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Monday, November 24, 2008

civics quiz

This civics quiz recently made the news because our Congress scored less than 50% on it.

I'm not surprised - that much.

I scored 100%

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I got a 32 out of 33. I said that Puritans "believed in complete religious freedom." The "correct" answer is "stressed the sinfulness of all humanity."

I was thinking along the lines that "complete freedom" would include the freedom to burn witches. I thought "stressed the sinfulness of all humanity." was a tad strong and I tend to avoid answers with the word "all" in them.

The problem with quizzes like these is that they ask a series of questions that people answer differently today than they would have 50 years ago. There may be a lack of knowledge, but the bigger issue is simply that people today disagree with people of the past.

For example, many people would answer question 25 with E. (Free enterprise or capitalism exists insofar as: government implements policies that favor businesses over consumers) Now, we can say that they are wrong, that answer E describes fascism, not capitalism. However, given the current policy environment and what people are being told is a "redefinition" of capitalism, it is easy to see why someone would answer E. They are simply using a different definition of capitalism, one that now exists in the literature.

Question 30 assumes the government is run by Keynesians. We are in a recession and the government will probably raise taxes and increase spending, the incorrect answer A.

Many people would answer question 6 with A. (The Bill of Rights explicitly prohibits: A. prayer in public school) This isn't because they are unaware of what is in the Bill of Rights but rather they think that prayer in public school is prohibited by the first amendment. What they are missing isn't civics; it is the word "explicitly."
32 of 33 and I too missed the stupid Puritan question. As if their name should not give it away, clearly I'm not bright enough to pick that up. Evidence that not all idiots are elected to office.
I got 29 out of 33 and I'm Australian! Sheesh!
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