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THOSE WHO FAVOR INCOME REDISTRIBUTION ARE MORE LIKELY TO EXPRESS RACIST VIEWS.

Last week I posted several times on the charitable donation patterns of redistributionists, the subject of one chapter in the book Who Really Cares and a peripheral issue in a paper of mine, Testing Social Dominance: Is Support for Capitalism and Opposition to Income Redistribution Driven by Racism and Intolerance?

This week I will describe some of the main ideas in my paper on the attitudes of income redistributionists and anti-capitalists, a paper that can be downloaded in its entirety at this SSRN page.

In the field of social psychology, it is commonly believed that people support capitalism and oppose greater income redistribution because they are racist or want to dominate other people or groups. Indeed, a study of college students in the United States and secondary students in Sweden found that attitudes supporting capitalism were positively associated with racism and an orientation toward social dominance (Sidanius & Pratto, 1993, cited in my manuscript). In my manuscript I expand and test this thesis using 16 nationally representative General Social Surveys (GSS) conducted by the National Opinion Research Center between 1980 and 2004.

The GSS is the most widely used database in sociology except for the US Census and one of the most used databases in the social sciences. For a discussion of the questions I use to measure traditional racism and redistributionist attitudes, you can download my manuscript from SSRN and examine pages 16-19.

I begin by showing that respondents who express traditionally racist views (on segregation, interracial marriage, and inborn racial abilities) tend to support greater income redistribution. All nine spearman correlations between the three racism variables and the three redistribution variables are significant, with coefficients ranging from .067 to .142.

Next I make two simple scales, one combining the three racism variables into a Racism Scale and the other combining two income redistribution variables that were asked in the same GSS into a Redistribution Scale.

In Chart 1, scores on the 3-item traditional racism scale are compared to scores on the 2-item income redistribution scale. Overall, 42% of the non-Hispanic white population expressed racist responses to any of the three questions. Those who favored income redistribution also tended to express traditionally racist views. In other words, the data are consistent with the hypothesis that those who want the government to equalize incomes tend to be somewhat more traditionally racist than those who don't favor equalizing incomes.

(Click to enlarge.)

Later in the paper I present the results of full latent variable structural equation models. The latent variable traditional racism (Model 1: r=.27) predicts the latent variable income redistribution. (I also find that the preference against income redistribution is not just the result of income or education; rather, the data are consistent with racism continuing to play a small but significant role in explaining the support for income redistribution.)

The data are broadly inconsistent with the standard belief in the social psychology literature that anti-redistributionist views are positively associated with racism. The results are a problem for the academic assumption that opposing income redistribution indicates hostility toward other groups and a desire to dominate them. Indeed, many social psychologists believe that the link between opposing redistribution and social dominance is so strong and clear that opposing redistribution can be treated as a measure of social dominance orientation.

Esaias:
makes sense. traditionally, income re-distributionists as well as race preferentialists thought that certain people -- for example, the poor, and blacks -- couldn't succeed in our society because of external forces and hindrances. these racist and economic hindrances were effectively removed a long time ago, but, unfortunately, blacks didn't progress as expected, and the wealth gap between rich and poor supposedly increased. thus the preferentialists came to realize that the perpetually wretched were "victims" -- not of the majority's racism and classism, but of their own internal or, dare i say, innate, deficiencies. of course, bleeding-heart re-distributionists will never admit to having realized any of this, and they'll continue to pursue outwardly the farce that certain people will always need handouts in our society to succeed, even though they know that's not the case. so who's to be blamed for decades of failed re-distributive and race-preference policies? why, the still-poor intended beneficiaries, of course: thus you have the seeds from which sprouts the idea that blacks are the cause of decades of failed liberal policies. it's blacks' fault. blacks are bad. it's pretty obvious what happens next.
11.27.2006 1:36am
Nathan_M (mail):
It would be interesting to see what, if any, impact controlling for education, income, and geographic location would have on the correlations noted in the paper.
11.27.2006 2:33am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Nathan.

I believe the blue states are considered to have higher per-capita incomes, although that may be modified by higher costs of living in metro ares. And they are considered to have higher levels of education. And they are blue because in part they vote for redistribution. And, of course, they are considered to be nicer people in general.
11.27.2006 5:51am
Hovsep Joseph (mail) (www):
What is the causal link between racism and support for redistribution, if a link is being suggested? It seems to me that both redistribution and racism would both be more likely to be supported by economically disenfranchised people. Without any statistical evidence to back me up, my guess would be that poor white people may tend to support both redistribution and racism because they are both in their superficial self-interest. Thus, racism and redistribution would not be causally linked to each other, but rather both caused independently by another factor: poverty.
11.27.2006 8:18am
Justin (mail):
Richard,

You're ignoring the fact that there is a disproportionate amount of "liberterian" Democrats in blue states (people who vote Democrats because they fear Republican social values, but would support lower taxes and free market ventures), and that there is a disproportionate amount of "government" Republicans in red states (people who think the government is the answer to many of their probems, including education and health care, but vote Republican because of "values" issues). The former will tend to be wealthier, and the latter will tend to be poorer. So controlling for income and education are obvious requirements (they're done in the charity studies), that aren't done here either through mistake, or more likely, bad faith.

It's always easy to get the results you want, when that's what you want. This study is worthless.
11.27.2006 8:20am
Hovsep Joseph (mail) (www):
I'm also partly skeptical of this kind of study coming from a professor who seems to relish repeating statistics showing conservatives to be better educated than liberals. I think this kind of personalization of policy debate and demonization of people who hold different political views is unhelpful. Why not engage in a debate about the effectiveness of or need for redistribution, rather than "debate" whether people who support redistribution are racists.
11.27.2006 8:28am
A.C.:
If you click on the link, education and income ARE controlled for. The effect goes down when these variables are included, so I suppose it's correct that they account for some of the outcome, but there is still an effect left after they are taken into account.

We still need a mechanism, though. How about the thought that it is the redistributionists, rather than the capitalists, who like social dominance and control? There's a notion that capitalists are all social darwinists who think they have a right to keep the poor down, but that has always seemed like an oversimplification to me. Capitalists evolved in opposition to people who wanted to use government authority to control wealth (and wealth to control government), so it's not clear to me that government control of resources is always favorable to the little guy. An ambitious person from the lower middle class is probably a lot better off in a system that lets her start a business than she would be in a system where she has to be dependent on the political rulers.
11.27.2006 8:37am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
not of the majority's racism and classism, but of their own internal or, dare i say, innate, deficiencies.

Or is it just that better anti-redistributionists are better at using socially acceptable terms for their racism.

"Not that I am a racist, but maybe blacks don't succeed because they just aren't as smart as whites. Besides they are lazy, shiftless, and have a tendency towards crime and drug addiction. And they just love their fried chicken and watermelon."
11.27.2006 8:54am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Justin:

I don't know many libertarians, but the assertion that they fear the bible-thumpers' going on about adultery more than they do high taxes and government intrusion seems odd. The courts have consistently sided with personal privacy in matters of "values", which is not where they end up in matters of taxes, and, government intrusion in other areas.
Example: I have some friends who have a lakeshore cottage. The government decided it's highly fragile land and so they can't even get a permit to have their septic tank fixed. The only other possibility is to pony up a C-note every week to have it pumped. Every week. All year.
I don't know their views on gay marriage, partly because all they can talk--spit, rage, snarl--about is the septic tank issue. Their lawyer says they have no chance. But should they be doing something in their bedroom forbidden in Leviticus, and should the government find out, and discover a neglected blue law which hasn't been rescinded, I expect they won't have any trouble.
So I am a bit tentative about the libertarian fearing values more than government intrusion and taxes.

There is a demographic, I hear, called the Wal-Mart republicans. They think conservative values are fine, as are government programs. So that part may be correct.

Where did capitalism and social dominance get linked?
I never heard a capitalist who ever said anything about the benefits of success in a capitalist society giving him the opportunity to lord it over others.
This country has always been suspicious of the wealthy, so getting money is a way to lose respect. The old Groucho Marx movies, and some of the kids' movies such as the Little Rascals, and any number of others, always had the rich as the comic foils.
Today, most of the crime shows have straight whites, mostly male, as the villains. As the producer of the old Cagney and Lacey series said, rich white folks are the only ones who don't complain when a villain looks like them.
Most capitalists have to be flexible in dealing with their customers, giving the customers what they want no matter what the capitalist thinks about it. The customer is always king, and maybe when they get home they can cuss about it, but their dominance is in knowing, for example, that poor people can't get into the country club. Weak beer, seems to me.
11.27.2006 9:06am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Example: I have some friends who have a lakeshore cottage. The government decided it's highly fragile land and so they can't even get a permit to have their septic tank fixed.

So your friends want the right to pollute a lake and we are supposed to feel sorry for them? Contaminating lakes with runoff from septic tank drainfields (not to mention upsetting the natural balance by cutting down trees and replacing it with a fertilized lawns to get a lake view) is a serious problem. This is a classic "tragedy of the commons" issue and your friends' selfish "our little septic tank won't hurt anyone" attitude is just the reason why we need big, bad government agencies to save people from themselves.
11.27.2006 9:25am
Andy Freeman (mail):
> So your friends want the right to pollute a lake and we are supposed to feel sorry for them?

That's not what he wrote, or even reasonably inferrable from what he wrote. (Fixing the tank is more likely to reduce the pollution.)

> not to mention upsetting the natural balance by cutting down trees and replacing it with a fertilized lawns to get a lake view

Again - assumes facts not in evidence.

So why the hostility?
11.27.2006 9:33am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
J.F. has done this before. He seems to think that one can misrepresent what somebody said to the person who said it and, I don't know, confuse the person who said it about what he originally said. And he seems not to know that not only the person who said it can refer to it where it was posted, so can all the others reading the comments.
I have no idea what he thinks he's doing.

It's possible he thinks that he can wear out others by forcing them to continually correct his misrepresentations and that when they quit, he won.

No idea.
11.27.2006 9:55am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
That's not what he wrote, or even reasonably inferrable from what he wrote. (Fixing the tank is more likely to reduce the pollution.)

Actually, it is perfectly inferable from what he wrote. The minimum offset for a drainfield from a body of water is 125 feet (some states require a greater offset). Obviously, the tank itself is not leaking since they have permission to use it as long as it is pumped out frequently. That must mean their drainfield is saturated and they have to move it or refresh it. So the layout of their property must be such that the drainfield (or the only place to put a new drainfield) violates siting regulations. The life of a drainfield varies greatly depending on soil conditions but generally is at least 15 years and can be much longer. I don't know how long Richard's friends have owned their cottage, or how long they have owned it, but if they aren't the original owners (and bought it in the last 15 years or so) they might have a cause of action against the seller and the realtor for not revealing this issue to them (which any idiot who buys or owns a house with a septic tank should be aware of). These regs have been in effect for a long time (since the early seventies) and I imagine that if the cottage was built after that, the drainfield was probably built illegally (by slipping a few bucks to building inspector). If so, their friendly neighborhood government is a lot more honest these days.
11.27.2006 10:01am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I think that you can infer a major constituancy of this blog when you see "Again - assumes facts not in evidence".

One possible theory behind Jim Lindgren's findings is that the capitalist ideal for maximizing profits is to hire the best talent you can find for the money, regardless of race, sex, etc. Hiring the less qualified because of a preference for some race, sex, etc. would not tend to maximize profits. While it is not practiced as widely as it is theorized, nevertheless, theory does drive this to some extent - with all things equal, the capitalist who hires excluding race, sex, etc., except where truly relevant, is going to outperform, on average, the one who doesn't.

On the other side, a redistributionism is based on the theory of market breakdown of opportunity, and if you are going to have such a breakdown that needs to be fixed, you need to have disadvantaged, and that leads to a race, sex, etc. conscious outlook.

In otherwords, there is a built in bias for the capitalist to try to be race, gender, etc. blind in his hiring to maximize his profits, whereas there is a built in bias for the redistributionist to be race, gender, etc. conscious to maximize his redistribution.
11.27.2006 10:02am
Hovsep Joseph (mail) (www):
Bruce, I think your theory can work both ways. Sometimes racist decisions maximize profits, especially with a service-oriented economy in a racist society, even if (or maybe especially if) the racism is subtle or unspoken. For example, if a business owner knows his clients prefer to be served by white employees (whether the employee is a waiter, lawyer, or teacher) and he can find comparably qualified employees of any race, the economically rational decision would be to find a way to satisfy this racist customer preference. In a service-oriented economy, I would guess the pure capitalist would reflect the degree of racism of the customer base and not be significantly more or less racist.
11.27.2006 10:12am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Maybe I need to reverse my previous suggestion and look at it from the point of view of the people involved, instead of their theories. A redistributionist is typically (IMHO) someone who sees that some group or another is disadvantaged by their race, sex, etc. And because of that, he sees a failure of capitalism, and a need to correct it. But that requires him first to have identified a group that is disadvantaged, and that requires race, sex, etc. consiousness.

A capitalist on the other hand either doesn't see the race, sex, etc. inequities, or if he sees them, is willing to ignore them on the theory that capitalism is the best way to solve them. In any case, his economic theory pushes him to ignore them as irrelevant, and so has a higher tendency to do so.
11.27.2006 10:12am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
J.F. Wrong again, but partly my fault. The "lakeshore" is a neighborhood built on sand with private access to the lake, about a hundred yards away. The government's concern, as far as anybody can tell, is that they have taken a position that there will be no digging, period, for any reason whatsoever. There is no pollution issue. And, as far as I have heard the answers to why, the reason is, "because" plus some boilerplate about preserving this, that, and the other, little or none of which is actually on the sites in question.

They've owned the place for many years and, like other things built on sand, it shifted and the presumption is that, from time to time, you have to fix the shifting.
Nope. No digging.

This has stopped the installation of a retaining wall to support a garage at a home nearby, which garage eventually collapsed. The eventual result of the regs will be the homes become uninhabitable, a bit at a time.

The home with the septic issue is also useless as an asset. Nobody will buy it, so the government's action "took" the value from the owners.

My original point is that the libertarian who claims to be more concerned about whether the courts will support the local constabulary peering into his bedroom window than about his recourse regarding taxes and intrusion is either deluded or a liar.
11.27.2006 10:17am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
That's not what he wrote, or even reasonably inferrable from what he wrote. (Fixing the tank is more likely to reduce the pollution.)

This statement just shows that you have no idea how a septic tank system works and misunderstand what Richard wrote (his friends can use the tank, they just have to get it pumped out, so obviously their problem lies with the drainfield).
11.27.2006 10:19am
JAL (mail):
Re J.F. Thomas and reply of Andy Freeman:
It's that old class envy rearing its ugly head. You know ... the stuff related to "redistribution." The redistributionists tend to work the class envy angle. ("Most people don't have LAKE HOUSES. That's not fair! They should be made to suffer for their excesses somehow! They earned the bad karma." Well, that's what I read between RF's lines, anyway.)

I do think there is a connection between redistribution and racism. It seems to show up regularly, and it has an educated, patronizing feel. (Think John Edwards' hotel comment.)It has to do with being the generous better off person helping "victims." But I think in many cases it is more like "create the crisis, then you come in with the fix."

Personal disclosure: I "am" the lower middle class. Trust me. And I know class envy when I see it. But I would rather be able to start up a little business (which I have done) and be able to look at other possibilities than be legislated and controlled to death -- for what? I have no desire to redistribute my hard earned, small income to others who actually have similar opportunities available and choose not to explore them and take action. I do like giving part of it away to groups and people where I see needs. It's a more human approach, me thinks.

And IIRC, wasn't there a study recently that showed the red state people actually are more charitable than the blue state redistributionists? It may be that the red state people also believe in "redistribution," but as a personal choice (and apparently do it liberally) -- not as much by governement agencies. Was that looked at?

I think the "some day" of the "we shall overcome" is upon us and requires responsible, mature, adult behavior all across the board, you know -- "red and yellow, black and white..." ;-)
11.27.2006 10:21am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Hovsep Joseph

I do not disagree that racism, sexism, etc. can work to an employer's advantage at the single business level. But what we are talking here is the aggregate and the theory. Wal-Mart, Microsoft, etc. are much more the ideal than is the local business catering to a bigoted clientale.

Yes, maybe even 40 years ago you could build up a big buisness through racial, sexual, etc. discrimination. It is much harder to do today. First, larger businesses are national, if not international. Secondly, the bigger they get, the more they have to sell to the very groups that they would be discriminating against. And, things are a lot more competitive because of the nationalization and internationalization of business.

So, yes, making money through discrimination does work in some cases, but more often any more, you don't make as much as you would make if you were race, sex, etc. blind.
11.27.2006 10:22am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
A redistributionist is typically (IMHO) someone who sees that some group or another is disadvantaged by their race, sex, etc. And because of that, he sees a failure of capitalism, and a need to correct it. But that requires him first to have identified a group that is disadvantaged, and that requires race, sex, etc. consiousness.

Well that is utter nonsense. The great redistributionist philosophies came out of Europe where the grouping were based on nothing but class distinctions. This country has always been more hostile to redistributionist views than other Western Societies even though we have tended to be more racist in the past.
11.27.2006 10:26am
Hovsep Joseph (mail) (www):
Bruce, I don't necessarily disagree with the general point you're making and I can be persuaded that the theoretical pure capitalist would engage in less racism than the customer base, though I still think there are significant pressures on the capitalist in both directions (at least in the service industry). But I think you underestimate the strength of the desire to satisfy customer preferences, even if those preferences are themselves irrational. For example, in a professional ethics class I took in law school 4-5 years ago, we had a discussion on this topic. I was surprised how many of my classmates thought it was appropriate, if not ethically required, for a partner in a law firm to reassign an associate where the client objected to the associate's race, sex, or sexuality.
11.27.2006 10:40am
JosephSlater (mail):
Again, it's hard to think of anything more important than trying to show that people that have different political opinions than I do are bad, miserable, selfish people.
11.27.2006 10:43am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
But I would suggest that when redistributionism came across the Atlantic, it picked up a racial, etc. tinge, since class distinctions here could not viably support it. Yes, we may have been more racist in the past (I would suggest though that if this were true in the past, it was only because Europe was not facing a racial problem - now it is, and it isn't doing well at it).

But we were also a lot less classist. Yes, there has always been somewhat of a class distinction here, but never on the order of much of Europe, and it has never been the ideal, but rather, the anti-ideal.

You still need to find a disadvantaged party or parties for redistribution to have a place. Yes, the most logically supportated disadvantaged would be the poor. But why are they poor? Is is because they are lazy? Or because they have been historically oppressed? It is much easier to sell that we should redistribute because of some historical oppression, than that the recipient just made bad life choices and/or was lazy. And, thus, it is easier to justify redistributing to Blacks because of their history of slavery and Jim Crow, and to Hispanics because of their peasant roots south of here. And, thus, race, sex, etc. become proxies for income because of their social acceptance as a cause of not doing as well.

I should note that my theories here are obviously a work in progress, and should be taken in that spirit.
11.27.2006 10:56am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Hovsep Joseph

I agree that at a micro level, bigotry does work in some situations. But thinking of that law firm example, if the firm is fairly large, they are going to have clients of differing ethnic, sexual, etc. characteristics who might wish to deal with attorneys similarly situated. But note that it is more likely that of a Black client wanting to deal with a Black attorney, than a White client refusing to deal with a Black attorney. And the bigger the company, in most cases, the less emphasis there will be on race, sex, etc., and the more on competence. After all, the bigger the company, the more pressure they are under themselves to conform to non-discrimination. Indeed, the trend seems to be in the opposite direction - that the largest firms now seem to hire in order to be able to show prospective clients their racial, sexual, etc. mix. - not so that the clients can pick attorneys on a discriminatory basis, but mostly (IMHO) so that the firms can show that they are non-discriminitory. Thus, a long way of saying that the pressure in the law field seems strongly against discrimination (except maybe negative discrimination against white males), instead of in favor of it. Of course, those who have worked for some of the largest firms may be able to refute my point here, as I never have.
11.27.2006 11:13am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Let me also point out that I am not positing that capitalists are not racists, sexists, etc., or that redistributionists are. Rather, I am attempting to posit a theory why the adhearants of the former may be less race, etc. conscious than those of the later. Jim Lindgren's study indicated tendencies, nothing more. I am not positing, nor do Lingren's figures show, that one group is racist, etc. and the other not, but, again, just tendencies when the two groups are compared against each other.
11.27.2006 11:40am
Andy Freeman (mail):
> This country has always been more hostile to redistributionist views than other Western Societies even though we have tended to be more racist in the past.

What do you mean "we" white boy?

Institutional racism in the US was a Democrat party phenomena.
11.27.2006 11:42am
Andy Freeman (mail):
> That must mean their drainfield is saturated and they have to move it or refresh it.

Except that it doesn't, as Aubrey showed.

Moreover, the "you can't fix the tank" edict doesn't imply that the tank itself is sound. A "no digging" rule would block fixing a slowly leaking tank. Constant pumping would mitigate the effects of such a leak.
11.27.2006 11:48am
Andy Freeman (mail):
> So controlling for income and education are obvious requirements (they're done in the charity studies), that aren't done here either through mistake, or more likely, bad faith.

Except that they were.

However, Lindgren should be flogged for suggesting that "good people" aren't.
11.27.2006 11:51am
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

This statement just shows that you have no idea how a septic tank system works


JF is to be congratulated, he's constructed a straw septic tank- the contents of which I have no doubts he's an expert.

In that vein, can we throw the last shovel of dirt on this guy and move along?
11.27.2006 12:16pm
CynicPerry:
What I would be interested in is the breakdown of racism by race - that is, is a black more likely to be racist toward a white then a white towards a black, etc. I realize this would vary by location, but it would still be an interesting analysis
11.27.2006 12:39pm
Hovsep Joseph (mail) (www):
Let me also point out that I am not positing that capitalists are not racists, sexists, etc., or that redistributionists are.

I don't doubt your motives, Bruce, as you are simply commenting on Lindgren's paper. But publishing a paper which says that people who favor X public policy exhibit Y negative personal characteristic obviously is intended to encourage readers to find a causal link and make a negative normative judgment about people who favor X public policy.

Professor Lindgren might counter that he is merely disproving the argument that antiredistributionists are racist. But he goes further than that by making the exact mirror argument. And this argument is consistent with his other arguments that people who prefer conservative public policy positions are more altruistic and better educated than their opponents. I don't see how these "scholarly" statistical analyses are useful except as political hackery.
11.27.2006 12:44pm
Ralph Phelan (mail):
Hovsep Joseph sez:
"I'm also partly skeptical of this kind of study coming I think this kind of personalization of policy debate and demonization of people who hold different political views is unhelpful."

I agree. However, the article states:

"In the field of social psychology, it is commonly believed that people support capitalism and oppose greater income redistribution because they are racist or want to dominate other people or groups."

So it's not exactly new, and it's not conservatives or libertarians who started it.

Perhaps when those who introduced the tactic of "demonization of people who hold different political views" have been on the recieving end for a while, they'll stop, and then the counterattacks can stop too.
11.27.2006 12:54pm
Ben Brumfield (www):
I read your draft this weekend, and really wished you'd provide more support for this statement:

In the field of social psychology, it is commonly believed that people support capitalism and oppose greater income redistribution because they are racist or want to dominate other people or groups.


The only direct support for this you provide (in your post, and as I recall, in the paper itself) is the Sidanius &Pratto study. You do a great job of pointing out fallacies in your review of the relevant literature, but absent more support for the "commonly believed" assertion I'm afraid a lot of readers will just assume the paper is another conservative polemic about academic bias and quit reading.
11.27.2006 12:59pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Institutional racism in the US was a Democrat party phenomena.

Oh give me a freaking break.
11.27.2006 1:03pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

Institutional racism in the US was a Democrat party phenomena.


Dixiecrats.
11.27.2006 1:12pm
Hovsep Joseph (mail) (www):
And what became of the Dixiecrats when the Democrats adopted a civil rights platform? They became Republicans. Racism does not belong exclusively to liberals or conservatives or big government types or libertarians.
11.27.2006 1:20pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

And what became of the Dixiecrats when the Democrats adopted a civil rights platform? They became Republicans. Racism does not belong exclusively to liberals or conservatives or big government types or libertarians.


research will show that the civil rights agendas were passed by republicans.


In 1945, 1947 and 1949, the House of Representatives voted to abolish the poll tax restricting the right to vote. Although the Senate did not join in this effort, the bills signaled a growing interest in protecting civil rights through federal action.

The executive branch of government, by presidential order, likewise became active by ending discrimination in the nation's military forces and in federal employment and work done under government contract.

Harry Truman ordered the integration of the military. However, his Republican opponent in the election of 1948, Tom Dewey, was just as strong a proponent for that effort as any Democrat.

As a matter of fact, the record shows that since 1933 Republicans had a more positive record on civil rights than the Democrats.

In the 26 major civil rights votes after 1933, a majority of Democrats opposed civil rights legislation in over 80 percent of the votes. By contrast, the Republican majority favored civil rights in over 96 percent of the votes.

www.congresslink.org/civil/essay.html

and

www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1982/3/82.03.04.x.html

11.27.2006 1:33pm
Jakester (mail) (www):
How PC and shoddy this argument is, it's a cheap example of the Right's incessant smear of the Left by labeling them as racists. I wonder if an honest survey, comparing racist views to political orientations, show different result? I think so.
11.27.2006 1:36pm
Jonas Pell (www):
Thanks for your shoddy right wing comment, Mr. Bowen. Which party was behind the landmark Civil Rights legislations of the 1960's? You are a simple minded right winger who is only capable of parroting the same crap your pick up from fellow moronic hacks! It seems that the troglydytes on the Right can only smear and attack, cause nothing good and original comes out of their fossilized, fascist skulls.
11.27.2006 1:43pm
te:
Is support of farm subsidies redistributionist?
11.27.2006 1:52pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):

Let me also point out that I am not positing that capitalists are not racists, sexists, etc., or that redistributionists are.
I don't doubt your motives, Bruce, as you are simply commenting on Lindgren's paper. But publishing a paper which says that people who favor X public policy exhibit Y negative personal characteristic obviously is intended to encourage readers to find a causal link and make a negative normative judgment about people who favor X public policy.
In other words, you are suggesting that this post by Lingren was designed to get precisely the type of response I made. Maybe. But I wouldn't do as far as making a negative normative judgment. Maybe after another decade of work by both the author and his opponents. On the other hand, the study does cast into question the negative normative judgment that has become conventional wisdom in this area - that those who favor capitalism are racist, sexist, etc.
Professor Lindgren might counter that he is merely disproving the argument that antiredistributionists are racist. But he goes further than that by making the exact mirror argument. And this argument is consistent with his other arguments that people who prefer conservative public policy positions are more altruistic and better educated than their opponents. I don't see how these "scholarly" statistical analyses are useful except as political hackery.
He may go further, but I don't think that we should or can. Using your terminology, at best, this can be seen as a potential partial rebuttal of the negative normative judgment that conventional wisdom applies to those who prefer capitalism to redistribution.

You seem to see that as bad. I don't. I have no doubt that there are going to be plenty of counter-studies and crtiques of the studies on either side in the future. And, maybe, we will ultimately come to a consensus based on facts and not wishful thinking, which is where I think things are today. All Lingren has done, IMHO, is to open the debate.
11.27.2006 2:04pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):
shoddy
simpleminded
crap
moronic hacks
troglydytes
smear
attack
fossilized
facist

...my goodness, Jonas, you don't have to call me "Mr.".
11.27.2006 2:11pm
Hovsep Joseph (mail) (www):
Bruce, I support efforts to challenge conventional wisdom and, in that sense, I agree that Lindgren has merely "opened the debate." But I don't think "Who's the bigger racist: the pure capitalist or the redistributionist?" is a very useful debate to be having. Same with "Who's smarter: Democrats or Republicans?" and "Who's more altruistic: conservatives or liberals?" The ultimate use to which these statistics are always put is undermining an opponent's policy argument by smearing his character. It may be useful for the purpose of scoring political points (and its done by people of all political stripes), but it doesn't inform the substantive policy debate at all. On the other hand, I think the brief exchange we have had about whether unregulated capitalism or some degree of redistribution would lead to more or less racism in practice is positive engagement, but that exchange does not depend on whether liberals are racist (or stupid or stingy).

I just don't like that this "study" is presented as some kind of objective statistical analysis, when it is really part of a series of posts/articles designed to attack the character of political opponents as a group.
11.27.2006 2:36pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I believe Lindgren's work has a substantive value.
The association between capitalists and racism is such a widely asserted given that it skews almost any discussion.
Lindgren does good work if he merely threatens that nonsense.
11.27.2006 3:06pm
Hovsep Joseph (mail) (www):
I don't really get the capitalism=racism thing. The refusal to redistribute leads to increased concentration of wealth in the hands of those who already have it, and those who already have it are disproportionately white, so it may have racially disproportionate effects, but I haven't personally ever heard someone say that people oppose redistributive policies because they are racist and want to oppress nonwhites. I think that is a straw man.

Further, I'd support tearing down a flawed argument with sound statistical analysis. I don't support constructing a new flawed argument to smear another group as racist (or stupid or stingy).
11.27.2006 3:20pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I apologize to Richard for jumping on his friends septic tank problem, but I tend to get on my soapbox when I see "septic tank" and "lakeshore" home, especially on a libertarian blog. All you personal property rights nuts who scream about how the government interferes with your right to your property rights with environmental laws, such laws provide the perfect teaching tool that the tragedy of the commons is not some archaic principle that was only valid in 17th century England.

And it is not class envy. It is a very real environmental problem caused by building too many houses too close together too close to the shores of lakes. People destroy the very thing they buy their lakehouse for.
11.27.2006 3:34pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

The refusal to redistribute leads to increased concentration of wealth in the hands of those who already have it,
Huh? Redistribution of wealth is generally upward, not downward.
11.27.2006 3:36pm
Hovsep Joseph (mail) (www):
I'm not sure how to respond to that Clayton. First, I'm not saying that antiredistribution is racist, just that I can see the argument about its indirect effects, but I haven't heard the argument about an alleged racist motivation.
As for redistribution being upward, I don't know how they do it in Idaho, but in New York, the poor are taxed at lower rates and are eligible for more free government services, whereas the rich pay higher rates on income and are subject to tax on large estates when they die. I consider that downward redistribution.
11.27.2006 3:57pm
JRL:

Again, it's hard to think of anything more important than trying to show that people that have different political opinions than I do are bad, miserable, selfish people.


Yes, any data which conflicts with Professor Slater's world view should be surpressed.
11.27.2006 4:12pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
J.F.

Just for another anecdote about poisoning your own well:

I live in a nice town near a mid-size midwestern factory town.
There was, for some years, a coordinated effort to paint the worst homes in the town. About four thousand people participated. The designated homes would be visited and the paint schemes agreed to. Groups such as scout troops, church groups, union locals, block clubs, fraternal groups, and so forth, would each take a house and prep and paint it during a weekend. The painters' union provided an on-site advisor. Food, first aid, and ancillary services were provided by the umbrella group which operated solely on donations. We usually got about one hundred homes done each year.
Once, I was in charge of our church youth group. I decided not to have nutty early teens on ladders and roofs. So I chose a park clean-up in the downtown.
We were supposed to learn how warmfuzzy such things were. What the kids learned is that, downtown, parks are garbage dumps, even if the curb is closer to the houses' side doors than the parks. The tennis court had six wheelbarrow loads of broken glass. Trash, junk, dead dogs, and so forth.
They learned that when the downtowners shit in their own pool, the 'burb folks come to clean it out.
And, in the unlikely event we'd trashed our parks, the likelihood that the downtowners would show up to clean them us was vanishingly small.
It's not the anti redistribs who crap in their own wells.
11.27.2006 4:42pm
Carleton Wu (mail):
"Controlling for education, income (log), gender, and age..."

But not race. For some mysterious reason.
Perhaps the mysterious reason was that the results disappeared when this was done?

It is also unsurprising that conservatives are 'more altruistic' when we take into account religious donations. Controlling for self-identified strength of religious feeling might have been a good idea before using donations to religious causes as a proxy for 'altruism' (or, perhaps count only non-religious nonprofitable donations)- but again, that might've interfered with producing the desired result.
11.27.2006 4:58pm
JosephSlater (mail):
JRL:

My worldview is that in general, we should avoid ad hominem style arguments: conservatives are greedy and dumb and racist, so why listen to them; liberals are naive and dumb and racist, so why listen to them; the other side is not arguing in good faith.

Differing political opinions (within at least a broad range) do not represent personal or moral failings, and attempts to treat them as such are lazy and cheapen the discourse.
11.27.2006 5:13pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Oh, and while I'm sorry for not including this in my first post, I will add that I in no way called for anything to be "surpressed."
11.27.2006 5:14pm
Lance (mail) (www):
I have read a great many comments to the effect that the research is wrong based on its intent. I would be curious about actual methodological concerns.


I just don't like that this "study" is presented as some kind of objective statistical analysis, when it is really part of a series of posts/articles designed to attack the character of political opponents as a group.


With all due respect, whatever Mr. Lindgren's intention you have in no way shown how the study is flawed, though Mr. Lindgren would probably admit that there is more work to be done. The data stands independent of any intention Mr. Lindgren has, though not his interpretation, though that seems pretty modest to me as well.

More importantly, I do not see Lindgren's series as proving or attempting to prove that liberals or Democrats are bad or out of any wish to smear. What it does do is question many people's lazy and self satisfied assertions about what certain political beliefs imply. It does not mean or prove or even attempt to prove that favoring redistribution means one is a racist any more than data which showed that people who disapprove of affirmative action are somewhat more likely to hold racist beliefs proves that opposing affirmative action makes one a racist. Instead we can hopefully lay aside the idea that people who vote Democratic or favor redistribution or any other such policy are defacto more tolerant, open minded or generous. They may be or they may not be, but that is not determined by their broad political preferences.

Huey Long was certainly a redistributionist, he was no friend of a race blind state however. Calvin Coolidge was no redistributionist or statist as Huey and Woodrow Wilson were, yet he was a far more likeable character when it came to race. The same could be said of Barry Goldwater. Historically the correlation Mr. Lindgren refers to certainly correlates with the data. The causes however may be more complex than any smear and nothing he has done so far qualifies as such.

I will say though, that amongst a large portion of people who tend to favor redistribution, their motives are not as noble as others. It comes from a sense that the governments job is to distribute the economic spoils of our nation. Some people may be doing it out of a noble sense of caring for all of mankind, though why that would be true for most people has never been apparent to me nor do I see evidence of that. Many if not most seem to view it as a way to reward favored groups of one sort or another. If that is so then it should not be surprising that a large number of those favoring redistribution would see their group as being a racial group, not just a class based one. Most peoples beliefs, whether anti or pro redistribution are less noble than many would like to believe.
11.27.2006 5:27pm
Carleton Wu (mail):
"I have read a great many comments to the effect that the research is wrong based on its intent. I would be curious about actual methodological concerns."

I would be curious to read the actual paper as opposed to the abstract (ie what the link points to). Although the issue of race not being investigated as a possible factor would IMO be a significant criticism (blacks being both more redistributionist and more racist than average, if what's Ive read elsewhere is correct). Using religious donations as a proxy for altruism when studying two populations that are known to differ (well, strongly suspected to differ) in intensity of religious belief is- well, it's suspiciously bad reasoning. The sort of reasoning that makes one suspect an ulterior motive.

"Historically the correlation Mr. Lindgren refers to certainly correlates with the data."

The plural of anecdote is not data. Any Intro to Statistics class will help you with this.
11.27.2006 5:55pm
Eliza (mail):
I love it that the social "sciences" really have developed a "Racism Scale" to detect and measure racism. Michael Wharton saw this coming, that's why he invented the prejudometer: you just point it at someone and it calculates their degree of racism down to the nearest prejudon--the internationally recognized scientific unit of racial prejudice.
11.27.2006 6:00pm
Kazinski:
Carleton Wu:

"Controlling for education, income (log), gender, and age..."

But not race. For some mysterious reason.
Perhaps the mysterious reason was that the results disappeared when this was done?


Even a cursory examination of the graph shows that the sample set is limited to "non-hispanic" whites. So you may rest assured that this paper casts no aspirsions at re-distributionist Asians, Hispanics or Blacks. Any conclusions drawn from the paper should be limited to white redistributionists.
11.27.2006 6:38pm
MnZ (mail):
The refusal to redistribute leads to increased concentration of wealth in the hands of those who already have it...


Actually, that is not so clear. For example, suppose that political power is correlated with economic power. In that case, redistribution result in increased concentration of wealth (e.g., feudalism). It is also possible that those with wealth and political power can use wealth redistribution to reinforce their power (e.g., petrol kingdoms like Saudi Arabia).
11.27.2006 8:37pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
The plural of anecdote is not data.
But it is useful to recall that every datum is an anecdote.

Also, I learned in stat that the likely thing to happen is the likely thing to happen. It is unlikely that the unlikely thing will happen. That being the case, when something happens, it's likely to be the likely thing. That's not guaranteed, but it's the way to bet. You won't always be right, but you'll have the odds.

Point is, we are likely to perceive what happens as an example of the likely thing for the simple reason that it's likely that it's the likely thing. So a single example has more perceived weight than it would have in a statistical computation. And, more often than not, we'd be right in judging it to represent the likely thing(s).
11.27.2006 9:35pm
lancep1 (mail) (www):
Carleton Wu:



"Controlling for education, income (log), gender, and age..."

But not race. For some mysterious reason.
Perhaps the mysterious reason was that the results disappeared when this was done?


Normally I wouldn't resort to snark, but you started it. The mysterious reason seems to be your lack of reading comprehension. Which you demonstrate again with this:


"Historically the correlation Mr. Lindgren refers to certainly correlates with the data."

The plural of anecdote is not data. Any Intro to Statistics class will help you with this.


In addition to being irrelevant it is called being a jerk. I claimed that historically the political movements in the US most identified with redistribution have tended to be more racist. I made no statistical claim, though I guess I could year by year pointlessly quantify it.

As I said earlier I take no great lesson from that other than those who claim redistributive aims are a sign of racial tolerance or that anti redistributive aims are a sign of a lack thereof are incorrect. Despite your pissy little remark you in no way refuted that point, not can you. Even if all I had was the few "anecdotes" I cited (and can you look up the definition of anecdote while you are at it) they demonstrate my point quite clearly.

The past correlation only shows that this is a false assertion, not that in the future those who wish for redistribution will be more racist or that the correlation in the future will necessarily continue to run that direction.

As for the irrelevant to the present discussion remark about religious giving, I think it shows suspicious reasoning to distinguish religious giving from other forms of giving, though I suspect you are wrong either way. Maybe we should take away favored liberal causes as well? All of that is interesting in studying what the patterns of giving are, and certainly you are welcome to pursue it, but that wasn't what Mr. Lindgren was looking at, and as I said, his motive is kind of beside the point.

Of course maybe a first year course in statistics would cover when they are relevant to a particular question or when a statistical argument is even being made. Why don't you take one, or retake as applicable.
11.27.2006 9:37pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
> And what became of the Dixiecrats when the Democrats adopted a civil rights platform? They became Republicans.

No, the vast majority didn't "become Republicans"; they continued to be Dems until they retired from office, often decades later. (I don't know if Byrd is the last.)

Most of the votes for the civil rights legislation were cast by Repubs, not Dems. Almost all of the votes against were cast by Dems, not Repubs.

And it wasn't just southern Dems. Wilson was no prize on race issues.
11.27.2006 11:00pm
Carleton Wu:
"In addition to being irrelevant it is called being a jerk. I claimed that historically the political movements in the US most identified with redistribution have tended to be more racist. I made no statistical claim, though I guess I could year by year pointlessly quantify it."

You didn't claim anything of the sort- you mentioned a couple of examples, and acted as if that proved the point. It didn't. Now that you've made the point more expansively, it still doesn't- Im not even certain that you've got a testable thesis (eg "more racist" than what?). If you want to make factual assertions (like the second part of your first sentence), you need more than a self-selected scattering of data points to back it up.
That is, unless you enjoy making baseless assertions. Id enjoy watching you attempt to "year-by-year pointlessly quantify it"- I would hold that that is an impossible task (eg can you *quantify* "redistributionist", or "more racist"?)

"As I said earlier I take no great lesson from that other than those who claim redistributive aims are a sign of racial tolerance or that anti redistributive aims are a sign of a lack thereof are incorrect. Despite your pissy little remark you in no way refuted that point, not can you."

I didn't try to. I take issue with the attempt to smear people via statistics; I haven't taken a position on any capitalist-racism correlation.
Of course, your "lesson" is unproven by either history or the current paper- it is certainly possible that either position might correlate with racism, but there's no real evidence (an abstract not serving as such).
But I don't need to prove the opposite in order to maintain that, despite your multiple claims (and assurance that you could prove it 'year-by-year'), the matter is not resolved, historically or in the present.

"The past correlation only shows that this is a false assertion..."

If you want to ignore statistics, fine- but please stop using the language. A few anecdotal data points are not a correlation, and you haven't disproven anything.

"As for the irrelevant to the present discussion remark about religious giving, I think it shows suspicious reasoning to distinguish religious giving from other forms of giving, though I suspect you are wrong either way."

1)Religious giving is likely to be higher among the religious than among atheists. This does not prove that atheists are less 'altruistic', it proves that there is another factor (religious belief) driving the difference.
[Since you're (intentionally?) misunderstanding me, the above isn't meant as a direct criticism of the article, it's a thought experiment meant to illustrate the principle].
2)Having spent considerable time in the South, I can inform you that a rural church is many things to it's congregation. From youth camping retreats and softball leagues to dinner socials, the congregation gets a lot of utility out of their investment. Thus, "altruism" is certainly not the correct word.
Im not sure why you think the religious angle is irrelevant- I suggested that anyone viewing religious giving as a proxy for 'altruism' is misguided (or, misleading). Which was *my* entire point (ie that the author is bending over backwards to reach his conclusion).

"Of course maybe a first year course in statistics would cover when they are relevant to a particular question or when a statistical argument is even being made."

If you aren't attempting to make a statistical argument, then don't say things like "correlation" and "data"- those words actually mean something (particularly when commenting on a post about statistics). If you want to say that your idiosyncratic reading of history suggests that redistrubutionists are more racist than their contemporaries, then say that, don't claim that you've "proved" the "correlation". That is a statistical claim.
11.28.2006 1:10am
Carleton Wu:
I took a quick glance at the paper, and something jumps out at me: "redistributionists" are less tolerant towards (eg more likely to approve of someone teaching in public schools who is one) homosexuals, atheists, and communists than their "pro-capitalist" brethren.

Now, this jumps out at me because Lindgren is (to my eye) suggesting that the "redistrubutionists" are political liberals (ie that *political* attempts to redistribute wealth correlate with racist views)- but this seems like a most unlikely result. Does anyone here believe that conservatives are more tolerant of homosexuals, atheists, and communists teaching in the schools?

Im not suggesting that the liberals are the "pro-capitalists", either- more likely, questions such as "should the government keep prices under control" don't do a good job segregating out complex views on economic matters, or perhaps a correlation with some other uncontrolled factor (eg rural v suburban v urban).
11.28.2006 1:44am
Ryan Waxx:

But I don't think "Who's the bigger racist: the pure capitalist or the redistributionist?" But I don't think "Who's the bigger racist: the pure capitalist or the redistributionist?" is a very useful debate to be having.


Funny, I don't recall anybody making that objection when the assumption was that the capitalists were the racists...
11.28.2006 2:08am
Ryan Waxx:

Does anyone here believe that conservatives are more tolerant of homosexuals, atheists, and communists teaching in the schools?


... Because all economic conservatives MUST also be social conservatives, right?
11.28.2006 2:10am
eric (mail):
Ryan makes a good observation.

I believe that there are basically two types of individuals who favor redistribution, those that are "liberal" both economically and socially and those that are "populist." The latter group can be inhabited by very racist and generally intolerant people. In my opinion, there are quite a few "eat the rich" populists who also believe that minorities are inferior or are intolerant of different types of people. These people tend to be older and vote for democrats. It appears the "southern democrat" is alive and well, but only has the redistributionist to vote for instead of the racist redistributionist.
11.28.2006 5:09am
JosephSlater (mail):
Since everyone finds this such an interesting and important topic, I'll throw in this link

It's a study that claims to show a "direct link between mental illness and support for President Bush."

Isn't this fun?
11.28.2006 10:35am
JosephSlater (mail):
Whoops, can't get the link to work, so here's the article, from the New Haven Advocate:

By Andy Bromage

A collective "I told you so" will ripple through the world of Bush-bashers once news of Christopher Lohse's study gets out.

Lohse, a social work master's student at Southern Connecticut State University, says he has proven what many progressives have probably suspected for years: a direct link between mental illness and support for President Bush.

Lohse says his study is no joke. The thesis draws on a survey of 69 psychiatric outpatients in three Connecticut locations during the 2004 presidential election. Lohse's study, backed by SCSU Psychology professor Jaak Rakfeldt and statistician Misty Ginacola, found a correlation between the severity of a person's psychosis and their preferences for president: The more psychotic the voter, the more likely they were to vote for Bush.

But before you go thinking all your conservative friends are psychotic, listen to Lohse's explanation.

"Our study shows that psychotic patients prefer an authoritative leader," Lohse says. "If your world is very mixed up, there's something very comforting about someone telling you, 'This is how it's going to be.'"

The study was an advocacy project of sorts, designed to register mentally ill voters and encourage them to go to the polls, Lohse explains. The Bush trend was revealed later on.

The study used Modified General Assessment Functioning, or MGAF, a 100-point scale that measures the functioning of disabled patients. A second scale, developed by Rakfeldt, was also used. Knowledge of current issues, government and politics were assessed on a 12-item scale devised by the study authors.

"Bush supporters had significantly less knowledge about current issues, government and politics than those who supported Kerry," the study says.

Lohse says the trend isn't unique to Bush: A 1977 study by Frumkin &Ibrahim found psychiatric patients preferred Nixon over McGovern in the 1972 election.

Rakfeldt says the study was legitimate, though not intended to show what it did.

"Yes it was a legitimate study but these data were mined after the fact," Rakfeldt says. "You can ask new questions of the data. I haven't looked at" Lohse's conclusions regarding Bush, Rakfeldt says.

"That doesn't make it illegitimate, it just wasn't part of the original project."

For his part, Lohse is a self-described "Reagan revolution fanatic" but said that W. is just "beyond the pale." ‚óŹ
11.28.2006 10:39am
Knemon (mail):
"So why the hostility?"

Comes with the territory. That's just how the Anointed Super-Cool Progressive Team rolls.
11.28.2006 2:46pm
Knemon (mail):
"The great redistributionist philosophies came out of Europe where the grouping were based on nothing but class distinctions."

*Nothing* but? Tell it to the Welsh.
11.28.2006 3:01pm
Knemon (mail):
"And it wasn't just southern Dems. Wilson was no prize on race issues."

Wilson was also born in Staunton, Virginia.

You can take the boy out of the South ...
11.28.2006 3:05pm
Mothra (mail):
I didn't read Lingren's post (I'll read it after I write this), but I have read some of the comments, so I imagine what I have to say has some relevance. There is no "surprise" that those who want to redistribute income can be racist. (I realize that "can be" is mush. Let me finish.) You see, people who want to redistribute income think they do not have enough money and are willing to take it from other people rather than earn it. People who think taking money from other people is preferable to earning it are concerned with the status-conferring property of asset-holding. People who think the solution to their own lack of wealth is to take it from other people are people who think government is a tool to deprive others of status. If you think the government is a proper tool to deprive others of status, I can't see why you'd have any problem with government declaring that some group of people is inferior. And if it's okay for government, then it's okay for the rest of society.

Yes, my argument is crap. But you get my point. This really shouldn't be all that controversial. Someone smarter could say it better. But I have to go to sleep.
11.28.2006 11:42pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I think we can presume that conservative websites have a higher proportion of antiredistribs than the normal run of society would have.
For some time, conservatives have been pushing Condi for president in '08. Whatever the other name of the ticket, her name was there. Sometimes Veep to prepare for 2012.
That has cooled off as she has succumbed to the inevitable mushiness of State and gotten soft on the ME and the WOT.
But the disappointment is not expressed by race, but by position.
It's the lefties who refer to race, sell-out, Aunt Jemima, Oreo. More redistribs there, I would guess.
11.29.2006 8:40am
Knemon (mail):
"It's the lefties who refer to race, sell-out, Aunt Jemima, Oreo."

Don't forget the phrase "brown people." Always, always with the "brown people."
11.29.2006 7:56pm