Friday, September 16, 2016

The relationship between conservatism and racism

The nature and extent of the relationship is contested but the Left are quite convinced that it is conservatives who are racist.  That conservatives are generally OPPOSED to the blatant racism that is affirmative action never quite gets into their heads.  Leftists are OBSESSED with race.  They look for racial implications in everything.  "Racist" is their big swear sword. Conservatives just wish they would stop.

What Leftists do to support their suspicion of conservatives is to do survey research in which they ask one series of questions that identifies conservatism and then another that identifies racism.  That such opinion surveys don't predict racial behaviour has been known since the 1930s but let that pass.

They then ask who agrees most with the statements that express conservastism and then ask are they the same people who agree most with statements expressing racism.  And they do generally find some overlap.

An unusually sophisticated study in that mould has just come out that has some interesting results, however.  The new study looked at the social context in which the statements were made.  What do people say when most people around them are conservative and does that differ from when most people around them are Leftish?  And they found that context made a big difference.

What they found was that in a generally conservative society, conservatives were NOT racist.  It was only among Leftists that conservatives agreed with some racist statements.  So Leftism provokes racism.  Who'd a thunk it?  The Leftist obsession with race makes conservatives a bit racist too.  I find that a big laugh.  It certainly torpedoes the conventional Leftist view of conservatives.

In summary:  In a conservative environment, where little is heard of the constant Leftist yammering about race, "negative outgroup attitudes" are rare and likely to come from both Right and Left.  But a Leftist environment is polarizing.  The constant Leftist yammering about the evils of whites and the innocence of minorities causes conservatives to react  against that and make them more likely to express attitudes that are critical of "outgroups".  So it is actually Leftism that causes "negative outgroup attitudes" to be expressed by conservatives.
The journal abstract is below. For the statistically-minded, note that restriction of range effects were allowed for:

The Mobilizing Effect of Right-Wing Ideological Climates:  Cross-Level Interaction Effects on Different Types of Outgroup Attitudes

Jasper Van Assche et al.

The present research investigated a multilevel person-context interactionist framework for the relationship between right-wing ideologies and prejudice across two large, representative samples (Study 1: European Social Survey: N 5 56,752; Study 2: World Values Survey: N 5 74,042). Across three different operationalizations of right-wing ideology, two contextual levels (regional and national) of right-wing climate, and three types of outgroup attitudes (i.e., age-, ethnicity-, and gender-based), the analyses consistently revealed cross-level interactions, showing a strong association between right-wing attitudes and negative outgroup attitudes at the individual level in contexts with a low right-wing climate, whereas this relationship is weaker and often even absent in contexts with a high right-wing climate. These cross-level interactions remained significant after controlling for statistical artefacts (i.e., restriction of range and outliers). The authors propose norm setting as the mobilizing mechanism through which a right-wing climate develops and curbs the influence of individual right-wing social-ideological attitudes on outgroup attitudes.


Hillary’s health is a problem, but her lack of honesty could be deadly

“Antibiotics can take care of pneumonia. What’s the cure for an unhealthy penchant for privacy that repeatedly creates unnecessary problems?”

That was former Barack Obama chief campaign strategist David Axelrod’s Twitter reaction to Hillary Clinton’s near-collapse as she was entering a van after a September 11 memorial in New York.

Coming from Axelrod, it is a clear shot across Clinton’s bow coming directly from the Democrat Party establishment as rumors begin to swirl about replacing her atop the party’s ticket in November.

The Clinton campaign’s explanation is that she had seasonal allergies leading to a cough, and then pneumonia which led to heat exhaustion at the ceremony on Sunday. But, based on her actions, it is clear that but for the Twitter video showing her wobbling and falling forward into her van amid Secret Service and personal handlers attempting prevent her from hitting the pavement, the American people would almost certainly never have heard about this episode.

How do we know that? Clinton’s destination after her fall was to her daughter Chelsea’s residence, not to a hospital to treat heat exhaustion, which the New York Post reports was to avoid media exposure. The heat exhaustion explanation was only in response to disclosure of the video, and the bout of pneumonia was not included in the official explanation until hours after that. They were going to cover it up. What if it had been a much more serious condition?

That is not a conspiracy theory. That’s what happened. Clinton was comfortable with failing to disclose a major medical episode even as questions on her health and fitness to serve as commander-in-chief were dogging the campaign. And her campaign only came forward when the truth could not be denied.

What else might the campaign be hiding? Did Clinton lose consciousness? Does she have any other ailments? How often does she fall? In 2012, Clinton had another fall and suffered a concussion. Soon thereafter, she had a blood clot in the brain that was treated. Is that everything?

Nowadays, we tend to romanticize past presidents’ ailments — and how the mainstream media tended to cover them up — such as Franklin Roosevelt’s polio or John Kennedy’s battle with extreme pain and anxiety along with the powerful cocktails of drugs he took. The way these are often portrayed is that the illness did not affect the policies or performance of these presidents. But is that really true?

Consider Woodrow Wilson, who in 1919 suffered a severe stroke and was incapacitated for the remainder of his presidency. It was covered up, only to be pieced together later by historians, but if the 25th Amendment had been in place then it is highly possible he would have been deposed by his Cabinet for being physically and mentally unable to fulfill his duties of office.

These matters were and are so serious that countermeasures were put in place into the Constitution itself.

So, if the future president was going to have a potentially fatal illness, wouldn’t you want to know about it?

For Clinton, the issue could become a major headache going forward, particularly if voters perceive that she and her campaign sought to mislead the public about her health. In this case, Axelrod is right. Her illnesses can be treated, but the public faith and trust, once lost, will not easily recover.


What if Hillary collapsed after winning the election?

Jeff Jacoby 

"CONCEALING ONE'S true medical condition from the voting public," the historian Robert Dallek wrote in a 2002 essay, "is a time-honored tradition of the American presidency." During the presidential campaign of 1960, John F. Kennedy went to extreme lengths to hide from voters any hint of his severe medical problems, which ranged from Addison's disease to crippling spinal degeneration. By comparison, Hillary Clinton's recent dissembling over pneumonia and fainting spells is small potatoes.

Hillary Clinton staggered and apparently fainted after leaving a 9/11 memorial ceremony early on Sunday. Her campaign later acknowledged that she often suffers from dehydration, and had been diagnosed with pneumonia two days earlier.
Kennedy's deception succeeded not only because disclosure standards were so different in his time — public figures were accorded far more privacy than they are now — but also because he was a young man, just 42 when he ran for president. Candidates today can't expect to keep their medical problems secret, especially not candidates as old as Clinton (almost 69) and Donald Trump (70). Last month, the Clinton campaign snorted that Republicans questioning her health were peddling "deranged conspiracy theories." That won't fly anymore.

Already Democratic Party insiders are talking about having a Plan B ready in case Clinton's health problems become insurmountable. On Monday, former Democratic Party chairman Don Fowler urged the party to quickly set up a contingency plan to replace Clinton in case a medical crisis forces her from the race. "It's something you would be a fool not to prepare for," he told Politico.

No major-party presidential candidate has ever been forced by illness, or anything else, to quit the race after winning the nomination. But in 1972, the Democrats' vice-presidential nominee, Senator Thomas Eagleton of Missouri, had to drop out after it became known that he had been treated for depression with electroshock therapy. The DNC quickly regrouped, naming Sargent Shriver to take Eagleton's place. Now as then, it would be the responsibility of the party to fill any pre-election vacancy in its national ticket — regardless of whether the vacancy were caused by sickness, scandal, death, or mental debility. (Or, for that matter, by party leaders belatedly coming to their senses and realizing that a disastrous nominee was steering the Titanic straight for the iceberg.)

But suppose a vacancy materialized after the November election. Then the power to choose a replacement would no longer belong to the parties, but to the Electoral College.

Presidents are not elected directly by the people, but by state-based slates of electors. Under the Constitution, it is up to the states to appoint electors "in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct." Legislatures need not defer to the popular vote. They can, if they choose, name their state's electors directly, with instructions to vote for someone other than the candidate who won the most votes on Election Day.

Thomas Eagleton (L) was nominated by the 1972 Democratic convention to be George McGovern's running mate. But he was forced to leave the ticket once it became known that he had been treated for depression with electroshock therapy.
Clinton's collapse on Sept. 11 was quickly treated, and only a churl would wish her anything but a full recovery. But anything can happen. So far no president-elect has died, become incapacitated, or voluntarily withdrawn in the month and a half between the November election and the convening of the electors. It probably won't happen this year, either.

Yet if the 2016 cycle has taught us anything, it is to rule nothing out. With 70-year-old candidates, it isn't hard to imagine a serious medical crisis, such as a stroke or a massive heart attack, occurring just days after the election. Nor is it that hard — considering how ethically tainted the major-party nominees are — to imagine some devastating post-election revelation (perhaps via WikiLeaks) of wrongdoing or corruption that would make it unthinkable to allow the popular-vote winner to take the oath of office.

The Electoral College is routinely disparaged as undemocratic and archaic, but it exists for the excellent reason that mass democracy can go wrong. The people can be led wildly astray. Or they can make a choice that suddenly turns unviable. Or disaster can strike. Clinton's late-in-the-campaign illness may prove a mere blip. Still, it's a good opportunity to remind ourselves that the Framers built an escape hatch into the presidential election process. Even if voters screw the pooch on Nov. 8, the Electoral College can undo the damage.


Stop Big Government, Seek Bigger Growth

Seventeen years ago, near the close of the 20th century, the typical American household had a higher income than it did in 2015.

The Census Bureau's annual report on income and poverty in the United States, released this week, did not focus on that fact. But it did note that real median household income was higher in 2015 than in 2014.

"Median household income was $56,516 in 2015, an increase in real terms of 5.2 percent from the 2014 median of $53,718," the report said in its "Highlights" section.

"This is the first annual increase in median household income since 2007, the year before the most recent recession," the report said.

In 2007 — nine years ago — real median household income (in constant 2015 dollars) was $57,423, according to Table A-1 in the report. America has not gotten back there yet.

In the nearly five decades between 1967 and 2015, according to that table, real median household income peaked in 1999 at $57,909. It has never been that high in the 21st century.

But the Census Bureau data also shows — as it has shown in the past — that some types of households tend to have higher incomes than others.

To modern American liberals, this would be evidence of a class war, where rich and evil people exploit the poor.

But the Census Bureau's Table FINC-01, which shows median household income by "characteristics of families," demonstrates something else.

In 2015, according to this table, "married couple families" had a median household income of $84,324. By contrast, families with a male householder and "no wife present" had a median income of only $49,895. Families with a female householder and "no husband present" had a median income of $34,126.

Families where the householder had a bachelor's degree had a median income of $103,224. By contrast, families where the householder had a high school degree had a median income of $52,906, and families where the householder had attended high school but not graduated had a median income of $32,906.

One lesson from the Census Bureau data: If you want to do better financially in the United States, earn a degree, get married, have kids and work. Another lesson: America needs a new era of economic growth.


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