“How Politics Makes Us Stupid.” by Ezra Klein

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Does ideology make us (as a country) stupid? Does ideology make you (as an individual) stupid? Read this article by Ezra Klein, “How Politics Makes Us Stupid.” Despite the title, the author is focused primarily on the significance of ideology in contemporary American politics, and how ideology deeply impacts how we process and understand information. Think very carefully about the points made in the article, then write a thoughtful, well-considered essay that, first, addresses the first question posed at the top of this page (“Does ideology make us stupid?”) Whether you agree or disagree with Klein, try to find evidence to support the argument that, yes, ideology does makes us stupid. Second, directly address the second question, “Does ideology make you stupid?” That is, in taking the points made in the article seriously, do you see your own thinking reflected in what the author says? If your answer is yes, provide specific and concrete examples. If your answer is no, explain how and why you’ve avoided the problems discussed by Klein. Your response here must demonstrate serious self-reflection. Third and finally, address the following question: Given the fact that it is nearly impossible to avoid having a political ideology, is there a solution? Consider, on this point, whether things have gotten worse in the United States over time and whether the problem exists in other countries to same extent. IMPORTANT! READ CAREFULLY! Scoring Notes. To receive full credit, you must clearly and adequately address all THREE requirements. This essay is meant to careful thinking and serious self-reflection (especially for the second requirement). It must be abundantly clear that you have carefully read the article, and have considered the broader discussion of ideology in the other assigned readings and lecture. Off-the-cuff, superficial, vague, or cursory responses, therefore, will receive very low scores (1-5 points). Write a full essay, which includes a clear introduction and conclusion, and which is also well-organized and coherent. ABSOLUTELY NO SINGLE PARAGRAPH ESSAYS. **Bonus or extra points are possible. That is, if you “go above and beyond” you can earn more than 10 points. Again, here is the article you are required to read: Ezra Klein, “How Politics Makes Us Stupid.” Vox.com. April 6, 2104. URL: https://www.vox.com/2014/4/6/5556462/brain-dead-how-politics-makes-us-stupid

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