ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

One in Five Americans is a Moron

Updated on November 20, 2011

For my day job, I work as a political consultant. This means I get to read a lot of public opinion polls. One thing that has struck me over the years of reading polls is the magical line I always look for: "...and 20% of Americans believe (insert crazy belief here)."

When a country has such a large percentage of its population that is not living in the same world as the rest of their peers, that spells trouble. No matter what the question, it always seems that twenty percent of respondents either did not understand the question, or choose to align with contrarian, or moronic, beliefs.

If you you called 500 people right now and asked them if the earth is round, 20 percent would say no, it’s flat.

At a time when nearly 20% of Americans are suffering from mental illness, either diagnosed or undiagnosed, I can't help but wonder if that is the answer to my question. If 20% of a country is just plain mentally ill and unable to deal with reality, do we have hope as a society? Is the 20% who show up in these polls the same group of people, or is the number of morons much higher?

Before we proceed, I must make it clear that I am not associating mental illness with stupidity. In fact, many of the most intelligent people I've ever met are mentally ill.

Here are some crazy things that 1 in 5 people believe:

  • Humans are reincarnated after they die - Gallup, 2005
  • The sun revolves around earth - Northwestern University
  • Witches are real - Gallup
  • The world will end during their lifetime - TIME Magazine
  • Marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol - Rasmussen, 2010

At this time, I can't decide what is more damaging, what we know or what we don't know. I tend to lean towards what we “know.”

The Dunning-Kruger Effect suggests that many people are simply too ignorant to know just how ignorant they are. But it's those who think they have the answers that run for office and shape the policies of our country. The Dunning-Kruger effect suggests that more intelligent people question themselves more often, and tend to doubt their own intelligence, which can lead to inaction and the idiots taking control.

Crazy beliefs can be dangerous to the majority. While it is easy to roll our eyes when someone says something assinine, it is clear that many of these morons have invaded public life.

George W. Bush and Rick Perry (nicknamed “Bush, without the brains”), for example. Perhaps no one has done more to encourage anti-intellectualism and a hatred towards curiosity than George W. Bush. He made it cool to be dumb. And when this type of ignorance reigns, we see environmental policies rolled back, and government regulations stripped.

It’s no wonder that someone who thinks the world is going to end in the next 50 years would not care how much smoke and smog is released into the sky, or that our children can’t read.

This has led to climate change deniers, intelligent design, and a general disdain for knowledge, all while our nation burns to the ground, our waistlines expand, and our children get stupider. There are plenty of things that even more than 20% of people cannot understand, like maps. A 2006 Gallup poll found that 37% of Americans could not point out their own home country on a map.

If you are waiting for me to offer a solution, there isn’t one.

There is no hope to fix this. Twenty percent of us are mentally ill. That will probably never change. The only thing we can do is motivate the 80% who can be rational and get them to start paying attention again and take society back from the dunces who think that all they ever needed to learn, they learned in kindergarten.

While the intelligent form committees and study groups, the morons are having tea parties and electing “leaders.” It’s time to focus on what we know, what we can agree on, and get to work before we become the first generation to leave things worse off than when we found them.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" - Edmund Burke

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” - Confucius

“There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.” - Goethe

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.” - George Bernard Shaw


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)