Thursday, April 20, 2017

Scientific proof that Trump voters are racist?

Excerpt below from Thomas Wood, an assistant professor of political science at Ohio State University.  Tom may know a lot about political science but he knows nothing about psychometrics. Both his measure of authoritarianism and his measure of racism have no known validity at predicting actual behaviour in the general population.

Rather hilariously, The Stenner scale of "authoritarianism"  is embarassingly INVALID. That may be because  it is in a "forced-choice" format that makes it difficult for many people to report their views accurately. It has been PROCLAIMED as a measure of authoritarianism but there is no proof that it is.  More on that here

And the Symbolic Racism scale is problematic in what it defines as racism. Its items could in fact be seen as simply true or false hypotheses. Take, for instance the item:

"Generations of slavery and discrimination have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class".

That is a Leftist credo but where is the evidence for it?  That it is a false statement could reasonably be concluded from the fact that many other initially disadvantaged minorities have in fact worked their way up to prosperity.

So is it racist to acknowledge reality?  Leftists seem to think it is but everything they disagree with is racist to them so that tells us nothing. The scale results could in fact tell us that Trump voters are more open to reality.

One also wonders why results from only 4 out of the 8 items of the Symbolic Racism scale were presented.  Were results from the other four less congenial to the beliefs of the writer?

But in any case the scale is known only to predict other attitudes, not any aspect of actual behaviour.  The results below therefore tell us nothing firm

During the 2016 presidential campaign, many observers wondered exactly what motivated voters most: Was it income? Authoritarianism? Racial attitudes?

Let the analyses begin. Last week, the widely respected 2016 American National Election Study was released, sending political scientists into a flurry of data modeling and chart making.

The ANES has been conducted since 1948, at first through in-person surveys, and now also online, with about 1,200 nationally representative respondents answering some questions for about 80 minutes. This incredibly rich, publicly funded data source allows us to put elections into historical perspective, examining how much each factor affected the vote in 2016 compared with other recent elections.

Below, I’ll examine three narratives that became widely accepted about the 2016 election and see how they stack up against the ANES data.

The rich, the poor, and the in-between

The first narrative was about how income affected vote choice. Trump was said to be unusually appealing to low-income voters, especially in the Midwest, compared with recent Republican presidential nominees. True or false?

The ANES provides us data on income and presidential vote choice going back to 1948. To remove the effects of inflation and rising prosperity, I plot the percentage voting for the Republican presidential candidate relative to the overall sample, by where they rank in U.S. income, from the top to the bottom fifth. To most directly test the Donald Trump income hypothesis, I’ve restricted this analysis to white voters.

2016 was plainly an anomaly. While the wealthy are usually most likely to vote for the Republican, they didn’t this time; and while the poor are usually less likely to vote for the Republican, they were unusually supportive of Trump. And the degree to which the wealthy disdained the 2016 Republican candidate was without recent historical precedent.

Authoritarians or not?

Many commentators and social scientists wrote about how much about authoritarianism influenced voters. Authoritarianism, as used by political scientists, isn’t the same as fascism; it’s a psychological disposition in which voters have an aversion to social change and threats to social order. Since respondents might not want to say they fear chaos or are drawn to strong leadership, this disposition is measured by asking voters about the right way to rear children.

The next chart shows how white GOP presidential voters have answered these questions since 2000. As we can see, Trump’s voters appear a little less authoritarian than recent white Republican voters.

Did racism affect the voting?

Many observers debated how important Trump’s racial appeals were to his voters. During the campaign, Trump made overt racial comments, with seemingly little electoral penalty. Could the unusual 2016 race have further affected Americans’ racial attitudes?

To test this, I use what is called the “symbolic racism scale” to compare whites who voted for the Democratic presidential candidate with those who voted for the Republican. This scale measures racial attitudes among respondents who know that it’s socially unacceptable to say things perceived as racially prejudiced. Rather than asking overtly prejudiced questions — “do you believe blacks are lazy” — we ask whether racial inequalities today are a result of social bias or personal lack of effort and irresponsibility.....

Finally, the statistical tool of regression can tease apart which had more influence on the 2016 vote: authoritarianism or symbolic racism, after controlling for education, race, ideology, and age. Moving from the 50th to the 75th percentile in the authoritarian scale made someone about 3 percent more likely to vote for Trump. The same jump on the SRS scale made someone 20 percent more likely to vote for Trump.

Racial attitudes made a bigger difference in electing Trump than authoritarianism.



The Willful Subversion of Critical Institutions Threatens America

Certain of our institutions play a critical role in sustaining the republic and promoting and protecting the unique character of the United States of America, and they therefore have a tremendous obligation to operate ethically and honorably. To the extent that they abandon their obligation, the country’s fundamental character is threatened.

Those institutions are the justice system, the education system, and the information media.

Imagine you have a business renting apartments. One of your tenants, who has rented a place for $1,500 a month for three years sends you a check for only $900 for the current month.

You contact the tenant and are told that he views the lease that both you and he signed as a “living document,” the meaning of which may be altered as circumstances change. Having lost the job that paid $73,000 a year, his new job pays only $45,000, and he says he can now only afford $900 rent a month.

That is precisely the rationale that activist judges apply when they abandon the clear language of the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the land to make rulings they say are in line with current circumstances and the “mood” of the country, and because the Founders and those who enacted older laws were unable at that time to imagine current circumstances, that old stuff must be modernized.

However, the laws or constitutional principles that activist judges disagree with must be amended or repealed through existing formal processes, not ignored or altered because they are viewed as inconvenient. If momentary interpretations are all that matter, and the Constitution is merely a “living document,” we don’t have a Constitution and we are not a nation of laws.

A nation needs its history and culture — all of it: the good, the bad, and the ugly — to be passed down from generation to generation so that its people will know who they are and where they came from, and can properly determine where they want to go and why.

While families should pass much of this along to children, we largely entrust this duty to formal education. To guide the learning process and assist students in learning an array of important and useful subjects and life lessons, we employ teachers, professors, instructors and such, who coach and assist students.

Most of us had at least some teachers, professors and coaches who inspired us and helped us learn difficult subject matter, develop our skills, and learn how to think critically and logically. Hopefully, we did not have any that strayed from their professional duties and tried to tell us what to think about things, rather than developing the ability to think for ourselves.

Today, among the great number of effective educators there are too many who stray from the straight and narrow, especially in colleges and universities, where education too often takes a back seat to political and ideological indoctrination and politically correct policies. Imposing beliefs on students is worse than merely disrespecting the student; it is an outright abandonment of integrity and principle.

Along with an accurate base of knowledge about the country’s founding and history presented to them in schools, the people need to be well informed about current events. Information journalism contains two parts, and they must be kept separate. One is news about events, which must be accurate, honest and objective. The other is opinion, and must be clearly defined and omitted from straight news.

But far too often, opinion and political considerations sneak into news reporting, and also into the selection of what news gets reported and how it is reported, as well as what news does not get coverage. This is like playing golf blindfolded. You might find your driver, your ball and a tee, and you might tee up and actually hit the ball, but after that, you are literally in the dark, depending on the honesty of those around you to accurately describe the situation for you.

The American Left has a vision of America that is in many ways sharply at odds with the founding principles. Both beneficial and harmful ideas that the Left pursues are at odds with the ideal of limited government, because using government to force things on the people is the Left’s tool of choice.

Fortunately, there are obstacles to using government to “fundamentally transform the United States of America,” as a former leftist president pledged. These obstacles are difficult to remove, as they should be. So the Left resorts not infrequently to re-interpreting the Constitution and the laws; managing and manipulating the information coming through much of the mass media; and sometimes indoctrinating children.

We all need to remember that worthy and broadly beneficial ideas will sell themselves; they don’t need people to take short cuts or cheat to get them accepted.



On the lighter side

Just about everyone likes the Music of Strauss the younger but we often hear the music only, without realizing that there are words to go with it.  An example is  "Frühlingsstimmen" (Spring voices).  Below is a charming performance of the song by a young Slovak soprano Patricia Janečková. She was only 18 at the time. I liked one of the comments on the performance: "I was captivated for 7 1/2 minutes - she is just great. Then I watched it again - this time, with the speakers on: and she was even better"

I give a translation of the first verse below so you know what it is all about:

The lark rises into the blue,
the mellow wind mildly blowing;
his lovely mild breath revives
and kisses the field, the meadow.
Spring in all its splendour rises,
ah all hardship is over,
sorrow becomes milder,
good expectations,
the belief in happiness returns;
sunshine, you warm us,
ah, all is laughing, oh,oh awakes!


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


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