This New York Times online editorial last week by Tim Egan, "Building a Nation of Know-Nothings,"  says a lot about the need for literacy, respect for facts and rational thought all being important building blocks for democracy.
Egan notes the "astonishing level of willful ignorance" evident among the public, thanks to the lies and distortions put forward "largely by design" by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, "aided by a press afraid to call out the primary architects of the lies."
Egan correctly points out that this pattern is all too often seen on the subject of global warming:
"Climate-change denial is a special category all its own. Once on the fringe, dismissal of scientific consensus is now an article of faith among leading Republicans, again taking their cue from Limbaugh and Fox."
Read "Building a Nation of Know-Nothings"  on The New York Times website.