Showing posts from March, 2013

Conservatives and Race Surveys: Wording Matters

How you phrase survey questions and how you report the resulting data matters a great deal within public debates. Consider the following example from a recent article.
The numbers prove it: The GOP is estranged from America
By Andrew Kohut, Published: March 22

Andrew Kohut is the founding director and former president of the Pew Research Center. He served as president of the Gallup Organization from 1979 to 1989.

Conservative Republicans are more likely (33 percent) than the public at large (22 percent) to see the growing number of Latinos in America as a change for the worse. Similarly, 46 percent of conservatives see increasing rates of interracial marriage as a positive development, compared with 66 percent of the public overall. Let us study both points separately. First, I'll examine the perceptions of the increase …

Gender and Pay Inequality: Apples and Oranges Rule the Debate

As people debate into Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg, the topic of pay inequality often arises. President Obama has also made the issue of "fair" compensation a political issue. But, is there really a problem with inequality within the same job, or is there something else at work?

Based on research, it seems that if you want to study comparisons of apples to oranges, examine the "income inequality" debate. The differences in pay are more the result of career choices than differences within identical job positions.
Why Women Earn Less
According to a new report (PDF) by the American Association of University Women, the man would be earning a salary of $51,300. The woman's pay would be $39,600—about 77 percent of what her male counterpart earns.

The AAUW report compared the earnings of men and women just one year out of college across various sectors of the economy. The report controlled for different factors that tend to impact pay,…

Libertarian = Racist… and Other Nonsense

Watching a clip of Chris Matthews and two guests lump the Tea Party, CPAC, and libertarians together was enough to make my skin crawl — and not as a great thrill up my leg, to paraphrase Matthews. No, it is utter disgust and contempt I feel for Matthews and company, people who see what they want to see.

The core of classical liberalism, libertarianism with the small "L" independent of party nonsense, is that the ultimate "property right" is that of yourself over your mind and body. To quote John Stuart Mill, "The individual is sovereign." That is, in essence, classical liberalism.

It is an ideal of negative rights, a terminology I have repeatedly criticized as unfortunate. It is the right to be protected against government abuses.

When Matthews and company suggest states rights, a common "conservative" mantra, is in any way associated with libertarianism, they are mistake. The smaller state or county has no more right to my being than does …

Sam’s Smear - National Review Online

I don't consider myself a defender of the "conservative" movement, and certainly not of the GOP with its recent variations on large, intrusive government. Still, many of the slanders against the Republicans are also leveled against libertarians.

A portion of a response to a recent New Republic cover essay makes a fairly good argument about how the left consistently portrays its opponents as nothing more than racist, sexist, religious zealots. Of course, many of us self-described libertarians are not religious social conservatives. The claims of racism and a lack of empathy get old.
Sam’s Smear - National Review Online
March 12, 2013 5:00 A.M.

Thus many liberals seem to have convinced themselves that we resist Obama’s agenda because he is black. It is a theory that does not depend on evidence. Liberals read elaborations of the theory not to understand the world around them but to feel the warm glow of moral superiority.

It is a glow that suffuses the long cover story Sam …

Krugman's Double Standard

Last week when Paul Krugman debated Joe Scarborough, the economist accused Scarborough of "ad hominem" attacks when confronted with his own past statements. What bothers me most about Krugman's charge is that he is often guilty of name-calling and hyperbole. Krugman's disdain for his opponents is cheered by like-minded progressives, but isn't this no better than the name calling on talk radio or on the Web?

The most cited line from Krugman about Ryan is actually borrowed:
As usual, Ryan makes me think of Ezra Klein's old line about Dick Armey: he's a stupid person's idea of what a smart person sounds like. I wish we could acknowledge that our "opponents" in politics, economics, philosophy, or any other discipline are not evil. We disagree, …