Is America a Nation of Idiots According to the Article Michael Moore's "Idiot Nation"?

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  940 Words
Date:  2022-12-20

Michael Moore's "Idiot Nation" terms the US as a nation of idiots. The author presents an argument that questions the intelligence levels of a vast section of the US population. He shows concern about reading abilities in the US. Literacy refers to word-reading skills and knowledge-based literacy competencies in a given population (Reardon et al. 18). The author takes a tough stance to highlight characteristics that indicate that the country comprises of idiots. While he focuses on shortcomings in the education sector, the author also strives to encourage others to take the initiative and lead the country in a better direction. Based on statements and statistics from Moore's studies and personal experience, America is a nation of idiots due to high stupidity levels among citizens.

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The article relies on various statistics to support the claim that there is a high level of stupidity in the US. It notes that the nation has 44 million citizens who cannot read or write above a fourth-grade level (Moore 1). Despite the high overall population of the country, such a figure is a source of concern. The ability to read and write is an empowerment tool that plays a vital role in growth and development across all aspects of society. When a significant percentage of the population remains uneducated, they lack access to resources as well as skills to exploit available opportunities. Another surprising statement is the little number of hours that adults spend reading. An average individual in the US can read for only 99 hours per year compared to 1,460 spent watching the television (Moore 1). Therefore, the author has a basis for calling the citizens idiots.

Statistics from a research study involving participants from leading higher learning institutions revealed shocking information. Researchers engaged seniors from the selected 55 universities in a high school level multiple choice tests. The students could only answer 53% of the thirty-four questions asked. More surprisingly, 40% of them could not answer a question about the Civil War (Moore 2). The revelation that senior students at top institutions in the US do not know when such a historical event occurred is shocking. It affirms the author's perspective that the education system is ineffective. Given that learners cannot internalize and retain critical information about periods that shaped the present-day cultures, it is difficult for them to contribute to improving society. Thus, the statistics justify the author's argument.

The author identifies some of the challenges that characterize the US education system. These are problems that contribute to the shockingly low levels of literacy across the states. Issues such as overcrowded classrooms, leaking ceilings, and demoralized instructors are common in public schools (Moore 8). In an education setting, some conditions must exist to allow learners to participate in the teaching and learning process effectively. Facilities such as classes and libraries are a crucial resource for students. Inadequate or of low standards facilities impact the learning experience negatively. The article claims that in 1 out of 4 schools, students learn from texts published in the 1980s (Moore 3). It implies that they only have access to outdated information. Hence, it is evident that the nation has neglected the education needs of the population.

There are several issues identified by the author that contribute to the state of affairs in the US. Given that many years have passed since the publication of the article; the statistics have not changed as much. 14% of the population, which translates to 32 million adults, cannot read. Similarly, 21% of the adult population cannot read below the fifth-grade level (Gaille n.p). The shocking figures are a reflection of the issues stated in the article. These include a national shortage of teachers, shutting down of school and public libraries or cutting hours of their hours, and over enrollment in public schools with inadequate facilities (Moore 8). Therefore, the claim that a vast section of the population remains uneducated is accurate considering the limits in accessing quality education.

Given the diverse problems that schools and students face, the author suggests approaches learners can use to influence the learning experience. Highlighting roles that they can take emphasizes the idea that all stakeholders, apart from the government, are responsible for changing the status quo. One of the things that learners can do is to challenge elections and electoral processes that do not have a positive impact on their lives and time at school. They can take the initiative and launch clubs and societies, newspapers and websites that offer a forum for discussing their issues (Moore 14). Thus, it is crucial for learners also to take action to challenge and improve the education system.


In conclusion, the article paints a picture of a nation whose education system has failed. As a result, a significant percentage of the population cannot read. The rest of the world views the US from the perspective of a developed, superior nation. However, this perception is questionable given the high levels of illiteracy in the country. Problems such as inadequate physical resources and shortage of teachers have contributed to the shocking statistics. Results of research studies that revealed the inability of students in top universities to answer basic questions indicate the gravity of the author's concern. Thus, by using these figures, he argues that there is a need to change the current situation.

Works cited

Gaille, Brandon. "15 US Literacy Rate and Illiteracy Statistics." Brandon Gaille, 22 May 2017, Accessed 6 Apr. 2019

Moore, Michael. "Idiot Nation." Rereading America. Edited by Gary Colombo, Robert Cullen, and Bonnie Lisle. Boston: St. Martin's,

Reardon et al. "Patterns of Literacy among US students." The Future of Children, vol. 22, no. 2, 2012, pp.17-37.

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Is America a Nation of Idiots According to the Article Michael Moore's "Idiot Nation"?. (2022, Dec 20). Retrieved from

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