposed to polytheistic. The so called display of polytheism is only a device to appeal to the widest array of souls having a human experience.
    God is always inviting us “Back home back to Godhead”

    …………………………………………………….

    [1] The most holy of all names of God for a Jew is KNA or KANA, Rabbi’s have slapped my face when I have said this name out loud.

    This is considered to be the most intimate name for God in the Old Testament. Where it is translated, “I am a jealous God, have no other gods before you”, the literal Hebrew translation is, “My name is EL KNA, have no other gods before you.”

    [2]From a Vedic (Hindu) view point, Kana is also an affectionate name of Krishna, The pronunciation used above “KRE ShTN” is very similar to the way south Indians pronounce Krishna.

    [3]DEMIGODS AND ANGELS have the same function in both traditions.

    a. The Midrash teaches, “There is no blade of grass that does not have a constellation (Mazal) over it, telling it to grow.” [Sefer Yetzirah 4.6]

    “As commentaries explain, ‘God’s providence works through the angels, but the angels, in turn, work through the stars and planets. As some authorities put it,the angels are, in a sense, like souls to the stars. Thus, for example, some sources speak of the stars as having intelligence, but the commentaries note that this is actually speaking of the angels that are associated with them.'” [Sefer Yetrzirah 4.6]

    b. The Vedic conception is that there are many specially empowered demigods who help manage the affairs of the universe including the planets of our solar system.

    The controlling demigods, although not eternal themselves, function within various posts that exist as long as the universe exists.

    [4]Although the majority of sects within Judaism, Christianity and Islam do not believe that individuals reincarnate, particular groups within these religions do refer to reincarnation; these groups include the mainstream historical and contemporary followers of Kabbalah, the Cathars, theAlawi, the Druze[3] and the Rosicrucians.[4] The historical relations between these sects and the beliefs about reincarnation that were characteristic of the Neoplatonism, Orphism, Hermeticism, Manicheanism and Gnosticism of the Roman era, as well as the Indian religions, is unclear.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmigration_of_the_soul

    [5]In the “Old Testament” the 5 books of Moses, God explains that He is the beginning to the end. This same idea is expressed in the New Testament. Revelation 22:13, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. ThisEnglish usage of Alpha is based on the Hebrew Alef. Also in the Hindu (Vedic) scripture, Bagavad Gita, Krishna says “of letters I am A.”

    [6]When the soul is about to descend to this world, it first goes down to the terrestrial Garden of Eden and sees there the glory of the souls of the righteous, and then goes down to Gehinnom and sees the wicked who cry “Woe, woe”, and find no compassion. That holy form (God) stands by him until he emerges into the world, after which it keeps him company and grows up with him.” [The Zohar 43b] [KI TAZRIA (LEVITICUS)]

    [7]Apiryon symbolizes the Palace below which is formed in the likeness of the Palace above. This the Holy one, blessed be He, calls ‘The Garden of Eden,’ for He created it in order to satisfy His own ardent desire for joyous and continual communion with the souls of the righteous who have their abode there-these being those souls who have no bodies in this world. These all ascend and are crowned in that place of perfect delight, and have each their appointed places from whence they can perceive the “loveliness of the Lord”, and partake of all the delicious streams of pure balsam (aparsamon). This aparsamon symbolizes the hidden Supernal Palace, whereas apiryon is the Palace below.” [Zohar 127a Terumah (Exodus)] In other words, there is a Garden of Eden in the eternal spiritual kingdom of God, and there is also a manifestation of the Garden of Eden that exists within the material world.

    [8]Metatron in Origins of the Kabbalah where it is said, “Metatron is therefore not a proper name at all but a designation for the whole category of celestial powers performing a mission.”[Origins of the Kabbalah, III, 6]

    Regarding the revolving sword or flaming sword that revolves, it is said “the manner in which the sword rotates depends on the readiness of the individual attempting to enter. If he is worthy, it becomes the mirror through which he perceives, while if he is not worthy, he is burned out and cut off by the fire of this sword. The one who oversees the sword, preventing the unworthy from entering, is the angel Metatron.” [Meditation and Kabbalah p 80 Chapter 4, Teachings of Rabbi Abraham Abulafia]

    [9]Brahmä is said to have four heads. There is an obscure reference to a four-headed angel in the Talmud. It is said, “Angels are supposed to have no back and four faces, so always to be able to behold God.”[Talmud, cf. Ezek i. 6] Also, many rabbis say that an ancient Abraham, with secondary creative power like Brahma is being referred to when speaking of Brahma.

    There is a description of how the universe was in chaos until Abraham appeared. It is said, “Over the whole, there hovered Tohu (chaos) and as long as Tohu dominated, the whole world was not in being or existence. When did that key open the gates and make the world fruitful? It was when Abraham appeared.” [Genesis II 4]

    [10]Shiva (Judaism)

    Among Sephardic Jews believe that every beracha (blessing) said elevates the neshama, (soul) of the deceased.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sitting_shiva

    [11]”He summoned to issue from the side of Darkness a kind of female moon, which rules over the night, and is associated with Adonai, the Lord of all the earth. In his days, the moon was magnified and reached her fullness. A thousand mountains rose before her, and she blew them away with a puff. A thousand mighty rivers flowed before her, and she swallowed them at a draught. Her nails reached out in a thousand and seventy directions and her hands in twenty-four thousand, so that nothing could escape her. Thousands of bucklers clung to her hair. From between her feet went forth a youth who stretched from one end of the world to the other with sixty clubs of fire…” [Zohar]

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: