The party of the rich

Democrats are now the party of the rich, and Republicans are the party of the blue collar worker.  So concludes Reihan Salam, writing in the liberal Slate, drawing on research by think tanker Lee Drutman, who shows that the wealthiest Americans now tend to vote for Democrats.

Why?  Because the wealthy tend to be “socially liberal”; that is, they support abortion, gay rights, gun control, etc., etc.   Contrary to how they usually describe themselves, they are not necessarily “fiscally conservative.”  They are so affluent they don’t mind paying slightly higher taxes, and they want the government to provide health care and other benefits for the lower class that serves them.  But they are far from Bernie Sanders-style socialists, being supportive of big banks and Wall Street.

Conversely, as we see in the ascension of Donald Trump, lower income workers–concerned about free trade, exporting jobs, and low wages, as well as what they see as America’s cultural decline–are voting Republican.  This is all an exact reversal of just a few years ago. [Read more…]

Military will now accept the transgendered

The Pentagon announced that it will now allow transgendered individuals to serve in the military under their preferred sex.  The military health care system will also provide hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery to current servicemen and women who wish to transition to another sex.

[Read more…]

The end of the written word?

Facebook is predicting the end of the written word–at least on Facebook, which the head of the company in Europe says may well be all video in 5 years.  Suggesting that reading and writing will be all but obsolete (though not completely), Nicol Mendelsohn said, “The best way to tell stories in this world, where so much information is coming at us, actually is video,” which “conveys so much more information in a much quicker period. So actually the trend helps us to digest much more information.”

This is not true, as media expert Neil Postman has shown.  It certainly isn’t “quicker” to watch a video, as opposed to scanning a few paragraphs.  And the information value of videos is quite low, if you are looking for ideas and facts, as opposed to emotional experiences.  And “stories” can be told with much more depth in writing, as nearly any comparison with a movie and the novel it was based on will prove.

And yet, I can see Facebook and other online media replacing the written words with visual images and oral performances. This would be in line with the predictions of another media scholar, Marshall McLuhan, who said that when this happens, we will revert back to a pre-literate culture, one that is tribal, anti-rational, and functionally primitive. [Read more…]

Importing illiberalism

David Harsanyi asks, referring to the technical word for free societies, “Why is it that so many of the same people who are skeptical about exporting liberalism (count me as one) are perfectly content with the idea of importing illiberalism?”

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Transgendered men in women’s sports

The sports world obediently accepts the new cultural mandates about gender.  That means transgendered men can now compete, as women, in women’s sports.

Consider this case study:  Fallon Fox is a man who has transitioned into being a woman.  He, now called she, competes in women’s mixed martial arts.  Fox has so far beaten–and beaten up–5 women, having lost only one match in a technical knockout.  Here is an account of Fox’s last fight:

During Fox’s fight against Tamikka Brents, Brents suffered a concussion, an orbital bone fracture, and seven staples to the head. After her loss, Brents took to social media to fuel the controversy surrounding Fox’s perceived advantage: “I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a man or not because I’m not a doctor. I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right,” she stated. “Her grip was different, I could usually move around in the clinch against other females but couldn’t move at all in Fox’s clinch…”

Is this kind of competition fair?  Are those of you who are sympathetic to transgendered individuals OK with this?  And can’t you wait to see how this plays out in the Olympics, which has opened women’s sports to men who have not had “gender-reassignment surgery,” just hormone treatments?

After the jump, a picture and a link to a discussion by J. Douglas Johnson. [Read more…]

Correlation is not causation in study of ELCA racial diversity

More evidence that scientists–especially social scientists–need to study philosophy, particularly the complicated question of what constitutes causality:  A study of ELCA congregations has found that the more racially diverse  a congregation is, the more it has declined in attendance.  The implication being that white people leave when minority races show up.  This effect is especially evident, the study says, in older congregations.

But there are lots of reasons that ELCA congregations have been declining in membership!  The study says nothing about the theological shift leftward that has caused so many members to leave.  Or, even more to the point, neighborhood demographics.  “Older congregations” originally started in big cities are nearly always in decline as assimilated immigrants and young families move to the suburbs.  These congregations do pick up some racially diverse members from the neighborhood, but since African-Americans don’t have a tradition of becoming ELCA Lutherans (though they could well be Missouri Synod Lutherans, which has a long tradition of black membership), there will be a net loss.  But to interpret this as racism is grossly inaccurate.  To use statistical terms, correlation is not causation. [Read more…]