Missing Link Daily

A digest of the best of the blogosphere published each weekday and compiled by Ken Parish, gilmae, Gummo Trotsky, Amanda Rose, Tim Sterne, Stephen Hill and Saint.

Politics

Australian

How dumb is Liberal Frontbencher Christopher Pyne? Asked and answered at North Coast Voices.

Kevin Rennie is pessimistic about Laura Norder initiatives in the Kimberley.

Lauredhel finds another black-armband lie for Keith Windschuttle to debunk. And in a News Limited paper too. Will Rupert get Roger on this?

Today’s our last chance to plug this Larvatus Prodeo forum in Melbourne. Plugged.

Harry Clarke wonders how the left will respond to the revelations of Labor’s crooks and sharpies in the Four Corners show Dirty Sexy Money.

Tim Blair takes delight in the beneficence of Gaia.

Andrew Landeryou on how to riot and get away with it: pick a left wing cause.

Tim Dunlop and Lauredhel give kudos to an Anglican archbishop. 11. saint: No doubt they can’t give students kudos for standover tactics against a headmaster enforcing the rules [].  The Currency Lad notes the disingenuousness of the Archbishop’s response. Saint will no doubt take this as just another step in the deplorable pussification of the Anglican Church.

Andrew Elder flogs a dead horse. 22. gilmae: Just like the Liberal Party. []

Image via Colin Campbell.

International

Guido looks at Silvio Berlusconi’s re-election.

Celine Dion and Barack Obama: together at last at Canadian blog Zoilus. 33. KP: I rescued this item from the arts section because it’s a really excellent post analysing the psychology of “heartland” America in the context of Obama’s recent clumsy “elitist” remarks. []

Robert Merkel looks at the food crisis.

Audrey finds a story that is at once inspirational, sad and inspiring.

Ampotan (aka Bill Sakovich), gives Kevin Rudd advice on how not to deal with China.


mud is an external organ

washing line (up)

colour co-ordinated

spokes

Issues analysis

In episode 12938 of his thrilling serial “Annals of Naive Science”, dk.au looks at proposals for testing carbon sequestration technology44. GT: Must catch up with the first 12937 episodes – maybe they’re in the Google cache [].

Marcus Westbury has some suggestions on Arts policy for the 2020 summit.

While Rupert’s loyal employees are content to gloat over the internal ructions at The Age, Derek Barry puts in the hard yards to spell out exactly what’s at stake in the dispute. Perhaps Fairfax management should ask a favour of Rupert and get Roger on this.

Gummo Trotsky’s grand plan to analyse the housing affordability crisis is defeated by recalcitrant ABS data55. GT: Just another blogger taking on issues analysis and failing miserably; it happens all the time. Nothing to see here folks. [].

Mark “Oz Conservative” Richardson finishes his series on Jean Devanny with her attitudes towards liberty, science and more.


Arts

Chris Boyd offers us an e-mail exchange he had with prolific English playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn

Kerryn Goldsworthy at Australian Literature Diary opines about the appointment of a chair of Australian literature at the University of Western Australia, suggesting the boundless paper inches of commentrary from a certain Australian broadsheet had exaggerated the alleged demise (as Mark Twain would put it) of Auslit teaching in universities.

Tim SterneTrain at Sarsaparilla considers the etymological mystery of the Oompa Loompas. For those familiar with Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Family maybe you can help the poor man out before we find out a little too much about Jabberwock’s flirtation with socialism. (My question, where are the female Oompa Loompas? And from the lack of females are we supposed to infer that the Oompa Lompas’ interest in garish costume and song and dance provide an indication of shared interests with a certain Jar Jar Binks, who makes the Purple Teletubby seem square in comparison.) 

Matilda reviews Emily Ballou’s Aphelion

Pavlov’s Cat throws up an interesting question about the modern novel.

‘What do you all think? Chicken Little? Or are we playing ostrich?’ Scott Walters  wonders how the cold hard economy will bite into the arts in the US.

Nicholas Pickard on fretting at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, originally in Crikey.  

Alison Croggin’s play Samarkand  was aired unknown to her on ABC Radio National’s Airplay on Sunday, luckily there is a repeat 9pm Friday or right now online. Art aims to screw with your head with My Doubtful Mind,  opening Thursday at Linden Centre for Contemporary Art in St Kilda where the artists take aim at phobias in a variety of ways. 

Stephanie Trigg plays “spot the palimpsest” at the State Library of Victoria’s Medieval Manuscripts exhibition 66. GT: There is absolutely no truth to the rumour that the exhibition will finish with a parchment-dart throwing competition. [].


Snark, strangeness and charm

Should Rupert get Roger on this?

David Bath is intrigued by the possibility that testosterone drives financial markets. No doubt someone will come up with a way to test this experimentally, using vervet monkeys or barbary apes. Or rats.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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80 Responses to Missing Link Daily

  1. TimT says:

    Tim Sterne at Sarsaparilla considers the etymological mystery of the Oompa Loompas.

    Ahem. That would be TimT. Check the bit where it says ‘guest post’, and the link back to my blog where I cross-posted it. I mailed Tim (S) asking him if it would be suitable for a Sars guest post.

  2. Ken Parish says:

    Fixed.

  3. Gummo Trotsky says:

    I take it you’d rather I did my pigeon-catting elsewhere Ken.

  4. Gummo Trotsky says:

    The ultra-left rioters – some of them associated with the notoriously corrupt University of Melbourne Student Union…

    Oh, the irony! Totally gob-smacked here.

  5. Ken Parish says:

    Gummo

    There was no link to the Marohasy post and in any event that post when I looked at it was just a pretext for Marohasy to rehash her deliberately misleading “the world isn’t warming” RWDB meme. Saint had a fair run with this bullshit a couple of weeks ago, but I certainly don’t want ML to be a vehicle for disseminating this sort of crap more widely, whether from a philosophy of “equal access” (we don’t give equal access to the irrational obsessions of creationists qua evolution) or some other reason. Pardon my obtuseness, but what’s “pigeon-catting” in this context?

    On Landeryou, Blatant Hypocrisy ‘R Us?

  6. gilmae says:

    I believe the more honest expression, would be “shit-stirring”, Ken. Although, who exactly is the stiree? Let’s be honest, Gummo was pulling your pig tails, Ken, and pushing you over and calling you names. I think he has a crush :- )

  7. saint says:

    Er excuse me Ken.

    Could we kind of skip the shoot the messenger part?

    As editor you can remove any link you don’t like or kick me out of the Troppo cabal. And as you yourself noted, you left it in because it gave you an opportunity to have one of your deeply civil spits.

    Plus, I don’t think too many bloggers complain of lively comments threads.

  8. Gummo Trotsky says:

    No worries Ken – sorry I omitted the link.

    What caught my attention about the Marohasy post was the delightful irony of Marohasy’s pointed mention of the fact that Peter Boyer’s criticisms of her appeared in a Murdoch paper, and her representation of him as a “columnist” for that paper. If that was intended as an ad hom attack on his credibility, it’s pretty laughable. So is recycling the same old same old as rebuttal. And it was pure unadulterated snark too.

    Pigeon-catting in this context is setting the cat among the pigeons, as in any other context – incorrigible ramping in other words. Guess I can save that “scientist-emeritus” tag for another time.

    On Landeryou – yup. ’nuff said.

  9. Ken Parish says:

    Saint

    No-one was/is forcing you to include deliberately misleading dishonest propaganda in ML, however I’m making it absolutely clear that we won’t be highlighting any more of it under any circumstances and for whatever reason including shit-stirring. I don’t regard a long comment thread full of the idiocy of RWDB fuckwits as a “lively comment thread”, at least in any coherent sense of “lively”, and I don’t have any sense of humour whatever when it comes to Marohasy and her ilk. They just deserve lip-curling contempt.

  10. Gummo Trotsky says:

    Lets be honest, Gummo was pulling your pig tails, Ken, and pushing you over and calling you names. I think he has a crush :- )

    That’s a disturbing thought.

    Im making it absolutely clear that we wont be highlighting any more [misleading dishonest propaganda] under any circumstances and for whatever reason including shit-stirring.

    Although addressed to saint, that point obviously applies to yours truly as well, so point taken.

  11. Patrick says:

    KP:

    I rescued this item from the arts section

    Some revealed bias in that Ken ;) ?

    that said, I agree, it was too good a post for the Arts section :)

  12. saint says:

    Well Ken,

    I am impressed at your mind readng abilities. I suggest you don’t give up your day job.

  13. Ken Parish says:

    Saint

    I had assumed that the item concerning Marohasy was inserted by you (since you cover the right-leaning blogs including hers) and that only the bracketted comment was Gummo’s. However it appears from Gummo’s subsequent comments that both the item and bracketted comment were his work. To that extent I targetted you unfairly. Nevertheless, the previous comment indicates a policy position of which both team members and readers should be made aware. That is, just about all publications have a policy of not publicising (at least in the sense of taking seriously) belief systems that their publishers regard as grossly obnoxious and/or wrong . Creationism is an obvious example that the great bulk of mainstream publications don’t afford “equal respect”, as are the paranoid conspiracy theories of the La Rouche-ites. As far as I’m concerned, global warming denialism falls into that category (however, note that “denialism” doesn’t include debating the extent of human-caused warming or the existence or extent of positive or negative “climate “feedback” mechanisms that may affect the extent and pace of warming, because these things remain in the realm of genuine scientific uncertainty, nor does it preclude debating the efficacy etc of any proposed measures/policies to combat warming). Others (including you) are at liberty to disagree and argue that warming isn’t occurring or that humans aren’t causing it, but not in primary posts published on Club Troppo.

  14. NPOV says:

    BTW, the link about “Celine Dion and Barack Obama” is an especially good read, as is the paper it links to about “What’s the matter with Kansas”: http://journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/files/willis-tomfrank.pdf

    I wouldn’t have looked at it if it weren’t for your sidenote Ken, so thanks for that!

  15. Kevin Rennie says:

    I didn’t mean to sound completely pessimistic or cynical about the law and order issues especially for indigenous people. There are things happening to lower the supply side of the justice system. They just need to be emphasised and beefed up. The provision of the second magistrate for the Kimberley and extension of legal aid support will definitely speed up things, which is a positive all round. Moves to address alcohol related problems and their related social and criminal consequences are cause for some optimism. So are the initiatives for more employment and training.

  16. Amanda says:

    I put the Barack link in originally — Zoilus is a one of my fave music blogs. His (Carl Wilson) book on Celine Dion is excellent — even, and especially, if you hate Celine.

  17. saint says:

    Ken,

    Thanks again for noting views about GW that I may have. What are my views exactly?

    And are you saying that if someone writes a particularly good, well argued, thoughtful or even entertaining piece on creationism (to use your example) it is off limits to all Cabal editors?

    For the record. After Gummo added a RW link with a note of apology to me in a previous pre-publication edition of ML, I removed the note and emailed him to say I don’t have any issue with others who may want to add, amend or delete my links to right wing blogs and/or my comments. I don’t consider it my “turf” to be defended at all costs.

    You yourself have informed others of the subjective nature of our selections on many occasions. I didn’t realise however, that adding a link to ML is somehow evidence that you hold or endorse the views of that blog post, that it also meant you become responsible for other editors amendments/annotations to your contributions, and that it gives Ken Parish open season to question you motivations. Duh me.

    Next time I must remember to prepare a submission for the Inquisition

    Yes you targetted me unfairly, although it seems to reveal that you really cannot get past that Marohasy link which YOU my friend, were happy to include as it gave you a chance to resurrect a dead horse for another flogging. And you have persisted in throwing barbs my way even after I explained to you that I remain largely ignorant of GW issues and am only fascinated by the quasi-religious aspects revealed by the public debate.

    No problems it’s your blog, Ken. Own it then. But don’t think you own my own personal opinions and motivations to the point of formulating them for me.

    In the meantime, and for as long as I remain in the Troppo Cabal, I would appreciate a list of all the topics/bloggers you deem off limits.

  18. Patrick says:

    NPOV, that article was pretty good. But Tom Frank’s book is complete rubbish. It is painful evidence of the problem the article identifies with pig-ignorant progressives trying to understand something as alien as ‘a culture’, as opposed to mere ‘culture’, which is the sole domain of progressives.

  19. NPOV says:

    Patrick, I haven’t read Tom Frank’s book, but “rubbish” seems unfair, from what I’ve read about it. No-one that I’m aware of has really adequately addressed his central point that a significant percentage of American voters have being voting for a party that shows no willingness to specifically look out for their financial interest (even if you buy the line that unbridled capitalism is the best way to ensure that everybody automatically ends up better off in the end). His theory on why that might be is almost certainly inadequate, but I’m not so sure it’s completely off the mark.
    Further, many of Ellen Willis’ criticisms about the simplications Frank make seem to work on the assumption that his thesis applied across all of America, rather than only to fairly specific (but still substantial) parts of it.

  20. Patrick says:

    Er, no?

    His thesis assumes that Democratic policies would be better for American farmers and ex-industrial workers than Republican policies. This is not at all clear. When it comes down to it, his theory on this seems to be that working class voters should be stupid enough to accept that since Democrats are more committed to unions, shackled trade and redistribution, their policies are automatically better for poor Americans.

    Further, he then goes on to assume that these voters are irrationally putting their cultural interests ahead of their economic interests. This is the real doozy. It beggars belief that a progressive of all people can simply assume, without further analysis, that it is in any way weird to put cultural well-being ahead of financial well-being. The implicit thesis is that only well-off educated professional progressives could be so sophisticated as to think that money isn’t everything.

    The irony is priceless.

    Also, that demonstrates the kind of complete misunderstanding that saw unions goggle when Howard ‘discovered’ the aspirational voter – their target audience, who had forgotten they existed.

    Finally, his ‘thesis’, although that is a very fancy word for ‘idea I came up with chatting with a few progressive friends last evening’, is that poor and working class voters are being doddled in to supporting Republicans by dog-whistle appeals to issues such as religion and gun rights. But these aren’t ‘dog-whistles’!! On the whole the Democrats actually do hold the positions imputed to them, and the Republicans vice versa. Also, see above re not understanding importance of ‘cultural’ issues.

    If anyone has a better defence of Franks’ arguments than his own, I’m all ears (or eyes). Until then, I think it is bollocks!

  21. NPOV says:

    Actually there is a reasonable amount of evidence that in general Democrat economic policies have been better for the working classes of the U.S. – indeed, they’ve generally been better for the country as a whole over the last few decades. They’re just as much pro-capitalism as the Republicans, but also embrace policies that promote social justice and assistance for those most in need of it.

    And, yes, it is irrational to vote for a government based on cultural issues: for a start, how does it benefit anyone personally to have a government that goes around controlling what other people are allowed to do with their bodies and their personal lives? It’s one thing to have strong reservations about the behaviour of others, and quite another to vote for a government that promises to enact policies to control that behaviour: i.e., to believe that somehow that authoritarian edicts that apply to everybody in the country are the way to improve your own “cultural well-being”. If you want to improve your cultural well-being, join a community group whose values you share.

    As far as the extent to which the Republican party is specifically attempting to “brainwash” voters into voting for them on the basis of religious beliefs etc., I think Ellen Willis correctly points out that hasn’t been the super-successful strategy Frank obviously thinks it has been. Other studies have shown that the purported drift from voting Democratic to voting Republican among the Mid-western white working-classes that Frank primarily discusses is not backed up by the stats anyway, so there are definitely rather large holes in his thesis.
    But to me “bollocks” or “rubbish” implies that Frank had no idea what he was talking about and that his book failed to give any useful insight into recent political demographic changes in the U.S., which seems overly harsh. At the very least it sparked an interesting debate.

  22. Helen says:

    Memo to Harry Clark – “Left” does not equal “votes Labor”. I’ll put my hand up as someone who has written a post or two hammering Labor and I’m about to do it again. Not in a way that will please you, however. ;-)

  23. Graham Bell says:

    Ken Parish:

    Thanks a lot for that Ampotan link on how not to deal with China. :-)

  24. Ken Parish says:

    Graham

    I’ve just been compiling ML this week not adding my own selections due to lack of time, so one of the other team members is the one to thank.

  25. Patrick says:

    NPOV,

    At the very least it sparked an interesting debate.

    Perhaps at the most. But I will give it that.

    And, yes, it is irrational to vote for a government based on cultural issues: for a start, how does it benefit anyone personally to have a government that goes around controlling what other people are allowed to do with their bodies and their personal lives?

    You are obviously ill-positioned to comment on this!! What about abortion? What if you happen to believe that second-trimester abortion is murder? Would you agree with state sanctioning of murder? What about gay marriage? Some people genuinely believe this is wrong – I will believe that they are unjustified in factoring this into their voting when you agree that the minimum wage is an unjustified state intrusion on private morality.

    What about resenting dumb-ass atheist progressives who profess to find your way of thinking and living incomprehensible? Isn’t that reason enough not to vote for them – I assume you agree that votes should ultimately be based on respect for the candidate?

    Actually there is a reasonable amount of evidence that in general Democrat economic policies have been better for the working classes of the U.S. – indeed, theyve generally been better for the country as a whole over the last few decades.

    I presume this is a reference to this graph
    It is not really what you think – Alex Tabarrok believes it is merely evidence of the partisan business cycle theory:
    In a nutshell, the theory of partisan business cycles says that Democrats care more about reducing unemployment, Republicans care more about reducing inflation. Wage growth is set according to expected inflation in advance of an election. Since which party will win the election is unknown wages growth is set according to a mean of the Democrat (high) and Republican (low) expected inflation rates. If Democrats are elected they inflate and real wages fall creating a boom. If Republicans are elected they reduce inflation and real wages rise creating a bust. Notice that in PBC theory neither party creates a boom or bust it’s uncertainty which drives the result – if the winning party were known there would be neither boom nor bust.

    Tyler Cowen thinks it is mainly about monetary policy (which looks like much the same thing as PBC) has a pretty good argument in support of that, and a typically catchy summary:

    So Bartels could have entitled his key graph: “Democratic Presidents live for the short run and we need a Republican President every now and then.”

    Even Paul Krugman (via Tyler) remains sceptical:

    Even though I believe that politics has a big effect on income distribution, this is just too strong and too immediate for me to see how it can be done.

    Note also these graphs, from Bartels.

  26. NPOV says:

    I happen to believe that we should do everything we can to reduce abortion. The countries with the lowest abortion rates (The Netherlands & Belgium) are NOT countries that ban it; in fact they make it fairly easy to access. The anti-abortion movement has never shown any real interest in measures that actually work at lowering abortion rates.

    As far as gay marriage goes, again, there is no evidence from countries where gay marriages (or gay civil ceremonies) have been the norm for many many years that it has had any impact on heterosexual marriage. Further, I personally think it’s wrong for a 20yo girl to marry an 80 year old man, but I don’t accept there should be laws preventing it – it’s not really any of my business and has no bearing on my “cultural well-being”.

    As for refusing to vote for “resenting dumb-ass atheist progressives who profess to find your way of thinking and living incomprehensible”, fine, but which party is that exactly?

    As for the whole whether Democrats-have-been-better-for-the-poor-than-the-Republicans debate, I don’t really feel fully qualified to enter into it here, but I will happily defend the argument that GWB was voted in by a large number of people who have suffered considerably due to his mismanagement of the economy.

  27. Gummo Trotsky says:

    Tom Franks book is complete rubbish. It is painful evidence of the problem the article identifies with pig-ignorant progressives trying to understand something as alien as a culture, as opposed to mere culture, which is the sole domain of progressives.

    What about resenting dumb-ass atheist progressives who profess to find your way of thinking and living incomprehensible? Isnt that reason enough not to vote for them – I assume you agree that votes should ultimately be based on respect for the candidate?

    Thanks for demonstrating that pig-ignorant dumb-asses can be found across the whole of the political spectrum. A much needed boost to my faith in human nature, that was.

  28. Patrick says:

    NPOV, I don’t care what your actual opinion on the issues is for present purposes (although we are broadly in agreement). The point is that other people, besides you, might find these issues a reason to vote one way or the other.

    Ie, would you vote for someone who proposed to outlaw abortion entirely and make gay marriage a crime? Or would economics trump your values? If the answer to the second question is No, Franks’ thesis is crap, if it is Yes, well, fair enough, you are entitled to think that Franks is on to something.

    Gummo, I’m sorry you don’t like my hyberbole. It was a bit much, I admit! But I wouldn’t dispute your conclusion.

  29. NPOV says:

    I don’t dispute that people do consider their feeling that abortion or gay marriage is “wrong” a reason to vote for a particular party, but it’s still irrational.

    I knowingly voted for a party last election that most likely would be, at best, rather average economic managers (the Greens), so does that answer your question?
    (to be honest, if I genuinely believed they were likely to get into power and implement some of their more economically damaging policies, I wouldn’t have voted for them, not out of any concern for my own financial security, but for those that can least afford any sort of economic downturn).
    OTOH, if I genuinely believed that, for instance, the ALP had an economic plan that would dramatically improve the prosperity of all Australians, but were also planning to outlaw abortion, I would have a very hard time bringing myself to vote for them, given the potentially awful effects of criminalised abortion.

    But look, at the end of the day, most voters aren’t particularly rational. They vote for the party that they generally perceive to be acting in their personal (short-term) interest. To a certain degree, Frank’s point is that a lot of Republican-voters don’t even seem to be doing that, given the Republican party has little recent history of even appearing to act in their interest.

  30. Patrick says:

    WTF?? I agree with you, but I refuse to??? And to conclude, A, but not A?

    When you vote, he considers that values often, if not always, trump economics. Presumably, you do this on a rational basis – you certainly suggest a rational calculus when you refer to ‘the potentially awful effects of criminalised abortion’.

    Let’s break this down a bit:

    But look, at the end of the day, most voters arent particularly rational.

    Except you?

    They vote for the party that they generally perceive to be acting in their personal (short-term) interest.

    Which is still rational, just not on all the same premises as you (which is kinda our whole point here!). Also, refer Tyler’s summary of those Bartels graphs above:

    Democratic Presidents live for the short run and we need a Republican President every now and then.

    So maybe they are voting rationally even by your lights, and you have just got the critical premise (which party is good for the long-term) wrong.

    To a certain degree, Franks point is that a lot of Republican-voters dont even seem to be doing that, given the Republican party has little recent history of even appearing to act in their interest.

    Well, except I thought we had just agreed that one’s values are in one’s interests? As a conclusion (for Franks) that does a great job of begging the question one would have expected him to be asking (ie, what is important to working class voters?).

  31. NPOV says:

    No, I don’t accept that voting for parties that promise to ban activities you believe are morally questionable is voting in your own self-interest.
    How would it be in my interest to vote for a party that promised to outlaw 80yo males marrying 20yo females?

    OTOH, if there was solid evidence that, for instance, banning abortion was actually likely to help reduce the rate at which innocent foetuses were being “murdered”, and not at all likely to result in the death of anyone making use of backyard abortion clinics, then voting for a candidate that was actually genuinely committed to outlawing abortion could be defended on rational grounds (though there’s still not a lot of self-interest involved).

    And yes, I am claiming I’m more rational than the average voter – as is surely almost every poster here. That doesn’t make us better people, but the fact that we actually a) spend time discussing policies b) actually care about policy surely makes us more likely to make a rational choice at the ballot box than the majority of Australians who tend to ignore politics for the most part (which was me too until relatively recently).

  32. NPOV says:

    Oh, and no, having a general perception that a particularly government is likely to act in your “personal (short-term) interest” is not being rational.
    As an example, anyone that voted for the ALP on the basis that it promised to reduce petrol prices was surely not being particularly rational. The only way the government could feasibly reduce petrol prices is to scrap existing fuel taxes, which a) it obviously isn’t going to do and b) if actually did would have pretty obviously undesirable long-term consequences for Australia as a whole.

  33. saint says:

    That was me who added ampotan and I got that link from Tim Blair’s blog.

    Huzzah one happy customer.

  34. Fyodor says:

    And yes, I am claiming Im more rational than the average voter

    Let me get this straight: you’re in the small minority of people who vote for the Green party, despite its espousal of policies you think are economically damaging, while those irrationally average punters vote for parties that actually promise to do something for them that they want. And you cast your vote their way on the basis that you knew the Greens were NOT going to get in. If they had a chance of getting in, you wouldn’t have voted for them. So you knowingly wasted your vote. And you think that you’re more rational?

    I do not think that word means what you think it means.

  35. gilmae says:

    So you knowingly wasted your vote

    The major parties – although let’s face, in this case I mean the ALP – know that there are going to be first preferences votes going to the Greens and make a deal to get the Greens to encourage their voters to preference the ALP later. In making that deal the ALP make some concession to the Greens. And everybody knows the concessions are going to be environment related, not economic.

    By voting for minor parties first, those voters encourage the major parties to treat with the minor parties. Seems basically rational to me.

    Besides, you have to vote informally to knowingly waste your vote in Australia.

  36. NPOV says:

    What gilmae said. I most likely wouldn’t vote Greens first if we didn’t have preferential voting.

  37. Patrick says:

    FFS!

    No, I dont accept that voting for parties that promise to ban activities you believe are morally questionable is voting in your own self-interest.

    The question was a bit stronger than your example – murder is not ‘morally questionable’, and some people do believe that abortion is murder. Ie, would you vote for a party that promised to criminalise abortion? No, because you are voting with your values. What about a party that promised to decriminalise murder of adults? You might hesitate a minute before voting, might you not?

    I’m still not interested in what you think a rational position is, we can talk about that another day. I’m interested in the process of decision-making, not the premises as such.

    Your last paragraph makes the same mistake. You are claiming to be a more informed voter – OTT there is a serious argument that by informing yourself to that degree you are acting less rationally – but again, that doesn’t demonstrate that the poor old working-class Kansan is not entering into a rational calculus based on sufficient information. My proposition is that for some, if not many, voters, it is sufficient information to know that candidate A wants to legalise abortion(murder) to rationally not vote for them.

    Oh, and no, having a general perception that a particularly government is likely to act in your personal (short-term) interest is not being rational.

    Not, again, what I meant. I meant that the graphs seemed to show that voting Democrat was in Americans’ short-term interests but voting Republican was in their long-term interest.

  38. Fyodor says:

    The major parties – although lets face, in this case I mean the ALP – know that there are going to be first preferences votes going to the Greens and make a deal to get the Greens to encourage their voters to preference the ALP later. In making that deal the ALP make some concession to the Greens. And everybody knows the concessions are going to be environment related, not economic.

    Naturally, because environmental policies don’t affect the economy. Are we getting more rational now, or less?

  39. John Greenfield says:

    In fact if preferential voting were abandoned The Greens would vanish overnight.

  40. NPOV says:

    Fyodor, if you can’t distinguish between the relatively mild effect that any environmental policy influence the Greens might have on a major party would have on the economy and the rather significant effect that implementing actual Greens economic policy would have, then I’m fairly sure it’s not me lacking in the rationality department.

  41. NPOV says:

    Patrick, I wouldn’t necessarily mind classifying late-term abortion as murder, but with the acceptance that killing another human being in self-defence is NOT murder, and most of the reasons that mothers have for terminating late-term pregnancies could reasonably be classified as “self-defence”. But I’ve seen no evidence that those who vote for Republicans because they believe that “abortion is murder” have put that amount of thought into the issue, or indeed much evidence that they genuinely care that innocent foetuses are being killed at all. And at the end of the day, it really is a little foolish to believe that the Republicans are likely to ever criminalise abortion.

    And yes, I’m well aware of the axiom that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”, but more important is an open mind and an acceptance that the knowledge you have is likely to be complete.

    On that basis, I’m willing to keep an open mind on the degree to which Republican vs Democrat governments in the U.S. have actually implemented policies that produce better results for the working classes. But the evidence that I am aware of fairly strongly suggests that Democrat governments have in general done a better job, the odd anomaly of recent election-year results aside. What, however, would disprove Frank’s thesis is some sort of evidence that the working-classes that have supposedly voting against their financial interests did actually have good reason to believe that Republican party policies were in fact in their best financial interests after all. I’m not aware of whether any relevant studies have been done in this area.

  42. NPOV says:

    JG, au contraire, if preferential voting were replaced by a proportional system, the Greens would have actually a significant amount of political power.

  43. Fyodor says:

    Fyodor, if you cant distinguish between the relatively mild effect that any environmental policy influence the Greens might have on a major party would have on the economy and the rather significant effect that implementing actual Greens economic policy would have, then Im fairly sure its not me lacking in the rationality department.

    The issue isn’t whether I can distinguish between their policies, but whether you can. The point is salient because you’re giving the Greens your vote to influence the major parties, without having any real ability to predict how they will use that influence. And this despite having already stated that they have some policies you consider to be very dangerous, so dangerous in fact that you wouldn’t trust the Greens in government. As I implied earlier, this doesn’t strike me as a decision of above-average rationality. On the contrary, it seems to me that this is the woolly-headed thinking of people inclined to vote on emotion and symbolism rather than on a rational assessment of what they want from government.

  44. NPOV says:

    I think the major parties have some pretty dangerous policies too. The difference with the Greens is that their more dangerous policies are highly unlikely to ever be implemented for a variety of reasons. Further, even their most dangerous policies are not going to destroy the country. We have a functioning democracy, and if it became clear that they were incapable of government, they would be booted out soon enough.

    My ability to predict in what ways the Greens are likely to be able to influence the major parties is no worse than my ability to predict exact how the major parties will actually act once in power, and what effect their actions will have on the country. All I do know is that the only party that happens to be standing up for various policies changes I believe our country needs is the Greens (actually, the LDP qualifies too, but a) I had no option to vote for them and b) there’s very little reason to believe they are likely to have any influence at all over the major parties. Plus their most dangerous policies are, IMO, far worse than the Green’s most dangerous ones).

  45. gilmae says:

    Naturally, because environmental policies dont affect the economy.

    And? It’s irrational to think that the economic impacts of one policy are an acceptable compromise between competing principals, but another is not? Oh, right, because I can’t predict – I don’t have complete knowledge of – what the Greens will ask for. Then again, I don’t have complete knowledge of what either of the major parties will do a year after they win government, but I have some fair idea based on their core ideas. The same with the Greens; if I give my first preference to the Greens I am making a calculated risk that what they’ll ask of the major parties in return for their preferences will be those policies I think are acceptable compromise and not the ludicrous arse-hattery.

    Every party, even the majors, have some dumb shit in their policy portfolios as well as stuff I like. I order my preferences towards those parties whose guiding principals are the policies I like. I’ll vote for the Greens even if their purely economic policies are stupid, but I’ll never vote for a Communist party even if they have environmental policies. If that’s irrational than so is voting for any party and representative democracy because I can never accurately predict what they will do between elections.

    Golly, I seem to have considered what my vote means and taken action based on those thoughts. How irrational.

  46. Patrick says:

    Naturally, because environmental policies dont affect the economy.

    Just a thought, but this might have been a sarcastic comment. Consider the next line:

    Are we getting more rational now, or less?

  47. Fyodor says:

    My ability to predict in what ways the Greens are likely to be able to influence the major parties is no worse than my ability to predict exact how the major parties will actually act once in power, and what effect their actions will have on the country.

    It is (or should be) quite clear that you have a much better idea of how the major parties will act once in power, because they have a reasonable chance of winning power and are – generally – expected to prosecute their policies. The Greens, however, have no such chance and, further, it’s difficult to predict where their influence will be expended and/or effective, so your ability to predict their influence on government is FAR WORSE.

    All I do know is that the only party that happens to be standing up for various policies changes I believe our country needs is the Greens

    Now that’s a far more rational argument. If you believe the Greens’ policies, in aggregate (and despite your disagreement with some of them individually), are what you want, then voting to give the Greens more influence on government is far more defensible in terms of rational voting.

    However, that was not your original position (at #29), which was that you would not vote for the Greens if they were likely to get into power. So either you do believe their policies, in aggregate, warts & all, would be good for Australia, or you don’t. You decide.

    Golly, I seem to have considered what my vote means and taken action based on those thoughts. How irrational.

    Not at all, Gilmae. You’ve argued NPOV’s case far more rationally than he did. That’s the point. Perhaps you’re the more-rational-than-average punter.

  48. jc says:

    Futhermore if he thinks the Greens have very damaging economic policies their influence on the government is unlikely to be positive.

  49. Liam says:

    Fyodor, you’re challenging NPOV with two different meanings of voter rationality. He’s not articulate, but you’re not helping.
    “Rationality” if a vote is for measurable economic self-interest is different to “rationality” in the sense of a political standpoint. Even if NPOV thinks the Greens are potentially economically damaging, his(?) vote is rational if he’s deliberately using a preference vote to play the electoral game. Poor Americans who vote for Republicans who cut the taxes of the rich aren’t irrational; they’re deluded, which is a different category altogether.
    Of course a vote without coherence or self-interest is by definition irrational. Having scrutineered many a ballot, I can tell you there’s far more of them than you think.

  50. NPOV says:

    Well I’ll certainly agree that gilmae has argued my case more articulately.

    Fyodor, what I said regarding the Greens was that “if I genuinely believed they were likely to get into power and implement some of their more economically damaging policies” that I wouldn’t vote for them.

    While I admit it’s hard thing to prove, I don’t think it’s irrational to take the position that the Green’s “more economic damaging policies” are very unlikely to be implemented, or even to have much influence on the policies of a major party that relies on the Greens for preference votes. OTOH, there are grounds for believing that their stance on various environmental and social justice issues is likely to have some influence on the ALP’s policymaking.

    And no, I don’t accept my ability to predict the outcome of “major party in power, significantly dependent on Green’s preference votes” is “far worse” than my ability to predict the outcome of “major party in power, minimal dependence on Green’s preferences votes”. Sure, there are more variables in play, but basically I think it’s safe to say that the net policy influence that the Greens are realistically likely to have on the ALP is going to “for the better” (according to my own preferences of course).

  51. jc says:

    Poor Americans who vote for Republicans who cut the taxes of the rich arent irrational; theyre deluded, which is a different category altogether.
    Of course a vote without coherence or self-interest is by definition irrational

    You have to be rich to vote GOP? Huh?
    Is Menckon right when he said “an election is a pre-auction in stolen goods”.

  52. jc says:

    but basically I think its safe to say that the net policy influence that the Greens are realistically likely to have on the ALP is going to for the better (according to my own preferences of course).

    If the greens economic policies would be damaging how do you then conclude that their influence on government is positive? That dog “don’t” hunt

  53. Patrick says:

    The problem with gilmae’s argument is that it would appear competely inconsistent with Franks’, and by extension NPOV’s, arguments about the rationality of Kansan voters.

    Every party, even the majors, have some dumb shit in their policy portfolios as well as stuff I like. I order my preferences towards those parties whose guiding principals are the policies I like.

    How is this any different to what the nominal Kansan does when he votes his values (which NPOV happily admits that he does as well)?

    I remain convinced that NPOV’s only argument is that Kansan’s don’t share his values, not that they are irrational.

  54. Fyodor says:

    Fyodor, youre challenging NPOV with two different meanings of voter rationality. Hes not articulate, but youre not helping. Rationality if a vote is for measurable economic self-interest is different to rationality in the sense of a political standpoint. Even if NPOV thinks the Greens are potentially economically damaging, his(?) vote is rational if hes deliberately using a preference vote to play the electoral game.

    No, not helping, gently mocking perhaps. [TSYCHIMLEHNSMIDSMICMOYTI]

    I’m not positing two different meanings of voter rationality – the distinction you draw is neither accurate nor necessary. It’s often assumed that there are “economically” rational decisions, and decisions that are otherwise rational (e.g. “politically” rational, as you put it) but uneconomic.

    This misunderstands the concept of rationality in economic and other social theory, which assumes that people act in what they think is their best interest in utilitarian terms. This doesn’t mean – as is often assumed by those with an ideological axe to grind – always acting to maximise economic or monetary wealth. It means simply working out what you want and acting to achieve that. And what you want can be as uneconomically abstract as art, a clean environment, a republic, whatever. Thus trading wealth, income or votes for those things you want is not only rational in utilitarian terms, it’s rational in economic terms. Likewise, voting Green is rational if you want what the Greens want. It’s economically incompetent, IMO, but that’s a different issue.

    Of course a vote without coherence or self-interest is by definition irrational.

    Exactly my point. As I’ve been demonstrating there was little evidence of either showing in NPOV’s defence of his allegedly better-than-average rationality.

  55. gilmae says:

    Patrick:

    Except I’m not defending Franks’s argument. I think it is basically bogus which I would have thought was obvious since I spent a few minutes arguing that there are more categories of self-interest than the economic.

    That’s the thrust of Franks’s argument, right? That Democratic economic policies are better for Kansas than Republican, and that to vote against those economic policies in favour of other, non-economic policies is irrational.

    I’m arguing against Fyodor’s contention that tactical voting in a preferential voting system is irrational. I think this is a separate issue to Franks’s thesis.

  56. NPOV says:

    Patrick, I gather Frank’s thesis is that Kansans are voting for a party that history strongly suggests that they aren’t likely to do things they want (like banning abortion or the teaching of evolution etc.), whereas what they *are* likely to do (economic policies that tend to favour the wealthy) is likely to be net determinental to those voters.

    To be honest, I don’t know whether Frank has an opinion on whether it’s rational for a Kansan who thinks abortion is wrong to vote for a party that’s promising to ban it, but I will certainly stand by my claim that it’s not, and it’s that which makes their vote irrational as much as anything else.

    If there truly was a good argument that, for instance, it actually made sense to vote for a party promising to ban abortion just because you thought it was wrong, then I’d accept that such a vote was reasonably rational. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that such voters didn’t spend a great amount of time thinking all that much about the likely consequences of their vote.

    Now, I’m happy to accept that a certain amount irrational prejudice went into my vote, but my vote was never a foregone conclusion and I spent some time talking to all the candidates I was voting for (with one exception, that being the sitting member, who I had every reason to want voted out – with no luck unfortunately). I made sure I was at least reasonably familiar with the range of policies on offer, ensured I understood how the preferential voting system worked, and decided my preferences accordingly. Is it really then that unreasonable for me to then claim that my voting process was more rational than that of the average voter, regardless of where they live and who they vote for?

    And it’s not enough to suggest I think I’m more rational because I don’t share the typical “Kansan values”. There are plenty of people who don’t share my values who I’m confident voted at least as rationally as I did, including many on this forum.

  57. Liam says:

    the distinction you draw is neither accurate nor necessary

    I think it’s both. NPOV’s explanation of his rationality as opposed to Kansan irrationality was based on the justifiability of his beliefs, which is a political, not logical, argument. I’m trying to argue that the term “rational” when applied to politics is a moveable feast.
    For the reasons you’ve described, a One Nation party voter who correctly assesses ONP as the best Party for racists is economically rational, and votes perfectly coherently. Racism as a worldview, however, remains positively irrational (as is, I might add, my own enduring belief in the ALP as a pro-worker institution).

  58. NPOV says:

    Ah but I think someone who is uncomfortable with the presence of other races in Australia voting for a party who promises to keep them out *is* being rational: as such a policy does at least stand some chance of being implemented (witness recent quota reductions) and is actually likely to be effective at reducing the presence of other races.

    The discomfort itself may be irrational, but that isn’t the issue here, it’s the degree to which your vote is actually likely to have a beneficial effect.
    Likewise, I don’t care whether someone believes abortion is wrong or not (and indeed I don’t even think you can prove this by rational means), but I do care that they want a policy that can, by means of evidence and rational argument, be shown to have highly damaging effects (and, further, have virtually no effectiveness in actually achieving the desired goal of fewer abortions).

  59. jc says:

    For the reasons youve described, a One Nation party voter who correctly assesses ONP as the best Party for racists is economically rational, and votes perfectly coherently.

    Fyodor never suggested this. he was quite clear.

    This doesnt mean – as is often assumed by those with an ideological axe to grind – always acting to maximise economic or monetary wealth. It means simply working out what you want and acting to achieve that. And what you want can be as uneconomically abstract as art, a clean environment, a republic, whatever. Thus trading wealth, income or votes for those things you want is not only rational in utilitarian terms, its rational in economic terms. Likewise, voting Green is rational if you want what the Greens want. Its economically incompetent, IMO, but thats a different issue.

  60. Liam says:

    Now, NPOV, you’re confusing being rational with being informed. They’re two totally different things.
    Very uninformed voters can make decisions much more rational than yours; everyone who votes for a Party because their Mum and Dad did as their grandparents did before them is making a perfectly rational assessment. Conversely, even highly informed people can make very irrational (in Fyodor’s economic sense) choices. Margot Kingston famously regretted her 1996 vote for John Howard, as did Robert Manne. Uneconomic would be a charitable way of putting it.
    I also don’t think you’ve got any reason to believe that blue-collar Kansans who vote for anti-abortion Republicans, and are surprised when public spending declines, are in any way uninformed. Kansans make their choices, in favour of foetuses and surpluses, and that’s their problem.

  61. jc says:

    …………. that blue-collar Kansans who vote for anti-abortion Republicans, and are surprised when public spending declines,

    They sure would be. I’d fall off my chair if that has ever happened or will ever happen in the future. Public spending under the GOP has never fallen in modern history. Even under Reagan.

    Liam, you’re just making this up as you go along.

  62. Patrick says:

    Now, NPOV, youre confusing being rational with being informed. Theyre two totally different things.

    He has done that all along!

    NPOV,

    To be honest, I dont know whether Frank has an opinion on whether its rational for a Kansan who thinks abortion is wrong to vote for a party thats promising to ban it, but I will certainly stand by my claim that its not, and its that which makes their vote irrational as much as anything else.

    The propositon was negative, NPOV. It was that you would not vote for the party that planned to extend legal access to abortion.

    Just as you would not vote for the party that planned to ban it.

    And as I hoped my earlier posts had explained, the economic argument is essentially an assumption. If it is valid, it is only with regards to the short-term – which some might consider a fundamentally irrational basis on which to vote!

  63. Liam says:

    Heh. OK, you’ve got me there Joe.

  64. NPOV says:

    Liam, I think if you’re going to claim that one can be unconsciously/unknowingly rational, you’re diluting the meaning of the word to the point that it becomes a bit meaningless. “Rational”, according to m-w.com, means “having reason or understanding”. Surely that requires being “informed”?
    And yes, I’ve got every reason to assume that someone who believes that banning abortion is a good way to reduce behaviour you consider immoral is uninformed.

    Patrick, fair enough – but is there actually evidence that anti-abortionists have voted against the Democrat party because of a concern that Democrat policies would make abortion easier to access? Further, that doesn’t fully explain why they then voted Republican – they could have not voted at all, surely.

  65. Liam says:

    Rational, according to m-w.com, means having reason or understanding. Surely that requires being informed?

    Not at all. Lots of people go into the polling booth cursing that all politicians are the same and it doesn’t matter who they vote for, and for them, a donkey vote or a spoiled ballot is perfectly rational (though stupid). Lots of people recently voted for Labor because they thought Rudd was cooler than Howard, a shallow but rational choice based on their wanting to have a younger Prime Minister.

    Ive got every reason to assume that someone who believes that banning abortion is a good way to reduce behaviour you consider immoral is uninformed.

    No, you just disagree with them politically. So do I, but their choice to vote for anti-abortionist candidates because of their anti-abortion beliefs is perfectly reasonable.

  66. NPOV says:

    Then you and I disagree on the meaning of “rational”. As far as I’m concern, rationality is only possible providing you actually have the information necessary to make a reasonable decisions.

    As far as abortion goes, this is simply false. There is solid, factual evidence that bans on abortion do very little (if anything) to reduce it, and typically lead to more deaths than would occur otherwise. If this were not the case, then I wouldn’t have a huge issue with those who wished to ban abortion.

  67. Liam says:

    How have the people in my two examples above made decisions free from information important to them, NPOV, and why is decision-making on false premises in any way irrational?
    As I mentioned before, I believe, despite lots of evidence to the contrary, that the Labor Party is the Party best suited to look after the interests of workers, and thus I vote for the ALP because I want its candidates to win. My vote is perfectly rational, even if it’s based entirely on wishful thinking and unfounded enthusiasm.

  68. Fyodor says:

    Im arguing against Fyodors contention that tactical voting in a preferential voting system is irrational.

    Ah, but that’s not my contention at all, Gilmae. My contention is that NPOV doesn’t seem to be voting tactically at all, hence no more rationally than the average voter. You’ve done NPOV an excellent service in spinning his arguments into a coherent tactical strategy, but the unfortunate reality is that his own arguments justifying his vote are an incoherent muddle.

    I think its both. NPOVs explanation of his rationality as opposed to Kansan irrationality was based on the justifiability of his beliefs, which is a political, not logical, argument. Im trying to argue that the term rational when applied to politics is a moveable feast.

    For the reasons youve described, a One Nation party voter who correctly assesses ONP as the best Party for racists is economically rational, and votes perfectly coherently. Racism as a worldview, however, remains positively irrational (as is, I might add, my own enduring belief in the ALP as a pro-worker institution).

    No, not a moveable feast, Liam, but a matter of subjectivity, and that doesn’t mean it’s free of logic. Contrary to your view, a racist voting for a racist party IS voting rationally and logically. The problem here is that you are confusing rationality with preferences. You may consider the racist’s beliefs irrational, but he is voting consistent with his beliefs and preferences. Socialism is thoroughly irrational, but I accept that socialists will vote according to their preferences and that this is a rational choice FOR THEM. What’s not rational is voting against your own interests and preferences.

  69. jc says:

    My vote is perfectly rational, even if its based entirely on wishful thinking and unfounded enthusiasm.

    Yes it is rational, yet you don’t expect that of others.

    As for #65 wouldn’t optional voting help reduce most of that?

  70. NPOV says:

    You can certainly make rational decisions based on incorrect information (if you’re unaware that it’s incorrect). But you can’t make very rational decisions based on no information at all.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see how you can knowingly claim to vote for the ALP based on “wishful thinking and unfounded enthusiasm” and then claim that your vote is “perfectly rational”.

    Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with irrational voting, up to a point. After all, there are good reasons why many human behaviours are irrational (e.g. falling in love – if we fell in love purely on a rational basis, then the moment someone else came along that was a rationally better choice, we’d jump ship. But that defeats one of the main benefits of falling in love, i.e., to encourage us to form long-lasting stable partnerships).

  71. Liam says:

    Contrary to your view, a racist voting for a racist party IS voting rationally and logically. The problem here is that you are confusing rationality with preferences. You may consider the racists beliefs irrational, but he is voting consistent with his beliefs and preferences.

    Yes. I thought that’s what I said.

  72. gilmae says:

    /shrug

    I think his original point was fine. On the other hand, I also thought it was obvious from the outset – despite being unspoken – that the motivation was a tactical vote to push environmental issues since that’s the raison d’etre of the Greens. Your mileage clearly varies.

  73. NPOV says:

    Fyodor, that you feel my “arguments justifying [my] vote are an incoherent muddle” is not entirely surprising, as I’ll happily admit I’m struggling to best express why the way I vote is more rational than the way the average voter (Kansan or otherwise) does.

    It seems I obviously have a different definition of rationality to other posters here. I don’t accept that simply “voting according to your preferences” makes you a rational voter. There has to be a genuine justifiable belief that your vote is actually likely to help bring about a result you want. If all you want is more money, then voting for party that promises to scrap all taxes might well be voting according to your preferences, but there’s nothing rational about it, because it’s quite obvious that a) such a policy is never going to be implemented and b) if it were, it would have disastrous consequences.

  74. NPOV says:

    Actually gilmae, the Greens’ stance on issues such gay rights, euthanasia and drug policy mattered to me just as equally. They also appear genuinely committed to helping Australia reduce its dependence on foreign oil, which isn’t primarily an environmental issue (though of course if your solution is like the ALP’s – CTL and GTL, it very much becomes one).

  75. Patrick says:

    One last time for trying’s sake:
    Putting to one side NPOV’s ‘rational’ opinions on abortion, can we all accept that if a Kansan believes that abortion is murder, he is rationally justified in not voting for Democrats who espouse increased access to abortion?

    As for NPOV’s utopian voter model, it doesn’t stack up even on these restricted facts. By not voting for anyone, the Kansan increases the chance that murder-fans will vote for the Democrats and the chances of state-sanctioned murder are increased?

    ~ ~ ~

    In any event, I think the more fundamental problem with Franks’ argument is that he is completely wrong. And even liberals agree. The guy whose work NPOV is probably referring to when he refers to evidence that Democrats are better for the working classes than Republicans, Bartels, has written a new review with an apt title:

    Whats the Matter with Whats the Matter with Kansas?

    Thomas Franks Whats the Matter with Kansas? asserts that the Republican Party
    has forged a new dominant political coalition by attracting working-class white
    voters on the basis of class animus and cultural wedge issues like guns and
    abortion. My analysis confirms that white voters without college degrees have
    become significantly less Democratic; however, the contours of that shift bear little resemblance to Franks account. First, the trend is almost entirely confined to the South, where Democratic support was artificially inflated by the one-party system of the Jim Crow era of legalized racial segregation. (Outside the South, support for Democratic presidential candidates among whites without college degrees has fallen by a total of one percentage point over the past half-century.) Second, there is no evidence that culture outweighs economics as a matter of public concern among Franks working-class white voters. The apparent political significance of social issues has increased substantially over the past 20 years, but more among better-educated white voters than among those without college degrees. In both groups, economic issues continue to be most important. Finally, contrary to Franks account, most of his white working-class voters see themselves as closer to the Democratic Party on social issues like abortion and gender roles but closer to the Republican Party on economic issues.

  76. Patrick says:

    Link didn’t work, try here.

  77. NPOV says:

    Patrick, as I said myself above “Other studies have shown that the purported drift from voting Democratic to voting Republican among the Mid-western white working-classes that Frank primarily discusses is not backed up by the stats anyway, so there are definitely rather large holes in his thesis.”.

    I don’t dispute his hypothesis as it currently stands is highly inadequate. But I can’t see why academics and various commentators would waste time writing various rebuttals and analyses of it if it was simply, as you say, “bollocks”.

  78. Gummo Trotsky says:

    …I cant see why academics and various commentators would waste time writing various rebuttals and analyses of it if it was simply, as you say, bollocks.

    *Head desk*
    *Head desk*
    *Head desk*

  79. NPOV says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/18/opinion/18krugman.html?em&ex=1208664000&en=d4b9cfae82378b3a&ei=5087

    I’d agree with Krugman’s assessment that “Mr. Frank was mostly wrong”, though it strikes me more a matter of “mostly wrong in some key areas”. His central point – that the Republican party have deliberately gone after voters on the basis of cultural issues, with no real intention of actually enacting policy that would stop the supposed “liberal war on values”, still seems sound enough. But the evidence would suggest such a strategy has actually had relatively little impact on voting patterns.

  80. NPOV says:

    Had to drag up this thread with some pretty convincing evidence that the Republican’s party popularity among the working classes is almost entirely in spite of their economic policies:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/Oct08d-Politics.pdf

    Only 3% of registered voters think that McCain’s policies favour the poor.

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