Tuesday, December 09, 2014
MEGA-PESKY for the Left! Republicans found to be brighter than Democrats
Leftists never give up asserting that they are the brightest but the research results below are well founded and are clearly against them. The findings even held among whites only. And the ardent Democrats were dumbest of all! The author is a bit apologetic about measuring mainly verbal ability but verbal ability is the best proxy for IQ as a whole so that need not detain us.
The final comment below about different types of Republicans is just a speculation. It was not examined in the research.
The differences found were slight, however so are not something for anyone to hang their hat on. The findings are primarily useful for shooting back at Leftist claims of superiority -- claims which are in fact intrinsic to Leftism. They claim to "know best"
For my previous discussions of IQ and politics see here and here and here and here
Cognitive ability and party identity in the United States
Carl (2014) analysed data from the U.S. General Social Survey (GSS), and found that individuals who identify as Republican have slightly higher verbal intelligence than those who identify as Democrat. An important qualification was that the measure of verbal intelligence used was relatively crude, namely a 10-word vocabulary test. This study examines three other measures of cognitive ability from the GSS: a test of probability knowledge, a test of verbal reasoning, and an assessment by the interviewer of how well the respondent understood the survey questions. In all three cases, individuals who identify as Republican score slightly higher than those who identify as Democrat; the unadjusted differences are 1–3 IQ points, 2–4 IQ points and 2–3 IQ points, respectively. Path analyses indicate that the associations between cognitive ability and party identity are largely but not totally accounted for by socio-economic position: individuals with higher cognitive ability tend to have better socio-economic positions, and individuals with better socio-economic positions are more likely to identify as Republican. These results are consistent with Carl's (2014) hypothesis that higher intelligence among classically liberal Republicans compensates for lower intelligence among socially conservative Republicans.
The good that results from US 'boots on the ground'
by Jeff Jacoby
IT HAS ALWAYS made Americans uncomfortable to think of their nation as the world's policeman.
John Quincy Adams avowed nearly two centuries ago that the United States "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy"; today, Barack Obama declares that America's focus must be on "nation-building here at home." A broad swath of public opinion shares that view — 52 percent of Americans in a Pew survey last winter agreed that the US should "mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own."
Influential Americans regularly argue that US intervention abroad does more harm than good. "Every time the US touches the Middle East, it makes things worse," insists Harvard's Stephen Walt in a recent essay. The same has been said about America's military involvement everywhere from Latin America to Indochina. Samantha Power, currently the US ambassador to the United Nations, wrote in 2003 that America is justifiably seen as "the very runaway state international law needs to contain," resented for its "sins" and "crimes" in using its power to harm others.
Tim Kane, an economist at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, begs to differ.
In an eye-opening essay in the current issue of Commentary, Kane refutes the notion that American military deployments have been a force for ill. That view isn't just wrong, he emphasizes, "it is tragically wrong." He backs up his claim with data: "Having compared growth and development indicators across all countries of the world against a database of US 'boots on the ground' since 1950, I've discovered a stunning truth: In country after country, prosperity — in the form of economic growth and human development — has emerged where American boots have trod."
America's war record has certainly been mixed, acknowledges Kane, an Air Force veteran who has written — sometimes controversially and at book length — about the military's stifling personnel policies and its strategic shortcomings in Iraq and Afghanistan. Troop deployments haven't always ended well. US forces haven't always lived up to our highest standards.
But American military engagement worldwide goes far beyond battlefields. Between 1950 and 2010, more than 30 million US troops were stationed overseas, Kane writes, and except for four years at the height of the fighting in Vietnam, most troop deployments were not to nations at war. The great majority have typically been in "allied countries, stationed in permanent bases, and cooperating in peace." Some host countries are well known: Japan, Korea, Germany. But Americans in uniform have been based in many other countries, too, from Bahrain to Kyrgyzstan to Panama to the Philippines.
And when the data is crunched, what emerges is extraordinary: US boots on the ground are a startlingly robust predictor of higher growth rates and longer lives.
Since the 1950s, research by Kane and economist Garett Jones of George Mason University has shown, "countries hosting more American forces experienced much faster economic growth than their peers" — an increase in per-capita growth of about 1 percentage point per year, after controlling for other numerous other factors linked to economic growth. The statistical correlation between US military presence and economic growth is found even when "high-growth outliers," such as South Korea or Germany, are excluded.
Just as dramatic is the rise in life expectancy and reduction in child mortality in countries where US service personnel are based. The effect shows up, Kane says, even for countries growing at the same rate. To be sure, life expectancy has increased almost everywhere over the past two generations. "But it improved more quickly in countries that hosted American troops, and more slowly elsewhere."
What Kane dubs the "good country effect" isn't entirely understood. Why, for example, should a tenfold increase of US troops over 20 years in a typical host country lead to a reduction in children's mortality by 2.2 percentage points and a 1 percentage point gain in life expectancy? Access to more US dollars isn't a sufficient explanation: The improvements remain statistically significant even after accounting for economic aid. And plainly the United States doesn't undertake military deployments in pursuit of an imperial growth scheme aimed at creating wealth. "There was no material advantage to saving South Korea, a bloody and costly war that ended well," Kane observes. "And there was nothing to be exploited in Vietnam, an even bloodier and more costly war that ended badly."
The empirical advances in human welfare spurred by the presence of US forces can be linked to factors as specific and tangible as the proliferation of telephone lines, which — besides being necessary for military communications — helps connect remote rural communities with medical workers and emergency assistance. They may also be linked to the proliferation of cultural ideas and civic institutions. With American military engagement come American ways of doing business, of training police forces, of resolving local disputes, of strengthening democracy and the rule of law.
Economic analysis won't end the debates over America-as-Globocop, nor should it. Foreign and national-security policymaking is complex, and every deployment of troops must be justified on its own terms.
Nevertheless, the data underscore a reality we ought not lose sight of: The projection of US power has been a remarkable force for good in the world. Where American boots tread, prosperity and better lives generally result.
When the Law Is a Drag
In the Ferguson disaster, the law was the greatest casualty. Civilization cannot long work if youths strong-arm shop owners and take what they want. Or walk down the middle of highways high on illicit drugs. Or attack police officers and seek to grab their weapons. Or fail to obey an officer’s command to halt. Or deliberately give false testimonies to authorities. Or riot, burn, and loot. Or, in the more abstract sense, simply ignore the legal findings of a grand jury; or, in critical legal theory fashion, seek to dismiss the authority of the law because it is not deemed useful to some preconceived theory of social justice. Do that and society crumbles.
In our cynicism we accept, to avoid further unrest, that no government agency will in six months prosecute the looters and burners, or charge with perjury those who brazenly lied in their depositions to authorities, or charge the companion of Michael Brown with an accessory role in strong-arm robbery, or charge the stepfather of Michael Brown for using a bullhorn to incite a crowd to riot and loot and burn. We accept that because legality is becoming an abstraction, as it is in most parts of the world outside the U.S. where politics makes the law fluid and transient.
Nor can a government maintain legitimacy when it presides over lawlessness. The president of the United States on over 20 occasions insisted that it would be illegal, dictatorial, and unconstitutional to contravene federal immigration law — at least when to do so was politically inexpedient. When it was not, he did just that. Now we enter the Orwellian world of a videotaped president repeatedly warning that what he would soon do would be in fact illegal. Has a U.S. president ever so frequently and fervently warned the country about the likes of himself?
What is forgotten about amnesty is that entering the U.S. illegally is not the end, but often the beginning of lawlessness. Out here in rural central California we accept a world where thousands drive without insurance, licenses, and registration. Fleeing the scenes of traffic accidents earns snoozes. There is no such thing as the felony of providing false information on government affidavits or creating made-up Social Security numbers. Selling things without paying taxes and working off the books while on assistance are no longer illegal. The normative culture is lawlessness.
Amnesty, granted through a lawless presidential act, will not stop but only encourage further lawlessness. If someone has become used to ignoring a multitude of laws without consequences, there is no reason why he should suddenly cease, given that punishment for breaking the law is still considered a politically-incorrect rather than a legal act — and that even with amnesties it will still be far easier and cheaper to break than obey the law. Who will deport an illegal alien beneficiary of amnesty when he again breaks the law? Amnesty will be seen as both reactive and prophylactic, a waiver for both past and future behavior.
More disturbingly, we have engendered a strange culture of justifiable lawlessness: those who are deemed exploited in some ways are exempt from following the law; those without such victim status are subject even more to it. Executive authorities compensate for their impotence in not enforcing statutes for some by excessively enforcing them on others.
I accept that if I burn a single old grape stake that has been treated with a copper-based preservative, I will be facing huge fines by environmental protection agencies, whose zeal will not extend to nearby residents who have created illegal compounds of rental Winnebagos with jerry-rigged wiring and stop-gap sewage or who dump wet garbage along the side of the road. In the old days the dumpers at least used to sift out incriminating documents with names on them; now they leave them in, without worry over the consequences.
Our bureaucrats thirst for the single infraction by the law-biding citizen who can pay — to compensate for their impotence amid endless crimes by the law-breaking who are deemed unable to pay. That idea of redistributive enforcement permeates the entire federal government.
When Americans receive that dreaded letter from the IRS in the mail, demanding that they pay additional taxes with interest — or else — they cannot act in the way the IRS now acts: ignoring government requests, losing documents, hiding emails, taking the Fifth Amendment. If Americans were to follow the lawless culture of Lois Lerner and her associates at the IRS, then the IRS and the entire system of voluntary tax-compliance would simply implode. Try the following when the IRS calls:
“Sorry, I need two more years to find those documents.”
“You never sent me that tax notice!”
“My accountant, not me, did it.”
“Oh, oh, I lost that receipt.”
“I plead the Fifth and can’t give you that information.”
“Nope, those are private communications and I won’t hand them over.”
Indeed, the problem with the Obama administration is that the government’s own bureaucracies — the IRS, VA, Secret Service, GSA, EPA, Justice and State Departments — have so serially broken their own statutes and lied about their misconduct, that it is now almost impossible to reassure Americans that they, too, cannot do what their own government sees as some sort of birthright.
The fuel of lawlessness is untruth. What amazes about President Obama is not that he occasionally misstates facts — every president has done that — but that he so serially says things that are untrue and yet he must know are so easily exposed as untrue. When the president on over 20 occasions swears he cannot legally grant amnesty and then does so, or when he swears he cannot comment on an ongoing criminal case when he habitually has done just that, or when he insists that Obamacare will not result in higher premiums and deductibles or loss of doctors and health plans when it does precisely that, or when he asserts to the world that a mere demonstration over a video caused an attack on our consulate in Benghazi when he knew that it did not, or when he utters iron-clad red lines, deadlines, and step-over-lines that he knows are mythical or denies he has done just that — when he does all this, then almost everything he asserts must be doubted.
We now live in an era when we expect a federal bureaucrat — whether the attorney general or the secretary of Defense or the secretary of Labor — to illegally jet on family or political business at the public expense, or the president of the United States to pick and choose which elements of the law he finds useable and therefore are to be enforced and which bothersome and therefore ignored.
For this administration, the law is a drag.
What separated the United States from a Peru or Nigeria or Mexico or Laos or Russia was the sanctity of the law, or the idea that from the highest elected officials to the least influential citizen, all were obligated to follow, according to their stations, the law. Under Obama, that sacred idea has been eroded. We live in a world of illegal immigration and amnesties, Ferguson mythologies, and alphabet government scandals, presided over by a president who not only does not tell the truth, but also seems to be saying to the public, “I say whatever I want, so get over it.”
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in). GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.
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Posted by JR at 1:35 AM