Your Ignorance Is Killing Us!

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. – Hosea 4:6

duncePresident Ronald Reagan once said about modern American liberals: “It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant.  It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.”  That statement can be accurately applied to almost all Americans today, and we’re seeing the results in the farce that both parties have made of the 2016 presidential nomination process.

Here are just two examples of things Americans “know” that simply aren’t so:

First, the rich don’t pay their fair share of taxes, leaving the burden on the lower and middle classes.  Here are the numbers from 2015 (from the Tax Policy Center), numbers which have been consistent since I first encountered them in college back in the 70s:

  • 45.3% (77.5 million) of American households pay zero individual income tax (half have no taxable income, and the other half get enough tax breaks to erase their tax liability)

I know what you’re thinking: that bunch that uses tax breaks to get out of paying “their fair share” are the rich, right?


Woodrow Wilcox


  • “Rich people” (top 20% of income earners) pay 87% of the total of federal income taxes in America

If you add the 12.9% paid by the second richest 20% of income earners, the “rich” pay 99.9% of all income taxes paid in this country, while almost half of Americans pay none.  (The top 1% of American income earners pay 43.6% of all federal income taxes; the top 0.1%,115,000 households, pay more than 20%.)

But it’s actually worse than that.  Those in the bottom 40% of the income spectrum are actually receiving money from the federal government, in one form or another.  Through the Earned Income Credit established for low income earners, single moms, et al, the bottom 40% get an average of over $600 from the government…even though they don’t pay anything in income taxes!


So the next time you hear liberal activists like Al Sharpton, Michael Moore or various Hollywood celebrities – or worse, a politician elected by the American people – carping about the rich paying “their fair share,” remember these numbers.  (By the way, those whiners are typically the ones who use tax breaks to end up paying little or no income taxes.)  If I were “rich,” I’d damn sure welcome a more “fair” tax plan!

Another area where what Americans “know” is not just untrue, but borders on the utterly ridiculous, is politics.  It appears that the vast majority of American citizens are utterly clueless about how our government is supposed to work.  For example, most will praise one president for “defending our nation” (e.g., going to war), or blame another for wasteful boondoggles (e.g., ObamaCare), while in point of fact no president, in any party, can do either.

It is the Congress that must declare war and pass legislation, including its funding.  The old adage is “the president proposes, Congress disposes,” and Congress can either go along with a president’s proposal (as in ObamaCare) or vote against implementing it; likewise for going to war, the power for which is clearly given to Congress by our Constitution.  Granted, in recent decades the Congress has ceded some of its Constitutional powers to the Executive Branch (i.e., the President).  Aside from the fact that doing so is blatantly un-Constitutional (violating their oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution), why would they willingly give up their power to a president?

Because they then don’t have to actually take a stand and cast a vote either way, a vote they’d then have to explain and defend to their constituents.  So the people you and I elect to represent our interests can instead continue putting the nation deeper into debt through all manner of wasteful and even destructive legislation, then rely on the mass-marketing expertise of political handlers to get them re-elected again and again.

So, while you’re all passionate about what Trump or Hillary is promising, just remember: they know that the American electorate is willfully ignorant of politics, that most of us pay little attention to what politicians do once elected, and that they can just say the things we want to hear and get elected or re-elected, regardless of what they’ve actually done in their lives or past positions.  They can tell the most blatant, outrageous bald-faced lies and get away with it, and have been doing so for decades.  While many Americans proudly proclaim that they’re “not into politics,” the dramatic decline of this nation, on every front, shows the ultimate results of such an attitude.  Jefferson wrote that a people cannot be ignorant and free, and we’re seeing the truth of that admonition playing out today.

That quote from the Bible at the beginning of this essay comes from the prophet’s warning to the children of Israel, a people God chose as His own and whom He blessed mightily.  They had abandoned their God, and the ways in which He had instructed them, and He foretold what was coming for their unfaithfulness – “…because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land…because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee…I will also forget they children.  As they were increased, so they sinned against Me; therefore will I change their glory into shame…”.  That’s called justice, and the Jews have suffered for thousands of years for their unfaithfulness to their God.

How long will our children and grandchildren and unborn generations suffer for our ignorance, our laziness and the abandonment of our responsibilities as citizens of a free republic, once the most glorious, free, prosperous and powerful in human history?  The power is all but gone from a lack of will; prosperity is a thing of the past, as unfathomable debt drags us towards calamity; individual freedom is being erased daily by the encroachment of government; all because of our ignorance.  History will not be kind to the Americans of the late 20th and early 21st centuries…nor should it be.

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Formerly a liberal and an atheist, Paul E. Scates served as a Marine in Vietnam and is a lifelong student of American history, politics and culture. A former contributor to national website, he writes his staunchly independent Conservative and informed Christian commentary for his fellow ordinary, working Americans, the “we, the people” who are ultimately responsible for preserving our Constitutional liberties.
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