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Moralistic Therapeutic Politics

A reader sends in a story with the comment, “This is what Moralistic Therapeutic Deism looks like when applied to politics.” [1] More:

Millennial politics is simple, really. Young people support big government, unless it costs any more money. They’re for smaller government, unless budget cuts scratch a program they’ve heard of. They’d like Washington to fix everything, just so long as it doesn’t run anything.

That’s all from a new Reason Foundation poll surveying 2,000 young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 [2]. Millennials’ political views are, at best, in a stage of constant metamorphosis and, at worst, “totally incoherent [3],” as Dylan Matthews puts it.

Understood. But I wonder how this compares to most Americans. Don’t most of us want tax cuts, but all the services we now have?

What’s interesting about the poll is how the more money Millennials make, the more they develop a Strange New Respect for holding on to it, versus having it taxed and redistributed. This is understandable too. Nothing moved me more practically to the right quite like graduating college, getting a job (therefore seeing a big chunk of my paycheck taken out for taxes), and renting a house in a part of town that had crime problems.

In terms of cultural conservatism, I’ve been a cultural conservative for most of my adult life, but having children really solidified my views on the importance of family and a strong cultural framework within which to raise them. It really does take a village to raise a child, in terms of the values of their parents being reinforced by the little platoon in which they find themselves living. Before I had kids, I assumed it would be a lot easier to raise them up according to my wife’s and my values than it has been.

As I’ve gotten into middle age, I’ve moved more to the left with regard to the importance of the social safety net and government programs, and this creates tension within me. I do not like statism, but economic and social forces have worked to fray the social fabric such that I don’t see a practical alternative to the limited welfare state.

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89 Comments To "Moralistic Therapeutic Politics"

#1 Comment By grumpy realist On July 15, 2014 @ 4:23 pm

I’d also point out that for those that rant about how government is more “inefficient” than the private sector–well, yeah, that’s the idea, dope.

The government has to cover EVERYONE. It can’t just chuck the 10% most unproductive of its citizens the way that the private sector can decide to not go into unprofitable markets. And I don’t know if you’d want to live in a country where the government could act that way….

#2 Comment By J On July 15, 2014 @ 4:33 pm

Color me surprised that a libertarian polling organization (Reason) and a religious affairs polling organization (Pew) think Millenials ‘incoherent’.

The 2008 Millenial vote for Obama was a young Leftist vote, a vote against the Bush Jr. era. People I know in Democratic vote turnout are saying this year that the Millenial Obama vote is starting to split into liberal, Left, center Left, and libertarian (aka center Right). Much of the explanation is simply age: a portion of the cohort is now past the age of about 28 to 30 when people’s class identification locks in and they adopt a set of policy positions compatible with their class interests. The libertarian run among Millenial Obama voters is demographically as one would predict- college educated white men, principally Midwesterners and Westerners.

I don’t see incoherence there. I see a generation that sees a country with a rudimentary social democratic order and set of institutions. Millenials are likely very realistic that this will define their political period- whether and why and how to build it up will be their business. I don’t know how ‘MTD’ relates to this; I guess social democracy means the irrelevance of trad religious organizations, but that seems a given anyway.

I think I did a lot more prior to and during college than Rod seems to have done, because none of that stuff was news or of interest to me after graduation. I guess I’m also not driven by fear or loss or sense of incompetence. My principal deep irritation was that what I thought of as low productivity workplaces and awful management and corrupt practices weren’t marginal phenomena, they were pretty much the mainstream.

#3 Comment By VikingLS On July 15, 2014 @ 4:49 pm

What Annek said about the left isn’t any more far fetched than what a lot of the people rebuking her were saying about Hobby Lobby last week.

That said there’s an incredible myopia amongst mainstream conservatives who complain about the government on the one hand but constantly want greater power for the police and military.

#4 Comment By Noah172 On July 15, 2014 @ 4:57 pm

JonF wrote:

he will not vote Republican because he is very much not a SoCon, he cannot stomach the anti-science views of the GOP (again, he’s a geneticist),

Then he should understand genetic differences, rooted in evolution, between racial groups. It should dawn on him that there are reasons other than “institutional racism” that certain groups don’t do so well.

but having moved recently to Maryland from Tennessee he rants incessantly about the Democrats and their high taxes*.
The GOP is missing a golden opportunity to pick up people like him– and there are millions like him I don’t doubt, up and coming middle, even upper middle, class types who are gay friendly, pro-Choice, neither racist nor nativist, and as well as secular, concerned about global warming and quite hostile to the notion of any more needless wars

That’s a lot of issues, Jon. The GOP should drop everything but low taxes for this guy? Is it even guaranteed that he would respond — might he not just say, for instance, “Well, good that the Republicans moderated their stance on abortion, but the Democrats are still better”?

If by “racist” and “nativist” you mean opposition to affirmative action and mass immigration, I submit to you:

1) what have the Republicans really done on those fronts?; Reagan gave us amnesty and Bush 41 dramatically expanded legal immigration (look up Immigration Act of 1990); Bush 43 and McCain were for amnesty; no Republican president has seriously combatted affirmative action, and Bush 43 sued the NYC Fire Dept. for being too white; on substance, your friend, if he bothered to look up the facts rather than confusing talk radio conversations for enacted legislation, might conclude the GOP had already gone PC on race (I hate that, but we’re talking about your friend)

2) there are plenty of good arguments against affirmative action and mass immigration, arguments that may be framed in liberal terms (plenty of liberals once upon a time were restrictionists, and white Democrats — such as the firemen in the Ricci case — can be persuaded that affirmative action is not in their interests, or their children’s)

As “concerned about global warming,” how concerned? Concerned enough to pay higher taxes and/or higher energy costs? Concerned enough to countenance lower economic output? Concerned enough that he wants to see the domestic oil and gas industry curtailed — putting him at economic odds with the workers and potential workers in that industry?

Politics inevitably involves choices, value judgments — and every policy choice has winners and losers. Winning your friend’s vote means losing someone else’s.

As for needless wars, the current presumptive Democratic nominee is a known hawk, but my guess is your friend, if he like most American liberals, would be willing to overlook, say, a war with Iran in order to protect precious, precious abortion and marriage “equality”.

#5 Comment By Calvin On July 15, 2014 @ 5:18 pm

With regards to seeing the actual breakdown between how much red and blue states pay in taxes vs how much they get back:

[4]

I believe the tax data itself is from the Tax Foundation circa 2005 or so, so it is dated, but it captures the general gist of what other posters are referring to. To my knowledge, the dynamic has not meaningfully changed in the intervening time.

#6 Comment By stef On July 15, 2014 @ 5:21 pm

@Anneke: Take a look at the “Geography of Government Benefits” interactive map: [5]

It’s based on last-decade community survey census data; no doubt the one which will come out in 2018-2019 will be equally interesting.

Also, National Review did an article awhile back on Owsley County, KY. While it’s numerically a small county, it’s interesting for being very white, very politically red, and very much on the dole. ( [6])

You see this in Australia, too: the “bogans” (the Aussie name for lower-class white people with “low” culture) vote Conservative but receive a lot of gov’t benefits.

* * * * *

And I don’t know where this idea comes from that wealthier people are necessarily “conservative.” Many are fiscal conservatives; some are fiscal conservatives married to liberals or progressives. I’ve met many social conservatives who were blue-collar or lower-middle class.

There’s a lot of wishful thinking out there about Millenials “becoming conservative” as they get older. Some (mostly men) will become libertarian long before they ever become socially-conservative. The women will stay moderate to progressive, and Rush Limbaugh (and the MRAs) do more to further that goal than DailyKos ever could.

But Todd-Akin-level social conservative? No way.

Further, forty percent of Millenials are people of color. The generation coming up after the Millenials (as yet unnamed) are roughly fifty percent people of color. Their version of social conservatism, if it even exists, is going to be way different than what passes for social conservatism today.

@rr: Yes, I know about the racial distribution in Deep South states. I also know that many red states do not have anywhere near the percentage of blue-voting African Americans (or Hispanics) as the Deep South states.

#7 Comment By Noah172 On July 15, 2014 @ 5:23 pm

Eddie in CA wrote:

I’m stunned that to so many cultural conservatives the only things that matter are homosexual marriage and abortion. That may not be the case, but that’s certainly the perception

Ah yes, perceptions. Who makes these perceptions? The MSM. Who owns and works in the MSM? Not socon Christians FTMP, not even on FOX.

Socon Christians, like everyone else, care about a variety of political issues, including the bread-and-butter economic stuff. They are fixated on abortion and homosexuality to exactly the same extent as liberals are fixated on those issues. Remember, the left started the culture war, and the right has reacted. If liberals had not pushed abortion in the 60s and 70s, there would be no need for an anti-abortion movement. Ditto the lavender agenda.

What made this country great in the post WWII economy was a strong middle class

Built on immigration restriction and low and balanced foreign trade. (Trade was 10% of GDP 1948-69, versus 31% as of 2012, with few annual deficits and none larger than a rounding error, versus 3-6% every year since 1999.) Also don’t forget overwhelming white Christian demographic and cultural dominance; low illegitimacy, divorce, and crime.

As long as you have a small group of people (Kochs, Adelson, Freiss, Scaife (RIP), Rove, Chamber of Commerce, etc) convincing people to blame the “others” for their problems

Do you know anything about those guys’ stated positions on issues? Adelson, Rove, and the CoC loudly favor amnesty for illegals and increased legal immigration. The Kochs are liberal/libertarian on drugs, abortion, marriage, etc., and FWIW I think they opposed the Iraq War (albeit perhaps quietly). Only Scaife was more of a populist conservative, supporting Pat Buchanan, who, love him or hate him, represents a serious departure from “mainstream” Republicanism.

And the Democrats have their own zillionaires anyway. Who do you think funds politics in this country?

and continue convincing people to vote against the best interests of their communities

I don’t find either party representing the best interests of ordinary Americans. Certainly the Democrats’ policies on immigration, trade, environmentalism, affirmative action, and other matters are bad for the middle class and middle America.

[NFR: It’s funny how cultural liberals — I mean specifically liberals who vote primarily on cultural issues — take a strong interest in advancing gay rights and protecting legalized abortion when they vote, but find it inexplicable that cultural conservatives do as well. — RD]

#8 Comment By JonF On July 15, 2014 @ 5:32 pm

Re: . In all reality, Washington can do little about the Chindia labor glut of the last 14 years

well, in principle the US could do a lot of about that glut costing US jobs. I could think of all kinds of measures that would even the playing field and prevent promiscuous outsourcing. As a practical matter it won’t happen given the gridlock in DC, but it theoretically possible.

Re: But who knows being the US is a few years from another golden age like 1983 – 2007 or 1948 – 1974.

Can I have some of what you are using? I poo-poo some of the more extreme pessimism that shows up on this site, but I sure can’t find any golden ages lurking in the near future. But on second thought those drugs must be too reality-distorting since by no standard were the Bush years any sort of golden age. The good times pretty much ended with the tech bust and the 64K question no one has yet answered is why we never had a normal recovery from that downturn– which is what primed the economy for the near-collapse of 2008.

#9 Comment By Noah172 On July 15, 2014 @ 5:40 pm

John wrote:

College students voting Democrstic aren’t dumb. They are thinking about student loans. Single women aren’t dumb. They are thinking about the costs of having an unwanted child with no one to raise them. Married parents with children aren’t dumb. They are thinking of things like the child credit, good schools, crime and taxes.

Poor people aren’t dumb. They are concerned about the minimum wage. Rich people aren’t dumb. They are thinking tax cuts.

College students should be thinking about why they need the damn credential in the first place — or why their only option should be four years in an expensive residential institution. Thanks to the Supreme Court, private employers cannot use IQ testing to screen applicants. All the BA is for most people — a signal that you are reasonably smart, literate, trainable, and conformist.

The secret is that the left loves keeping young people in long years of expensive schooling: it delays marriage and childbearing (that is, it delays minting new conservatives); exposes kids to diversity brainwashing; and promotes social liberalism by putting horny youngsters in an environment that encourages bacchanalia.

Single women aren’t dumb — if they don’t sleep with bums and cads.

If married parents are thinking about crime and schools, then they are thinking about who is living in their neighborhoods. That means immigration, desegregation efforts (such as consolidating urban and suburban school districts), housing policy (Section 8, etc.), police tactics, and so on. This is, or should be, bad news for the Democrats.

A minimum wage hike would help some poor people, but much better ideas are immigration restriction and protectionism.

Rich people certainly are not dumb. They have most of the rest of us thinking about the wrong things.

#10 Comment By Mark Christensen On July 15, 2014 @ 5:41 pm

The other day, I’m standing alongside some millennial slacker, waiting to cross a busy road. Ear-phones in, she makes a no-look stride out into traffic, lured on by the green man. When some bloke in a beat-up Camry overshoots the intersection and nearly cleans her up.

Doubtless the bloke – he had the look of Thoreau’s man of quiet desperation – should have done better. But our blithe twentysomething is also culpable, inasmuch as she wrongly supposed an electronic image atop a pole could protect her. What is more, I’ll wager afterwards there was righteous affirmation, in conversation and on social media, of the uncritical belief it’s someone else’s responsibility to make it better.

Modern Western society is roundly criticized for treating its people as commodities. Our common humanity, that which surpasses mundane materialism, goes unrecognized and unvalued. Communal relations are increasingly mechanistic, the give and take of genuine reciprocity readily exchanged for servitude to the economic, legal and political formalities adored by reason. As a consequence, the mind – and therefore politics – is disinclined to interrogate the true source of our spiritual impoverishment.

[7]

#11 Comment By Henri James On July 15, 2014 @ 6:15 pm

Understood. But I wonder how this compares to most Americans. Don’t most of us want tax cuts, but all the services we now have?

THIS^

#12 Comment By Socrates On July 15, 2014 @ 7:08 pm

Annek asks:

“Isn’t this the intention of those on the left – to destroy traditional institutions and increase dependency on the government?”

Answer: no.

#13 Comment By Alex On July 15, 2014 @ 7:09 pm

The awful libs already took care of that. Now millennials are living in gentrified urban neighborhoods, bouncing from internship to internship, and delaying having kids until they’re 35 or so.

#14 Comment By Ampersand On July 15, 2014 @ 7:16 pm

“You need food stamps because you income-qualify? Here’s $200 in food stamps. Why do you need food stamps? What’s your plans to leave the program? Rarely asked, even more rarely acted upon.”

This will sound like a non-sequitur, but, that’s because it isn’t the government’s job to pass moral judgment on people (outside of lawbreaking situations). What you’re suggesting sounds fine on the surface, but it would quickly devolve into telling people how they “ought to” be living. Unfortunately, many conservatives seem to prefer private charity to government help because it lets them divide “the deserving” from “the undeserving,” and thus effectively control people’s behavior. I grew up in a small-town church, and I saw it all the time: “Sure, we’ll help you…but you have to quit drinkin’ and livin’ together, and you have to come to church every week!”

The government should (and does, thank god) help people without any “moral” strings attached. The people tell the government what’s moral; the government doesn’t get to tell the people what’s moral. I’d think that “small government” types would be terrified of government-backed morality…unless it was their own, I suppose.

Also, going into geek mode, Thor being a woman isn’t that big a deal. That’s been done before, albeit only briefly. If you want a real canary in a coalmine, take a look at Archie, who recently leapt in front of a bullet to save a gay politician. (Okay, the story takes place in the future, when they’re all adults.) When you’ve lost Archie, you’ve lost, period.

#15 Comment By Reinhold On July 15, 2014 @ 7:42 pm

Bad wages + bad jobs + high costs of living + high taxes + bad representation + no traditional institutions = confusion.

#16 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 15, 2014 @ 7:49 pm

Rod’s opening comment is very salient. This has nothing to do with Millenials. This has been the story of American political discourse for the past half century. I want all the benefits I have, and lower taxes.

#17 Comment By EngineerScotty On July 15, 2014 @ 8:20 pm

Leave it to Noah to inject race, and his pet “blacks are dumb ‘coz evolushun” theories, into a thread where such was not the original topic of discussion.

#18 Comment By Bobby On July 15, 2014 @ 9:00 pm

Right…because there aren’t any aging Boomers out there who demand lower taxes while complaining that Medicare won’t pay for top-of-the-line treatments for the health conditions they’ve inflicted on themselves from unhealthy living.

#19 Comment By Tyro On July 15, 2014 @ 9:14 pm

What most voters want is to enjoy the fruits of strong, full featured, inexpensive public infrastructure but paid for by the taxes of the previous generation. That’s what the boomers got to enjoy.

#20 Comment By J On July 15, 2014 @ 9:33 pm

p.s. Come on, that’s a pretty good RD impression, right?

Needs a little more religious liberty fetishism, awesome otherwise. 🙂

[NFR: Yeah, First Amendment fetishism is wrong, wrong, wrong. — RD]

#21 Comment By M_Young On July 15, 2014 @ 9:39 pm

Those ‘red states get more money’ studies are suspicious to me, not because I don’t believe that they to an extent are true, but because they don’t really measure things accurately.

1) New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Delaware always do ‘well’. But of course a lot of the prosperity of the first three is built on an ‘industry’ that is a creature of the federal government — namely finance. (BTW, any studies on where the TARP ‘money’ went?)

Delaware, of course, is basically a giant domestic tax shelter for financial and other companies, so I’m not sure you lefties want to boast about it.

2) The Washington DC conundrum. When it is included Washington tends to rank well on these things too, but of course that is ridiculous. It’s only real business derives from tax dollars. That some of its wealthier residence put some of those back is the very definition of a circular argument.

3) Military spending — despite the belief of some here, none of the linked studies separate out military, DOD and military contractor spending. The South is, for example, the home of our shipbuilding now. That spending is to benefit all of us — supposedly.

4) Washington spending as colonial spending. This is true out west especially, where great tracts of land have been tied up by the feds (see the Cliven Bundy deal) and there are quite a few federal enforcers of that regime. It is doubtful that many of the ‘Red’ voters in those states appreciate the neocolonial nature of this ‘governance’

5) Large numbers of poor black, and increasingly Hispanic, people. No explanation necessary.

You know, there is another political ‘paradox’ — Lefties claim to like ‘equality’, but some of the most unequal states are blue states.

#22 Comment By Noah172 On July 15, 2014 @ 11:50 pm

EngineerScotty wrote:

Leave it to Noah to inject race, and his pet “blacks are dumb ‘coz evolushun” theories, into a thread where such was not the original topic of discussion.

JonF, to whom I was responding, emphasized his friend’s occupation as a geneticist as relevant to his political leanings. My comment was absolutely relevant in response.

Your characterization of the race-IQ-genetics-evolution argument — which isn’t mine anyway; remember Rod’s thread awhile back about Nicholas Wade’s recent book? Wade’s a liberal, BTW — is a distortion. I’ve written before, and I’ll repeat it here: there are some 600,000 African-American adults with IQs 115+, and some 4-4.5 million with IQs 100-115; larger numbers for mestizos.

#23 Comment By M_Young On July 15, 2014 @ 11:55 pm

“The GOP is missing a golden opportunity to pick up people like him– and there are millions like him I don’t doubt, up and coming middle, even upper middle, class types who are gay friendly, pro-Choice, neither racist nor nativist, ”

Where exactly did your friend move to…Baltimore itself (outside the precious little harbor district).

And I’ll bet when biotech companies start H1-B–ing like their electronic tech confrere’s, the guy will start sounding like Mark Krikorian.

#24 Comment By EngineerScotty On July 16, 2014 @ 2:10 am

Me: Leave it to Noah to inject race, and his pet “blacks are dumb ‘coz evolushun” theories, into a thread where such was not the original topic of discussion.

Noah: JonF, to whom I was responding, emphasized his friend’s occupation as a geneticist as relevant to his political leanings. My comment was absolutely relevant in response.

Being a geneticist, or a biologist in general, doesn’t imply one must accept the conclusions of race-realists.

Noah: Your characterization of the race-IQ-genetics-evolution argument — which isn’t mine anyway; remember Rod’s thread awhile back about Nicholas Wade’s recent book? Wade’s a liberal, BTW — is a distortion. I’ve written before, and I’ll repeat it here: there are some 600,000 African-American adults with IQs 115+, and some 4-4.5 million with IQs 100-115; larger numbers for mestizos.

Excellent! Keep that in mind!

Usually, though, I see the race realist crowd prattling on about average IQs as if that were all that matters–that if dark skin or some other collection of superficial phenotypes are shown (however weakly) to correlate with (however dubious) measures of intellectual ability, that this justifies mistreatment of or arbitrary discrimination against those with said phenotypes.

Plus, ’tis was you a few threads back who made it rather clear that your politics is “motivated by race”, and that your support for the welfare state essentially varies inversely with the amount of melanin of the recipients. (Non-Protestants were also deemed unworthy).

The point is: Nobody in this thread brought up race so explicitly, until you did.

#25 Comment By EngineerScotty On July 16, 2014 @ 2:18 am

[8]

#26 Comment By Anne On July 16, 2014 @ 5:42 am

Americans aren’t necessarily as confused about taxes Vs “entitlements“ as it may appear. The percentage who say they should be taxed less usually runs between 45 and 51% in the major polls, while the percentage saying No to cuts in so-called entitlement programs (esp. Social Security and Medicare) runs between 60 and 65%. That actually shows more interest in maintaining the services government provides than in paying fewer taxes. There’s also the fact that many of those who say their tax load should be less are protesting what they think are inequities in the tax codes, not echoing Republican preferences for lower taxes and fewer government services across the board. There’s nothing inherently incoherent about wanting more and better government services as well as lower taxes for many Americans if you also believe tax structures should be overhauled so that wealthier Americans pay a fairer share. A poll by CNBC a couple years ago even showed most American millionaires agreed they should pay more.

#27 Comment By JonF On July 16, 2014 @ 6:28 am

Re: Then he should understand genetic differences, rooted in evolution, between racial groups.

My friend and I have talked about many, many things, but we have never talked about race. And in general racial issues simply do not even show up on the radar of most (white) young people. To a large extent they really are post-racial.

Re: The GOP should drop everything but low taxes for this guy? Is it even guaranteed that he would respond

From all he has said I do believe he would readily vote for a economically conservative but socially moderate Republican (add non-warmongering for federal level candidates)

Re: As for needless wars, the current presumptive Democratic nominee is a known hawk,

LOL. Except when his critics on the Right lambaste him for being soft on terrorists if not a fifth columnist Muslim himself.

#28 Comment By JonF On July 16, 2014 @ 6:34 am

Re: Thanks to the Supreme Court, private employers cannot use IQ testing to screen applicants.

Oh good grief throw that red herring back into the sea– it stinks. So what– they can’t use IQ tests. There are a myriad other tests they can use! I’ve had some sort of test for just about every post-college job I’ve been seriously been considered for, generally a skills test. And unfortunately no test can provide answers as to an employee’s honesty, reliability, congeniality etc– all important traits for succeeding at a job. College doesn’t answer that either, though at least it shows that someone has their act together enough to stick with something for several years.

#29 Comment By JonF On July 16, 2014 @ 6:35 am

Re: Where exactly did your friend move to…Baltimore itself

Salisbury, on the Eastern Shore.

#30 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On July 16, 2014 @ 9:22 am

Re: Nothing moved me more practically to the right quite like graduating college, getting a job (therefore seeing a big chunk of my paycheck taken out for taxes), and renting a house in a part of town that had crime problems.

I’ve really never understood this perspective. One’s political worldview is supposed to be based on what you think conduces to the common good, not to your own pocketbook. (I’d be equally derisive speaking about those people who’s entire political involvement is based on furthering their own personal freedoms.) If socialism makes sense, it makes sense whether you’re making $5,000 a year or $500,000. And vice versa, of course.

Stef,

Do you have any evidence that the gender gap in politics has *anything to do* with the pelvic issues? Like, any at all? The evidence seems to suggest that women favour the Democrats in spite of their extreme pro-choice stance, not because of it.

#31 Comment By Dan Case On July 16, 2014 @ 9:22 am

To answer Rod’s question, this isn’t something specific to millenials. When a 63 year old wants Medicare and Social Security untouched for the next ten years, but believes it should be cut for the long term to solve it’s cost problems, I gag when someone calls that a “principled conservative”. When a Businessmen demand that something be done to stop illegal immigration, but argue against anything which would cost their business to ensure the legal status of their workers, that’s not caring deeply about illegal immigration. Or when moderate voters want a balanced budget by cutting the imaginary fortune we’re spending on foreign aid, that isn’t a moderate budget strategy.

Voters in general have very incoherent views, this isn’t something new to the young.

#32 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On July 16, 2014 @ 10:22 am

For what it’s worth, my own political allegiances have always been strongly economically Left-wing, ever since I discovered Karl Marx as a teenager. In essence, a society in which some people are not rewarded proportionate to their needs or the labour they put in, but rather according to their access to capital, has always struck me as immoral and unjust, however you paper it over, and as flatly a modern equivalent of the sin of usury that traditional Christian moralists got so exercised over. I’ve thought that capitalism was immoral long before I was a Christian, and I still think it today, though in terms of what I favour, I’ve shifted somewhat over the years (from Marxian state-socialism to a kind of Tito-esque, cooperative-based market-socialist, back to favouring a bit more state control). It’s on the social issues where my thought has evolved more (and interestingly, over the last few years I’ve simultaneously become more favourable to gay rights, and less favourable to feminism).

#33 Comment By stef On July 16, 2014 @ 11:08 am

@M_Young: This link ( [9]😉 specifically calls out the following:

Social Security
Medicare
Medicaid
“Income Support” (which in the text of the accompanying article, linked to through the link above) includes Earned Income Tax Credit
Veteran’s Benefits
Unemployment Insurance

It does NOT cover DOD spending in the form of defense contracts to the states. Veteran’s benefits accrue to individuals and are thus counted as government support to individuals.

You’re free to look up the interactive census charts on your own, and compare the racial balance county-by-county, to convince yourself that majority-white counties with majority-poor white people also receive gov’t benefits. Also, please feel free to correlate these with exit polls from these regions which point out that white voters, even in poor counties with large volume of federal transfer payments, still vote largely GOP in these red states.

#34 Comment By stef On July 16, 2014 @ 11:09 am

The link got messed up: here it is:
[5]

#35 Comment By EngineerScotty On July 16, 2014 @ 1:44 pm

Somebody: As for needless wars, the current presumptive Democratic nominee is a known hawk,

JonF: LOL. Except when his critics on the Right lambaste him for being soft on terrorists if not a fifth columnist Muslim himself.

JonF,

I believe that the phrase “current presumptive Democratic nominee” refers to Hillary, not Obama.

#36 Comment By Reinhold On July 16, 2014 @ 5:06 pm

I share Hector’s befuddlement at Dreher’s claim that getting a job and paying taxes and living in poor areas made him right-wing. There’s nothing necessary about that; if anything, all that has made me more left-wing––getting a job, one can see directly how exploitation happens; paying taxes, you can see how the government takes your wages and then does not represent your interests in return; living in a low-income area, you can see how predatory landlordism is. I’d like to remind anyone who adheres to this kind of class essentialism––that one’s ideology is determined by one’s economic situation––that it is basically one of the biggest mistakes Marxism ever made, and it’s partially responsible for the purges and gulags which you’re so concerned about (the notion that the proles will ALWAYS be for the revolution so that anyone who is against the revolution must not TRULY be a prole….)

#37 Comment By Noah172 On July 16, 2014 @ 7:53 pm

I wrote:

there are some 600,000 African-American adults with IQs 115+, and some 4-4.5 million with IQs 100-115; larger numbers for mestizos

EngineerScotty responded:

Excellent! Keep that in mind!

Well, you keep in mind that most people of West African and mestizo ancestry do not have IQs at 100 or more. The rough numbers I cited represent about one-sixth of African-American adults.

Remember: bell curve, bell curve, bell curve.

#38 Comment By M_Young On July 17, 2014 @ 3:36 am

” And in general racial issues simply do not even show up on the radar of most (white) young people. To a large extent they really are post-racial.”

I’m around early 20 somethings quite a bit, and I know that you are absolutely wrong.

#39 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 17, 2014 @ 9:00 am

Socrates is eloquent today.

Noah, to axiomatically claim that “the left started the culture war” is full of fallacies, and lacks empirical substance.

First, as I never tire of saying, whatever the “sides” in the phony “culture war,” neither of them are “left” except in the most sollipsistic narcissistic ignorance. Ask Comrade Hector if you don’t want to take my word for it. (Actually, don’t take anyone’s word for it, but show me one thing that is Marxist, Leninist, communist, socialist, Christian socialist, or even social democratic about either side of the “culture wars.” I believe the classic Stalinist position on homosexuality was that it is a symptom of capitalist decadence.)

Second, there was no “culture war” as such until a band of brothers who styled themselves “conservative,” a dubious claim in my late mother’s considered opinion, rallied the troops to fight a “culture war.”

Then he should understand genetic differences, rooted in evolution, between racial groups. It should dawn on him that there are reasons other than “institutional racism” that certain groups don’t do so well.

So what? I agree that if this be true, or even if it isn’t, we need to back off from “disparate impact” as the sina qua non of imputing racial prejudice. Even if all the statistical differences are attributable to social and economic factors, those social and economic factors, rather than pure racism, could be responsible for the disparities.

But the essence of racism is that any given individual may be denied a status, or entry into an educational program, or consideration for a job, BECAUSE OF HIS RACIAL DESIGNATION (or hers), rather than based on an unbiased examination of their individual qualities.

You and M_Young have never denied that there are black geniuses and white morons. You could not do so with credibility. So the possibility that, e.g., the average intelligence of the human population that remained in Africa at the time of the great migration into the rest of the world is statistically lower, tells us nothing about whether Nakisha Smith-Jones has earned a Ph.D, or whether she is qualified to do quality control testing of electronic components for the latest submarine.

Remove race as a criterion, address whatever social and economic factors may also be involved, and we have no problem.