Belief in evolution, the number of children in poverty: Starting in the 1980s, talk radio became a way for conservatives to show the world that they may not always be exceptionally sharp.
Alas! We liberals now make the same demonstration through our comment threads. And at our fiery liberal sites—and through the pronouncements of our liberal leaders.
Two current examples:
At the fiery new Salon, this headline appears above a new piece by Digby:
“GOP still party of stupid: Scott Walker, Fox News and why 2016 hopefuls must appease wing-nut base on evolution”Is the GOP “still the party of stupid” thanks to its “wing-nut base?” In fairness to Digby, she didn’t write the headline.
That said, we the liberals love to batter the GOP base for being so freaking stupid. As a general matter, we think that’s a dumb way to do politics. But quite often, we liberals are too dumb to see the problem with using belief in evolution as one of our measuring sticks.
It’s true! Among major demographic groups, white Evangelical Protestants seem to have the lowest rate of belief in evolution. See this survey by Pew.
White Evangelical Protestants seem to have the lowest rate of belief in evolution. This is the white-bread/redneck gang we love to deride as dumb.
That said, do you know which group comes next in the “don’t believe in evolution” race? That’s right—black Protestants! And they aren’t super far behind the group we white pseudo-liberals love to deride for being such stupid wing-nuts.
If you’re hoping for a liberal resurgence, the new Salon will crush your soul from morning to late at night. Also, letters to the editor from some of our liberal leaders.
Yesterday, the New York Times printed several letters about the merits and demerits of standardized testing. In her letter, Randi Weingarten, head of the AFT, actually offered this:
WEINGARTEN (2/17/15): Half of public school students live in poverty. More than 30 states fund public education below pre-recession levels. We need to level the playing field and ensure that all kids have equal access to things like computers, smaller class sizes, nurses and counselors—even when their communities can’t afford them.“Half of public school students live in poverty?” According to the Census Bureau, the official number of children in poverty is more like twenty percent. Simply put, Weingarten’s claim is dumb. You can’t get there from here.
(Although we liberals are increasingly willing to try.)
At one time, the ginning up of silly statistics was a hallmark of the pseudo-right. In recent years, we the liberals have found ourselves walking that same silly road.
We’re building a set of silly statistics which 1) our intellectual leaders know to be bogus and 2) average people won’t be inclined to believe. But we seem to love to throw them around. Our sad songs make us feel good!
It’s depressing to see someone like Weingarten playing a game as foolish as this. For years, we liberals were asleep in the woods. More and more, it’s come to seem like those were the good old days.
Providing a second opinion: For an overview from The National Center for Children in Poverty (Columbia University), just click here.
Children and public school students are two different groups, or course. But here's their statement as of 2013:
“More than 16 million children in the United States—22% of all children—live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level.”
Twenty-two percent seems like a daunting number to us! What’s wrong with our pseudo-liberal souls that has us longing for the chance to say it’s fifty percent?