Posts tagged ‘Balloon Juice’

Correlation in Political Views

(via Popehat) one of the writers at Balloon Juice offers this test of a "reasonable" Conservative blog

1) Do you believe in evolution?

2) Do you believe that the average temperature on earth has increased over the past 30 years?

A few semi-random thoughts:

  • Count me as a yes for both
  • Is the best test of the likely reasonableness of a political blog really to ask two questions about science that such a blog might never even touch?  This is not an entirely rhetorical question -- just the other day I linked the data that suggested that asking your date about beer might be the best way to test their views on sex.  Sometimes odd cross-correlations exist, but I don't think these would be my first test
  • I find the Left's obsession with evolution as a litmus test for political thought to be funny, as the theory of evolution is largely irrelevant to any political questions except fairly narrowly the question of teaching evolution in schools.   I find it funny as much of the Left does not believe in a science - micro economics (very specifically differentiated from macro) - that is also fairly old and well understood and is much more relevant to typical political blog discourse.  I had a debate on national TV a few weeks ago with a man who claimed, as many on the Left will, that raising the minimum wage will increase employment.   If we want to test blogs based on scientific questions, why wouldn't a far more relevant question in public discourse be "do you believe demand curves slope down" or perhaps something like "do you believe breaking windows stimulates the economy?"
  • The second test is not a bad test of any site writing about global warming and climate change.  I don't know many science-based skeptics who would deny that global temperatures have likely increased over the last 30 years  (from a data base without UHI or alarmist manual adjustments or large data holes, the trend is something like 0.1C per decade).   I say "likely" because it could be argued that 0.1C is within the error bar of the measurement. Even so, this wouldn't be my first test, even for climate sites
  • I would tend to have four tests of the liberal and conservative sites I read
    • Is it interesting to read (after all, this is a freaking unpaid hobby)
    • Is the data-analysis-to-name-calling ratio fairly high
    • Are they willing to step out of team politics and question their own team from time to time
    • Do they have interesting perspectives on individual liberty.  I can plow through Marxist economic posts on progressive sites if from time to time they have a useful perspective on, say, indefinite detentions or gay marriage.  I can plow through some social Conservatism if they have useful posts on economics and fiscal policy.

This post from Nick Gillespie is sort of relevent, in which he talks about CPAC and social conservatives.  One line that struck me

A person's choice of sexual partner in no way means he or she can't be in favor of less spending on farm subsidies.

If I weeded out every blog that held some sort of view with which I disagree (or might even call "unreasonable") I would be down to about 3 blogs in my reader.