The Politics of Fear – Part 5/5

The prescription that leads to a successful “noble or big lie” is keeping people semi-literate or illiterate so it is more difficult to recognize the “Politics of Fear”.

However, what is literacy and how do we define it? There are no universal definitions and standards of literacy. Unless otherwise specified, the most common definition is the ability to read and write at a specified age.

In addition, literacy is learned, while illiteracy is passed along by parents who cannot read or write, and in 2003, 5% of Americans that read Below Basic did not graduate from high school, 44% spoke no English before starting school, 39% are Hispanic/Latino adults, 20% are African-American/Black adults, 25% are age 65+ and 21% have multiple disabilities.

But, at 18, many of these illiterate people are eligible to vote and votes can be influenced with little and BIG lies—especially when the voter reads at Basic or below, which is more than 40% of the population of the United States.

Manufacturing Consent: Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies says that in the United States, “14% of the people read ‘Below Basic’, which means no more than the most simple and concrete literacy skills; 29% read at the ‘Basic’ level, which means these people can perform simple and everyday literacy activities; 44% read at the ‘Intermediate’ level, which means they can perform moderately challenging literacy activates, and 13% of readers are ‘Proficient’, which means many of these readers can perform complex and challenging literacy activates” and are the most difficult to fool.What is more shocking is that compared to the rest of the world, the U.S. is doing well.

According to the latest International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), between 19% and 23% of American adults performed at the top levels for each of the three literacy scales: document literacy, prose literacy and quantitative (number) literacy. Sweden is the only country that scored higher. People that are literate and read often are harder to fool.

Yet, many Americans are being left behind. The same survey found that between 21% and 24% of U.S. adults performed at the lowest level. Source:

The state of literacy in America explains why neoconservative voices such as Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck may influence millions of listeners and talk to them as if they cannot think or reason.

In fact, Rush Limbaugh often says on his neo-conservative radio talk show that he will do the thinking for his audience so they do not have to, and his audience may be as large as 30 million—which is a large number of votes to influence.

This also may explain why ABC World News started their piece about China’s first aircraft carrier with, “the U.S. government directed a pointed question at the Chinese military: Why would you need a warship like that?”

Since China is now the world’s number one energy consumer and the second largest economy, why not, if it is in China’s national interest to have an aircraft carrier?

In addition, if Brazil, France, India, Italy, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Thailand and Britain all have one or more aircraft carriers, why can’t China join that club?

How is this a threat to America, which has twenty aircraft carriers?

What we have is simple language for simple minds to generate fear and control public opinion. If you read the ABC World News piece, you will notice they don’t mention the other countries that have aircraft carriers or how many the U.S. has.

Return to The Politics of Fear – Part 4 or start with Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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2 Responses to The Politics of Fear – Part 5/5

  1. Good article. I enjoyed it and learned a lot. I agree with you.

    • Zee Gorman,

      I wanted to leave a comment about your Post about too much sex in novels published at “Speak Without Interruption” but had trouble logging on and gave up after the tenth try.

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