Wednesday, August 01, 2012


The article below came out some time ago but it is so stupid that it has taken me until now to bother with it. They come to the crazy conclusion that people do NOT become more conservative as they age.

I think most of us old-timers can think of quite a few people who are a lot more conservative than they used to be -- and who can overlook that both Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill were liberals in their younger days? And readers of this blog will probably be familiar with John Stossel and David Horowitz as further examples of such change. In my home State of Queensland, Ned Hanlon started out as a far-Left unionist and red-ragger but when he eventually became Premier of the State he ended up using the police to break strikes by unionists. He moved from one extreme to the other in the course of his lifetime. I could go on. The exampes are innumerable.

So how did they go wrong below? In the usual Leftist way: They have no idea of what conservatism is and substitute their own false picture of it for the reality. In particular, they equate conservatism with rigidity and closed-mindedness, when the actual research on the topic (going back to Rokeach in 1960) says that closed mindedness is not politically polarized. Both liberals and conservatives are roughly equally likely to be rigid and closed-minded. My papers on that topic are here.

And any mention of what conservatism really is: Respect for individual liberty and opposition to big government, for instance, is conspicuously missing.

In short, the work below fails as research because it gets the very first step in any science wrong: Taxonomy. Their classification of people as conservatives is demonstrably erroneous

Readers may be interested in the listing of attitudes contained in my paper "What old people believe". Note that the listing includes statements that old people REJECT -- JR

Amidst the bipartisan banter of election season, there persists an enduring belief that people get more conservative as they age -- making older people more likely to vote for Republican candidates.

Ongoing research, however, fails to back up the stereotype. While there is some evidence that today's seniors may be more conservative than today's youth, that's not because older folks are more conservative than they use to be. Instead, our modern elders likely came of age at a time when the political situation favored more conservative views.

In fact, studies show that people may actually get more liberal over time when it comes to certain kinds of beliefs. That suggests that we are not pre-determined to get stodgy, set in our ways or otherwise more inflexible in our retirement years. Contrary to popular belief, old age can be an open-minded and enlightening time.

"Pigeonholing older people into these rigid attitude boxes or conservative boxes is not a good idea," said Nick Dangelis, a sociologist and gerontologist at the University of Vermont in Burlington.

"Rather, when they were born, what experiences they had growing up, as well as political, social and economic events have a lot to do with how people behave," he said. "Our results are showing that these have profound effects."

Today, the image is ubiquitous in popular culture: A rigid gray-haired grump, who is closed-minded and set in his or her curmudgeonly ways. To some extent, that belief emerged from a real observation: Surveys that ask about attitudes towards things like premarital sex or race relations reveal that people older than 60 express more conservative views than people between the ages of 25 and 39. By extension came the assumption that older people used to be more liberal.

The problem with these studies, Dangelis said, is that they compare two demographics at one moment in time without offering a picture of the older cohort when they were younger. So, in a 2007 paper in the journal American Sociological Review, Dangelis and colleagues started to address that problem.

Using surveys taken between 1972 and 2004, the researchers found that groups of people actually became more tolerant, not more conservative, after age 60 -- calling into question some enduring myths about old age. Survey questions addressed attitudes about boundaries of privacy (such as the right to die), historically subordinate groups (such as women and Blacks) and civil liberties (for groups like atheists).

But that study had limitations, too. For one thing, each survey included a different set of people. So the researchers could compare the attitudes of people who were 25 in 1972, for example, with the attitudes of people who were 35 in 1982.

What's still missing, though, are long-term studies that actually follow individuals over time to see how their beliefs change.

In lieu of that kind of research, which is too difficult to do, researchers are now using complicated statistics to tease apart the effects of getting older from the effects of being a certain age at a certain moment in time.

Results, which are just starting to emerge, suggest that each belief follows its own complicated pattern. Seniors seem to have become more liberal about subordinate groups, for example, but more conservative about civil liberties.

Overall, what's happening in society at large as people come of age seems to matter most in determining the starting point for their core beliefs, said Karl Pillemer, a sociologist and gerontologist at Cornell University, who conducted more than 1,000 in-depth interviews with seniors for his book, "30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans." From there, people's attitudes can evolve as they age. And flexibility often trumps rigidity.

"Older people said very surprising things about being old," Pillemer said. "One of those things was that old age was a quest for adventure and a time to try new things. Many older people describe themselves as feeling freer or clearer."

Late in life, his research shows, people often become more open, more tolerant, and more appreciative of compassion. Even if they started out conservative, they may become less extreme in their conservatism.

"Many describe themselves as open to ideas or open to new ways of thinking, and they come back to a sense of much greater tolerance for different points of view," he said. "I had someone say, 'I used to think I was always right, but now that I'm 80, I'm not so sure I'm always right.'"



Shrinking government payrolls IS possible

Many people have pointed out that the size of the U.S. Federal bureaucracy seems to increase inexorably. People point out that even Ronald Reagan only managed to hold the size of the bureaucracy where it was. He did not reduce it. And after he went it resumed growing. So a tempting conclusion is that a reduction in the Federal workforce is impossible. It is a ratchet that we cannot put it into reverse.

That is of course depressing news for all of us with libertarian inclinations so I thought that something that revives hope might be worth mentioning.

I live in the Australian State of Queensland, which has recently given a huge parliamentary majority to a conservative administration. And the Premier (similar to a governor) is fulfilling his promise to cut the State payroll. He is making drastic cuts -- as you can judge from the news report below. And he is still getting onto his stride.

For context, the size of the total Queensland population is 4.5 million

HUGE cutbacks to Queensland's public service are draining Brisbane's CBD, leaving entire floors of carparks empty and retailers struggling to stay open.

Secure Parking's David Knight said it was not only the shrinking CBD workforce that was hurting operators; fewer people in general were coming into the city for business.

"People aren't going to see that lawyer or architect or engineer, and they're not going to government offices because there's no new projects happening," Mr Knight said. "It all dominoes right through the economy."

National Retail Association spokesman Gary Black said CBD retailers had been doing it tough since late 2009 and many were now on death row. "You would expect the public service job cuts to have some impact (on retailers)," he said.

Premier Campbell Newman announced on Friday that public sector numbers had fallen by 4400 full-time employees. He said the Government's reforms to build a "right-size public service" would continue.

Mr Knight said the plunge in demand for car parking started just before the June school holidays and had only got worse. "At first I thought everyone had gone away to the snow. But after the holidays business didn't pick up like it normally does," he said.



The Reddest of Presidents

It’s clear the economy is seeing red. A host of economists, who always seem to be the last to know, have cut GDP growth forecasts recently, in light of rising unemployment and falling manufacturing output. The latest to see the light at the end of the tunnel in its proper context as a speeding train coming right at us is Fannie Mae’s chief economist, Doug Duncan. Fannie Mae always seems to be the last-est of the last to know.

“The data from the past month collectively point to decelerating economic growth, but growth nonetheless," noted Duncan in a statement by Fannie Mae. “It's now clear that our bias toward downside risks noted in the June forecast have materialized, pushing down our already modest growth projections.”

And, according to Newsday, poverty is approaching levels not seen since 1965.

“Poverty is spreading at record levels across many groups,” says Newsday, “from underemployed workers and suburban families to the poorest poor. More discouraged workers are giving up on the job market, leaving them vulnerable as unemployment aid begins to run out. Suburbs are seeing increases in poverty, including in such political battlegrounds as Colorado, Florida and Nevada, where voters are coping with a new norm of living hand to mouth.”

That should not surprise anyone who has paid much attention to the administration over the past year. Despite increasing worry over lack of economic growth, the administration has done little to get the economy moving and much to prevent it from growth.

Last year, in a signal to business that perhaps he really did feel their pain, Obama appointed Chicago’s Bill Daley as his chief of staff. This allowed former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel to exit stage left to replace the other Daley- Richie- as mayor of Chicago.

And for a brief moment the chamber of commerce crowd thought maybe Obama was starting to be more business-friendly. But the Daley ascendancy lasted months, not years. And while Obama announced an effort to cut back on red tape and regulation, year three of Obama's economic-whatnot has been as tough on business as any year of Obama’s administration.

An update to last year’s report from Heritage, Red Tape Rising, says that “Despite this promise of restraint, however, the torrent of new rules and regulations from Washington continued throughout 2011, with 32 new major regulations. These new rules increase regulatory costs by almost $10 billion annually along with another $6.6 billion in one-time implementation costs.”

And that’s not counting Obamacare costs.

In fact, last year Obama’s own Small Business Administration calculated that the total cost to implement regulations in the country amounted to $1.75 trillion or 13 percent of GDP.

While some of that money is accounted for already in government outlays, it means that total cost of government (state, local and federal), which accounts for over 40 percent of our GDP in cash costs, is actually much higher than that when you figure in other costs like lost business and costs of compliance.

Might government costs be over 50 percent of our economy? Possibly. But for sure, government now is the single biggest factor in our economy whether the actual percentage of GDP it accounts for falls just below the 50 percent-of-GDP rate or just inches past it.

And we haven’t even gotten to the bad part either:

Warns Heritage: “This regulatory tide is not expected to ebb anytime soon. Hundreds of new regulations are winding through the rulemaking pipeline as a consequence of the vast Dodd–Frank financial-regulation law (the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act), Obamacare, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s global warming crusade, threatening to further weaken an anemic economy and job creation.”

Total costs of all regulation will cost the economy close to $20 trillion in the next ten years, just using estimates from the Small Business Administration from 2011. In contrast, our yearly economic output is only $15 trillion. If Obamacare is implemented and Dodd-Frankenstein continues to turn on its masters, the costs, including lost opportunities for our economy, will be staggering.

Obama told us that for generations his election would be hailed as the moment the seas stopped rising and the earth began to heal.

But he neglected to mention how much it would cost us in red tape.

That red tape makes him the reddest of all presidents.

What? You expected something else?



Some 0ne-liners

Jay Leno

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told a congressional committee the economic recovery is weakening. But the good news is most Americans will not be affected because they had no idea there was a recovery.

Jobless claims rose again by 35,000 last week. Not good. But it does show that if you’re unsuccessful in this country, you didn’t do it on your own. You had help. Thank you, President Obama.

Well, President Obama and first lady Michelle went to see the U.S. Olympic basketball team play Brazil the other day. And during the game, they were put on the kiss cam. At first, they didn’t kiss and the crowd booed them. Then the camera went back to them. And they finally did kiss. Isn’t that amazing? A politician in Washington caught on camera kissing a woman he’s actually married to?

Romney’s surrogate, John Sununu, he’s in hot water for saying, “I wish President Obama would learn how to be an American.” Well, that’s kind of insulting, isn’t it? President Obama spends money he doesn’t have. He loves to skip work and play golf. He sneaks away from his wife to eat fatty foods. What is more American than that?

Ralph Lauren says the uniforms they make for the 2014 Winter Olympics will be made right here in the USA — using our own old-fashioned illegal immigrants.

Well, Harry Reid and other members of Congress, they’re just furious over this Olympic uniform deal. He says we should burn the uniforms, and it’s an embarrassment and a disgrace. Not as embarrassing as Congress constantly borrowing money from the Chinese, but still embarrassing.

The big news in Washington now is the disappearance of Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. Nobody can find him. He’s completely disappeared. People think he’s either in rehab or he might have been given his own show on CNN.

The White House is now urging Americans not to “read too much” into last week’s jobs report. In fact, they said it would be best if you didn’t read it at all.

At a Democratic fundraiser in Seattle earlier this week, Vice President Biden said that Romney’s economic policies were “George Bush on steroids” — as opposed to Obama’s policies, which are “Jimmy Carter on Ambien.”



My identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my old Facebook page as I rarely accessed it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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