The three Great Premises of Idiot America:
· Any theory is valid if it sells books, soaks up ratings, or otherwise moves units
· Anything can be true if someone says it loudly enough
· Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is determined by how fervently they believe it
With his trademark wit and insight, veteran journalist Charles Pierce delivers a gut-wrenching, side-splitting lament about the glorification of ignorance in the United States.
Pierce asks how a country founded on intellectual curiosity has somehow deteriorated into a nation of simpletons more apt to vote for an American Idol contestant than a presidential candidate. But his thunderous denunciation is also a secret call to action, as he hopes that somehow, being intelligent will stop being a stigma, and that pinheads will once again be pitied, not celebrated. Erudite and razor-sharp, Idiot America is at once an invigorating history lesson, a cutting cultural critique, and a bullish appeal to our smarter selves.
Journalist Pierce delivers a rapier-sharp rant on how the America of "Franklin and Edison, Fulton and Ford" has devolved into America "the Uninformed," where citizens hostile to science are exchanging "fact for fiction, and faith for reason," and glutting themselves on "reality" TV and conspiracy theories. Pierce makes no apologies for his liberal bias, and some conservatives notably evolution opponents and Rush Limbaugh endure a good deal of bashing. Pierce writes that in the U.S., "Fact is merely what enough people believe, and truth lies only in how fervently they believe it." He supports his thesis with references to James Madison and other founding fathers, who may have foreseen and rued the emergence of "cranks" who would threaten the Enlightenment-based nation they were shaping. Although the book is not likely to win any converts from the right wing Pierce so energetically decries, it is an engaging catalogue of those unscientifically verified "truths" that enthrall and impassion millions of Americans.