Moore believes that a large part of our developed idiocy is mainly due to the ignorance we have developed on our education. He states that “a nation that not only churns out illiterate students but goes out of its way to remain ignorant and stupid is a nation that should not be running the world” (133). Nowadays, people spent more time watching television than they do reading periodicals. This, according to Moore, resulted in a lazier and less intelligent character. He gathered statistics stating that a very low percentage of the American public bothers to read useful or interesting material other than the comic section of a newspaper. “Recently a group of 556 seniors at fifty-five prestigious American universities (e.g. Harvard, Yale, Stanford) were given a multiple-choice test consisting of questions that were described as “high school level.” Thirty four questions were asked. These top students could only answer 53 percent of them correctly. And only one student got them all right” (134). This is aside from a considerable amount of American people who cannot read and write and still live an average life. He finds it particularly daunting that such people have the power to elect its leader, which frustratingly managed to bring about the then President Bush’s administration, who himself ironically went to two prestigious universities and yet does not know a country from a continent.
But of course, talking about idiocy and degrading education, it may seem very easy to point the blame to the dedicated teachers who work hard to teach basic education to children. Moore has efficiently showed the irony being experienced by our educators from the hands of none other than government officials. “Teachers are now politicians’ favorite punching bagyou’d think all that has crumbled in our society can be traced back to lax, lazy and incompetent teachers” (139). For his claim, Moore exploits relevant factual data and statistical evidences once more to back up his claim. Regardless of whether one is enrolled in a high-end educational institution or not, the core success of effectively attaining knowledge begins with the proper learning resources provided by our very government. A government system who stipulates high test scores from students, yet deprives them of the necessary and updated learning assets due to their own distractions with other - and sometimes less urgent – matters is contradictive, even borderline hypocritical. Moore strategically proves his theory by spotlighting the hypocrisy of a Congress. He showed how a simple academic question can manage to lessen one official’s credibility, Fred Barnes’. After watching Barnes lament over a television show how poorly American education has become due to teachers and students, claiming students don’t even know The Iliad and The Odyssey, he called him the next day and asked exactly what the literary works were about. Barnes, for his part, just stammered with his answer. "Well, they'reuhyou knowuhokay, fine, you got me - I don't know what they're about. Happy now?" (135). Given the brief experiment conducted on Fred Barnes, Moore once again confirms his words that the government expects excellent test results from students when a good portion of those voted in office are incapable of attaining the knowledge they demand from students, and subsequently builds his credibility.
While factual records and numbers may be crucial in proving that lack of literature is partially accountable in forming an "idiot nation", Moore also claimed that a demeaning educational system was due to our own inconsistent democratic practices. He supports his proposition by integrating his personal negative experiences with the school system. While other children around rehearsed each letter in sync, Moore had already conquered his alphabet, if not his entire first grade curriculum, enough to effect boredom and the desire to do more. Unfortunately for him, he would have to go through all the school years because, though his school recognized his potential to skip grades, her mother explained that “there was no way her little Michael was going to be attending class with kids bigger and older than him” (137), despite his extensive protests that is. His remaining years in school, until he eventually dropped out, was spent defying the norms, building school papers only to be shut down everytime, and voicing the oppressed. But several years after, nothing had changed as evidenced by his recent school visit. He noted that “kids learn to submerge any personal expression. Don’t question authority. Do as you’re told. Have a good and productive life as an active, well-adjusted participant in our thriving democracy.” (147) The information provided is sure to enforce an alarming wake-up call into parents and the superior people who are most responsible for the construction or obstruction of our education organization.
Overall Moore's intended audience is primarily balanced between parents and the political bodies from both national and local governments across our nation. Throughout his article, Moore seems to focus more on these two parties through his various examples because they would be deemed as the most responsible for taking action to enhance or even rebuild a better education structure. He simultaneously sets an alarming, sarcastic, yet sympathetic tone toward his audience. One example was his record of people’s attitude of reproaching teachers for the current state of our educational system, when teachers mostly deserve gratitude for their hard work. The use of satires also became an effective tool, like his anecdote of Corporate America’s seemingly extravagant attention towards schools and educational programs, noting that “[their] generosity to our nation’s school is just one more example of their continuing patriotic service” (143). He mostly appeals to his reader’s logos and pathos wanting them to critically think of the gravity and the entirety of the issue, not just listen rather blindly to what others are claiming to know and understand, to consider in depth the importance of how a child's intellectual growth could positively or negatively affect them as adults in our society, such that it should not be overpowered by personal interests.
With the concise insight integrated in his essay, Moore’s article serves as a wake-up call on the importance of becoming more aware of where we stand in this so-called idiot nation, and what we could do to better ourselves as individuals and as a nation. Surely if we are mindful of the statistics, leaders of our country, and the uttering reality of how millions of people could barely achieve any reading skills above fourth-grade level, we would then be more determined to dissect the issue. By finding ways to enhance the education system for ourselves and for the younger generations to follow we may actually discover a pathway to a more successful life in the hands of an intelligent President at our discretion. But where do we begin? Simply by putting down the remote and picking up a book.