Gregg Jackson of Pundit Review recently posted a ponderous item comparing democracy in the United States to that in ancient Athens. Jackson’s so-called point is that we are deteriorating pretty much the way Athens did, as outlined by some 18th-century Scottish historian.

Well, folks, it doesn’t get much better than this: Charles Swift reports that Jackson’s entire item was based on an urban legend that’s been circulating around the Internet. So credulous was Jackson that he didn’t even bother to notice that he’d made it appear there are only 48 states.

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