Last week it was mentioned how the “crew of the ship of state” was running about totally clueless concerning the situation that this nation is in and unable to figure out how to correct its course…while the captain slept or had a plan of escape should the situation become too dire. This week we’ll take a look at how this can happen. Americans will spend whatever time is necessary to check out consumer ratings and consult their friends to learn about the best smartphones, restaurants, or movies, but they refuse to apply anywhere near the same level of care and diligence when it comes to selecting those who will exercise extensive control, and even the power of life and death, over them. America’s governmental system was designed as a limited government to protect our liberties. It became the best government in the history of the world. It has now become one that micromanages virtually every aspect of American life and living. Yet there is little interest to learn about what our government was and what it has become. For example:
– Two-thirds of Americans cannot identify the three branches of government (legislative, executive, judicial) [just to name Brit Hume, “Zogby Poll: Most Americans Can Name Three Stooges, But Not Three Branches of Government”, FoxNews.com,, August 15, 2006; plus several more]
– Three of four do not know what the judiciary branch does [“Americans Failing Citizenship Test Again”, April 30, 2012, www. citizenship–aei.org/2012/04/ americans-failing-citizenship-test-again/].
* Civil and criminal cases that concern the Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and treaties made under US authority
* All case affecting ambassadors, other public officers, and diplomats
* Cases where the Laws of the oceans and seas apply
* Controversies in which the United States is one of the parties
* All controversies between two or more states, between citizens of different States, between citizens of the same State who are claiming lands under grants of different States
* All cases that affect ambassadors, other public officials and diplomats, cases in which a State is involved
* Authority in all cases previously mentioned if the cases are appealed to them
– Eight in ten cannot name even one of the federal government powers [Newsweek,”Take the Quiz: What We Don’t Know”, March 20, 2011, www.newsweek.com/2011/03/20/take-the-quiz-what-we-don’t-know.html].
* Power to lay and collect taxes, duties, impost and excises
* Pay the debts
* Provide for the common defense
* Provide for the general welfare
* Power to borrow money
* Power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the several states, and with the Indian tribes
* Power to promote the progress of science and useful arts through patent, copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property protections…not subsides
* Power to declare war
* Power to pass laws for the execution of the above powers.
– Seven in ten do not know that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land…that includes many of our politicians [from above references].
– Eight in ten cannot name even two of the rights listed in the Declaration of Independence [Above AEI reference].
* Right to life
* Right to liberty
* Right to pursuit of happiness
* Right to alter or abolish abusive government
– 44% are unable to define the Bill of Rights [Newsweek, March 20, 2011, www.newsweek.com/how-ignorant-are-americans-66053].
* First ten amendments to the Constitution…individual rights
– Only one in four can actually name one fundamental freedom protected by the First Amendment [CBS News, March 1,2006, www.cbsnews.com/news/simpsons-outpace-us-constitution/].
– Just one in one thousand can name all five freedoms protected by it (speech, religion, press, assembly, petition) [CBS News above].
– Nearly 60% cannot name even one of the sixteen presidential cabinet-level departments, and only 4% can name as many as five.[Information Clearing House, November 4, 2003, www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5158.htm].
* Vice President
* Secretary of State
* Secretary of the Treasury
* Secretary of Defense
* Attorney General
* Secretary of the Interior
* Secretary of Agriculture
* Secretary of Commerce
* Secretary of Labor
* Secretary of Health and Human Services
* Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
* Secretary of Transportation
* Secretary of Energy
* Secretary of Education
* Secretary of Veteran Affairs
* Secretary of Homeland Security
– Two-thirds cannot name a single member of the US Supreme Court, and only 1% can name all nine…due to the death of Antonin Scalia there are currently only eight justices (Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito, Elena Kagan, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, & Ruth Bader) [FindLaw.com, August 20, 2012, http://company.findlaw.com/press-center/2012/two-thirds-of-americans-can-t- name-any-u-s-supreme-court-justice.html].
– Two-thirds cannot identify the type of economic system that made the United States the most prosperous country in the world (an unregulated, free-market, free-enterprise, capitalist system) [above Newsweek survey].
Earlier generations believed that to pay no attention to one’s country was the ultimate act of selfishness. Such disinterest demonstrated a flagrant callousness and lack of concern for the well-being of others. Any wonder that this “crew of the ship of state” is running about not having a clue as to what to do…especially when many of its “ship’s officers” are no better off. Next week we will take a look at the Bible’s view of such irresponsibility.
– Bob Munsey
P.S. – Sorry for the length of this week’s exert but it lays the groundwork for those more specific to come.