February 15, 2008

"Value Voters"


My big "Value Voters" article summarizing my theory that the affordability of family formation is what drove states to vote Republican or Democrat in both the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections, the famous Red State -Blue State gap, is now online at The American Conservative. Readers who have been with me since 2004-2005 won't find too much that's wholly new in it, but the purpose is to summarize years of research that has dribbled out across a dozen articles and blog postings in one accessible essay.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

37 comments:

Artanis said...

One thing the Publicans should do is lay off the no abortion thing somewhat and support lay midwifery and breastfeeding promotion programs.

While I agree with voucher programs, the Pubs have been surprisingly uninventive and pedantic in their methods for promoting it and in embarrassing the teacher unions.

Anonymous said...

this is great work. the sad thing is that i expect someone else will make money popularizing the idea. that, or it will be ignored, and the country will continue on a downward spiral. time to get a media consultant, get out there on the road, consult politicians, or put it into a book.

Anonymous said...

As an Obama voting Democrat, I hope all your insightful writing about the candidate will draw the attention of his campaign and they can steal your affordable family formation ideas and put a Democratic spin on them.

Amit

Anonymous said...

So Steve, white Americans believe money/house/car should precede marriage but that sex and children can happen whenever? Wow.....

Argent Paladin said...

Not only have you compressed a dozen blog posts into an essay, but you have compressed the essay into one graph. Kudos!

Argent Paladin said...

It would be interesting to see how this correlates in other developed countries. Perhaps compare other Anglospheric countries such as Australia, England, etc so as to minimize cultural differences. I assume that London is more liberal than the Scottish highlands which is more liberal than Australia, etc. I assume Tory support is in the country.

Steve Sailer said...

Australian readers have pointed me to a lot of anecdotal evidence for something like this operating Down Under. Of course, the geography of Australia is quite different from the U.S., with a largely uninhabitable interior and still a fair amount of coastline per capita.

Proofreader said...

Well, now we know what Republicans don't stand for: affordable white family formation.
Or why else would Bush and his clique be so crazy about open borders? They've been stabbing their voters in the back while engineering a different country for the near future.

Anonymous said...

Anon Dems can't push affordable family formation. Their coalition is yuppie white voters like the ones Larry David makes fun of in Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Blacks/Hispanics plus feminists, gays, etc.

Dems are hostile to white family voters. Various Dem policies to tax into oblivion the single family home, private auto, suburbs etc. (as the "root of all evil") fit into that. As does Global Warming(tm) to save the polar bears at the expense of the affordable family.

Tolerance among whites, or rather Scots-Irish, Italians, Poles, Germans etc. with somewhat traditional values for family formation in urban areas is very low. Trendy yuppie couples of course have very few children. But it's not particularly income levels alone. Appalachia may be poor, but even hillbillies can afford a plot of land and their own families. Which tend to be larger.

With only so many patronage dollars to go around Dems naturally want to punish the enemies of their coalition -- middle/working class white families -- and reward their coalition.

Dems have been this way since wealthy white kids were threatened by Vietnam and took control of the Party. But that's another story.

L said...

Steve: when are we going to see the top scientists in Western Civ?

SFG said...

this is great work. the sad thing is that i expect someone else will make money popularizing the idea. that, or it will be ignored, and the country will continue on a downward spiral. time to get a media consultant, get out there on the road, consult politicians, or put it into a book.
Naaah, everyone will dig up his old work and pile on him for being a racist. They'll keep stealing his work and claiming they came up with it first.

But it is funny to read stuff on iSteve and then see the idea on the front page of the NYT two months later.

SFG said...

Steve, you talk about raising wages. What about the decline of the union movement? That's had a terrible effect on working class wages.

And, yeah, you're right. I'm not that outgoing and not much of a people person so I don't feel the need to get married and raise kids...

Anonymous said...

Does your theory work in states without electronic voting machines?

Half Sigma said...

The correlation is quite amazing. What exactly it means (in other words, which way the cause and efffect runs)... well the MSM ought to be talking about what it might mean, but they aren't.

LemmusLemmus said...

Steve,

on my own blog I have tried to explicate your theory, i.e., formulate six distinct hypotheses. I have also voiced some serious concerns regarding the empirical evidence you provide.

It would be great to hear from you on this. The link is here.

SKT said...

I think the GOP needs to do a better job making an issue out of Barack Obama's Muslim background, about which many questions still remain. He claims he attended a "secular" school in Indonesia, but then he also wrote about how once got in trouble during Koran class for making faces. Hmmm... Secular schools don't have Koran classes. Also, he was registered as a "Muslim" at the school he attended in Indonesia, even though he could have chosen from "Protestant", "Catholic", "Buddhist", or "Hindu". I read about this on Debbie Schlussel's website.

I think a lot of Americans would feel quite uncomfortable if they knew these facts about Barack Obama.

Lucius Vorenus said...

For the record, I think that "affordable family formation" is merely tagging along as an attribute of the underlying phenomenon, which is the desire to form a family in the first place.

People who want children will move to where they can afford children.

People who don't want children are happy staying in places where they can't afford children - indeed, many of them [especially the homosexuals] prefer to congregate in areas where it's too expensive for anyone to introduce children.

The attendant, question, of course, is "What drives people to want children?", and there I'd direct you to Spengler, over at the Asia Times.

PS: All of this is kinda moot, however. Circa 2020, no one will be able to afford children, or anything else, for that matter:

Senior benefit costs rise 24% since 2000
By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY
2008-02-13
usatoday.com

The cost of government benefits for seniors soared to a record $27,289 per senior in 2007, according to a USA TODAY analysis...

The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to the U.S. Taxpayer
by Robert E. Rector and Christine Kim
May 21, 2007
heritage.org

...When the costs of direct and means-tested benefits, education, and population-based services are counted, the average low-skill household had a fiscal deficit of $19,588 (expenditures of $30,160 minus $10,573 in taxes)...

Of U.S. Children Under 5, Nearly Half Are Minorities
washingtonpost.com

Statistical Abstract of the United States
Section 1, Population
[see especially Table 8 & Table 9, pages 11-13]
census.gov

Actually, maybe I should re-phrase that: Amongst the tax-paying half of the population [whites & asians], no one will be able to afford children.

If, at that point, there are still any productive [i.e. taxpaying] fertile [i.e. young] citizens left in this country who retain any desire to make children, then they will have to mount something akin to a civil war to keep from being swallowed up by the welfare state.

James Leroy Wilson said...

What's striking is the white belief that, apparently, you need a house with a yard in order to raise a child. An urban apartment just won't do. If their immigrant grandparents and great-grandparents believed that, a large number of today's whites would never have been born.

Anonymous said...

Which whites Leroy Wilson?

Traditionally the cities have been the province of new immigrants, with more distant arrivals heading to where land was cheaper as soon as they could scrape up the money.

Irish and Italians in both NYC and Philly for example moved as quickly as possible out to suburban areas. There were real advantages to doing so: cleaner air and water, better food (and cheaper too), less crime and corruption, higher earnings. People were commuting to the city center as early as the 1830's in New Orleans, and London.

No one who was able to leave the city for less urban areas stayed. Nineteenth century cities were plagued with cholera, typhus, other diseases, and the constant stench of horse manure. Early Twentieth century cities were not much better.

Compare-contrast hillbilly family size in Appalachia circa 1840-1920 with say, Irish and Italian and Polish and German and Jewish families in NYC and Philly same period. You'd find a much bigger family size in Appalachia despite lower cash income. Because with land there's always something you can do: moonshining, other illegal but renumerative stuff. Earn cash off the books.

Tripp said...

"I assume that London is more liberal than the Scottish highlands which is more liberal than Australia, etc. I assume Tory support is in the country."

Wait a second, Argent P., I know nothing about left vs. right voting patterns in Australia and Scotland. By "liberal" do you mean the US (center-left) meaning, that of the UK (centre or "radical centre"), or Australian (centre-right)? I only ask because Australia is said, by population, to be one of the more urban countries around; its country party is small and not super-conservative. Neighboring NZ's National Party seemed to be to the left of Labour for a while....

ben tillman said...

What's striking is the white belief that, apparently, you need a house with a yard in order to raise a child. An urban apartment just won't do. If their immigrant grandparents and great-grandparents believed that, a large number of today's whites would never have been born.

Something else that's striking: those ancestors of ours weren't forcibly prohibited from choosing their neighbors.

Anonymous said...

"What about the decline of the union movement? That's had a terrible effect on working class wages."

The UAW has had a terrible effect on the American auto manufacturers.

Anonymous said...

"Compare-contrast hillbilly family size in Appalachia circa 1840-1920 with say, Irish and Italian and Polish and German and Jewish families in NYC and Philly same period. You'd find a much bigger family size in Appalachia despite lower cash income. Because with land there's always something you can do: moonshining, other illegal but renumerative stuff. Earn cash off the books."

I'm, 99% sure that's false. Irish Catholics probably had close to triple the birth rates of WASP Americans in the early and middle parts of the 20th Century. My mother's family lived in a working class Irish neighborhood in a big northern city during the 50's and 60's. She estimates the average house hold in her neighborhood had 7 children and that more than one family on every block of row houses had 10 or more children. They took the no birth control thing seriously and had families like Hasidic Jews or Amish people do today. The reason most white Americans today aren't WASP is because of higher non-WASP birth rates as well as immigration. The areas of America where "hillbillies" live are very sparsely populated. If they were breeding so much, there would be more of them.

Anonymous said...

Scotland is far left territory. It's not conservative in any way, shape or form.

Anonymous said...

steve,

first off, great research.

couple of comments / suggestions

1. With reference to your paragraph "Imagine a young couple .. conservative politicians"

Perhaps a "closer to reality" scenario would be: "Had this couple lived in a place (such as Texas) where one can support a family on $ 50K / yr., then she would have left her job (in fact, given that many of her friends and acquaintances would have had done that, it would stike her as the natural thing to do). On the other hand, they live in California and, like most people, have developed ties to their place, they do not readily consider the idea of the man taking a job in Texas.... (Rest as in your argument)"

2. with reference to the question "why having to live in apartments did not prevent the previous generations of immigrants (and today's immigrants) from starting a family": I'd like to suggest that when evaluating affordability, people compare their current/projected after family standard of to the standard of life they have come to expect based on their parents' lifestyle. Since immigrants have come from poorer and more crowded regions of the world, the crowing that they endure in US apartments does not strike them an unbearable.

3. (suggestion) perhaps invoking jared diamond and the geography is destiny may help in selling the idea to the mainstream.

Regards
-dhoorendhar bhatavadekar

Tommy Jefferson said...

Mr. Sailer,

Please don't perpetuate the "Red State - Blue State" media switch.

For 100 years Red has been the color of leftism, collectivism, and communism.

SFG said...

Steve, have you thought about the long-term viability of affordable family formation? I understand you want to outbreed your enemies (foreign or domestic), but since red-state living is conducive to larger families that exceed the replacement rate, won't their kids need more space, and won't you need to eventually increase population density, and eventually turn the country into one huge Manhattan, with all that implies?

It seems like conservative red-state culture can only exist in transition as new land is settled.

Geronimo McTavish said...

Scotland has not always been far left. British lefties love the idea that Scotland is a "naturally" socialist country.

I believe in 1957 when the Tories won the election they got more than 50% of the votes (not MPs, votes) in Scotland. OK thats now 50 years ago but doesnt quite square with the "natural" socialism.

In the late 1800s when steel ship construction was first getting started ship yard owners were worried about radicalism amongst the workforce spreading from their English yards to their Scottish yards, not the other way around.

In reality much of Scottish socialism is merely disguised anti-English populism of quite recent vintage.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that people have no problem raising their kids in a single parent home yet weep at the thought of not giving their kids a yard? The kids will probably just play video games all day, and they can do that very well in an apartment. People are just going to have to accept that life will simply not be like it was when they were kids, and perpetuate the species even though Norman Rockwell is cold in the ground. People who can't imagine having kids in a world unlike that of their childhood consign themselves to the genetic trash can of history.

Eternally

William said...

This reminds me of several columns written not long after the 2004 elections. One version was the claim that all the Bush-supporting red states had higher divorce rates than the Kerry-voting Blus States. I recall doing some brief research on this (which I have since misplaced) and discovered that the reason this was true was only because the red states also had much higher marriage rates than the blue states - sometimes twice as high. If I recall correctly, something like all 10 of the states with the lowest rates of marriage voted for John Kerry.

The other thing I came across was that of the 19 states with the highest abortion rates - 19 because that's how many states Kerry won - 15 or 16 went for Kerry. Of the 10 states with the highest abortion rates, only 2 (Colorado and Florida) went for Bush.


The areas of America where "hillbillies" live are very sparsely populated.

True, but in large part that's because Appalachian whites have been fleeing Appalachia in droves over the generations. The people who remain behind are a scant part of the overall fertility picture.

Scotland is far left territory. It's not conservative in any way, shape or form.

After the 1997 elections there was only one Tory left among all the Scottish MPs. No, Scotland is not conservative, and the SNP and Labour Partys, both very far left, are overwhelmingly represented amongst the Scottish Parliament.

One reason that I, a person of Scottish descent, hope that Scotland gains its independence isn't due to any mistreatment from England but out of the hope that independence, like adulthood, will lead to more responsible political choices.

Half Sigma said...

OK, here are some more thoughts:

(1) Yes, I agree that affordable housing and other fixed cost "necessities" leads to an earlier age of marriage and children among the middle class.

(2) A key thing here which you seldom write about is that it's Republican laissez faire economic policies which lead to inexpensive housing. Where Democrats control the local politics, they impose zillions of zoning restrictions and building codes which limit the number of houses that can be built, and increase the cost of construction, leading to much higher housing costs.

Anonymous said...

If you try to compare the USA with the UK in this area you have to allow for population density. I don't have the current figures to hand but I remember working out a few years ago that to get US population per square mile up to the UK figure you would need to import (near enough) the entire population of the planet. If you imagine for a moment what the US would then look like, I think its questionable whether "affordable family formation" would still matter much.

SFG said...

Actually, HS, I disagree with you. Republican laissez-faire economic policies create super-rich people who can pay thousands of dollars a month for an apartment and squeeze normal people out.

William said...

If you try to compare the USA with the UK in this area you have to allow for population density.

Focusing solely on population density is a mistake.

First, China was considered overpopulated and instituted a 1 child rule when it's population was around 900 million. China, as it conveniently happens, is almost exactly the same size as the US.

Second, there's the need to live near a city with jobs. There is lots of cheap land available, but it's always a long commute from the major job and/or cultural centers.

Anonymous said...

Anon -- arguing by anecdote is hardly helpful. But my great-great-grandfather in Philly on my mother's father's side (little English, direct from Ireland) had two children. Moving to Allentown PA my great grandfather had four (including my grandmother).

Meanwhile my father's side had substantially BIGGER families in rural Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa. My grandfather on my father's side had six siblings (Scots-Irish "hillbilly" protestants).

But again that's anecdote. Note that when costs/urbanization went down (more suburban Allentown vs. Philly, during the 1920's) the family size went up.

And all neighborhoods are not equal. Queens is far different from say, South Bronx or Manhattan's Alphabet City.

Detroit's problems are not helped by unionism, but the basic problem is lack of capital investment to make workers more productive, and chasing cheap labor chimeras to Mexico and beyond. Along with lack of focus on quality/value for buyers.

Sideways said...

I think the GOP needs to do a better job making an issue out of Barack Obama's Muslim background, about which many questions still remain. He claims he attended a "secular" school in Indonesia, but then he also wrote about how once got in trouble during Koran class for making faces. Hmmm... Secular schools don't have Koran classes. Also, he was registered as a "Muslim" at the school he attended in Indonesia, even though he could have chosen from "Protestant", "Catholic", "Buddhist", or "Hindu". I read about this on Debbie Schlussel's website.

SKT: in Indonesia, all children attend religious classes in school. It works like this: your family is registered with the government as being of a certain religion (Muslim in this case) and you attend the suitable class during that period of school.

He could have (and probably did) gone to school with Christians and Buddhists who had Christianity and Buddhism courses while he was studying the Koran. All state schools in Indonesia teach religion, but they're not Islamic/Muslim schools.

lvtfan said...

You might appreciate Mason Gaffney's article, "The Red and the Blue," written shortly after the 2004 election.

See http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Gaffney_Red_Blue.html

On a different part of that same site, you might look at some of the cost of living data. The variation is huge, and it is largely a difference in land value.
http://www.wealthandwant.com/issues/pov/sss/index.htm

How might we bring down the cost of living? How might we bring down the cost of housing? How might we increase wages without "command and control" measures? Explore that site for some perspective. It can be done, and we'd all be better off if we did it. A simple fiscal reform, with highly just social ramifications. And our economy would be far healthier.