Take another civics quiz — please

Remember the civics quiz from several months back? You know the one I aced, relatively speaking? (Disclaimer: I’m one of those people who test well. I’ve always sort of identified with Woody Allen’s quip in "Love and Death," when another character said "God is testing us!" and Woody said "If He’s gonna test us, why doesn’t He give us a written?" Some folks say testing well is not a true indication of knowledge or intelligence, but what do they know? And how are they going to prove that they know it? End of disclaimer.)

Well, the same people who drafted the last one also drafted this one, which is shorter, and easier, than the last one. Here’s my score:

You answered 32 out of 33 correctly — 96.97 %

Average score for this quiz during December: 75.0%
Average score: 75.0%

You can take the quiz as often as you like, however, your score will only count once toward the monthly average.

If you have any comments or questions about the quiz, please email americancivicliteracy@isi.org.

You can consult the following table to see how citizens and elected officials scored on each question.

Which one did I miss? The very last question, as follows:

33)   If taxes equal government spending, then:
A. government debt is zero
B. printing money no longer causes inflation
C. government is not helping anybody
D. tax per person equals government spending per person
E. tax loopholes and special-interest spending are absent

Actually, all of those answers seemed a little bit OFF to me; and I just chose the one that seemed the LEAST off. I was wrong.

If you follow the link to the table above, you’ll learn that the general public scored higher than elected officials did. Big shock, huh? And which question did both groups get wrong the most? The one about the "wall of separation" between church and state, of course. That’s just a testament to the success of certain people in propagating ignorance on that topic.

Anyway, take the test — and ‘fess up as to how you did.

19 thoughts on “Take another civics quiz — please

  1. Lee Muller

    The fallacy is the belief of those who want big government that taxes can be raised to equal government spending. They cannot.
    Taxes are already too high, and rates cannot be raised without slowing economic growth and reducing tax revenues.
    The only solution to the current financial crisis, and all government deficits, is to reduce government spending to a very small portion of the economy, small enough to have no effect.

  2. Doug Ross

    My Score: You answered 31 out of 33 correctly — 93.94 %
    You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.
    I missed the question on how government would deal with a severe recession.

  3. Brad Warthen

    I still think my answer on that last one was less wrong than the “right” answer.
    Unfortunately, I can’t offer my argument about that without giving the answer away, so I’ll restrain myself.
    What’s the other one you missed? (And don’t give the answer away!)
    Notice that Lee doesn’t report having taken the test. He’d probably just say all the right answers are wrong. (You know, like I just did above.)

  4. Norm Ivey

    84.85% for me. The ones I missed were ones I expected to probably miss, if that makes sense. The question topics in the table don’t match the questions, though. And your link to the quiz doesn’t work (as of 3:19 PM). Any extra credit for finding the quiz and noticing the discrepancies?

  5. Doug Ross

    By the way, the link to the current test is broken in your original post. I had to get to it thru the old post.
    The correct link is:
    Civics Quiz
    Sad to say the other question I missed was
    “What was the source of the following phrase: “Government of the people, by the people, for the people”?”
    I would have guessed “Ron Paul’s Website” 🙂

  6. bud

    I missed 3. One of those I read wrong, about the first ammendment, and none of the answers made sense so I guessed and guessed wrong. One of the others I had right and then changed it. Always go with your first instinct. The third one about Plato, Aristotle etc. I had no clue.

  7. Lee Muller

    So the test really exists? I thought it was just more of what Brad thinks is humor. Maybe I will take it later. Still working.

  8. Reader

    Take your picture down — please! Then I wouldn’t have to get tennis elbow [left] covering it up while I lurk about here.
    In The Waste Land.

  9. Reader

    T.S. Eliot (1888–1965). The Waste Land. 1922.
    The Waste Land
    APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
    Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
    Memory and desire, stirring
    Dull roots with spring rain.
    Winter kept us warm, covering 5
    Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
    A little life with dried tubers.
    Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
    With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
    And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten, 10
    And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
    Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
    And when we were children, staying at the archduke’s,
    My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
    And I was frightened. He said, Marie, 15
    Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
    In the mountains, there you feel free.
    I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.
    What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
    Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man, 20
    You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
    A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
    And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
    And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
    There is shadow under this red rock, 25
    (Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
    And I will show you something different from either
    Your shadow at morning striding behind you
    Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
    I will show you fear in a handful of dust. 30
    Frisch weht der Wind
    Der Heimat zu.
    Mein Irisch Kind,
    Wo weilest du?
    ‘You gave me hyacinths first a year ago; 35
    ‘They called me the hyacinth girl.’
    —Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
    Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
    Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
    Living nor dead, and I knew nothing, 40
    Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
    Od’ und leer das Meer.
    Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
    Had a bad cold, nevertheless
    Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe, 45
    With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,
    Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
    (Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)
    Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,
    The lady of situations. 50
    Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,
    And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,
    Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,
    Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
    The Hanged Man. Fear death by water. 55
    I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring.
    Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,
    Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:
    One must be so careful these days.
    Unreal City, 60
    Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
    A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
    I had not thought death had undone so many.
    Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
    And each man fixed his eyes before his feet. 65
    Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
    To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
    With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
    There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying ‘Stetson!
    ‘You who were with me in the ships at Mylae! 70
    ‘That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
    ‘Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
    ‘Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
    ‘Oh keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men,
    ‘Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again! 75
    ‘You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!’
    THE Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne,
    Glowed on the marble, where the glass
    Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines
    From which a golden Cupidon peeped out 80
    (Another hid his eyes behind his wing)
    Doubled the flames of sevenbranched candelabra
    Reflecting light upon the table as
    The glitter of her jewels rose to meet it,
    From satin cases poured in rich profusion; 85
    In vials of ivory and coloured glass
    Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes,
    Unguent, powdered, or liquid—troubled, confused
    And drowned the sense in odours; stirred by the air
    That freshened from the window, these ascended 90
    In fattening the prolonged candle-flames,
    Flung their smoke into the laquearia,
    Stirring the pattern on the coffered ceiling.
    Huge sea-wood fed with copper
    Burned green and orange, framed by the coloured stone, 95
    In which sad light a carvèd dolphin swam.
    Above the antique mantel was displayed
    As though a window gave upon the sylvan scene
    The change of Philomel, by the barbarous king
    So rudely forced; yet there the nightingale 100
    Filled all the desert with inviolable voice
    And still she cried, and still the world pursues,
    ‘Jug Jug’ to dirty ears.
    And other withered stumps of time
    Were told upon the walls; staring forms 105
    Leaned out, leaning, hushing the room enclosed.
    Footsteps shuffled on the stair.
    Under the firelight, under the brush, her hair
    Spread out in fiery points
    Glowed into words, then would be savagely still. 110
    ‘My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me.
    ‘Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak.
    ‘What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?
    ‘I never know what you are thinking. Think.’
    I think we are in rats’ alley 115
    Where the dead men lost their bones.
    ‘What is that noise?’
    The wind under the door.
    ‘What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?’
    Nothing again nothing. 120
    ‘You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember
    I remember
    Those are pearls that were his eyes. 125
    ‘Are you alive, or not? Is there nothing in your head?’
    O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag—
    It’s so elegant
    So intelligent 130
    ‘What shall I do now? What shall I do?’
    ‘I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street
    ‘With my hair down, so. What shall we do to-morrow?
    ‘What shall we ever do?’
    The hot water at ten. 135
    And if it rains, a closed car at four.
    And we shall play a game of chess,
    Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door.
    When Lil’s husband got demobbed, I said—
    I didn’t mince my words, I said to her myself, 140
    Now Albert’s coming back, make yourself a bit smart.
    He’ll want to know what you done with that money he gave you
    To get yourself some teeth. He did, I was there.
    You have them all out, Lil, and get a nice set, 145
    He said, I swear, I can’t bear to look at you.
    And no more can’t I, I said, and think of poor Albert,
    He’s been in the army four years, he wants a good time,
    And if you don’t give it him, there’s others will, I said.
    Oh is there, she said. Something o’ that, I said. 150
    Then I’ll know who to thank, she said, and give me a straight look.
    If you don’t like it you can get on with it, I said.
    Others can pick and choose if you can’t.
    But if Albert makes off, it won’t be for lack of telling. 155
    You ought to be ashamed, I said, to look so antique.
    (And her only thirty-one.)
    I can’t help it, she said, pulling a long face,
    It’s them pills I took, to bring it off, she said.
    (She’s had five already, and nearly died of young George.) 160
    The chemist said it would be alright, but I’ve never been the same.
    You are a proper fool, I said.
    Well, if Albert won’t leave you alone, there it is, I said,
    What you get married for if you don’t want children?
    Well, that Sunday Albert was home, they had a hot gammon,
    And they asked me in to dinner, to get the beauty of it hot—
    Goonight Bill. Goonight Lou. Goonight May. Goonight. 170
    Ta ta. Goonight. Goonight.
    Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night.
    THE river’s tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf
    Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind
    Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed. 175
    Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.
    The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers,
    Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends
    Or other testimony of summer nights. The nymphs are departed.
    And their friends, the loitering heirs of city directors; 180
    Departed, have left no addresses.
    By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept…
    Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song,
    Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long.
    But at my back in a cold blast I hear 185
    The rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear.
    A rat crept softly through the vegetation
    Dragging its slimy belly on the bank
    While I was fishing in the dull canal
    On a winter evening round behind the gashouse 190
    Musing upon the king my brother’s wreck
    And on the king my father’s death before him.
    White bodies naked on the low damp ground
    And bones cast in a little low dry garret,
    Rattled by the rat’s foot only, year to year. 195
    But at my back from time to time I hear
    The sound of horns and motors, which shall bring
    Sweeney to Mrs. Porter in the spring.
    O the moon shone bright on Mrs. Porter
    And on her daughter 200
    They wash their feet in soda water
    Et, O ces voix d’enfants, chantant dans la coupole!
    Twit twit twit
    Jug jug jug jug jug jug
    So rudely forc’d. 205
    Unreal City
    Under the brown fog of a winter noon
    Mr. Eugenides, the Smyrna merchant
    Unshaven, with a pocket full of currants 210
    C.i.f. London: documents at sight,
    Asked me in demotic French
    To luncheon at the Cannon Street Hotel
    Followed by a weekend at the Metropole.
    At the violet hour, when the eyes and back 215
    Turn upward from the desk, when the human engine waits
    Like a taxi throbbing waiting,
    I Tiresias, though blind, throbbing between two lives,
    Old man with wrinkled female breasts, can see
    At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives 220
    Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea,
    The typist home at teatime, clears her breakfast, lights
    Her stove, and lays out food in tins.
    Out of the window perilously spread
    Her drying combinations touched by the sun’s last rays, 225
    On the divan are piled (at night her bed)
    Stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays.
    I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs
    Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest—
    I too awaited the expected guest. 230
    He, the young man carbuncular, arrives,
    A small house agent’s clerk, with one bold stare,
    One of the low on whom assurance sits
    As a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire.
    The time is now propitious, as he guesses, 235
    The meal is ended, she is bored and tired,
    Endeavours to engage her in caresses
    Which still are unreproved, if undesired.
    Flushed and decided, he assaults at once;
    Exploring hands encounter no defence; 240
    His vanity requires no response,
    And makes a welcome of indifference.
    (And I Tiresias have foresuffered all
    Enacted on this same divan or bed;
    I who have sat by Thebes below the wall 245
    And walked among the lowest of the dead.)
    Bestows on final patronising kiss,
    And gropes his way, finding the stairs unlit…
    She turns and looks a moment in the glass,
    Hardly aware of her departed lover; 250
    Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass:
    ‘Well now that’s done: and I’m glad it’s over.’
    When lovely woman stoops to folly and
    Paces about her room again, alone,
    She smoothes her hair with automatic hand, 255
    And puts a record on the gramophone.
    ‘This music crept by me upon the waters’
    And along the Strand, up Queen Victoria Street.
    O City city, I can sometimes hear
    Beside a public bar in Lower Thames Street, 260
    The pleasant whining of a mandoline
    And a clatter and a chatter from within
    Where fishmen lounge at noon: where the walls
    Of Magnus Martyr hold
    Inexplicable splendour of Ionian white and gold. 265
    The river sweats
    Oil and tar
    The barges drift
    With the turning tide
    Red sails 270
    To leeward, swing on the heavy spar.
    The barges wash
    Drifting logs
    Down Greenwich reach 275
    Past the Isle of Dogs.
    Weialala leia
    Wallala leialala
    Elizabeth and Leicester
    Beating oars 280
    The stern was formed
    A gilded shell
    Red and gold
    The brisk swell
    Rippled both shores 285
    Southwest wind
    Carried down stream
    The peal of bells
    White towers
    Weialala leia 290
    Wallala leialala
    ‘Trams and dusty trees.
    Highbury bore me. Richmond and Kew
    Undid me. By Richmond I raised my knees
    Supine on the floor of a narrow canoe.’ 295
    ‘My feet are at Moorgate, and my heart
    Under my feet. After the event
    He wept. He promised “a new start”.
    I made no comment. What should I resent?’
    ‘On Margate Sands. 300
    I can connect
    Nothing with nothing.
    The broken fingernails of dirty hands.
    My people humble people who expect
    Nothing.’ 305
    la la
    To Carthage then I came
    Burning burning burning burning
    O Lord Thou pluckest me out
    O Lord Thou pluckest 310
    PHLEBAS the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
    Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep seas swell
    And the profit and loss.
    A current under sea 315
    Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
    He passed the stages of his age and youth
    Entering the whirlpool.
    Gentile or Jew
    O you who turn the wheel and look to windward, 320
    Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.
    AFTER the torchlight red on sweaty faces
    After the frosty silence in the gardens
    After the agony in stony places
    The shouting and the crying 325
    Prison and place and reverberation
    Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
    He who was living is now dead
    We who were living are now dying
    With a little patience 330
    Here is no water but only rock
    Rock and no water and the sandy road
    The road winding above among the mountains
    Which are mountains of rock without water
    If there were water we should stop and drink 335
    Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
    Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand
    If there were only water amongst the rock
    Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
    Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit 340
    There is not even silence in the mountains
    But dry sterile thunder without rain
    There is not even solitude in the mountains
    But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
    From doors of mudcracked houses
    If there were water 345
    And no rock
    If there were rock
    And also water
    And water
    A spring 350
    A pool among the rock
    If there were the sound of water only
    Not the cicada
    And dry grass singing
    But sound of water over a rock 355
    Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
    Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
    But there is no water
    Who is the third who walks always beside you?
    When I count, there are only you and I together 360
    But when I look ahead up the white road
    There is always another one walking beside you
    Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
    I do not know whether a man or a woman
    —But who is that on the other side of you? 365
    What is that sound high in the air
    Murmur of maternal lamentation
    Who are those hooded hordes swarming
    Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth
    Ringed by the flat horizon only 370
    What is the city over the mountains
    Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air
    Falling towers
    Jerusalem Athens Alexandria
    Vienna London 375
    A woman drew her long black hair out tight
    And fiddled whisper music on those strings
    And bats with baby faces in the violet light
    Whistled, and beat their wings 380
    And crawled head downward down a blackened wall
    And upside down in air were towers
    Tolling reminiscent bells, that kept the hours
    And voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells.
    In this decayed hole among the mountains 385
    In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing
    Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel
    There is the empty chapel, only the wind’s home.
    It has no windows, and the door swings,
    Dry bones can harm no one. 390
    Only a cock stood on the rooftree
    Co co rico co co rico
    In a flash of lightning. Then a damp gust
    Bringing rain
    Ganga was sunken, and the limp leaves 395
    Waited for rain, while the black clouds
    Gathered far distant, over Himavant.
    The jungle crouched, humped in silence.
    Then spoke the thunder
    D A 400
    Datta: what have we given?
    My friend, blood shaking my heart
    The awful daring of a moment’s surrender
    Which an age of prudence can never retract
    By this, and this only, we have existed 405
    Which is not to be found in our obituaries
    Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider
    Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor
    In our empty rooms
    D A 410
    Dayadhvam: I have heard the key
    Turn in the door once and turn once only
    We think of the key, each in his prison
    Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison
    Only at nightfall, aetherial rumours 415
    Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus
    D A
    Damyata: The boat responded
    Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar
    The sea was calm, your heart would have responded 420
    Gaily, when invited, beating obedient
    To controlling hands
    I sat upon the shore
    Fishing, with the arid plain behind me
    Shall I at least set my lands in order? 425
    London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down
    Poi s’ascose nel foco che gli affina
    Quando fiam ceu chelidon—O swallow swallow
    Le Prince d’Aquitaine à la tour abolie
    These fragments I have shored against my ruins 430
    Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo’s mad againe.
    Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.
    Shantih shantih shantih

  10. Steve Gordy

    32/33. I missed the last one because I misread “government debt.” Time to get a new set of computer glasses.

  11. Brad Warthen

    Yeah, I think there’s a problem with 33. Those of you who took the test — any of y’all suspicious of what they SAY is the right answer?
    It’s not so much that I think any of the other options is right, either — I think they’re all inadequate answers.

  12. Joe

    UPDATENOTICE: The analysis and solution:
    No own real estate (property), no pay income taxes (work for wages), no vote, no vote, no vote.
    Buy property, pay taxes on property, work real job (not community activist or community organizer paid by free government doles) and pay income taxes. Vote and see where your taxes go.
    All government employees should receive 25percent pay cut anytime when budget needs to be balanced.
    Tax the government plantation slaves:
    Yes, that’s the answer.


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