Just when you thought our math skills could not drop any lower and our inability to see the big picture could not be any feebler, here’s a good one for you:
How off is that guess of 25% of the budget? About 50 times or so. It’s actually 0.6% (that’s a zero point six…). Yikes. So for every half a penny of that dollar we actually spend on all space programs and activities in total (from the Space Shuttle to Hubble), the typical American thinks it’s 25 cents.
“Outside In” is about the big picture, the really big picture and why that unless we understand from the big picture in, instead of usual inside out view of things, we are in serious trouble.
Now, I’m not exactly a math whiz, but the thing that’s really shocking about this is the ignorance about very basic items of how the US government works and what it spends. The average American tends to be quick on their opinions on politics, candidates and how the world is and should be. Clearly, a huge number of us have no idea what we are talking about.
It also reveals how poorly the media, political parties and the actual government communicates these same basic facts. Of course, conspiracy theory junkies will think it is part of some evil scheme to confuse the public. But since a few seconds on Google reveals all the details, I doubt that.
I think the real reason is far scarier – those in positions of power, and I suspect a number of the current candidates running for president might be among them, are quite ignorant of many of these same kinds of facts as well. And even if they know a bit more than the typical American, expertise does not appear asset that Presidents seek to advertise, from Bush(es), Clinton(s), Reagan, Carter, Perot – all falling over themselves to appear “folksy” and “the regular, all-American guy/gal you’d love to have at your barbecue”.
That’s a problem. Just cause your friend Joe grills a mean steak, always brings a keg and is a whiz at Jarts, does not mean you want him planning world policy.
We might not think we need a bunch more brainiacs in the voting booth and on the ballot, but when China starts building huge factories on the moon to dominate the world energy market with a few nuclear tipped warheads for “protection”, we might think a little different. But it’s not just raw brain power we are talking here. It’s insight, experience and wisdom.
But without an American public that values brain power, it won’t be voted in.