Whew, I am so glad fascism is over now that Biden has been elected.
The center-left will only facilitate the creeping rise of fascism!
Biden and Harris still support corporations over people. So they suck and need to be forced to implement policies that help normal people.
Which specific policies should they be forced to pursue and how should they be forced to pursue those policies? How will they facilitate the creeping rise of fascism?
Medicare for All, student loan forgiveness, welfare expansion, decriminalization of drugs and sexwork, abortion protection, decreasing the military budget, and others I can’t think of right now.
And they should be forced to do this by the threat of being voted out.
They facilitate the creeping rise of fascism by wanting to maintain the same system that the fascists want to maintain: capitalism.
I’m inclined to agree with you on most of those points. Probably just a matter of the degree and timeline.
I think it might be unwise to throw out capitalism altogether just because our fascists cling to it so religiously, though.
I’m inclined to think that, generally speaking, authoritarians (which I would use interchangeably with “fascists”) are more likely to favor economic systems that give them the most control, i.e. centralized economic systems or command economies. I’ve been frustrated before by my inability to find a ready analysis for this, so I went ahead and did my own quick study.
The below chart is the result of a Pearson correlation comparing two datasets: the Fraser Institute Economic Freedom Index and the Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy Index. The EIU is part of the Economist, so I would expect it to be biased toward free market policies. The Fraser Institute also appears to be libertarian. Why use two libertarian sources? Because that’s all I could find.
Regardless, the correlation does suggest a general tendency for free market (or more capitalistic) economies to be more democratic. The value of R is 0.7205. The P-Value is < .00001, so the result is significant at p < .01.
Again, while I’d prefer to compare indexes from multiple sources with different ideological bents, I’d hope you’d agree that the ratings do not scream of obvious bias.
If you’re interested, my full dataset of 155 countries is here.
Sure, fascists/totalitarians may favor a centralized economy, but many of them (Hitler and Mussolini, for example) exploited weaknesses in democracy and capitalism to get to that point.
I read the most recent publication of the Fraser Institute Economic Freedom Index to look at their criteria for economic freedom. Based on their criteria this correlation really just tells us that democracies tend to support capitalism, or at least a business friendly environment.
The two criteria that immediately caught my eye is “Size of Government” and “Regulation”. If I understand their rating system, the smaller and thriftier the government and the less regulation a country has, the higher that country’s score for those criteria. Looking at the details of those criteria it seems that the less a government invests in or protects its citizens the better the country’s score is.
This makes me even more skeptical about their evaluation of “Legal System and Property Rights”. Like the other criteria it seems to be biased towards business and doesn’t really pay any attention to equity of the system in terms of citizens vs business interests.
I know you acknowledged that the indices were biased, but I don’t think the EFI is a good index to evaluate the value of capitalism. It basically just says the more friendly a country is to corporate interests the better it is. And I don’t agree with that at all.
I’m glad you looked into the EFI. Your summary of the EFI: “It basically just says the more friendly a country is to corporate interests the better it is.”
Equity seems to be something you’re especially interested in. I looked for an “equity index,” but that’s all bound up in the financial sense of equity. However, I did find something called the Social Capital Index from something called SolAbility. There’s not a lot of info I could find for this self-described “sustainable intelligence think-tank” online, but they’ve been around awhile. In these rankings, they say they include equality, health care availability, violent crime, income equality, resource equality, human rights, individual happiness, etc.
I was curious how the EFI rankings would stack up against the Social Capital Index rankings, so I ran another Pearson correlation. This time, I got a lower correlation coefficient: 0.6022, but it’s still positive and still significant at p < .01.
So, just from this, it does look like “the more friendly a country is to corporate interests the better” if you agree with SolAbility’s ratings.
The data are in the same doc I shared earlier, but here is the link again if you’re interested.
“59% of voters oppose building President Trump’s long-promised wall along the southern border, and only 37% support the measure, according to the Quinnipiac poll.”*
“79% of Americans expect that if a wall is built along the border, the U.S. will ultimately pay for it. Just 14% expect Mexico will pay, as Mr. Trump has claimed. 60% of Republicans, and 91% of Democrats, think the U.S. will pay for the wall if it is built.”*
“The majority of Americans (57%) oppose expanding the construction of walls along the nation’s Southern border, a centerpiece of President Donald Trump’s proposed immigration-related policies.”
“83% approve of allowing DACA immigrants to become citizens.”*
“I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”
—Trump to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, December 11th, 2018*
I thought it might be useful to have a visualization of the terrifying undocumented immigrant crisis we’re currently facing, so I made the following chart.
The little blue sliver at the bottom represents the number of undocumented immigrants in the country from 1969 to 2016.
Well, so what? Even a small number of people can really hurt the country, right? So, here’s a study about whether undocumented people increase rates of violent crime:
“[W]e combine newly developed estimates of the unauthorized population with multiple data sources to capture the criminal, socioeconomic, and demographic context of all 50 states and Washington, DC, from 1990 to 2014 to provide the first longitudinal analysis of the macro‐level relationship between undocumented immigration and violence. The results from fixed‐effects regression models reveal that undocumented immigration does not increase violence. Rather, the relationship between undocumented immigration and violent crime is generally negative….”
Social Security Act
-Passed the House 372-33
-Passed the Senate 77-6
-Signed into law by FDR
-Dem: Yes — 284 of 319 (89%)
-Rep: Yes — 81 of 102 (79%)
-Dem: Yes — 60 of 69 (87%)
-Rep: Yes — 16 of 25 (64%)
* * *
Fair Labor Standards Act
-Established minimum wage, 40-hour workweek, and restrictions on child labor
-Passed the House 291-89
-Passed the Senate by voice vote
-Signed into law by FDR
-Dem: Yes — 252 of 293 (86%)
-Rep: Yes — 30 of 78 (38%)
Passed the Senate by voice vote.
* * *
Prohibition of Discrimination in the Defense Industry
-Executive Order 8802
-Banned discriminatory employment practices by Federal agencies and all unions and companies engaged in war-related work
-Established the Fair Employment Practices Commission to enforce the new policy
-Signed by FDR
* * *
Desegregation of Armed Forces
-Executive Order 9981
-Established the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services, committing the government to integrating the segregated military
-Signed by Truman
* * *
Clean Air Act
-Passed the House 276 to 112
-Passed the Senate by voice vote
-Signed into law by LBJ
-Dem: Yes — 204 of 256 (80%)
-Rep: Yes — 69 of 178 (39%)
Passed the Senate by voice vote.
* * *
Note: This vote was an important moment in the history of the Republican and Democratic parties and was the major catalyst leading to the transition of Southern Democrats to the Republican Party.*
Senate Votes on the 1964 Civil Rights Act:
* * *
Medicare (Social Security Act Amendments)
-Passed the House 307-116
-Passed the Senate 70-24
-Signed into law by LBJ
-Dem: Yes — 237 of 293 (81%)
-Rep: Yes — 70 of 140 (50%)*
-Dem: Yes — 57 of 67 (85%)
-Rep: Yes — 13 of 32 (41%)*
* * *
Clean Water Act
-Passed the House 366-11
-Passed the Senate 74-0
-Vetoed by Nixon
-Nixon’s veto was overridden by Congress
-Dem: Yes — 151 of 161 (94%) (92 abstained)
-Rep: Yes — 96 of 109 (88%) (68 abstained)*
-Dem: Yes — 34 of 37 (92%) (17 abstained)
-Rep: Yes — 17 of 25 (68%) (19 abstained)*
* * *
Most economists lean Democratic:
From a 2003 survey of 264 economists
From a 2010 survey of 299 economists
The earth’s climate is extremely important, both economically and biologically. Most Democrats agree with the vast majority of climate scientists that humans have caused all or nearly all of earth’s rapid warming over the past 5-6 decades.* As of 2017, 78% of Democrats agreed that human activity is causing the warming while only 24% of Republicans agree* with the extremely strong scientific consensus.
But, isn’t there still a lot of uncertainty about what’s causing global warming? No. Climate scientists are roughly as certain that humans are causing the rapid warming of the earth’s atmosphere as they are in the basic science of plate tectonics.*
But, is scientific consensus really important? Maybe. One way to look at it is to consider artificial intelligence. Imagine if we looked at research papers of artificial intelligence researchers and polled them and found that 5% of them are warning that there is a high probability of robots taking over the world in the near future. That might be slightly alarming, right? However, if we look at that same information and talk to the same people and find that 97% of those papers and scientists are warning of a robot takeover, governments all over the world would be acting immediately to prevent this.
More fun this evening chatting with Chandler voters.
The first person I talk to comes out guns blazing. I don’t even knock on his door. He just pops out with a “Hey there!”
“Hey, I’m Clif. I’m with the Democrats. I’m collecting signatures for some local candidates.”
“I used to be a Democrat,” he says, “back when they were conservative. Now they’re for the homosexuals and abortion, and they’re against God.”
I say, “Well, you know, I’m not a big fan of abortion, but I think the Democrats have it right. Number one, strangely enough, making more restrictive abortion laws doesn’t actually reduce the rate of abortion.* It’s like Barry Goldwater said: ‘It’s always been around, and it always will be.’* Things we know that help reduce the rate of abortion, though, like increased access to birth control and sex ed are things Democrats are generally for.”*
“Well, that’s true,” he says, “and that’s why I’m not strictly for one side or the other. But, I don’t know why everything has to be gay, gay, gay now. You can’t turn on the TV these days without homosexuals in everything. You know, I believe in the Bible, and the Bible makes it totally clear that homosexuality is wrong. Take Sodom and Gomorrah: God sends angels down to Lot, and the wicked men of the city try to have sex with them. Lot offers them his daughters — now that part’s terrible — but the men want the angels.”
I say, “Yeah, but I would point out that there are different ways to interpret these things. There are people out there who believe — I’m sure — just as strongly in God and the Bible who don’t think homosexuality is bad. In that verse you mentioned, for instance, they might say that God’s problem with the wicked men was not that they were homosexuals but that they wanted to rape strangers. Maybe God is just against people who want to rape other people.”*
He says, “Yeah, there are a lot of people out there who want to distort the truth. They try to call people like me an extremist just because I’ve been married to my wife for 52 years.”
I say, “Well, I wouldn’t call you that. I would just say that I have gay friends myself who I care for a lot. They’re people who I think suffered because they grew up around people who told them that they were bad. They couldn’t change this ‘bad’ thing about themselves, so it made them deeply unhappy. I think that’s terrible.”
He then tells me a bizarre story about a handsome nephew who he says was turned gay by his mom and sisters who would dress him up like a girl, in dresses and makeup. I let that one go. I liked that the guy called his nephew “a real head-turner,” though.
This was like a 20-minute conversation that I won’t recount all of here. It turns out that the guy doesn’t like Jeff Flake because Flake’s nephew apparently … neglected some dogs? The guy doesn’t like McCain because McCain is responsible for the shoddy condition of the VA apparently.
He talks about how you can’t have the Bible in schools anymore, but you can have the “yin yang.” I kinda regret not finding out what the “yin yang” is ….
Trump, though. There’s somethin’ about that Trump guy. He says, “Trump’s a guy who can’t be bought ’cause he’s already a billionaire.”
As I almost always do when I hear Trump’s name, I begin to vomit uncontrollably. No, I’m kidding. I just vomit in my mind. The mind vomit helps to cloud the mental image of Trump.
This ex-Democrat then says, “And the Mueller investigation — the Democrats are just dragging it out. It’s just a waste of taxpayer money.”
I start to say, “Well, the Republicans spent a lot of taxpayer money to investigate Hillary….”
He jumps in: “Well, it’s been good talking to you.”
Then, he kinda cocks an eye and says, “Good night and … God bless.”
“Thanks for talking to me!” I say. “Have a good one!”
One convert at a time.
In conclusion, this article is the first to our knowledge to report that a higher proportion of household gun ownership at the state level is associated with statistically significant increased rates of nonstranger total and firearm homicides. By contrast, we found no robust, statistically significant association between household gun ownership and stranger homicides. Our findings thus challenge the argument that gun ownership deters violent crime, in particular, homicides.
American Journal of Public Health, 104(10), 1912–9*
•There is no evidence for the ‘more guns less crime’ position.
•Guns facilitate suicides or homicides and increase the risk of violent death.
•It is the lethality of the weapon that is responsible.
•The idea that guns serve a protective function is an illusion.
Aggression and Violent Behavior, 18(6), 709–721*
We observed a robust correlation between higher levels of gun ownership and higher firearm homicide rates. Although we could not determine causation, we found that states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides.
American Journal of Public Health, 103(11), 2098–2105*
The number of guns per capita per country was a strong and independent predictor of firearm-related death in a given country, whereas the predictive power of the mental illness burden was of borderline significance in a multivariable model. Regardless of exact cause and effect, however, the current study debunks the widely quoted hypothesis that guns make a nation safer.
The American Journal of Medicine, 126(10), 873–876*
The US homicide rates were 6.9 times higher than rates in the other high-income countries, driven by firearm homicide rates that were 19.5 times higher. For 15-year olds to 24-year olds, firearm homicide rates in the United States were 42.7 times higher than in the other countries. For US males, firearm homicide rates were 22.0 times higher, and for US females, firearm homicide rates were 11.4 times higher. The US firearm suicide rates were 5.8 times higher than in the other countries, though overall suicide rates were 30% lower. The US unintentional firearm deaths were 5.2 times higher than in the other countries.
Among these 23 countries, 80% of all firearm deaths occurred in the United States, 86% of women killed by firearms were US women, and 87% of all children aged 0 to 14 killed by firearms were US children.
Journal of Trauma-Injury Infection & Critical Care, 70(1), 238–243*
“Household firearm ownership levels are strongly associated with higher rates of suicide, consistent with the hypothesis that the availability of lethal means increases the rate of completed suicide.”
Journal of Trauma-Injury Infection & Critical Care, 62(4), 1029–1035*
Over the 22 year study period household firearm ownership rates declined across all four regions. In multivariate analyses, each 10% decline in household firearm ownership was associated with significant declines in rates of firearm suicide, 4.2% (95% CI 2.3% to 6.1%) and overall suicide, 2.5% (95% CI 1.4% to 3.6%). Changes in non-firearm suicide were not associated with changes in firearm ownership.
The magnitude of the association between changes in household firearm ownership and changes in rates of firearm and overall suicide was greatest for children: for each 10% decline in the percentage of households with firearms and children, the rate of firearm suicide among children 0–19 years of age dropped 8.3% (95% CI 6.1% to 10.5%) and the rate of overall suicide dropped 4.1% (2.3% to 5.9%).
Injury Prevention, 12, 178–182.*
Individual-level studies (n=4) are reviewed that investigate the risks and benefits of owning a personal or household firearm. The research suggests that households with firearms are at higher risk for homicide, and there is no net beneficial effect of firearm ownership.
Two groups of ecological studies are reviewed, those comparing multiple countries and those focused solely on the United States. Results from the cross-sectional international studies (n=7) typically show that in high-income countries with more firearms, both men and women are at higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.
Time series (n=10) and cross-sectional studies (n=9) of U.S. cities, states, and regions and for the United States as a whole, generally find a statistically significant gun prevalence–homicide association. None of the studies prove causation, but the available evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that increased gun prevalence increases the homicide rate.
Aggression and Violent Behavior, 9(4), 417–440*
Across the nine regions for the early 1990s (n = 9), household handgun ownership rates are positively correlated with the suicide rate (r = 0.59) and are not correlated with either the lifetime prevalence of major depression or suicidal thoughts. After controlling for major depression and suicidal thoughts (and any of the four additional control variables), handgun ownership rates remain significantly associated with the overall suicide rate.
Injury Prevention, 8, 313–316*
Between 1988 and 1997, the suicide, homicide, and unintentional firearm death rates among women were disproportionately higher in states where guns were more prevalent. The elevated rates of violent death in states with more guns was not entirely explained by a state’s poverty or urbanization and was driven primarily by lethal firearm violence, not by lethal nonfirearm violence.
Journal of Urban Health, 79(1), 26–38*
Among developed nations, the United States has the highest rate of civilian gun ownership, and the highest homicide rate. We examine whether the United States is merely an exception, or if a relationship between gun availability and homicide exists across all developed nations.
In simple regressions (no control variables) across 26 high-income nations, there is a strong and statistically significant association between gun availability and homicide rates.
Conclusion: Across developed countries, where guns are more available, there are more homicides.
Journal of Trauma-Injury Infection & Critical Care 49(6), 985–988*
“Positive correlations were obtained between the rates of household gun ownership and the national rates of homicide and suicide as well as the proportions of homicides and suicides committed with a gun.”
Canadian Medical Association Journal, 148(10), 1721–1725*
Those persons with guns in the home were at greater risk than those without guns in the home of dying from a homicide in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 1.9, 95% confidence interval: 1.1, 3.4). They were also at greater risk of dying from a firearm homicide, but risk varied by age and whether the person was living with others at the time of death.
The risk of dying from a suicide in the home was greater for males in homes with guns than for males without guns in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 10.4, 95% confidence interval: 5.8, 18.9). Persons with guns in the home were also more likely to have died from suicide committed with a firearm than from one committed by using a different method (adjusted odds ratio = 31.1, 95% confidence interval: 19.5, 49.6).
Results show that regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide in the home.
American Journal of Epidemiology, 160(10), 929–936*
“Although the current study cannot determine causation, firearm mortality in its various forms is most commonly related to the prevalence of firearms and the percent of the population that is African American.”
Journal of Community Health, 29(4), 271–283*
“Among high-income countries, where firearms are more available, more women are homicide victims. Women in the United States are at higher risk of homicide victimization than are women in any other high-income country.”
Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association, 57(2), 100–104.*
A statistically significant association exists between gun availability and the rates of unintentional firearm deaths, homicides, and suicides. The elevated rates of suicide and homicide among children living in states with more guns is not entirely explained by a state’s poverty, education, or urbanization and is driven by lethal firearm violence, not by lethal nonfirearm violence.
Journal of Trauma-Injury Infection & Critical Care, 52(2), 267–275*
“This paper uses a unique data set to demonstrate that increases in gun ownership lead to substantial increases in the overall homicide rate.”
Journal of Political Economy, 109(5), 1086–1114*
As compared with the controls, the victims more often lived alone or rented their residence. Also, case households more commonly contained an illicit-drug user, a person with prior arrests, or someone who had been hit or hurt in a fight in the home. After controlling for these characteristics, we found that keeping a gun in the home was strongly and independently associated with an increased risk of homicide.
The New England Journal of Medicine, 329, 1084–1091*
Do people in red-leaning or blue-leaning states have a bigger carbon footprint?
Just looking at data from the Energy Information Administration from 2014, it looks like red states do produce more CO2 per capita:
I wanted to better quantify this, though, so I ran the data through a Pearson correlation calculator.* Here’s the dataset in case you’d like to check my work:
And, here are the results:
As you can see, mathematically, as the proportion of a state that was Republican or leaned Republican in 2014 went up, so did the state’s per capita CO2 emissions. The value of R is 0.549, a moderate positive correlation. R2: 0.3014.
For the sake of thoroughness, I performed the same calculation for the Democrats. Here’s that dataset:
Here’s the resultant graph:
The value of R is -0.5593, a moderate negative correlation. R2: 0.3128.