Dear NY Times: Involvement Doesn't Mean Understanding

Editor, The New York Times

229 West 43rd St.

New York, NY 10036

To the Editor:

Carole Artigiani asserts that "The wide involvement of youths in the Obama campaign suggests a renewed understanding of the role of government in addressing the needs of citizens" (Letters, Nov. 20).

I wonder. Just this morning WTOP News radio in Washington reported the results of a new survey by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute that found, among other distressing facts, that 36 percent of America's college graduates cannot name the three branches of government, and that one in five cannot name a single freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Whooping it up for, or even working to elect, a charismatic politician full of glorious platitudes should not be mistaken for understanding.


Donald J. Boudreaux

Don Boudreaux is the Chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University and a Business & Media Institute adviser.