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Assistant Village Idiot

Nice summary, and I've bookmarked it. I would add to #7 that there are similar breakdowns by education at the same link. A quick glance would suggest Kerry has the lead among those with graduate level education, but when you factor in that over one-quarter of graduate degrees are in education,
http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2005/nativetrends/ind_7_7.asp
the Democratic advantage looks a little soft. Entering graduate students in education score lowest among all fields on their GRE's, and the field is less rigorous than the others.

Please note I am not claiming that all people with advanced degrees in education are less-than-competent. The ceiling may be as high in that field as any other. But the floor is lower - lower even than many undergraduate degrees.

John, Fitness Austin

Great article. All good points

Aric

I always look forward to The Futurist’s posts, and as usual I find the interesting discussion lies in what I do not completely agree with.

5. As it was stated I agree this statement is a fallacy: "America's Foreign Policy is THE Reason for the 9/11 Attacks," but I hope that is not what people are really saying. Not every country in the world has been an Al Qaeda target. Why have some been attacked and not others? Many, many reasons of course, but US actions could be one of them. What we do engenders good and ill will, and may on certain occasions encourage people to commit terrorist actions and/or influence their choice of targets. For this reason, considering the effects of our foreign policy should be part of a comprehensive anti-terrorism effort.

7. I have literally never heard anyone say this. I have heard the reverse a lot: that Democrats are poor and uneducated and that Republicans are smarter. I have heard people say that Bush supporters are stupid. Probably for no other reason than that the left cannot fathom any other reason why anyone would support Bush at this point.

8. I don't have any knowledge of the facts on this one, but you certainly have not debunked it in my mind. I would need to see fair comparison, not a one-sided list. Also, the parties' reputations on race are formed by more than just strict 'racism.'

I guess that means I fully agree with the others (though there may be some less obvious unfairness to women lurking in #2). Thanks for another great post.

GK

AVI,

Thanks. Note that education is a field where one is shielded from market forces if they join a public school, yet much easier to secure than a tenured professorship at a university. This ties back to point #1.

Aric,

Thanks.

The targets of Islamic terror have nothing in common with one another, except that they are either a) major democracies, b) countries bordering Islamic nations, or c) Islamic nations that are relatively moderate. That is a pretty expansive net of targets.

Also, worldwide terrorism, whether in NYC or London, Israel or Kashmir, all seems to have died down from late 2007 onwards after Iraq finally stabilized. Coincidence? Or could it be that all terrorists went to Iraq to fight US and Iraqi troops, and met a quick end? The lack of terror anywhere in the world after the Surge is noteworthy. Let's see if it lasts.

On 8, I just don't know of any GOP points of comparable magnitude, and I have looked hard. The only one people come up with is George Allen's 'macaca' statement, itself doubly erased by Hillary's and Biden's insensitive remarks about the same ethnic group.

Zyndryl

" As citizens, we must fight to overturn these myths, lest they give rise to even more absurdities."

I am afraid that is a lost cause. You see, there is no price for people to pay for believing in these absurdities. Or, at least, no price that is visible to them.

Bryan Caplan's book, The Myth of the Rational Voter covers this in detail. I highly recommend it.

"Since delusional political beliefs are free, the voter consumes until he reaches his “satiation point,” believing whatever makes him feel best. When a person puts on his voting hat, he does not have to give up practical efficacy in exchange for self-image, because he has no practical efficacy to give up in the first place." -Bryan Caplan, The Myth of the Rational Voter


Its why I think we should bring back poll testing and even poll taxing (say, $10 fee to vote). But since there's no chance in Hades of that happening, I think you are better off renting the movie Idiocracy instead to see where our society is going.


===============================================================================

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_the_Rational_Voter

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiocracy

---------------------------------------------------------------

GK

Zyndryl,

Poll testing (even if the test is substantially easier than the written test for a learner's driving permit) would solve most of society's problems.

The test for US citizenship also exists, so a voting test would make sense.

The only way that it could pass is if it itself was a ballot initiative. i.e. people vote on whether a test to grant a 'voter's license' will be required going forward. I think more than 50% of voters will pass it.

If the GOP were smart, they would push this issue. By opposing it, the Dems will reveal themselves as dependent on the dumbest people, and will taint their brand in the process. Even if the initiative never passes, it will force the Dems to be seen as the 'party of dumb people'. Of course, the GOP is not clever enough to do this.

Zyndryl

GK,

Zyndryl goes to vote and gets randomly assigned the following Voter Qualification Question:

How many branches do we have in our Federal government system?
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. None, since we switched to the 'roots' system after the Civil War.

While I am not sure, but I think you may have missed the reason for my 'there's no chance in Hades of that happening' remark: Poll testing is tinged with the Jim Crow South too much for any serious considerations for its return to be politically viable. The first politician -- especially a Republican despite the fact that the Jim Crow South was a Democrat thing -- to call for that would be branded a 'racist' and things would only get uglier for him/her from that point on.

And, furthermore, if the GOP were to try to brand the Dems as the 'party of the dumb people' for their resistance to reintroducing poll testing, well...then the GOP would be 'KKK Central' after the media got done with them, too.

So, politically, it would not be smart. At least, not in the Logic Free Zone that is the American electorate. That's why the Reps are terrified of the subject even though they have much to gain from more informed voters dominating the ballot box.

That is why I threw in the 'roots system' answer #5 in the above Voter Qualification Question. Of course, that wouldn't be in a real question like that. But race-baiting activists will say its in there and an overwhelming number of people will go along with believing that.

Then there are the legal obstacles.

As for ballot initiatives, poll testing & poll taxes were banned by the Voting Rights Act of 1965. So, as soon as it passed as an initiative the Party of the Dumb People would have a federal judge constitutionally castrate it the very next day. The Feds derive their power to regulate such things from the Fifteenth Amendment and SCOTUS has ruled that that supercedes the several States' rights to regulate their elections.

So, in other words, there truly is no chance in Hades of it ever happening, like I said. Unfortunately.

Go rent Idiocracy. I was only partially joking in recommending that.


GK

Zyndryl,

I know it won't pass from a SCOTUS/Voting Rights Act point of view, but I still think the net political gain for the GOP in simply pushing the issue is positive.

The ads are simple : if you need to pass a test to drive, if you need to pass a test for US citizenship, you need to pass a test to vote.

The test need not even have many history questions. Questions on geography, mathematics, and economics are equally useful, and won't be viewed as 'racist' by most people. The test can be very easy (4th grade level), yet will ruin the Democratic voter base as too many people will be too lazy to take it (even if they could easily pass it). If the GOP manages to shrink the Democrat voter base by just 2%, the GOP has won a huge victory.

The Dems already tar the GOP as racist as much as they can. Blacks already vote 90% for Dems, as do white leftists. There are no further votes to be lost by the GOP on this issue.

On the other hand, even when the Dems oppose it, it will appear that they too think their voters are dumb. There is no way to possibly oppose this idea without admitting that your voters are dumb. This will destroy the social/coolness prestige that Dems currently enjoy over the GOP. People will hesitate to call themselves Democrats, just like in the Bay Area, Republicans invariably call themselves 'Libertarians' or 'Independents' out of fear of social ostracization.

Destroying the social prestige of leftism is the main goal, rather than actually instituting a test. Hence, the goal is achieved long before it ever gets to the constitution/SCOTUS. Again, the GOP needs to shrink the Democratic vote by just 2%.

I think it will be a net positive for the GOP to bring the issue up, just like the gay marriage issue. The people who thought the GOP was anti-gay were already voting against the GOP, but it increased GOP turnout to vote against gay marriage. The GOP does well in using the abortion issue too. Roe v. Wade will never be overturned, (nor would that help the GOP, as the aborted people would be 70-80% Democratic voters if they lived) but by using it to fire up the Evangelicals, the GOP increases turnout.

The GOP can seize the smart vs. dumb issue at little cost. They will lose no incremental blacks/white leftists, but will actually gain the Asian vote.

I am familiar with Idiocracy. It is scary, but isn't a singularity-aware film, however. I will wait until the world economy stops growing before worrying about stupidity reaching a terminal critical mass.

Zyndryl

GK,

The thing about a singularity-aware take on this: Being 'dumb' will pay off even more, as the more wealthy a society gets the more it can tolerate let alone 'afford' an irrational citizenry.

In June, I had to fork over $200 for the cat to get his teeth cleaned. We just adopted him and he's never had his teeth cleaned in his entire life. He needed it, trust me.

So, in July, my wife's family in the Philippines decided to play "let's hit up our American connection for about 5,000 pesos ($109 PLUS another $13 or so in fees to send it) to throw a big party for some festival". But, this time I said 'no'.

That caused a crisis rivaling the worst of Indo-Pakistani nuclear standoffs right then and there. I ended it by telling my wife to tell them that we blew the equivalent of 9,000 pesos on the cat and thus we didn't have the money in our budget (all too true).

She's lived here just over two years now. Apparently she's learned enough differences of our two worlds where she knew better than to tell them about the cat.

But what I wanted her to at least figure out was that she and I can't afford an 'irrational citizenry' siphoning off our resources. We aren't growing as rich enough, fast enough as the economy-at-large is non-linearly. Not yet, anyway.

(And that last part was the real reason I refused to send the money, btw.)

She's grudgingly accepted that so far. And that puts her one leg up on the voters, at least.

Especially here in 'let us raise our horrendous taxes even MORE to avoid cutting spending' California -- one of the wealthiest states in the union that also has some of the union's most irrational citizenry.

GK

Zyndryl,

You have a point on economic growth leading to people paying for things that used to be free. Buying drinking water in a bottle is something I still cannot accept, nor is paying for elementary school tuition for a child.

$200 for cat dentistry is a lot. Even paying for the pet itself is a relatively new thing. In most of the world, people just adopt a feral puppy or kitten among those that exist in the vicinity (for free, of course), and the generic mongrel becomes a good pet. Only the very richest actually pay for a purebred dog, vs. just picking up a cute mongrel puppy from the roadside.

Yes, marketing, rather than manufacturing, is the path to wealth in an advanced economy.

Nevada and Arizona have figured out that they will always have booming economies forever simply by having no state tax. No other fancy incentives are needed. The flow of Californian tax refugees will be perpetual.

Also note how the bluer CA got, the slower its population growth got. Now, CA is actually growing slower than the national average. All major Silicon Valley companies (HP, Intel, Oracle, Cisco, Google) now have a record low percentage of their WW employees in the Bay Area. HP was founded in the Bay Area in 1939, but now has just 10% of its WW employees there. Intel - founded in 1968 in Santa Clara, but just 10% of its employees are now there.

SanFranciscoJim

What is voter breakdown by education level?

Why do the most educated vote Democratic.

Your thesis is flawed. Of course the rich vote Republican, they are paid to do so.

What is your excuse?

SanFranciscoJim

Now, CA is actually growing slower than the national average

You are just full of your typical BS tonight, aren't you?

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/print/us.html

Population growth rate:
0.883% (2008 est.)

http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/BudgetSummary/ImagePages/FG-DEM-01.html

Oopssee. When you are going to start learning from your mistakes?

Aric

The fact that most terrorist targets have little to do with each other is not surprising, since terrorism is not a united movement. Most of the targets are probably targets of convenience and local national/racial/religious animosity. Al Qaeda is a loose and ideological organization that depends on local participants, so of course the targets are going to be spread out and motivated by different reasons, not to mention terrorists unaffiliated with Al Qaeda or even Islam. The US has been specifically targeted. Being a democracy is a factor. Being rich is a factor. Being large is a factor. Being powerful is a factor. But if you are saying that foreign policy is NOT a factor, then the burden of proof is on you, or at least it should be. US foreign policy was specifically cited as a major motivation by Bin Laden for 9/11. This has typically been ignored or written off as only an excuse. That seems incredibly stupid to me.

Iraq may have attracted many terrorists and they may have died and that may be responsible for a lull in terrorism, but that does not mean an end. The next big terrorist may be in diapers in Iraq or even the US. Terrorism is not something that can be vanquished, nor was it ever THAT big of a threat to the US.

Re #8. That’s fair.

GK

Aric,

It is true that America's foreign policy is one of many components of why America was hit with terrorist attacks. Much like an attractive woman may become the victim of a rapist, while a 400-pound woman is less likely to be a target.

But, the insinuation that somehow, America's foreign policy is wrong, and that terrorist attacks against are justified and understandable, is what I strongly reject. That is just as wrong as accusing the rape victim of being at fault for being attractive. The rapist is the villain, period.

The three countries that have had the most terrorist victims are Israel, India, and Iraq. What do these three countries have in common, given that one is Jewish, the other is mostly Hindu, and the third is Islamic, while none have many Christians? The common thread is that all three are obstacles towards the goal of establishing an Islamic caliphate, where a very strict doctrine of Sharia Law is used.

Attacks against Britain, Spain, Denmark, Russia, Bali (twice), Thailand, Jordan, Turkey, Morocco, and the US are also for this reason. They are all obstacles, in their own way, towards this vision. US foreign policy may be more meddlesome than Spain's, but that didn't save Spain from a 250-person hit on 3/11/04. Note again that other Muslims, like in Turkey, Jordan, and Morocco, are also being hit, simply for not being radical enough.

Hence, US foreign policy may not be an absolute 0% factor, but it is not one of the primary factors, given all the worldwide data against so many other countries, both before and after 9/11/01. America's hypersexualized film and music output may be an even bigger factor than America's foreign policy. I strongly reject the 'we brought it upon ourselves' meme.

Terrorism is not something that can be vanquished, nor was it ever THAT big of a threat to the US.

Well, the best possible outcome is no new attacks in 7 years so far (despite at least 19 foiled attempts).

Terrorists using a nuclear or biological weapon to kill 2 million Americans in a major city IS a very big threat to the US. In addition to the deaths, it would cause an economic slump that lasts for years.

GK

SFJim,

Why do the most educated vote Democratic.

Actually, they don't. The least educated people with no HS diploma vote Democratic. That people with graduate degrees vote more Democratic is diluted by those who pursue 'education' degrees, as Assistant Village Idiot points out.

Income trumps education anyway as a metric of 'smarts', at the post-grad level. A PhD in gay/lesbian studies earns less than a small-business owner with just a Bachelor's degree.

Of course the rich vote Republican, they are paid to do so.

So the middle class earning $50K to $75K is rich now, because they voted 56% for Bush? And the mystery about why middle America rejects leftism continues......

Actually, it is Democrats that bribe people (in the form of welfare) to vote for them.

Population growth rate:
0.883% (2008 est.)

er.. 0.883% is the US growth rate, not the CA rate, as per YOUR OWN LINK. CA is growing at a rate slower than that, and CA will not gain any EVs in the 2011 census.

I have often said that if Leftists had math skills, they would not be leftists. Furthermore, your reading comprehension skills are equally deficient. How do you manage to function?

Aric

GK,

I think a date rape would be a better analogy, in which the woman gives off some signs but doesn’t want to go all the way. The rapist is still to blame, but his motivations are more understandable.

Honestly I haven’t reached a decision on how much of a role US foreign policy plays, but I believe it’s worth investigating. If there is something wrong with US policy, I actually care more about the principle of it than about any possible terrorist repercussions. It does provide some motivation to take a look at what other people think of us and why.

Are you saying there is nothing wrong with US foreign policy? Is every single death that has ever been caused by the US completely justified? Every covert operation. Every military action. Every support given to foreign governments are totally without error? I doubt you would go that far. Then what are the innocent victims of unjust US actions entitled to? What actions would be ‘understandable’?

I just started learning about the caliphate, but I don’t see the relation to the three countries you cited. Most incidents in Israel are committed by Palestinians whom the Israeli state pushed around and treats badly (though they get a lot of help and encouragement from outside). India has large populations of Hindus and Muslims with a history of Muslim/Hindu conflict. Iraq is a warzone.

Many other countries are targets, but the US is a bigger target. Sexuality and morals could certainly be a bigger factor. ‘We brought it upon ourselves’ is not true, but there may be some truth in it.

You now said foreign policy is possibly a factor. The discussion could then proceed to how big of a factor, and should we change it anyway (but I don’t have the will nor the knowledge to have that big of a discussion with you).

A nuclear or other serious strike would be a disaster, but
1. It’s not a WWII or cold war level threat.
2. It doesn’t justify preemptive wars against countries that are not clearly a threat to us.

It does justify aggressive intelligence gathering and taking out know terrorist organizations and governments that support them, and improving disaster response. The likelihood of a major terrorist incident may increase with more advanced and widely available nano/bio technology. The perpetrator(s) may not even be Muslim, but could be Unabomber or McVeigh types.

brokerdavelhr

GK,
Great article. Seriously. We all think it…you just said it 
The housing bubble one especially held a special spot in my mind. I was a stockbroker back in 04-06, and was tired of seeing people believe the myths that oil would make the market disastrously crash, and that housing was the only place to make money. As I watched TIBX and a many other stocks and IPO’s (such as MCHX) go through the roof, I shook my head at the fools who would stubbornly buy millions in real estate, and hold it for far to long. I guess that not everyone learned their lesson from the ‘internet’ stock bubble back in 99, and Real Estate was their new ‘fix’. But a bubble is a bubble, and will eventually pop. To be completely honest with you, I think the housing bubble has been in a popping process for some time now. Foreclosure rates are astronomical right now, and the list of buyers has greatly dwindled. (HINT, HINT!!!)
I do believe that many of these myths are tied together though. Here’s how:
Due to 9-11, oil prices threatened to dramatically increase (in the publics eyes anyway). As a result, many investors theorized that the stock market would crash as companies took major financial hits. To hedge against this, many investors turned to real estate, making a huge ‘newer’ market. Prices went up as a result in classic ‘bubble’ style. The years go by, and the housing market is no longer able to sustain such a high growth rate. Investors begin to lose money, and the blame game that was in a bit of a lull, now hits full swing. Suddenly (despite lowered unemployment rates and steady growth reports), people realize that they are now stuck with some very bad investment decisions, and a harsher job market. The housing bubble popped, gas prices took a sudden hike, and suddenly no one see’s an end to it.
In accordance with the above paragraph, it is imperative to keep in mind the ‘human element’. Hard working people get upset at having anywhere from 25-35% of their paycheck going to fund programs that actually ENCOURAGE laziness. The benefactors claim that they are either victims of racism, government, or society in general. So they vote for the candidate that will curb these perceived evils. All of a sudden, everything is Bush’s fault, and a strong foundation of blame is now emplaced
for new candidates to exploit. Granted Bush made mistakes, but so did Hillary, Obama, and the current speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi. They all blame Bush and say that they will look after the oppressed in America. Where in their voting records have they done this? BTW, when I say oppressed, I mean taking from the people who work for it, and giving to those who don’t!
Now to the funding that goes to special interest groups and other assorted waste of decent breathable air. GK, you mentioned ‘Reverend’(vomiting)White as an example. Let me pose you the following catch-22. America’s success depends on the people who elect the officials into office, doing so in an educated, and experienced manor. So what happens when the people grow more and more ignorant and lazy? According to the constitution, they still have the right to vote. This covers both points 1,2,3 and 8 in your article. Now these idiots have the ‘right’ to vote.
Now to make the game even more interesting. All decisions made by a current administration, are not fully felt by society until many years later. Heck, I laugh when I see one president taking either critique or praise for the decisions made by the previous administration. This is a major key due to the fact that with laziness and ignorance, comes impatience. People want a solution, and they want it now! Problem remains that people see elections as ‘republican vs. democrap’ instead of actually studying the issues at hand. The republicans make very little of this. The independent parties (GO BOB BARR!!) do not play the card at all. The democrats capitalize on it, fooling citizens by the thousands. Nancy Pelosi and Hillary’s stunt a few nights ago to suspend voting Obama as the Dem Nominee, and take an ORAL MTV STYLE vote instead was very scary in all truth. More like MOB rule huh?
What do you think GK?


Complex Carbohydrates

Only In America...Do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries and a diet coke. http://dieting.postedpost.com/2008/08/21/complex-carbohydrates-to-speed-cleansing/

Aric

I just found a statement, via wikipedia:
"The 9/11 Commission Report determined that the animosity towards the United States felt by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the "principal architect" of the 9/11 attacks, stemmed "not from his experiences there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.""

The correctness of our foreign policy is another matter, but if this is true it sure was a big factor. Do you dismiss the 9/11 commission report and Richard Clark?

I did a little ready about the Spain bombing, and Spain's support of the US in Iraq was given as a possible motivation (I didn't read much so I don't know if the true motive was ever determined).

It is my theory, which so far I have not tested much with evidence, that most terrorist incidents are committed with the involvement of someone local to the target, someone who has been living in the country for a while. 9/11 was rare because it was specifically planned far ahead of time and most/all? of the hijackers were sent from overseas to commit the crime. In Spain, one of the main people charged ran a cell phone shop in Madrid. He was from Morocco, but I couldn't find how long he had lived in Spain. He also had help from Spanish citizens and international terrorists. Islamic terrorism is all over the world because most people care more about their own government, the country next door, or the country where they live than some far off place they've never been. The fact that 9/11 planners went through that much specifically to hit the US shows something about the US status as a target.

Sure, Islamic terrorists share the goal of establishing Shariah law or punishing those who don't, and therefore any non-Muslim or moderate Muslim is a potential target, but there are many other factors. I bet if go case by case through Islamic terrorist cases, you will almost always find the involvement of at least one local citizen or immigrant, with possible notable exceptions such as Iraq which is seen by some as a global front in a Arab/US/Muslim/non-Muslim war.

GK

Aric,

Surely you don't take the words of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Osama bin Laden at face value.

They talk about 'America's foreign policy' in order to rally Muslims behind their cause.

But all such claims fall apart when one sees the incredible diversity of countries where civilians have been murdered.

Keep in mind that these are also people who, within their own societies, routinely execute gays as part of official state policy, and routinely murder teenage girls via 'honor killings' for such offenses as wearing pants or holding hands with another girl. Genital mutilation is common, in order to prevent women from 'enjoying sex'.

Plus, you will have to tell me why they kill other Muslims via attacks in Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, and Pakistan.

Too many Americans are being astonishingly naive and self-loathing in thinking that if not for 'US foreign policy' (which lifted many Islamic nations out of povery, BTW), these people would be docile and peaceful. I vociferously reject such flawed thought.

It is exactly the same thing as if a serial rapist rapes 10 women, all 10 women must have done something to deserve it.

The fact that 9/11 planners went through that much specifically to hit the US shows something about the US status as a target.

It says even more that there have been no further attacks in 7 years, despite many attacks in 10 other countries. This tells me that US anti-terror efforts, however messy, have worked.

Aric

No, of course I don't take their words at face value, but neither do I ignore them as you seem to. Even if American foreign policy means nothing to the leaders and they only use it to rally followers as you suggest, that means many Muslims do care about it and are motivated by it. They would not be using it if it didn't work.

Also, the quote about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the conclusion of the 9/11 commission, not his own words. I do not how they reached that conclusion, though.

What I reject is your insistence that there are only two views:
1. That America is completely to blame for all terrorist attacks or
2. actually I'm not sure what are saying other than that terrorists are bad.

There is plenty of room for middle ground. I am not defending the view that "if not for 'US foreign policy' these people would be docile and peaceful," yet you are arguing with me as if I were.

Assistant Village Idiot

SFJim - read my opening comment.

I don't recall you from the Prometheus Society, pal.

Aric, I, at least, do jump to the conclusion that people are using the "America was wearing short skirts" argument because it is used frequently. I am quite grateful that you are looking a complex array of causes.

"Our foreign policy" covers a wide range of actions, and it cannot be that we are flawless. Not only that, but most foreign policy choices carry risks or costs as well as benefits. There are times we can only do right by A & B by offending C.

I do believe that if Israel did not exist that we would still have wars in the ME (perhaps more). The ruling elites of those countries are narcissists, raised in a culture of entitlement that is closely tied to its disrespect of women. Nor is postcolonialism the problem. We are lumped together with the European exploitation of third-world countries. That those countries also derived some benefit even from the exploitation is conveniently forgotten. Because we trade with them and we are richer, they resent us and conclude we must have cheated somehow. That is natural, because within their societies that model is more nearly true. They would resent us no matter what we did.

Nonetheless, such things as Israel and trade are indeed trigger points. To take a sports metaphor, Red Sox fans would hate the Yankees anyway, but when Roger Clemens acts like an a$$hole it sets us off.

Aric

GK and AVI,

Posting has become much more difficult due to the birth of third child, but I wanted to respond to AVI and make some general comments.

Thanks for the comment, AVI. I agree with your analysis. I guess my main point on this issue is that to get the maximum long-term reduction in global and US terrorism, we need to seriously consider all contributing factors, and not stop at ‘they are evil and will always hate us.’

I hope I am not making myself an annoyance on this blog. What I am trying to do is not make trouble or change anyone’s minds on a given issue, but to hopefully create more appreciation for the other side and/or its views.

I am an independent and see value in all parties, but not much value in partisanship, especially after the elections and between ordinary Americans. It may be true, as you were discussing, that democrats depend more on poor/less intelligent people (though that could be because they do a better job of representing the interests of the poor), but that does not mean that the democratic views are less intelligent. There are plenty of smart and dumb people in each party. It does not surprise me that leftists GK talks to cannot defend their views well. That is a human trait, not a leftist one. If you play the devil’s advocate with republicans I bet you would find that many people you share the same views with cannot defend theirs as well as you can. The observation that people hold views and vote for emotional reasons is excellent, but applies just as well to republicans. I grew up in a highly republican environment where there was also a lack of honest critical thinking.

I strongly support the meme that we need to think of ourselves is Americans first, and remember that the other side is doing what they think is best for the country, and not because they are stupid/evil/corrupt.

From my comments on the Wright post one make think I’m in favor of lots of government involvement in race when in fact I’m not. Government’s primary task was completed several decades ago when people finally became equal under the law, but post-race laws do not make a post-race country. We will be post-race when and only when all minority groups agree that we are post-race. I do believe that by far the biggest obstacles to African Americans are in their own culture. Obama is actually a living example of this: A (half) black man who was raised by whites. If/when he’s elected people could then say, “You now live in a country where a black man can be president. What’s your excuse for not holding down a job?”

I stand with the left that minorities may still be disadvantaged and that problems that are internal to African Americans are still of concern to all Americans. However, I am generally on the right in that correcting these problems does not in general require government intervention. What I do think it requires, at the least, is to listen to what grievances minorities have, and either change our own behavior if it is causing a problem or patiently explain from another perspective why it is not a racial issue. The right’s response is usually insensitive.

Aric

I was leaving it to SF Jim to respond himself, but since he's still not around I just want to point out that his first link is the US growth rate, and the second link shows the California growth rate higher than the US at >1%.

GK

Aric,

The California government has a vested interest in overstating growth rates. Only a source like the first one (the CIA) is valid.

The fact of the matter is, look at electoral vote changes for California by decade (which are based on population proportion relative to the national average) :

1960s : 40
1970s : 45
1980s : 47
1990s : 54
2000s : 55
2010s : 55 (likely)

Notice the dramatic slowdown in population growth after California stopped voting Republican (1988 was the last time). This is despite the massive influx of illegals from Mexico. Therefore, US-born people are leaving in droves (and why AZ and NV are among the fastest growing states of all).

SanFranciscoJim

There is no point posting proof that GK is wrong, which is in abundance, because he will just delete it, as he has done with most of my posts. The funniest thing is that he claims to believe in "Free Speech" but then engages in a Stasi-like campaign to censor and rewrite history on his own blog.

You don't even understand the difference between population growth and economic growth.

Keep reading The Economist though, eventually some of their common sense will seep in.

brokerdavelhr

SF JIM,

That is a bunch of bull. Though I usually agree with GK, there have been many times when I have posted my thoughts on the matter in discussion contrary to GK's. Not once has GK ever censored, or deleted any of them.
If any of YOUR posts were deleted or censored, then maybe it was not what you said, but how you said it.

GK

No posts of SFJim have ever been deleted or edited, despite his profanity and 'Hitler' accusations towards all of us who want Iraq to succeed. I don't need to delete his comments - he does more to make his side look bad than I could ever do.

He just comes over with illogical, memorized one-liners, gets defeated quickly, runs off to lick his wounds for 4 months, and comes back for another crushing defeat at the hands of logic. \

Just here, he talks about 'not knowing the difference between economic growth and population growth', when no one has mentioned economic growth at all. Strawmen are so common for this person that he bashes things others have not even said. Either that, or he cannot read.

He is going to writhe in agony (yet be unable to debate specific data) once I do a follow-up post to my 2006 prediction of victory in Iraq in 2008.

gabby100

Great overview. Regarding point #7 (intelligence) there is a new book that claims Republicans are far more likely to have a college education (at least, a 4-year college education). It also asserts that Republicans are consistently rated to have more "apparent intelligence" by interviewers for the National Election Studies. The book is Democrats and Republicans - Rhetoric and Reality, published by Algora in 2008. Some of the info. from the book can be found on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_(United_States).
(See "Voter base" - "Education")

Regarding point #2 about women getting paid less, this is a crock. The stats put out by feminist orgs are extremely misleading because they simply take the total amount earned by men (for all occupations combined) divided by the number of males, and compare it to the total amount earned by women (for all occupations combined) divided by the number of women. This means that, for example, if there are more motel housekeepers among women, and more surgeons among men, there will, of course, be a huge wage disparity - one that most Americans would feel is appropriate. The only way to have meaningful stats is to control for occupation, years of experience, hours worked per week, etc.

Aric

GK,

When you do your Iraq victory follow up, I'd appreciate an analysis of the importance of different factors: higher troop levels, changes in how we relate to Iraqis, new technologies, actions of the resistance.

JF

"brokerdavelhr | August 28, 2008 at 11:07 PM

Only In America...Do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries and a diet coke. http://dieting.postedpost.com/2008/08/21/complex-carbohydrates-to-speed-cleansing/"

Not true Dave. I live in central China and there are 2 McDonald's here. LOTS of people place orders like this and the Chinese food in restaurants is so greasy I can't stand it. Packaged Snacks will drip pig fat down your arm.

There are many more myths to explode.

rtl

#4 - You didn't factor in the time value of money. Eating healthier costs more because of prep time. Eating only raw veggies and fruit isn't totally healthy.

brokerdavelhr

JF,
I didn't say that, the guy below me did. I have been around long enough to know better.

Matt

As rtl said, you did not factor in the value of money. This would be Gary Becker's theory which helped win him a Nobel prize in economics.

@GK, looking at changes in the electoral vote demonstrates that growth is occuring more rapidly in other areas. Most population growth rates at small geographies cannot increase at the same proporation over time. Meaning, California cannot continue to increase at x% over time, it must increase at a slower rate. Anytime you look at small geographies' growth rates, this becomes evident.

The fact that their electoral votes are not increasing at the same historical rate does not demonstrate an increase in outmigration to Arizona and Nevada. The slow down COULD be attributed to increased out migration, decreased in migration, or declining birthrates.

Justin

"Those who were truly liberal at one time became the 'neoconservatives' of today, while the fascists of yesteryear became the leftists of today. They are illiberal, intolerant, opposed to free speech, and incapable of defending their claimed beliefs in the face of incisive questions. In the modern era, the Left can best be described as a vehicle through which people can fancy themselves as intelligent without having to put in the effort previously required to become intelligent, simply by believing a set of agreed-upon dogma."

Seriously? Left-leaning folks are fascist and unintelligent? I guess this includes Warren Buffet and Stephen Hawking. Grow up, dude.

GK

Justin,

Your comment proves my point.

Buffett is not hard left. He is a self-made billionaire who advocate free-market capitalism.

You merely erected a bogus strawman, revealing your utter lack of substantive arguments. Thus, you proved my point brilliantly.

Any questions?

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