“The US surveys consistently show that ‘reading proficiency’ as exemplified, for instance, by the ability to ‘compare viewpoints in two editorials’ is possessed by only 13 per cent of the US adult population.”
From ‘The Challenge of Things: Thinking Through Troubled Times‘ by A. C. Grayling
This is a remarkable quote.
If the numbers are true, then roughly 8 out of 10 average Americans can’t discern viewpoints from what they read. This is both an indictment on levels of literacy and on the consequences of them being so low.
It could be that most people are not aware that they do not know what the written words mean. They readily form opinions from what they hear and see on conventional media and have those views reinforced by their social media feeds. When all that they read comes in the form of a tweet then there is hardly any discerning to be done. It’s too easy to find the reinforcement of your worldview.
It could be even simpler than this. Maybe people do not make up their minds. Instead, they just listen and take everything they hear as gospel.
So here is one consequence of this staggering reality.
There is very little point in editorials.