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The 1%-9%-90% Rule

I was recently watching the O'Reilly Factor when guest, John Stossel said something that stuck with me.  Stossel spoke about the 1%-9%-90% rule.  What it means is that only 1% of our country's population are actively engaged in the shaping of our nation.   9%  of the people watch - they are aware but choose to stay on the sidelines.  The remaining 90% do nothing - they just wake up one morning ask "What happened?"

So here are the sobering numbers: There are approximately 300 million people in the United States. So let's apply the rule. 1%, means that 3 million people are doing something- attempting to effect a change .    9%, means that 27 million people are politically aware or at least up on current events.  The remaining 90% means that 270 million are doing nothing - They know next to nothing and are busy watching Dancing with the Stars while the country goes to crap.

Let's apply the same rule to an average Catholic parish consisting of about 5,000 parishioners.  1 % means that only 50 parishioners are actively involved in the life of the parish.  9% means that 450 parishioners may  occasionally help out with the collection and probably know the mass times. The remaining 90% means that  4,500 parishioners probably get their kids hatched and matched there (baptized and married) , and may even go to mass on Sunday but that's about it.

Ronald Reagan eloquently spoke about the dangers of an indifferent population as he reflected,

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free." 

So in which of the three percentiles do you find yourself? The 1%, the 9%,  or the 90%?


  1. Well said! I am so glad you addressed this matter. I saw that Factor episode with John Stossel, and aren't those figures disturbing?! As you said: "The remaining 90% means that 270 million are doing nothing - They know next to nothing and are busy watching Dancing with the Stars while the country goes to crap." I couldn't agree with you more. What is wrong with everyone? Complacency is dangerous; especially in these dark times. Great post, and well worth passing along. Thank you.


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