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Ignorance in America


This little ditty

is making the rounds right now, typically forwarded by a knuckle-dragging right wing whacko (as opposed to the left-wing knuckle-dragging whackos) to demonstrate how ignorant people are today of their “heritage”.

I took this quiz and was horrified at the number of flat-out wrong answers. (absent the questions with no right answers or multiple right answeres, I would have missed one – I could not for the life of me remember the Plato philosophy – hardly current events or heritage, though).

What does it say about the current situation where the supposedly learned high-snoots who wrote this quiz, presumably to show how superior they are to the rest of us, can’t get it right?  Not much, frankly.

Here is an email that I sent off to the outfit. Of course I’ve received no answer. I interspersed the questions with my comments.

I guess it would help if the exam writers would get their stuff right in the first place.

6) The Bill of Rights explicitly prohibits:
A. prayer in public school
B. discrimination based on race, sex, or religion
C. the ownership of guns by private individuals
D. establishing an official religion for the United States
E. the president from vetoing a line item in a spending bi

#6 is B and D if you include all the amendments in the bill of rights which many people do now do. (we’d be in foul shape without the 14th, for example.) the better way to word that is “the original 10 amendments that made up the bill of rights.

9) Under Our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?
A. Make treaties
B. Levy income taxes
C. Maintain prisons
D. Natural Disaster Aid

#9, answers A and B (16th amendment) are correct.

30) Which of the following fiscal policy combinations would a government most likely follow to stimulate economic activity when the economy is in a severe recession?
A. increasing both taxes and spending
B. increasing taxes and decreasing spending
C. decreasing taxes and increasing spending
D. decreasing both taxes and spending

#30 requires one to buy off on the Keynesian economic theory which has been fairly disasterous where it has been implemented (England, for example). The Freedman/Chicago economic school has an equally horrid record where it’s been forced on a country in its pure form (Brazil, Peru, modern Iraq, etc.) The correct philosophy would probably be something titled “Muddle-Through economics”

31) International trade and specialization most often lead to which of the following?
A. an increase in a nation’s productivity
B. a decrease in a nation’s economic growth in the long term
C. an increase in a nation’s import tariffs
D. a decrease in a nation’s standard of living

#31. Ibid

32) Which of the following is a policy tool of the Federal Reserve?
A. raising or lowering income taxes
B. increasing or decreasing unemployment benefits
C. buying or selling government securities
D. increasing or decreasing government spending

#32 does not have the correct answer, that being to regulate the money supply. You confuse the purpose of the federal reserve with the primary mechanism used. A cop’s purpose is to enforce the law but his methods might involve the use of handcuffs, a gun, a TASER and other tools.

I have to admit that after reading this a couple of times in the large type of my blog (my vision is pretty bad), I’ll go along with answer C. I still don’t consider buying and selling bonds a “policy tool”, as changing the interest rate is but I won’t quibble this one other than to say that it is very badly worded.  I can think of many better questions that would measure how much someone knows about the Federal Reserve.

33) If taxes equal government spending, then:
A. government debt is zero
B. printing money no longer causes inflation
C. government is not helping anybody
D. tax per person equals government spending per person
E. tax loopholes and special-interest spending are absent

#33 has no correct answer because income tax is not the only source of federal income. Tariffs, excise tax, direct payments from the states and other similar pre-16th amendment sources of federal revenue are not computed on a per capita basis.

This charade turned into an attempt to guess at what answers your test writers would be looking for. Once YOUR errors are eliminated, I missed one, the Plato philosophy question.

You test writers flunked badly. In street venacular, this test really sucked.

This who quiz is highly statist-oriented. Here are some more questions that belong on such a quiz.

1. The 1st Amendment: (select all that apply)

  1. Guarantees free speech and free religion
  2. Prohibits the establishment of a state church such as the Church of England.
  3. Prohibits prayer in schools
  4. Erects a wall between church and state
  5. Allows the government to prohibit religions that it doesn’t like or that use substances it doesn’t like as part of the worship ceremony
  6. Allows the government to require permits in order to march or hold protests.
  7. Allows the FBI to establish a file on an individual or the IRS to audit said person for petitioning the Government for a redress of grievances.

2. The Second Amendment: (select all that apply)

  1. Guarantees the right of all citizens to keep and bear (carry) arms.
  2. Applies to all arms and not just what the government classifies as “firearms”.
  3. Allows the government to single out some weapons such as machine guns and switchblades for special treatment.
  4. Allows cops to “stop and frisk” to detect the bearing of arms by peaceable citizens that they may encounter on the street.
  5. Allows some states to completely outlaw the possession of certain weapons.
  6. Applies on to the National Guard, an institution that post-dates the Bill of Rights by decades.

3. The Forth Amendment

  1. protects the citizens from unreasonable, warrantless searches of their homes, cars and persons; prohibits cops from picking out individuals to stop and frisk; prohibits government officials from “data mining” and other spying on your personal life.
  2. Allows cops to do “plain sight” searches of the interior of your car during a traffic stop.
  3. Allows cops to do “sobriety” and “license and registration” searches of every driver that comes along “for public safety”.
  4. Allows cops to force their way into your car or house and then later claim that you voluntarily allowed them in.
  5. Allows cops to go judge-shopping until they find one that would issue a warrant to search Mother Mary herself.

4. The Fift Amendment

  1. Protects the individual from the government in areas of indictment, double jeopardy, being forced, perhaps by waterboarding, to testify against ones’ self or to take one’s stuff without being justly compensated for it.
  2. Allows the government to first try you in state court for a crime and if they lose, to bring the same charges in federal court.
  3. To charge you a second time for the same crime by wrapping it in a “conspiracy wrapper”.
  4. Allows the government to lie, deceive and otherwise commit criminal acts if done by citizens to trick “perps” into confessing.
  5. Allows the government to record and listen in on defendant-lawyer communications.
  6. Allows the government to tap into and listen to every citizen’s private telephone conversations, email conversations and internet activities without a warrant.
  7. Allows the government to seize your property, calling it “civil forfeiture” before you’ve been convicted or even charged with a crime.
  8. Allows the government to seize, say, a vacant field and pay you the value of the vacant field and then turn it over to a private developer where he builds an office building worth millions.

5. The Sixth Amendment

  1. protects the citizen from the immense powers and unlimited budget of the state by requiring that anyone accused of a crime have competent legal representation, to be tried by a jury of his peers, to force the state to turn over evidence they’ve collected, to confront the witnesses and evidence presented by the state against him, to force witnesses to appear and testify
  2. Authorizes the government to classify certain offenses where there are putative measures involved such as traffic speeding into civil violations where criminal protections no longer apply.
  3. Authorizes the government to threaten you with stiffer sentences and fines if you insist on exercising your right to a jury trial instead of just pleading guilty to make it easier on the state. (see Cobb County, GA’s traffic court procedure)
  4. Authorizes the government to assign a public defender who just graduated from law school to defend against the veteran state prosecutor.
  5. To pay the public defender as much as $200 a day while the prosecution has an unlimited budget
  6. To cook the jury by a) letting anyone with more than a room temperature IQ get out of duty b) eliminating anyone who slipped past a). c) employ jury consultants and others to ensure that a jury most favorable to the state is picked.
  7. To ensure that if, say, an engineer is being tried, the jury is made up of his peers – other engineers and scientists and not people lacking the intelligence to get out of jury duty.
  8. Authorizes the government to spend thousands to find witnesses for their side that are in foreign countries and serve them with subpoenas while forcing the defense to pay out of their pockets for the identical work.

6. The 7th Amendment

  1. Guarantees the citizen the right to a trial by jury for any civil matter involving more than $20.
  2. Authorizes the government to declare certain criminal offenses where they otherwise often lose (traffic court, for instance) into civil offenses where the right of publicly funded representation and all the other criminal protections no longer apply.
  3. Allows the government to declare a car, jewelry, cash and other valuables as “persons” for the purpose of civilly suing same. Since the “person” isn’t an sentient being, it can’t defend itself, always loses and is what is known as “civil forfeiture”, forfeiture being a big word for theft.
  4. Permits the government to force the owner of said property to post a bond equal to the value of the “person” being stolen through civil forfieture before the owner can appeal any seizure order.
  5. Allows the government to sue you in civil court for the same offense you’ve just been acquitted of in criminal court as a way around double jeopardy.

7. The 8th Amendment

  1. Prohibits the government from imposing bail in excess of what a defendant can pay, prohibits the indefinite incarceration by delaying the trial over and over and prevents the government from beating, whipping, shocking or otherwise inflicting cruel and unusual punishment.
  2. Allows the government to slap, say, a $100,000 bail on a dependent earning $10/hour while not calling that excessive.
  3. Allows the government to shuffle defendants around the system, from jail to jail to make it more difficult for his state appointed “newbie” lawyer from finding him.
  4. Allows the government to accidentally trip, push, hit or otherwise beat the shit out of a detainee to encourage him to talk.
  5. Allows the government to threaten to put the detainee in a cell with Bubba the Big Dick for a night or two to help him forget about his 5th amendment rights.
  6. Allows the government to use things like broom sticks inserted into certain orifices to again help the detainee from remembering his 5th amendment rights to keep his mouth shut.
  7. allows the government to put a prisoner in a cell with several bullies, without heat or air conditioning, with plumbing that doesn’t work, with concrete beds, feed him maggot-infested food and not call it cruel or unusual.
  8. authorizes them to continue treating prisoners like animals event though every study and even anyone with a lick of common sense knows that such treatment breeds resentment instead of compliance.  In simple terms, when the perp gets out, he’s getting even instead of getting along.

8. The 9th Amendments says

  1. That the writers of the Bill of Rights may have forgotten to list other rights but that those rights are protected implicitly.
  2. Allows the government to say that any right not listed in the “big 10” aren’t really rights. Such as the right to privacy.
  3. Allows the government to pretend that this one doesn’t exist because after all, the framers were just joking by the time they got this far along.

9. The 10th amendment

  1. Reiterates that the Constitution gives  only limited and explicitly enumerated powers to the federal government and that all others are reserved to the the people, either directly or through the states.
  2. Lets the feds claim that the commerce clause lets them meddle into everything from the schools to national speed limits.
  3. Ditto the Preamble mention of “general welfare”. The Preamble, of course, having no power of law.
  4. Seize most of this country’s wealth in fees, fines, regulations and taxes while spending the next 7 or 8 generations into debt.
  5. Allows the federal government to meddle into such trivial things as the typeface to be used when labeling food’s nutritional value.

Too many more to list.


If you picked anything other than “1” (and “2” in the 1st and 2nd ones) then you don’t know jack about the Bill of Rights. You’ve gone to govenment school and drank of the government Kool-Aide and yet think that you’re educated on the American system of government. God help us all. I’m just glad that I’m on the back half of my life and won’t have to experience the end stage of where all this is headed.

Posted by neonjohn on November 24th, 2008 under Current Events, Government, Philosophy

6 Responses to “Ignorance in America”

  1. Standard Mischief » that civil literacy quiz going round, I got a 86-something on it… Says:

    […] had a few of the same issues John De Armond had, but he wrote it up far more coherantly than I would, so I’m […]

  2. Vanessa Says:

    This part about bail is ridiculous. THe whole thing as a whole is ridculous, and whoever wrote this should read the REAL bill of Rights and ten amendments.

    Bail Bonds Santa Rosa

  3. James Harker Says:

    In #9, only “A” is correct. The 16th Amendment was never ratified. Read “The Law That Never Was”, by Bill Benson, if you can find a copy. Don’t argue this point with the IRS, though: You’ll probably lose. They blindly proceed against people with 10,000 pages of invalid federal statutes based on a non-existent Constitutional provision as if they have the law on their side.

  4. government contracts Says:

    “The Law That Never Was”, by Bill Benson is actually a great book I strongly recommend it (maybe not as a present though)

  5. rfp Says:

    ”protects the citizen from the immense powers and unlimited budget of the state by requiring that anyone accused of a crime have competent legal representation, to be tried by a jury of his peers, to force the state to turn over evidence they’ve collected, to confront the witnesses and evidence presented by the state against him, to force witnesses to appear and testify”


  6. robert Lee (sic) Says:

    As a Canadian I got 78.9%.

    Robert M.Lee
    Timmins,Ontario, CANADA

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