Commonplace Book #65

The epidemic of ignorance in public policy debates has real consequences for the quality of life and well-being of every American.  During the debate in 2009 over the Affordable Care Act, for example, at least half of all Americans believed claims by opponents like former Republican vice presidential candidate nominee Sarah Palin that the legislation included “death panels” that would decide who gets health care based on bureaucratic decision about a patient’s worthiness to live. (Four years later, almost a third of surgeons apparently continued to believe this.)  Nearly half of Americans also thought the ACA established a uniform government health plan.  Love it or hate it, the program does none of these things.  And two  years after the bill passed, at least 40 percent of Americans weren’t even sure the program was still in force as a law.

Tom Nichols,  The Death of Expertise, 26.