Tag: Politics

Political concordance among mates

By Razib Khan | May 11, 2011 12:26 am

A new study (which I can not find online yet) in The Journal of Politics has some interesting descriptive information on correlations between mates when it comes to politics:

On a scale of 0 to 1, where 1 means perfectly matched, physical traits (body shape, weight and height) only score between 0.1 and 0.2 among spouse pairs. Personality traits, such as extroversion or impulsivity, are also weak and fall within the 0 to 0.2 range. By comparison, the score for political ideology is more than 0.6, higher than any of the other measured traits except frequency of church attendance, which was just over 0.7.

The gap between physical traits and politics and religion was surprising to me, though I am not surprised by the power of politics and religion in sorting pairs. An important point of the paper apparently is that this correlation does not emerge through convergence over the term of a relationship. Rather, partners are strongly similar at the beginning of relationships. And the similarity isn’t simply due to the fact that they emerge out of a similar milieu where particular political and religious views are dominant:

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Politics
MORE ABOUT: Politics

The soft twilight of monarchies

By Razib Khan | April 30, 2011 2:54 am

Years ago I took a course on Tudor and Stuart England. Its primary focus was more on social and cultural aspects of British society at the time, rather than diplomatic history. Later I took an interest in the England of the Civil War era. One thing that struck me was the unquestioned acceptance of monarchy in the minds of the people, from high nobility to low commoner. Like the Romans before the Visigothic sack in the early 5th century these were a people who could not imagine a world any different than the one they had known. That is one of the things which made the execution of Charles I so shocking to many contemporaries. Myself, I was tacitly indoctrinated in American republicanism as a child. Films like the The Patriot grow in the rich soil of the same cultural environment which gave rise to the phenomenon of the antagonists in Roman era films speaking with British accents while the protagonists had robust American drawls. As I spent my formative years on the fringes of of New England there was particular pride taken in that region’s early role in the rebellion whenever we addressed the American Revolutionary War. Clearly I have little reverence and respect for the institution of monarchy as a matter of upbringing and expectation. Not to make too explosive an analogy, but in the past I viewed monarchy as somewhat like slavery, an cultural artifact once universal which would inevitably melt away under the harsh glare of the objective forces of justice for all.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture
MORE ABOUT: Culture, Monarchy, Politics

Political moderation, education, and intelligence

By Razib Khan | April 22, 2011 10:25 am

After seeing this post up on how high information levels and education may lead to political polarization, I wanted to revisit the GSS data on political moderation and independence in light of educational attainment and intelligence. For the later I used the proxy of a score on a vocabulary test which has a 0.70 correlation with general intelligence. My question was this: what are the different effects of intelligence and education on ideology and partisanship?

To answer this question I looked at two response variables, POLVIEWS and PARTYID, which measure ideology from very liberal to very conservative and partisanship from strong Democrat to strong Republican. I amalgamated “leaners” so that in the middle I had moderates and independents left. For the vocab test I used WORDSUM. The scores have a value from 0 to 10, out of 10. I combined the 0-4 interval because the sample size there was small. Finally, I limited the sample to non-Hispanic whites after the year 2000 to eliminate some background confounds (e.g., minorities tend to be way more Democratic, all things equal).

I generated some area graphs. First, I looked at proportions of each ideology or party in a particular category. For example, the percentage liberal, moderate, and conservative who get a vocab score of 5, or have high school education. Then, I controlled for education and looked at vocab score. Specifically, I limited the sample to those who had only a high school diploma, and then those who had a university degree and higher. These two classes had large sample sizes. Then I looked at how ideology and party varied by vocab score.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Politics
MORE ABOUT: Politics

Human population genetics & identity politics

By Razib Khan | March 25, 2011 12:53 am

Joshua Lipson has a column up in the Harvard Political Review, DNA and the New Identity Politics. I’m generally very keen on spreading insights from the biological sciences into other domains; not as an imperialist, but as a intellectual entrepreneur. There are few assertions Joshua makes which I would quibble with in the details, but it’s a good sign that assertions are being made in the first place. Just don’t tell everyone!

Right now the new human population genomics is robust and informative in phylogeny. In terms of function, not so much. But that will probably change at some point. Lipson states:

Fortunately, this discipline of science has little to say about important social or psychological differences between ethnic groups and races: as a result, access to new information about the genetic landscape of humanity has not prompted a spooky stir of neo-eugenics….

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Genetics, Genomics
MORE ABOUT: Genetics, Politics

Culture differences matter (even within Islam)

By Razib Khan | February 15, 2011 12:27 pm

I’ve been keeping track of events in the Arab world only from a distance. There’s been a lot of excitement on twitter and Facebook. Since I’m not an unalloyed enthusiast for democracy I’ve not joined in in the exultation. But I’m very concerned at what I perceive are unrealistic assumptions and false correspondences. This is a big issue because the public is very ignorant of world history and geography. For example, I was listening to a radio show where Roger Cohen was a guest. Cohen covers the Middle East, so he is familiar with many of the issues to a much greater depth than is feasible for the “Average Joe.” In response to a caller who was an ethnic Egyptian American and a Coptic Christian who was concerned about possible persecution of religious minorities Cohen pointed to Turkey, which is ruled by Islamists, and has “many” Christians. His tone was of dismissal and frustration. And that was that.

Let’s look more closely. About 5-10% of Egyptians are Christian, with most estimates being closer to 10 than 5. In contrast, the non-Muslim minority in Turkey numbers at mostfew percent, with ~1% often given as a “round number.” This low fraction of non-Muslims in modern Turkey is a product of 20th century events. First, the genocide against Armenians cleared out eastern Anatolia. Second, the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in the 1920s resulted in each nation removing most of its religious minorities. Of the religious minorities which remain in Turkey, they have been subject to sporadic attacks from radicals (often Turkish nationalists, not Islamists). But from a cultural-historical perspective one of the most revealing issues has been the long-running strangulation of the institution of the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church by the Turkish republic.

But that’s not the big issue. Rather, it may be that Turkey is a particularly tolerant society in the Muslim Middle East when it comes to religious freedom, and so not a good model for what might play out in Egypt (and has played out in Iraq). This matters because people regularly speak of “secular Egyptians,” “secular Turks,” “Turkish Islamists,” and “Egyptian Islamists,” as if there’s a common currency in the modifiers. That is, a secular Egyptian is equivalent to a secular Turk, and Islamists in Egypt are equivalent to Islamists in Turkey (who have been in power via democratic means for much of the past 10 years). Let’s look at the Pew Global Attitudes report, which I’ve referenced before. In particular, three questions which are clear and specific. Should adulterers be stoned? Should robbers be whipped, or their hands amputated? Should apostates from Islam be subject to the death penalty?

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: International Affairs, Religion

The academy is liberal, deal!

By Razib Khan | February 8, 2011 1:02 pm

A new article in The New York Times, Social Scientist Sees Bias Within, profiles Jonathan Haidt’s quest to get some political diversity within social psychology. This means my post Is the Academy liberal?, is getting some links again. The data within that post is just a quantitative take on what anyone knows: the academy is by and large a redoubt of political liberals. To the left you see the ratio of liberals to conservatives for selected disciplines. Haidt points out that in the American public the ratio is 1:2 in the other direction, so it would be 0.50. He goes on to say that: “Anywhere in the world that social psychologists see women or minorities underrepresented by a factor of two or three, our minds jump to discrimination as the explanation,” said Dr. Haidt, who called himself a longtime liberal turned centrist. “But when we find out that conservatives are underrepresented among us by a factor of more than 100, suddenly everyone finds it quite easy to generate alternate explanations.” Haidt now calls himself a “centrist,” but you define yourself in part by the distribution around you. In the general public he’d probably still be a liberal, as evidenced by the logic he’s using here. The proportionalist idea is so common the Left, that institutions and communities should reflect the broader society, that he’s now attempting to apply the framework to ideology. But there may be many reasons not having to do with crass discrimination why different groups are differently represented in different disciplines. Consider this case:

– Academics tend to be much smarter than average, and liberals may be overrepresented among the very bright. That to me could explain why education professors are more conservative, though I doubt political scientists are that much brighter than engineers!

– Liberals and conservatives have different values, so that people of similar aptitudes may choose different life paths. The standard assumption is that conservatives value the remuneration of the conventional private sector more than liberals, who may opt for the prestige and status of the academy.

– Studying social science may make you liberal, in that conservative ideas are just not correct.

– Finally, subcultures are probably subject to positive feedback loops where small initial differences may result in disproportionate attraction of various types of individuals to different groups. After the initial positive feedback loop is generated, i.e. bright liberal undergraduates know that graduate school is socially congenial to their values, while conservatives know that it is not, group conformity effects can make the politically “out” reminder more liberal or conservative than they would otherwise be (as an inverse case is Wall Street, where may people from conventional liberal backgrounds may still identify as relatively liberal, but on many issues their environment has shifted their absolute viewpoints to a more right-wing position).

Not only do I think there are reasons not having to do with straightforward discrimination as to the skewed ratios, but, I think that barring a Ministry of Conservative Representation enforcing quotas from on high it’s pretty much impossible to change the basic statistics. You could, for example, simply mandate that conservatives get paid 50% more to incentivize them to becoming academics. But why stop here? How about more liberals in the military and corporate boardrooms?

Does this matter? I think it does. “Positive” Results Increase Down the Hierarchy of the Sciences:

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Politics, Social Science

What do the people think?

By Razib Khan | January 31, 2011 1:00 am

With all the geopolitical tumult and news I was a bit curious to see what The World Values Survey could tell us about public opinion in Egypt and Tunisia. Unfortunately, Tunisia hasn’t been in any of their surveys, though Egypt has. So I thought it might be interesting to compare the USA, Sweden, Turkey, Egypt, and Iraq, for wave 5, which occurred in the mid-2000s. The main thing I took away from the exercise is to reflect that Americans are a more equivocal people than I had expected. Many of the questions have a 1 to 10 scale, and I’m providing the most extreme answers. So the low fractions for Americans for some questions point to a relative moderation on some topics…which is kind of weird when you are asking whether “People choosing their leaders is an essential characteristic of democracy.” Since that’s the definition of democracy broadly construed anything below a 10 out of 10 seems strange to me.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Politics

Polarization on abortion in the USA

By Razib Khan | December 9, 2010 2:06 am

Some comments below made me want to look at attitudes toward abortion in the USA by ideology over the decades. I know that political party polarization on social issues has played out mostly over the past 20 years or, but I assumed that this was less evident in ideology (mostly, liberal Republicans became Democrats and conservative Democrats became Republicans). I looked at the ABANY question:

Please tell me whether or not you think it should be possible for a pregnant woman to obtaina legal abortion if:The woman wants it for any reason?

Then I combined years to produce four decades. 1977-1980 = 70s, 1981-1990 = 80s, 1991-2000 = 90s, and 2001-2008 = 00s. I compared this with the POLVIEWS variable, which goes from extremely liberal to extremely conservative. I constrained the sample to whites to control somewhat for population confounds. Below are the results by decade in various formats.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Data Analysis, Uncategorized
MORE ABOUT: Abortion, Data, GSS, Politics

Admissions of illiberalism

By Razib Khan | December 8, 2010 12:01 am

abayaRecently I was having a twitter conversation with Kevin Zelnio and Eric Michael Johnson about the fact that I define myself as “right-wing.” Kevin kind of implied that I was poseur in a tongue-in-cheek fashion. I don’t wear my political beliefs on my sleeve too much in this space because 1) I find talking about politics kind of boring (though data analysis less so) 2) My own views are somewhat idiosyncratic, as I am socially liberal on many “hot button” issues 3) Science is more interesting than politics, and we can have a real conversation about it. If I started offering my stupid uninformed opinions on politics I’d have to open up the floor to my liberal readers to offer their stupid uninformed opinions on politics. There’s a lot of that on the web, so I don’t see where that’s in anyone’s interest.

But I am sincere. I don’t consider myself liberal, and that has to do with particular socially conservative tendencies which I have. Robin Hanson might call me a “farmer,” and I’m also accurately described as having a bourgeois sensibility. More concretely I have little sympathy with liberal diversity talk, and oppose multiculturalism. I’m not a neoconservative or liberal internationalist who believers in eternal war and imperialism to homogenize the values of all humans, but, I do believe in nation-states with distinctive cultural values which unify them.

The nation-states of the West have Western values, which are a contingent product of their particular histories. I believe in the perpetuation of those values. The geometric aspect of Florence’s Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore make it a relatively conceivable mosque at some point in the future, but I don’t want the Duomo of Florence to become a mosque. It’s an aesthetic preference, and culturally biased, but I’m at peace with this. It is a fundamentally illiberal attitude, and I am not particularly shy about it, even with family members who are nominally affiliated with “Team Islam.” It isn’t as if Islamic architecture is under threat, there are 57 nations which are members of an organization of states affiliated with that religion.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture
MORE ABOUT: Islam, Politics

Why H. L. Mencken is popular with nerds

By Razib Khan | November 19, 2010 4:49 pm

The 800-Pound Mama Grizzly Problem:

Ms. Palin, in fact, draws almost as much search traffic worldwide as the man she would face if she wins the Republican nomination: Barack Obama. And her name is searched for about 30 percent more often than the President’s among Google users in the United States.

Some members of Ms. Palin’s family also draw as much attention has the other Presidential contenders. Todd Palin, her husband, gets about as much search traffic as Mr. Pawlenty. Bristol Palin, her daughter (and a finalist on “Dancing With the Stars”), gets several times more than any of them (as does her former boyfriend, Levi Johnston).

I thought of this News IQ Quiz from Pew. I got 12 out of 12, which apparently places me in the top 1% of quiz takers? The only question I hesitated on was #11 for what it’s worth. Check out how different demographics do in the aggregate and by question:

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Politics

Demographics as political destiny

By Razib Khan | November 7, 2010 4:30 pm

From The New York Times, White Democrats Lose More Ground in South:

There are other signs that the realignment might not be permanent. Growing Latino populations in Florida and Texas, and in Georgia and South Carolina, could rearrange the political map again before too long.

And then there is the curious case of North Carolina. While Republicans racked up historic victories in state races on Tuesday, seven of the state’s eight Democratic congressmen survived challenges, including Heath Shuler, a young Blue Dog elected in 2006.

That, oddly enough, leaves North Carolina with one of the most Democratic Congressional delegations outside of the Northeast.

boraThis an illustration of the maxim that differences among white people are not worth comment, even if they have more impact than differences between racial minorities and whites. At some point Latinos in states in the South aside from Texas and Florida will be numerous enough to be significant, but right now they’re not there yet. But what about Northern transplants? Or those from more exotic locales? If they’re white Northerners who resettle in the Research Triangle of North Carolina aren’t worth mentioning explicitly I guess, but that’s certainly a relatively parsimonious explanation for why North Carolina in particular seems to have weathered the “Republican wave” rather well. Just as Latinos may have given Democrats a demographic booster-shot out West, in North Carolina the addition of Northern transplants who operate somewhat outside of the traditional black-white cultural divide in the South may have bolstered the Democrats.

To make this more concrete, I’ve taken the pop, soda and coke data for Southern states and created ratios of each to the total sum of the three. Below is a bar graph which shows the values for all three by state:

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture
MORE ABOUT: Culture, Politics

Election 2010 Predictions

By Razib Khan | October 30, 2010 11:20 pm

800px-SarahPalinElonFor Congress, I think that the breakdown will be:

Senate – 50 Republicans, 50 Democrats

House – 240 Republicans, 195 Democrats

My reasoning? I just took FiveThirtyEight‘s numbers and shaded them a bit to the Republican side. There’s no point in making predictions unless you predict something novel and a bit off expectations. Additionally, since the readership here leans a little Left I am inclined to tweak you guys a bit and make the political Götterdämmerung even more terrifying, though I didn’t want to push my luck and give you an implausible value which you’d reject on the face of it.

Image Credit: Therealbs2002, Wikimedia Commons

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Politics
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How much more racist are white conservatives than white liberals?

By Razib Khan | September 7, 2010 12:05 pm

A few weeks ago there were a bunch of stories on how white the audience was at Glenn Beck’s rally. That’s empirically true, and the Tea Party movement as a whole is overwhelmingly white. So is the American conservative movement. This in a nation which is ~65% white in a colloquial sense (i.e., white Hispanics are excluded from the class of “white”). It makes one’s eyebrows go up I suppose when you see a very unrepresentative set of people. But what irritates me about media observation of this statistical reality is that the elite media is also disproportionately white. Much of the elite media and the up & coming pundit class reside in a majority black city, but if you check out their Facebook photos or flickr accounts you would be totally surprised at the fact that they reside in a “Chocolate City.” Why are the social circles of elite media types, liberal or conservative, not representative of the city in which they reside? There are pretty clear reasons of confounds of class and socioeconomic affinity with race. The demographics of one’s social circle don’t necessarily lead one to prima facie accusations of bias, rather, they’re embedded in a set of causal assumptions and conditionals. So, from a liberal perspective the whiteness of the SWPL milieu is situational, while that of the right-wing milieu is essential. The demographics of conservative political movements themselves are interpreted through a particular historical frame of racism for most liberals implicitly. In contrast, the white demographics of elite liberals, including the Netroots, are often “contextualized” as emerging out of a whole range of historical and social processes, which if not just in and of themselves, are structural factors which elite white liberals are not responsible for and are attempting to change.

It seems a pretty robust social science finding that white liberals have less racialist sentiment than white conservatives. My main beef, as a non-white conservative, is that a quantitative difference of degree gets collapsed into a qualitative difference of kind. Transforming a quantitative variable into a dichotomous categorical one totally changes the inferences one makes from facts. The whiteness of conservative movements and classes then entails the casting of particular aspersions, while the whiteness of liberal movements and classes tends to go under the radar as having a sociological cause out of the control of white liberals.

To explore the quantitative, as opposed to qualitative, difference between white non-Hispanics of varied political stripes I decided to look at the GSS data set. There are a variety of questions on racial issues, though I focused on the ones related to white opinions/attitudes/relations with blacks since they are more numerous. For example, in 1974 23% of white liberals and 36% of white conservatives favored a law banning interracial marriage. In 2002 the values were 8% and 13% respectively. In both cases you can see that white conservatives have more racialist feeling, but the difference is not dichotomous, but one of degree. Below is a table of responses to a set of questions by white non-Hispanics in the 2000s. I broke out the data set by liberal and conservative, and Democrat and Republican. Additionally, in addition to the raw frequencies I also calculated absolute and relative differences between liberals and conservatives and Democrats and Republicans.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Data Analysis, Politics
MORE ABOUT: GSS, Ideology, Politics, Racism

Republicans, the middle class party

By Razib Khan | August 6, 2010 11:14 am

In my post below I refuted the contention that the Democrats are the party of the rich. As I noted there is some evidence that the super-rich may tilt Democrat. There are some economic and social sectors which lean Democratic because of their social liberalism, but there is no preponderance that I have seen in the data for the rich identified with that party. As I have observed, even in New York City, one of the citadels of cultural liberalism, the wealthy tend to be more Republican. The only precinct in Manhattan with more Republicans than Democrats is in the Upper East Side across from Central Park.

But there is more granular nuance here. In Andrew Gelman’s Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State he reports data which shows that though Democratic leaning states tend to be wealthier, on average within those states the wealthy tend to vote Republican. Another detail is that the correlation between income and voting Republican is weaker within Democratic leaning states, but very stark in Republican states. Even when you control for race in states like Mississippi this remains the case. Gelman’s data and analysis tends to rebut the argument in What’s the Matter with Kansas?.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Data Analysis, Politics
MORE ABOUT: Data, GSS, Politics

Republicans still the party of the rich

By Razib Khan | August 6, 2010 4:50 am

I notice that Roger L. Simon has an uninformed post up, The Party of the Rich, where he says:

Back when I was a kid, we used to assume the Republicans were the party of the rich. It was a given — all those plutocrats with chauffeurs shuttling them between the penthouse in Sutton Place and the weekend manse in Southampton.

Of course that was pretty idiotic then (a Kennedy was in the White House), but it’s outright moronic now.

There are some isolated data that the super-rich may now be more favorable to Democrats than Republicans, but by and large the classes with capital remain Republican. I looked at the American National Election Studies data set for 2008. Since minorities voted overwhelmingly for Obama I limited the sample to whites. Then I broke it down by income and looked at who they voted for and which party they identified with. The data seem to indicate that Roger L. Simon should not be throwing around terms like “moronic,” as he lives in quite the glass house.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Politics

Do liberals and conservatives know what they are?

By Razib Khan | July 13, 2010 12:07 am

Matthew Yglesias says:

I only wish the same level of scrutiny were applied to assertions about whether the public is “liberal” or “conservative” where I believe there’s strong circumstantial evidence that many people just don’t understand these terms in the way political and media professionals understand them. For example, when you break these things out by race you find that whites are more “liberal” than blacks, which simply doesn’t describe either voting behavior or views on issues correctly.

I am sympathetic to Matthew Yglesias’ point, but looking at the General Social Survey he does seem incorrect in regards to his assertion that whites are more liberal than blacks. Rather, blacks seem a bit more liberal than whites, though not nearly as liberal as their voting for the Democratic party would suggest. But most humans not are very intelligent, and Americans are humans, so there’s a good chance that they don’t really know what liberal and conservative mean (here my liberal readers will observe that there’s been nearly two generations of usage of the term “liberal” as an insult in American politics to the point where the public may be unaware of what liberalism even entails aside from sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll).

To see if there is a strong relationship between avowed political ideology and particular policy positions I decided to look at the GSS. I limited the sample to the last 10 years of the GSS, 1998-2008. I focused on the POLVIEWS variable, which asks people their own political ideology, from a spectrum of very liberal to very conservative. I want to focus on those who admit to being rather ideological, so I’ll focus on the very liberal and conservative, and those who assert that they’re just liberal or conservative without qualifiers. This excludes those who are slightly liberal or conservative, as well as moderates. The sample size then is ~2,000 for liberals, and ~3,000 for conservatives at most most (some of the cross-tabs have way smaller N’s as only a subset were asked both sets of questions).

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Data Analysis, GSS, Politics
MORE ABOUT: GSS, Politics

Discovery & TLC viewers lean Right?

By Razib Khan | April 14, 2010 3:29 am

I’ve watched television shows via my computer since 2004, so I’m not too plugged in to the changes in channel line-ups. But some of the trends on this chart showing the political orientation of television viewers surprised me. In particular, that the History Channel, Discovery and TLC all lean Right in their viewers. But then again television viewing has a somewhat older skew I assume, and older people are more conservative today. Thoughts? It makes more sense now that TLC has Sarah Palin’s new show if they knew their viewer demographics well. CNBC’s slight Leftward tilt is surprising to me as well, but remember that a fair amount of the cultural Left is rather affluent (Barack Obama and Bill Bradley were both notable for initially fueling their insurgent campaigns thanks to big donations from investment bankers, Obama successfuly).

research-graph-target

Source (H/T Steve)

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture
MORE ABOUT: Politics, Television

Predicting the past from the present facts

By Razib Khan | April 4, 2010 1:12 am

Matt Yglesias points to an OKCupid survey which shows that in the United States there tends to be a rather coherent block of social & economic conservatives within the Republican party, while the Democrats are a coalition between those who emphasize social issues and those who emphasize economic issues. Social liberals are often found in the upper socioeconomic strata and look positively upon globalization and free trade. Economic liberals, in the American sense, are not necessarily social liberals, as is well known in the case of black Americans who tend to support government programs but are more socially moderate-to-conservative. Combined with the consistent pattern of conservatives outnumbering liberals it would naturally lead one to believe that this is a nation where the Right is eternally ascendant.

And it is certainly true that compared to European nations the United States is conservative on many social and economic metrics.* But is the arc of American history toward a conservative or liberal direction? In other words, what is the probability that there would be a blanket ban on abortion in the United States in one generation? What about the maintenance of federal laws which ban recognition of same sex marriages? Which the proportion of national GDP which consists of government spending?

For all the talk about American exceptionalism the arc of history seems to be moving to the Left, broadly speaking. Despite the reality that the American Left seems weaker in numbers and less coherent a movement than the Right, conservatives have been waging a rearguard battle by and large. The macrohistorical trends are simply not born out by the strength of numbers that conservatives have at any given moment. One might infer from this that there are strong sociocultural dynamics and institutional biases which nudge Western liberal democracies in a Left direction, with the rate of change modulated by contemporary political configurations. And yet perhaps we are too Whiggish, human history has been characterized by secular trends being nested within broader cyclical patterns.

* This has been to be qualified, as many European governments have more restrictive abortion rights regimes, and racial nationalist parties gain more traction in most of Europe than they ever would in the United States.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Politics
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