Ben al-Fowlkes sent me this article from the New York Times about a California Christian group that objects to kids’ yoga classes at Paul Ecke Central Elementary School. Yoga comes from Hindustan, as we all know, and merely holding your arms above your head brings you closer to worshipping their mad monkey god. The story is chock full of delightful quotes, including but not limited to parent Mary Eady’s complaint that the classes were teaching children “how to think and how to make decisions” and to “look within for comfort.” Monsters! This piece is instructive for another reason, though: it contains two examples of an A-plus tactic of dirty argumentation, the false analogy.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the Tea Party is its members’ claims about who they are. Tea Party groups continue to identify as grassroots, non-partisan coalitions of citizens from every walk of life, when we all know that they’re white racist Republicans or, sometimes, white racist libertarians. By “know,” here, I mean “assume in a way that makes us feel guilty about our own closemindedness.” There is no quantitative proof that Tea Partiers are more bigoted, GOP-affiliated and prone to sunburn than the average American, after all. For that you’d need some kind of comprehensive, long-term survey, and such a thing would be too good to—oh, you shouldn’t have, David Campbell and Robert Putnam of Notre Dame. And just in time for my birthday, too.
As part of his ongoing research into how much mileage you can get out of one sociological theory, Richard Florida has produced this terrifying examination of statistical conservatism in the United States. Props to “Mirko” Mike Sebba for the link. If you’re excited to see which states are more conservative than others, I urge you to close your eyes and visualize them right now, because you will be exactly right. Mississippi is the only state where more than 50% of respondents in a Gallup poll identified as conservatives, with a gang of mini-ssippis—North Dakota, Arkansas, Louisiana, South Dakota and South Carolina, where nobody really followed up on why this happened—close behind. Does that list seem familiar to you? That’s right: they’re the suck states.