Illogical Thoughts/things that make perfect sense #9 Many Americans can’t define capitalism, socialism or democracy

A man’s shadow is seen on a banner in 2010. (©Jason Andrew/Getty Images)

For two words that inflame such passion, Americans sure don’t seem to know what  “socialism” and “capitalism” mean. Those two words are tied atop Merriam-Webster’s list of 2012 Words of the Year, which are ranked based on how often they’re looked up.

Not surprised and neither should You

Thomas Jefferson stipulated that a democracy can only work if its people are educated. Actually let me let the man speak for himself:

index “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. And to render them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree.”


“I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised, for the preservation of freedom and happiness…Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish & improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils [tyranny, oppression, etc.] and that the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.”

If this is to believed then I have some predictions for my fellow Americans  in the near future stay tuned for part 2


FRom the Merriam Webster Website

Words of the Year 2012

SPRINGFIELD, MASS., December 5, 2012—Merriam-Webster Inc., America’s leading dictionary publisher, has announced the Top Ten Words of the Year. Based on the volume of user lookups at, this list sheds light on topics and ideas that sparked the nation’s interest in 2012.

Two words, socialism and capitalism, share the top spot due to discussion and debate around the presidential election. Socialism saw its largest lookup spikes during coverage of healthcare but also saw peaks in the days following both conventions and each of the presidential debates. Capitalism, although looked up somewhat less often, rode the same waves of interest.

“We saw a huge spike for socialism on Election Day itself, but interest in both words was very high all year,” says Peter Sokolowski, Editor at Large at Merriam-Webster. “Lookups of one word often led to lookups of the other.”

The word socialism refers to governmental ownership and administration of the production and distribution of goods. Capitalism refers to private or corporate ownership of the tools used to make and transport products whose prices are set by competition on the free market.

“It’s fascinating to see which language from a campaign or debate speech resonates with our users,” says John M. Morse, President and Publisher at Merriam-Webster. “With socialism and capitalism, it’s clear that many people turned to the dictionary to help make sense of the commentary that often surrounds these words.”

More Americans want to eat turkey with Tebow than Obama & A quote from David Foster Wallace

Americans revere athletic excellence, competitive success, and it’s more than lip service we pay; we vote with our wallets. We’ll pay large sums to watch a truly great athlete; we’ll reward him with celebrity and adulation and will even go so far as to buy products and services he endorses.

But it’s better for us not to know the kinds of sacrifices the professional-grade athlete has made to get so very good at one particular thing. Oh, we’ll invoke lush cliches about the lonely heroism of Olympic athletes, the pain and analgesia of football, the early rising and hours of practice and restricted diets, the preflight celibacy, et cetera. But the actual facts of the sacrifices repel us when we see them: basketball geniuses who cannot read, sprinters who dope themselves, defensive tackles who shoot up with bovine hormones until they collapse or explode. We prefer not to consider closely the shockingly vapid and primitive comments uttered by athletes in postcontest interviews or to consider what impoverishments in one’s mental life would allow people actually to think the way great athletes seem to think. Note the way “up close and personal” profiles of professional athletes strain so hard to find evidence of a rounded human life — outside interests and activities, values beyond the sport. We ignore what’s obvious, that most of this straining is farce. It’s farce because the realities of top-level athletics today require an early and total commitment to one area of excellence. An ascetic focus. A subsumption of almost all other features of human life to one chosen talent and pursuit. A consent to live in a world that, like a child’s world, is very small.

David Foster Wallace 1995 String Theory

I really wasn’t surprised then to read that Tim Tebow, Big Bird and Lady Gaga  topped the list of America’s most wanted dinner guests for Turkey Day. The world’s most famous backup quarterback polled first in the Destination America survey, with 23 percent of respondents saying they’d want Tebow to bless their spread.  Big Bird, came in second, and pLady Gaga finished third. The trio polled ahead of President Obama, who despite winning re-election, had only 5 percent of this popular vote.

What do you think ?