Interesting stuff – 2016-11-21

This week’s interesting stuff, still with a lot of election fallout. But starting to move on with “real life” again.

Some commentators explain that Trump won because he appealed largely to uneducated, rural, white people. This often seems to be said with something of a sneer that these backwaters rednecks would hold up progress. Here’s an example.

So fascinating, though, that North Carolina has been chastised for an allegedly “racist” law that supposedly, “disproportionately affected poor, elderly, and African American voters…” because they are less likely to have photo ID. This reminds me of that video I linked to previously showing the perception that many black people lack education, and even the intelligence sufficient to understand how to operate this curious newfandangled thing called the “in-ter-net.” Remember, those are liberals in the video saying these things.

So poor, uneducated, black people (who happen to vote Democrat) absolutely must have their access to the democratic process protected at all costs. Their voices must be heard!

But poor, uneducated, white people (who, it is believed, tend to vote for the likes of Trump), well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be a bad thing if they decided to stay home on election night, curl up in whatever hole in the ground they crawled out from and just leave this “running the nation” thing to the rest of us.

Remind me who’s racist, again?

It’s interesting to watch the fallout from the election and slowly wake up to the realization that, as is often the case, reality (and history) is far more complex than the soundbytes let on. For instance, Trump was subjected to a phenomenal amount of flak for his stance on illegal immigrants. Consider this speech,

All Americans, not only in the states most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country. The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public service they use impose burdens on our taxpayers… Secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens.

Those are some staggeringly racist comments, wouldn’t you agree? Interestingly, those didn’t come from Trump.

The came from President Bill Clinton.

The rest of the article is fascinating in how it outlines the Democratic party’s approach to racial integration; ignore the whites. Strange strategy, I think, for a party that prides itself on “equality.”

It gets more interesting. Trump was specifically ridiculed for proposing to build a wall along the Mexican border. It got to the point where “the wall” became something of a laughing point for anything who disagreed with Trump.

Once again, history sheds a different light on this, as described in this article. Trump isn’t the first guy to propose building such a wall; any guesses who else supported the idea?

If you guessed Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama then you guessed right. See point 7 in the article.

And, in fact, read the whole thing. This is another voice telling the progressives that they have cried wolf one time too many. There is so much gold in this article.

Much has been said about how divisive this election was, and how divided America remains. I saw a statistic from Pew Research Center showing how the two major parties feel about each other, and it connects to my previous article about fear. When asked if the other party makes you “frustrated,” “angry,” or “any negative” feeling at all, the response rates were pretty much identical between the two. In other words, Republicans are pretty much as likely to be frustrated by Democrats as Democrats are to be frustrated by Republicans.

Except for fear. 55% of Democrats are “afraid” of Republicans, whereas only 49% of Republicans are “afraid” of Democrats. The other measures were either identical or off by a single percentage point, but for fear the split is 6%. The Democrats are more afraid than the Republicans, which confirms the irony that the Democrats seem all-too-eager to issue accusations of “politics of fear” against those they disagree with.

In fact, the Democrats are apparently generally more emotionally responsive than the Republicans in all regards. They were more likely to have negative feelings about the other party, and more more likely to have positive feelings about their own party, than the Republicans. Democrats were more “hopeful,” “enthusiastic,” and “proud” of the Democratic party than Republicans were about the Republican party.

It got even more interesting when the questions were switched. Republicans are vastly more likely to be frustrated at the Republican party than Democrats were to be frustrated at the Democratic party. This survey appears to have been done in the midst of the election, so…

Lots of interesting data in there!

Here’s another article warning against simplistic interpretations of Trump’s victory, vis-a-vis allegations of widespread racism among white supremacists.

The whitelash theory, however, allows liberals to feel morally superior while selectively ignoring what angry white male voters said were their reasons for voting Trump.

The author seems to be suggesting that we start listening to each other instead of broadbrushing each other at a distance. I must say, I agree.

“To reduce these people to racists, as so many Democrats are now doing with their ‘basket of deplorables,’ misses a subtlety,” Troy said in an interview. “Whitening Trump’s support too much plays into the identity politics which led Hillary to misread the electorate in the first place.”

Further to Troy’s insights, maybe identity politics is turning a corner. It used to present itself as a powerful narrative, but the political correctness that ensued is wearing down on so many people that a guy like Trump comes along who thumbs his nose at political correctness and we all experience something of an guilty pleasure at his rise to power.

A reader brought this article to my attention on the rise of anti-Muslim hate crimes. There was apparently a surge of anti-Muslim hate crimes in the US; a rise of 67%. Last year there were 257 anti-Muslim crimes in the US that impacted 307 people.

Let’s look at some numbers, shall we? It is estimated that there are 3.3 million Muslims in the USA, so last year 307 / 3.3 million Muslims were victims of hate crimes. That means one Muslim out of every 10,749 was the victim of a hate crime. Crime rates are often presented on a “per 100,000” rate, so that converts to a frequency rate of 9.3 victims of hate crime for every 100,000 Muslims. According to Wikipedia, that’s a pretty low rate. They are more likely to be robbed, assaulted, and even forcibly raped than to be the victim of a hate crime.

Furthermore, the 257 anti-Muslim incidents were among a total of 5,850 incidents; roughly 4% of the total. That makes me wonder who all the other victims were and are we equally concerned about them?

The article also brought up hate crimes against another demographic; Jews. There were 664 anti-Semitic incidents last year, more than double the rate against Muslims. The article explicitly points out the anti-Semitic hate crimes top all other religious groups, yet the article centers around the Islamic problem, oddly enough. So how many Jews live in the USA? Wikipedia provides a rather broad range for how many Jews there are in the USA so I’ll split the difference and assume there are 6,862,500 Jews living in the USA. The hate crime rate against them is about one in 10,335, or 9.7 per 100,000; remarkably close to the rate for Muslims.

This raises a lot of questions in my mind, such as “what constitutes a hate crime?” If this election has taught us anything about progressives, it has taught us that they love to cry wolf. And considering the anti-Muslim theme represents only about 4% of all hate crimes, again, why are they getting so much attention? Who is enduring the other 96% of hate crimes?

Two interesting articles in the Calgary Herald. First, the law system is failing us when it comes to divorce. The overarching theme of the article seems to be that divorce is going to happen so we might as well make it as painless as possible.

The second article describes the pressing need for better government subsidized child care spaces. Why? Because it’s incredibly hard for people to get their kids to child care, and get to work.

But here’s a thought on these two articles; perhaps the one is related to the other. Perhaps the ease with which people can get divorced these days (and they only want to make it easier; more money for lawyers!) is actually contributing to the child care space crisis. After all, if parents are still married then that arrangement kind of comes with a built-in child-care system. It’s called “whichever parent stays home while the other goes to work.”

And before you accuse me of old-fashioned sexism about women in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant, I’d like to point out that over the course of time that Denise and I have had children we have spent very little time working full time. I have been home with the kids almost as often as Denise has. In fact, one year I only worked one day a week so I was home four days a week with my daughter (my son was in school already); Denise worked full time that year. Most years we both work part time.

That, I would argue, is true progress. Healthy families, stable marriages, and the parents taking the most hands-on role in their children’s lives that they can. Rather than pushing women to get back into the workforce, and bemoaning the reality that sometimes parents want to be at home with their kids (oh dear: lost GDP!!) perhaps we can start thinking less in terms of careers and economics and more in terms of family stability and keeping parents home so they can be the primary caregivers for their kids.

Back in Alberta, an MLA with the PC party crossed the floor to join the NDP. In response, Notley said,

“It’s a tremendous betrayal to those people who voted PC thinking that’s what they were getting.”

“I think this represents a betrayal to a number of different voters”

She described it as, “a sad day for honesty and integrity in Alberta politics.”

Oh, wait. My mistake. That was back in 2014 when a floor crossing did not directly benefit the NDP. This time, when the floor crossing benefits the NDP, well, that’s different. Of course.

Principles versus pragmatism, folks.