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83 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Irk, Guaranteed, June 26, 2009
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This review is from: Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free (Hardcover)
Make no mistake about it. "Idiot America" is really going to irk some people, and irk them very badly. Charles Pierce leaves no "right winger" behind in his polemic about how stupidity is reigning and raining hard in America, mostly due to the foible of rabid conservative thought.

Covering topics as varied as crank author Ignatius Donnelly's "fictional" non-fiction book on Atlantis that made him an author celebrity, to Oklahoma senator James Inhofe, who claims that global warming is a "hoax". Pierce's narrative bounces all over the place, from topic to topic, skewering right wingers with every slash of his lexigraphic sword, often to funny results. His case: America has become the land of idiocy, where senators diagnose patients over a television set, radio buffoons suggest that autism is caused by bad parenting, and evolution should be banished from the schools.

He builds his case with three interesting premises:

1) Any theory is valid if it sells books, soak up ratings, or otherwise move units. (Ann Coulter, right)
2) Anything can be true if someone says it loud enough. (Hello Rush!)
3) Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is determined by how fervently they believe it. (Right wing, helllooo?)

Thus, what Pierce calls "the Gut", people just know something is right and wrong, because their "gut" tells them. Unfortunately, as Pierce explores through this book, people are experiencing serious gastronomical issues; more aptly, the right wing of this country needs to seriously look at taking a colonic, for what they actually perpetuate and pander to is absurd, if not laughable.

Pierce starts each chapter with an scene or two from the life of President James Madison, funnily labeled "the Charlie Brown of the Founding Fathers", whose words illuminate the concept that Pierce explores. One of the most powerful chapters comes in his journey through the world of Terri Schiavo's hospice experience. Pierce speaks with the people most effected by Terri (not the Congress passing legislation, which Bush "interrupted" one of his many vacations to sign), the brave souls who worked at the hospice and endured the brunt of hostilities when the media besieged the location. Another powerful chapter centers on the "Intelligent Design" battle in Dover, Pennsylvania and the Republican judged irked at the people trying to inject national politics into their little hamlet.

"Idiot America" works to expose cranks in our society, in order to restore something that we once had in the United States, but increasingly, is disappearing, which is the ability to engage in thoughtful, meaningful dialogue. When one side puts up such a wall of idiocy, blares it loudly without listening, dialogue, honest debate simply cannot happen.

This book is not for everyone. Those on the right of issues in this country won't find any of the exposed hypocrisy remotely believable or interesting. Those on the left, and the center, would do well to read this book, and learn from Pierce's brilliant damning look at those who declare war on America's intelligent people.
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