Thinking Aloud: Ignorance is… Bliss?

I was (as per during my afternoon commute) listening to NPR yesterday, where they reported that 45% of Americans don’t know what the Supreme Court ruled on the healthcare law (PPACA or Obamacare). I couldn’t find NPR’s story, so here’s a link to Poytner’s coverage. This breaks out to nearly 30% not knowing there was a ruling, and 15% THINKING THE ACA HAD ALREADY BEEN STRUCK DOWN AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

I am left nearly wordless at this news. This parses to me as: 30% of Americans don’t consume any news whatsoever. Not newspapers, radio shows, local news, cable news, Internet sites. And 15% just believing whatever the hell they want to believe.

As an exercise in time wasting, last Monday I went and took this quiz from the Kaiser Foundation about the PPACA. I got 10 out of 10, and frankly I think that’s something to brag about. The results page was very discouraging, however. One of the questions has a mere 27% of people getting it right.

I sincerely don’t understand the trend toward not being informed. With true facts, not the shit that the talking heads on the news tell you. Is it really that hard to educate yourself? By my estimation, I could have found out the real answers to the quiz questions (if I didn’t already know them) in about an hour. Maybe less. Granted, it requires a certain tech savvy-ness and access to a computer in my case — that’s how I would educate myself.

Now differing opinions I get. I really do understand that not everyone thinks Obamacare (let alone Obama) is good for the country. And I am willing to talk about differences in opinion. But don’t give me a statement like, “Obama is ruining this country!” without some facts to base that on. Don’t tell me that Obamacare is “government run healthcare”. Because it’s just not.

So why don’t people inform themselves, educate themselves, fact check, and/or consume news — real news, not just spin, blogs, or editorials? Why are 45% of Americans in the dark? Willfully? And don’t blame it on age, either. I may have not been the most informed 20-something back in the day, but I knew the basic facts in the news. I remember the day the first Gulf War started — where I was and what I was doing. I was 19 years old. And, no, my parents didn’t call to tell me.

I’m serious. I’d like to understand. Why do so many people choose to be ignorant?