September 6, 2008

More from the Steveosphere

Speaking of guys named Dave writing in the New York Times, David Frum has a good article in the NYT Magazine on "The Vanishing Republican Voter."

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

21 comments:

eh said...

If Republican voters are "vanishing" -- and I don't know that they are -- they will quickly reappear as soon as the GOP puts forth an attractive candidate. It could be argued that one has been lacking since Reagan. Generally, people vote for personalities, and not for parties. And apart from their shortcomings on the issues, none of the current, most visible GOP candidates have attractive personalities.

Anonymous said...

Frum is wrong on why the Virginia suburbs of DC have trended Democrat. The reason is that the federal government keeps expanding. Since government workers vote Democrat, the new residents also vote Democrat.

Brave New World said...

A good article but one with a bizarre ending. Equal opportunities for genetic manipulation?

Anonymous said...

it takes him a long time to mention immigration... But at least he mentions it.

Overall a surprisingly thoughtful article by Frum. The mention of genetics shows the sailersphere influence.

One impt piece re: politics of college educated folk is collegiate indoctrination. It's not a judicious process of reasoning that gets so many to parrot the same fallacies re: IQ, communism, PC, etc. Google "Port Huron statement" sometime...as enlightening as Venona and PNAC.

Frauenhoffer said...

Lot's of GOP voters changed to independent after the amnsty debacle.

I doubt that even the pizazz the Palin pick has generated will reverse that trend,as the party will still be run by same people.

Undoubtedly,Little Mac's first foreign policy act will be about Iran(or Russia)but I fear his first domestic issue will be amnesty.The GOP Establishment firmly beleive the voters exsist merely to serve the Party,which is why they first blamed the '06 wipeout to a "disloyal base".

Stopped Clock said...

I have no doubts that our universities are more often left-leaning than not, but are they any more so than the high schools and even the elementary schools? I think that leftist ideas are as likely to take root during middle or high school, perhaps even more so, because children's minds are more impressionable when they're younger.

So I'm not convinced that leftist colleges are an important factor powering the trend of college-educated whites to be more liberal than their less educated white cohorts.

On the other hand, 16 years of leftist curriculums could be more effective than 12 years of leftist curriculums, even if the last 4 years are more balanced. Perhaps "the real world" that blue-collar, non-degreed workers expose themselves to after high school is a better antidote for the 12 years of public school indoctrination than another 4 years of college is. But, that still wouldnt explain why white collar white people dont turn off on PC-ism just as much as blue collars do. Perhaps manual labor tends to make people (men especially) more conservative.

Or maybe Christianity plays a role. Highly intelligent people are less likely to believe in Creationism, and by association they may feel less likely (enough to make the correlation) to support conservative politics in general.

Or perhaps it's just the old standby explanation, namely that blue-collar whites are more likely to be in contact with minorities and therefore LESS likely to support policies that benefit minorities.

SFG said...

Perhaps manual labor tends to make people (men especially) more conservative.
I was reading a book by an advertising executive who tried the blue-collar thing, being a construction worker among other things. He basically found that he hated white-collar types after spending so long doing physically painful things.

Also, most white-collar work involves copious ass-kissing, so PC's a more natural thing to do--you kiss the mau-mau-ers' ass like you kiss your boss's ass. Much of advancing in the world consists of flattering the right people--I can see that, and I'm not even good at it.

I really think Frum has a point (and audacious epigone has said similar things in the past). I mean, I'm suspicious and cynical, I have very little compassion, and I enjoy cruelty. I think if I hadn't grown up in New York City, I might well have been conservative. Indeed, in my younger years, I was usually to the right of my peers. Even now the Genghis Khan nature of conservatism has a certain attraction.

Anonymous said...

Re Frum's article: egads... somebody pinch me!

sfg: ... I'm suspicious and cynical, I have very little compassion, and I enjoy cruelty.

Look, you're not alone, but don't say these things in public, OK? ;)

(I'm one of those 40-somethings who is basically a failure EXACTLY because two weeks after I'm hired in a white-collar environment, I'm suffocating already, and I want to tie the sluts in the office pulling rank on me for the silliest things to a pole and practice BDSM on them -- not to mention the urge to practice gum surgery without anesthesia on the upper-rank types. The third week I'm gone, regretting that I haven't tried the French Foreign Legion option when I was young.)


JD

steve wood said...

Or maybe Christianity plays a role. Highly intelligent people are less likely to believe in Creationism, and by association they may feel less likely (enough to make the correlation) to support conservative politics in general.

In terms of the loss of well-educated voters, I think that's a very big deal - not just Creationism, but the association of Republicans with the religious right. This association has been growing for more 20 years and is now deeply entrenched in national politics. Every time a Republican politician makes opposition to gay marriage his banner issue, every time a Republican school board puts Creationism on a par with evolution, a little more of the upper middle class goes Democrat. With them, they take the sizable group of somewhat less affluent people who are SWPL wannabes. To put it crudely, being Republican - which was once associated with wealth and high class - is now associated with dumb yahoos and their ignorant notions.

The problem is not that Republicans are religious, or that they oppose gay marriage (for example). It's that too many of them have made explicitly Christian social conservatism their flagship, and that's a ship most well-educated people are reluctant to board.

Meanwhile, Frum has a great point when he says:

Upper Americans live in a world in which things work. The packages arrive overnight. The car doors clink seamlessly shut. The prevailing Republican view — “of course government always fails, what do you expect it to do?” — is not what this slice of America expects to hear from the people asking to be entrusted with the government.

Libertarians, who would like to do away with most of the government, are outnumbered in all social classes by people who would like the government to work (preferably to their own advantage, of course). For 30 years Republicans have bashed not just the existing government but the entire concept of government; this logically leads one to wonder what sort of person would want to be a part of an organization that he so vigorously detests.

Anonymous said...

I think Frum is deeply influenced by Sailor, and I think the genetics is the least of it (I also thought it was strange, but I guess he tries to be an innovative thinker). Notice how he completely ignores the idea, trendy just a few years ago, of Republicans getting minority voters? Notice affordable family formation at the core of the article?

It was in parts really a very deep piece. Highlights:

1. ““If the wage of domestic unskilled workers did not fall, no domestic worker (unskilled or skilled) would gain or lose, and there would be no net domestic gain from immigration.” In other words, immigration is good for America as a whole only because — and only to the extent that — it is bad for the poorest Americans.”

This is an extremely important point that is predicted by economic theory. I keep telling it to pro-immigration economists, who are using free-trade as a heuristic to be pro unskilled immigration: the proposed benefits of unskilled immigration works through lowering the price. In this case “the price” is the wage of low skilled natives.

Therefore no one who relies on standard Heckscher -Ohlin economic theory can simultaneously argue that unskilled immigration doesn’t hurt poor Americans AND that it’s good for the economy.
(it’s not the only way unskilled immigration could be good, you could also imports new skills, such as ethnic foods and whatnot, but it is certainly the main conduit).

2. The area where Frum is most interesting and not just stealing from Sailor is where he discusses upper income Americans and why the very people who benefit the most from free market capitalism are voting for morons who don’t understand markets and instinctively hate capitalism.

After all Barack Obamas economic program is to raise the highest marginal tax by 10 percentage points, something he claims will have no negative effects for high skill labour supply, entrepreneurship or innovation. It will bring in a whopping 0.6% of GDP to waste on entitlements and get the US out of the recession! (Which, everyone knows, are caused by the vague forces of “special interests” and unpopular presidents, and solved by tax increase and having Bill Clinton sit in the white house magically creating growth).

3. The main problem I have with Frum is that he doesn’t really answer the question he poses. Why do so many highly educated smart Americans support leftwing liberalism? It’s not just that they like free markets and liberal cultural issues, and are now going for the later. They really accept the socialist stuff Krugman, Ted Kennedy and other liberals are selling them.

This isn’t the normal pattern. In Europe similar to the US academia and culture is most left of all, but unlike the US the economic elites are significantly more pro-market that the working class.

I don’t think you can answer this question without bringing in ideological indoctrination. Smart Americans are ideologically brainwashed in college. This is sustained through them consuming media like the NYT, NPR, The Atlantic etc, that are superficially sophisticated but contain very low quality ideas and analysis.

The NYT is more advanced than NY Sun because they spend a lot of space covering a new study about women and math, showing the same average but lower variance. But since they misunderstand the results of the study and claim that it proves Summers wrong, in fact the intellectual net effect is negative. One ends up more ignorant about how the world works by relying on reading the NYT rather than NY Sun or Fox-news.

This has the double effect of making the smartest people have the worse ideas, AND giving them a false since of intellectual self-confidence (after all, they read so much sophisticated social analysis). Since they are collectively doing it you are getting cultural effects, where (as Frum mentions) entire professional communities are dogmatic liberal democrats.

The welfare state is a very tempting equilibrium. Everyone just tries to vote themselves benefits from everyone else. Once you get people hooked on it they will not vote against it, because no one want to risk their entitlements for abstract gains. Comparing with other western economies welfare state obviously doesn’t completely destroy the economy, but it does reduce average income by a third to a half, and it completely obliterates the top of the income distribution. In 2006 in the US among full time male Anglo workers 13% made more than 100.000 dollars per year in wage income, whereas in Sweden the corresponding share was about 1%.

Instead of understanding they would never be able to maintain their lifestyle in a welfare state large chunks of the American elite are actively using the resources the capitalist economy is giving them to destroy the wealth producing system. On the other hand you have a diminishing group of often middle income families who are rejecting the temptation to vote themselves benefits keeping the American system alive.

Frum is silly if he thinks offering better government will get to the core of this problem. Its much deeper than that. Both when it comes to economics and issues such as immigration there is something deeply wrong in ideological/policy producing segment of the system: The best ideas given people’s preferences and best interests are not winning. So the country collectively pursues policies that go against the best interest of the majority.

You need a complete intellectual revolution among the elite if you want to maintain the American system.

Ray Midge said...

So I'm not convinced that leftist colleges are an important factor powering the trend of college-educated whites to be more liberal than their less educated white cohorts.

If the college professoriate is a more efficient indoctrinator of liberlaism than their high-school/middle school counterparts, my guess is that it's related to status seeking.

In middle school/high school, the crowd whose status you're seeking approval of directly and indirectly is your peer group. Stupid teachers! You will adopt your peers views for status there.

In college one begins to "dress for the job you want" and internalize the views of the high-status professoriate. You begin to care about the opinions of adults. You're entering their world and it's status among them that will count now. Think not? Remember, it's the cool, with it, professor/TA who you're competing with to bang the smoking-hot blonde sophomore. Who stands the better shot?

Because it's the professoriate that's at the top of the status pyramid suddenly, if their status pyramid is "stuff-white-people-like" centric, you will adopt their views and compete to out NPR them.

daveg said...

Not one mention of horrible blunder that was the Iraq war and how that turned people away from the Republican party. Minus the Iraq war, I think Republicans would be still very strong. They probably would still hold one or both houses of congress at the very least.

The neocons are largely responsible for the destruction of the party and need to be expunged therefrom.

Martin said...

"Frauenhoffer said...

Undoubtedly, Little Mac's first foreign policy act will be about Iran(or Russia)but I fear his first domestic issue will be amnesty."

I agree. I think there will be a big impetus for this after Ted Kennedy dies (which won't be long now). McCain (either Senator or President McCain) will effuse about "My friend, Senator Kennedy", and urge the Senate to support the bill as a monument to that rotten old creep from the bay state. Overwhelming support in the Senate - don't underestimate the sentimentality of Senators.

With the choice down to Obama or McCain, both of whom will be working for a post-american America, this scenario now seems inevitable.

Anonymous said...

"Also, most white-collar work involves copious ass-kissing, so PC's a more natural thing to do--you kiss the mau-mau-ers' ass like you kiss your boss's ass. Much of advancing in the world consists of flattering the right people--I can see that, and I'm not even good at it."

Huge exception: the military. My husband is in a white collar, high tech job where everyone is former military. They are all conservative.

I definitely thought of Steve when I read the article and I detected some exasperation. My sense was that Frum was just saying more boldly some of the things he has been saying all along. The urgency is due to the election and genuinely trying to wake up Washington. His article lost focus at the end and much other that has been pent up came out; he's just passionate.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

Frum is wrong on why the Virginia suburbs of DC have trended Democrat. The reason is that the federal government keeps expanding. Since government workers vote Democrat, the new residents also vote Democrat.

Bullshit. I have relatives who've lived in the DC burbs for decades, including Fairfax County. The place has gone from conservative paradise to Blade Runner multicultural nightmare. One of my cousins, who just "graduated" elementary school and lives in a well-off part of town, had all the kids names in his 6th grade class on his shirt. Over half the names were other than European.

The area where Frum is most interesting and not just stealing from Sailor is where he discusses upper income Americans and why the very people who benefit the most from free market capitalism are voting for morons who don’t understand markets and instinctively hate capitalism.

Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Republicans kkiss the asses of the rich whether they reciprocate or not, and (a point Frum makes) Democrats aren't as anti-commerce as they used to be.

Also, a lot of the upper class who have moved left DO benefit from government/government intervention - they're well paid bureaucrats, academics, lawyers, government contractors, etc.

You think the financial industry hasn't benefitted from the current spate of gov't intervention?

Stopped Clock said...

I really shouldnt have made that post without adding the anecdote about how I found this blog. When I was enrolled in an elective sociology course, the teacher passed around handouts of excerpts from the Bell Curve and a response by a social scientist who didn't believe in it. Our assignment was to read the handout and its rebuttal, and respond to it. We also had to indicate how we would apply that knowledge to the real world. I wrote a naive but level-minded response about how I wouldn't let race/IQ correlations play into how I deal with minorities in the real world, but that I would definitely take IQ itself into account if I ever became the hiring manager of a company or a school admissions officer.

But of course, my curiosity was piqued. I started searching the Internet and to a lesser extent books in libraries for more information, and followed links until I found VDare and then iSteve.com. So my teacher actually turned me towards the right instead of the left, ironically enough. Although to be honest I'm pretty sure I would have ended up becoming a conservative and posting on blogs like this even if I had never heard of the Bell Curve, and I still am not actually convinced that much of it is correct.

Anonymous said...

Obviously I haven't seen it yet since it doesn't come out until Friday, but the Coen brothers new movie, Burn After Reading, appears to be a satire about those trendy DC surbanites who don't know what they believe politically because they don't believe in anything. They're just as nihilistic as the German nihilists who terrorize The Dude in The Big Lebowski, except, being American, they're cheerful abou it (what Allan Bloom called "nihilism without terror of the abyss").

Every time a Republican politician makes opposition to gay marriage his banner issue, every time a Republican school board puts Creationism on a par with evolution, a little more of the upper middle class goes Democrat.

It is no country for old men. The new man will not resemble an upper middle class Democrat, he will resemble Anton Chigurh, a facist who will put things back in their proper order. How can anyone be cheerful about either nihilism or evolution?

Mu'Min M. Bey said...

I too read Frum's piece and have enjoyed his mini-commentaries on NPR and so on. I thought his article was very well written and presented.

As an African American, who is also a Conservative, I don't it's a good idea for the GOP to pander to Black folks. They'd be doing nothing more than what the Dems hav done: not winning over voters on the strength of ideas and arguments, but indeed and in essence, pandering to their greatest fears.

Illegal immigration is a HUGE problem for African Americans, for the obvious reason: it puts African Americans, especially its males, at a serious disadvantage in the labor market. This is serious implications as well for something else Frum noted, but which I've yet to hear anyone here tackle straight up:

And that's the loss of focus on two parent family homes aka affordable family formation. Its a nice trendly phrase, but I like, if I may, "straight talk". Black folks will never rise out of poverty and the real problems socially and otherwise that comes w/it, until it and America in general, gets serious about addressing this issue.

In fact, the GOP, by simply focusing on these two issues alone: illegal immigration and no daddy in the house-they will be able to appeal to the widest number of voters. Because no matter if you're a Bible thumper down South or a high class urban dweller, a prole on the grind like me or solid exburban, we all know deep down, the costs of both these trends running unabated; sooner or later, they cease being "their" problem, and start becoming yours.

And that's what's most disheartening when I read this blog. And I want to make it clear: in no way is it coming from Sailer himself-he's clearly proven his concern for ALL American citizens-but many of the readers here. Its as if you not only care what happens to your fellow American citizens-African Americans-but many of you have an attitude that is all but explicit that you'd wish that they/we/I'd "go back to Africa".

Again, let me be clear. I do not think it prudent for the GOP to pander to any group, least of all African Americans. And for the record, it doesn't bother me particularly that the GOP has become, for all intents, the preserve of the American White Male (they gotta go somewhere, right?).

But I do think, as Frum points out, that the GOP does ned to regain its mantle of being the Party of Ideas-and those ideas can appeal to ALL Americans.

The only thing that needs to happen is that the GOP needs to make its case, and force an open debate w/the Dems on the other side. We will win. We always win.

Because we have better ideas.

Y'all holla back

Salaam
Mu

Mu'Min M. Bey said...

The point being made about realworld experience is spot on accurate. My experience in a field where I live and die on my ability to produce real, tangible goods, speaks to this. All too often, and Sailer and some of you others have spoken to this, ideas come from those WHO DON'T ACTUALLY DO OR PRODUCE ANYTHING. This is why the lady who mentioned her ex-military hubbie is on the money. In he military, particularly at the lower ends of the chain, you have to produce, or you're out. Same deal in sports. A previous track record of accomplishment can buy you some time if you're off your A game, but not for long.

Being a Conservative, at least in part, means understanding that in the real world somebody's gotta do the gruntwork of keeping the system going, that's the way of the world, one of those old truths that until very recently, everyone intrinsically understood. As it stands right now, as the man who talkd about the ad man who went to work on a construction site, the people who hold the center of the public square these days lead lives not only where "things work" as Frum notes, but are so very far removed from knowing EXACTLY HOW & WHY THOSE THINGS WORK, that they come up w/ideas that have little if any bearing for the rest of us.

I'm often in the position of explaining why I, as a Black man, am a Conservative. One reason I mention, is because of my firsthand, eyewitness account, over many years, of exactly what the Welfare State has done to Black folks. Black men especially. I cannot tell you all how many brothas wouldn't work in a pie factory if you gave em the crust and filling. And sad to say this, a good number of them, supposedly fasting for Ramadan, couldn't even make ONE DAY. To me, that's a sign of just how weak Welfare has made Black men.

I explain to Black women that the Dems do not have their best interests at heart, and a case in point was what I was talking about earlier, no daddy in the home. W/o it, I explain, they will never have the kinds of life so many of your wives enjoy now. The Dems are directly responsible for that.

When I'm assailed by my own about the "sad state" of the economy, I'm quick to point out to them that the past three years of my life has been very good economically, and auguring to only get better in the coming year. That's because of tax incentives put in place by Philly's new mayor, one of which involved area companies willing to hire recently released ex felons (who are mainly Black, as we all know) in exchange for increased tax breaks. The plan seems to be working, at least at the company I work for, and I remind the brothers on the job that they must take advantage of this opportunity, because quite frankly, it ain't everyday a brother w/a record can walk in off the street and grab up a Union job in a place like Philly.

Salaam
Mu

TCO said...

more aff

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/jpodhoretz/28502

Anonymous said...

"To put it crudely, being Republican - which was once associated with wealth and high class - is now associated with dumb yahoos and their ignorant notions."

I can see this becoming a factor in the attitudes of young professional type people who grew up in Republican voting house holds and generally thought of themselves as conservatives until recently. The GOP is increasingly seen as a Southern, fundamentalist party that is hostile to science and rationality.