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December 11, 2009

Ezra Klein Ensmartens Us All

This is why we need to let "science" drive public policy. Before the sheer awesomeness of quantitative methods, lesser mortals tremble:

In states with lower percentages of people that endorse spanking and washing kids' mouths out with soap, which is the case in New England and much of the Middle Atlantic, Obama did very well. In states with higher percentages, like Wyoming, Idaho, and Alabama, McCain won big. Even the states that fall somewhat far from the trend line are usually easy to explain. For example, Hawaii, Illinois, and Alaska are all favorite son or daughter states. Several states that are below the line, like Nevada, Indiana, and Ohio, are states that have usually voted Republican in the past.

More here.The most interesting part of the study is that this is apparently a new divide in American politics.

The implications of this seminal research are startling. Why just think! If we eliminate spanking, we could eliminate Republicans!

Moral of the story: don't be a Denier. Remember: if it can be charted, it's science! De numbahs, dey nevah lie:

Lemongraph.jpg

Posted by Cassandra at December 11, 2009 06:14 PM

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Comments

Yeah, but what about recent data? Or, are you just trying to hide the decline?

Posted by: Allen at December 11, 2009 08:17 PM

So, the corollary to this spanking theroy would be: if someone were to beat some sense into all these liberals, they'd become Republicans?

Posted by: Grim at December 11, 2009 08:30 PM

the corollary to this spanking theroy would be: if someone were to beat some sense into all these liberals, they'd become Republicans?

Grim, that was epic :p

All it needs now is a chart.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 11, 2009 08:37 PM

Ahhh HA!

So the WeInheritedIblameBushDidItBushDidItBushDidIt® ad infinitum theory of who else is to blame (holy rolling, child beating, flown over, knuckle-dragging, yet excessively well bathed rubes of course) rests on the backs of the Yup wes done whipped and soaped our younguns, just cause, demographic.

Then it follows that 2 years of Democratic control in the Congress and White House will result in a frustrated electorate casting an overwhelming majority of their votes for the GOP, or Independents, or perhaps even Other. As a result, the number of whipped and soaped children will trend upwards.

OMG! This merits the appointment of a dedicated Czar! For the Children™...

On second thought, make that what Grim suggests.

That reminds me, I'd better go check the quantity of Mexican Lemons in the boot of the carbon belching conveyance.

Posted by: Mr. Peabody at December 11, 2009 08:40 PM

Additional excerpts from the TMP review of the book "Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics" by Jonathan Weiler and Marc Hetherington, which is Mr. Ensmartener's topic in the article to which you link:

Of course, we don't think that spanking kids causes people to vote Republican. We do, however, show in the book that those who view the world in hierarchical terms, a worldview consistent with using physical means to discipline children, are now much more likely to vote Republican. In contrast, those who view the world in more horizontal terms favor Democratic candidates. The psychological terms that match these colliding worldviews are authoritarianism and nonauthoritarianism, which we measure by asking people about their child rearing preferences. Those who favor obedience over self-reliance and respect for elders over independence score high in authoritarianism. Those who favor the reverse are the nonauthoritarians.

We show this dividing line between the parties is new. Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics traces a gradual evolution of the issue agenda over the last several decades, which has produced this politics. That evolution started with race and "law and order" in the 1960s, continued with the emergence of feminism and differing approaches to the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s, and hardened following the rise of gay rights, terrorism, and immigration as high-profile issues in the 1990s and 2000s. Since authoritarianism structures people's opinions on all these hot button issues, it has gradually come to structure people's choice of party. Because these colliding worldviews suggest fundamentally different understandings of right and wrong, a politics divided along these lines has produced more acrimonious disagreements, increasing party polarization and an intensifying inability for partisans on one side to see anything redeeming in the views of those on the other.

When we refer to authoritarians, we do not have in mind members of the "Hitler youth" who blindly follow leaders. Barack Obama is the President, but rampant speculation about his citizenship and a high incidence of threats on his life suggest that those who score high in authoritarianism do not follow just anyone who is in charge. Rather authoritarianism captures, at its core, a person's need for order, including a strong preference for cognitive certitude. Those who score high in authoritarianism need order a lot, tend to see the world in black and white terms, and look to established traditions to provide it. A black president with a Muslim sounding middle name and a tendency to articulate his views in nuanced terms is especially unsettling to the things that those scoring high in authoritarianism find comfort in.

Those who score low in authoritarianism, by contrast, love a character like Barack Obama (whether they agree with all of his issue positions, such as his mixed record on civil liberties, is a separate matter). Rather than being concerned about his complex background, they revel in it. Rather than seeing weakness in a bow to a foreign statesman or softness in courting the approval of world leaders, they embrace it. They don't see his deliberative decision making process on Afghanistan as dithering, as those on the right do, but rather as necessary contemplation to get the solution right. All represent fundamental differences in outlook that make it hard for Republicans and Democrats today to find common ground.

Of course, THIS part shows that the correlation is not quite as simple, or absurd, as your "fresh lemons - highway fatalities" chart would have your readers believe!

Have a great weekend!

Posted by: I Call BS at December 11, 2009 08:56 PM

Durn it all - only the very first and very last paragraphs of my "two cents" submission were meant to be in non-italicized font. Must study HMTL tags (or whatever those durned things are called).

Posted by: I Call BS at December 11, 2009 08:58 PM

I think it's part of what is supposed to be italicized, but Obama isn't facing any more threats than Bush or Clinton did, so that puts a hole in that little bit of the analysis...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at December 11, 2009 11:05 PM

Basically, people with no respect for others are Democrats, and those who have respect are Republicans.

Posted by: astonerii at December 11, 2009 11:08 PM

I Call BS,
Blah,blah,blah,blah,blah. Everyone knows that when the party is over the grown-ups(the Republicans) have to clean up and bail the ignorant, undisciplined adolescents (Democrats)out of the latest ill-conceived, taxpayer funded bender. Who is going to clean up the mess when all the hippies finally die?

Posted by: shari at December 11, 2009 11:23 PM

"Barack Obama is the President,"
Yes, he is.

"but rampant speculation about his citizenship"
Easily solved by simply releasing the long-form birth certificate instead of spending nearly $2 million so far fighting to prevent the release of it.

"and a high incidence of threats on his life"
What threats?

Jay Stevens

Posted by: Jay Stevens at December 12, 2009 01:13 AM

...if someone were to beat some sense into all these liberals, they'd become Republicans?

The classic definition of a conservative is "a liberal who's been mugged."

Rather than seeing weakness in a bow to a foreign statesman or softness in courting the approval of world leaders, they embrace it. They don't see his deliberative decision making process on Afghanistan as dithering, as those on the right do, but rather as necessary contemplation to get the solution right.

In other words, they have a very tenuous grasp on reality.

...a high incidence of threats on his life...

The proliferation of "One Big A$$ Mistake, America" bumper stickers does not equate to a high incidence of threats against his life.

Posted by: BillT at December 12, 2009 03:28 AM

So conservatives and Republicans (not necessarily the same) are authoritarian and liberals and Democrats (pretty much the same) are nonauthoritarian. Uh huh.
Is it the liberals or the conservatives that are fighting for the government to take control over every aspect of our lives in a top down command and control society and reacting violently to anyone who dares object?

Posted by: SteveP at December 12, 2009 03:52 AM

Yeah, I call BS too...

As many would remind us, do not accept the definitions that the liberals try to apply to us. This certainly applies to the authoritarian(mindless jackboots) versus nonauthoritarian(Aristotelian beings with flowers in their hair) nonsense.

I will point out one or two items, intuitively obvious items of which I'm sure most of the villainous hoard are aware.

• "Barack Obama is the President, but rampant speculation about his citizenship and a high incidence of threats on his life"
Bull Secret Service Director: Threats Against Obama Not Up Over Other Presidents

• "A black president with a Muslim sounding middle name and a tendency to articulate his views in nuanced terms is especially unsettling to the things that those scoring high in authoritarianism find comfort in."
Bull. There is a profound difference in those who recognize when speaking in nuanced terms is appropriate versus when blunt words backed by assured actions are necessary and those who subscribe to the utility of a banal message delivered in a submissive posture on the hope of winning friends.

Need I mention the glaring difference in those who believe in importance of the U.S. Constitution, of limited government, the rights of the individual versus the collectivists notion of mob rule, balanced budgets, the exceptional nature and history of our nation, etc., etc., etc.?

Such nuanced behavior based on the belief in the magic of submission might be ducky in the context of a young ladies slumber party. But in a world full of honor killing primitives, totalitarians, and generic thugs like Uncle Hugo I own Venezuela, the Iranian Ahmahmadman -no we do NOT have ANY homosexuals in Iran,- subtext: as we do to our student protesters- such nuanced submission simply does not get it.

When one parses the article it becomes apparent that it is little more than another case of using a define the enemy tactic on U.S. citizens. There may be a good idea, or a few, in the book, if it's nothing more than another view into the liberal mind, but the tone of and the boxes into which the authors attempt to place people is little more than refried B.S.

*shakes head*


Posted by: bthun at December 12, 2009 09:51 AM

Sheesh, I really ought to spend a moment to carefully compose and proof prior to hitting Post, but my jackboots are pinching a bit this morning which threw a stiff headwind into my stream of consciousness.

If the above can not be deciphered, I'll supply the Bubbasetta Stone translation on request.

Posted by: bthun at December 12, 2009 09:56 AM

So conservatives and Republicans (not necessarily the same) are authoritarian and liberals and Democrats (pretty much the same) are nonauthoritarian.

No ... Democrats and people with open minds are authoritative!!! Big diff, people - look it up! It's all about being a grown-up, rather than kissing the a$$es of the authoritarian grown-ups who came before you, SOLELY because they are grown-ups and they'll spank you if you speak up and challenge their so-called "authority".

[running for cover, while the ovine members of the authoritarian-obedience club sharpen their knives and tongues and keyboards]

Posted by: I Call BS at December 12, 2009 06:25 PM

No ... Democrats and people with open minds are authoritative!!! Big diff, people - look it up! It's all about being a grown-up, rather than kissing the a$$es of the authoritarian grown-ups who came before you, SOLELY because they are grown-ups and they'll spank you if you speak up and challenge their so-called "authority".

You're saying that the authoritative Democrats are -- the authoritarian grown-ups.

Circular argument.

Posted by: BillT at December 13, 2009 01:41 AM

Heheh, to state it in a more horizontal way... That the authoritative, authoritarian, authorities know so much, that simply is not true, seems to be a recurring theme. One that many of us aged, jackbooted types noticed long ago.

P.S. Don't confuse proffered civility and reciprocal courtesy with the sound of bleating sheep. Most of us will not bother with barking, particularly online. Posing, styling and profiling is for the more, ahhh, oh yeah, horizontal thinkers.

Cheers.

Posted by: bt_of-the-dragged-knuckles-clan_hun at December 13, 2009 07:55 AM

"authoritarian": of, favoring or requiring complete obedience to authority [see definition no. 1 of authority, below]

"authoritative": substantiated or supported by evidence and accepted by most authorities in the field [see definition no. 2 of authority, below]

"authority":

1. the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues; the right to control, command or determine.

2. an accepted source of information, advice or substantiation; an expert on a subject; [reasonable] persuasive force; a warrant for action, justification

Posted by: I Call BS at December 13, 2009 03:13 PM

I'm trying - hard - to reconcile this statement:

those who view the world in more horizontal terms favor Democratic candidates. The psychological terms that match these colliding worldviews are authoritarianism and nonauthoritarianism,

With this one:

I define "authoritarian" in such a way, however, to include Castro, Mao, Stalin, Che, Hugo Chavez and their ilk ...

Posted by: Cassandra at December 13, 2009 09:04 PM

In my opinion, the article is... well, it's hardly worth the effort to Fisk.

"Democrats and people with open minds are authoritative!"
In the aggregate, I have to call BS on the Democrats portion of that assertion. And I must admit that I can not make the leap of faith, logic or whatever a person would use to tie that vast collective of post-modern open minds* with being any more or less authoritative, knowledgeable, or even conversant on any given topic than someone who is fairly firm in their position on said topic.

Skepticism of the latest, greatest, flash in the pan is not any worse than embracing the flash, just because it flashed. And to claim, off the cuff, that one tribe of free-range polity is any more or less authoritative is, is, to snicker, to laugh, to laugh, perchance to howl.

Having said that, I will entertain the possibility that the assertion has some merit if you, ICBS, can cite authoritative sources to support your claim.

* --The same Aristotelian beings with flowers in their hair mentioned up-thread who use the technique to positively self-reinforce the notion of their suitability as the master race, the betters who tut tut the inbreds for flaying their children with whips and voting for a GOP knuckledragger-- This in lieu of a discussion on the merits of any given policy, ahh perchance to howl...

Posted by: bt_of-the-dragged-knuckles-clan_hun at December 14, 2009 07:52 AM

I am finished with Intermediate Accounting, and now have a seat in Statistics for Business Managers. If my prof is as humor impaired as my first accounting professor, I am going to my AA and telling him to get me the helk out of his class.

I am so not looking forward to this class, and think that the stat tome will have a very good
chance of being a target.

sigh.

Posted by: Cricket at December 14, 2009 10:34 PM

Cricket,
If you need help in your stats course, don't hesitate to ask.

I have my M.S. degree in Stats, do it for a living (in a business environment, no less) *and* I taught the "stats for non-stats majors" course during my last semester in grad school.

Cass has my real email address.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at December 16, 2009 09:54 AM

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