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February 23, 2004

Quick takes. Short bits from all over.

As a Pentagon aide in 1964, Daniel Ellsberg knew the Gulf of Tonkin resolution was based on straight-up lies while it was being drafted and passed. For forty years he’s lived with the knowledge that if he’d gone to the press then instead of seven years later, he might have spared the country the Vietnam War. Now he notes that “there are surely drawers full of documents in Washington right now—the Pentagon Papers of Iraq—that, if leaked in bulk, would drastically alter the public discourse on whether we should have sent our children to kill and to die in Iraq, and more urgently, whether we should continue to do so.” Just a thought.

Oliver Willis links to a Snopes page debunking the widely-circulated letter, allegedly from a “retired admiral”, charging that John Kerry’s service medals were earned under “fishy” circumstances. Of course, on the internet there’s a sucker born every minute, and this week’s lucky winner is right-wing gargoyle David Horowitz, whose Front Page credulously reproduces the debunked nonsense verbatim. Adds Oliver: “Up next—Nigerian bankers!”

Worth clicking past the ad to read: David Weinberger, in Salon, points out the limitations of the “echo chamber” rap laid against the Dean campaign’s online community. “The relationships of belief and doubt, and belief and actions, are far more subtle than the echo chamber meme credits.” Good point. Read his whole argument.

I’m confused. So, like, liberalism is somehow a function of higher education, which is either good or bad. So if I actually got my high-school diploma and went to college, would I become a moderate managerial Democrat or would the tremendous gravitic force of higher education amplify my leftward tendencies to near-lightspeed? Would the entire rest of the political spectrum shift to red as I tore through the fabric of political space-time? Or would I pop through a wormhole into the LaRouche Dimension? Jim Henley is very good on the relationship of superhero comics to SF and fantasy, though.

Finally, the Decembrist responds to the Nader Threat: “Bring. It. On.” [01:20 PM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Quick takes.:

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2004, 04:03 PM:

I'm thinking rip in the fabric of political space-time. In fact, I'm tempted to try to talk you into making the experiment. Do you think degrees from "prestigious non-accredited universities" count? Taking a GED exam would probably be more trouble than it was worth, but I get ads for these things all the time, and it looks like they come cheap.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2004, 04:25 PM:

I've occasionally considered getting a GED, but it seems like a lot of trouble to go to in order to have not enough educational credentials to be hired as my own assistant.

Matt Stevens ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2004, 04:42 PM:

Liberalism is a function of education if you control for income. Historically (up until 2000, anyway) college graduates were more likely to vote Republican than those without degrees, because college grads usually had more money. Matthew Yglesias is wrong to say this is just an artifact of race; you see the same associations between income, education and political leanings within white communities. (Black Americans lean Democratic and this holds for all income and education levels.)

Jim Henley ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2004, 05:25 PM:

Patrick: I assure you that, like Gary Farber, you defy political pigeon-holing. You are Ellen De Generis's sibling, Sue E.

BTW, re Nader: he might really be on your side after all. Check the end of, of all things, Justin Raimondo's latest column, where he notes that spurning the Green Party nomination almost certainly means Nader will not be able to get on the ballot in states like, um, Florida: http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=2023

Also BTW, Bruce Baugh took me to task for saying that SF must use the methods of naturalism, citing certain authors whose manuscripts pass through your hands on the way to their readers. So I've been a little nervous about that claim.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2004, 05:48 PM:

Jim, I arggh at your horrible pun.

Patrick, I think you'd actually become a political black hole...eating light, and becoming luminous - but only in the X-ray range.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2004, 05:53 PM:

In fact, Jim, go to the foot of the class. Or the head of the class, which comes to the same thing...

Yeah, yeah, staircase wit. So sui me.

Menolly ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2004, 08:20 PM:

Thanks for the Kerry link -- I got a veriation on that from my dad a few days ago.

Ken Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2004, 08:53 AM:

Jim Henley,

"spurning the Green party nomination"?? Yeah, like I spurned the Republican nomination this year. (Nice to see he had some shills in IL to spin "the decision" for him, though.)


Speaking as a White Republican (albeit one who hasn't found a Presidential candidate he could support since 1980), I don't think you have anything to worry about. After all, liberal are at both--naturally--extremes.

If I were going to go utilitarian about it, I would note that people who have a privileged existence can be rather more, er, cavalier (rude word, but I suspect accurate) about providing for "the less fortunate," since there is likely to be a better return using some excess disposable income making certain the peasant don't storm the Bastille, as it were, than to keep the cash and raise the risk to your lifestyle.

Matt has it right: the "education" distortion is really an income distortion (either not having enough, or having enough that you won't even notice when you donate a few thousand to Doctors without Borders or City Harvest).

Matt Stevens ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2004, 02:23 PM:

> Matt has it right: the "education" distortion is really an income distortion.

Just to clarify: It's more like the opposite is true. The true association between income & liberalism only becomes clear when you control for income. The richer you are, the more likely you're a Republican; but if you hold income constant, people with more schooling tend to be Democrats.

LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2004, 02:32 PM:

I've always felt that the "higher income = greater Republicanicity" fact masks part of the reason for the relationship.

In order to progress in your profession, as you climb the management ladder, you must constantly decide whether and how to support your company's policies (formal and informal) and ways of doing business.

There is tremendous social pressure on people in management to opt in on the company's basic worldview: that any form of regulation or interference with their way of doing business is bad; that the company must remain profitable and that means cutting costs wherever costs don't improve profitability; and so on.

In defense of their own job security, people tend to take on their company's goals as their own, and in defense of their ego (no one likes to think themselves hypocritical), they adopt a more right-wing worldview.

Those who don't tend to be passed over for promotion, because their attitudes make them less desirable as managers and executives. Over the years, they don't make as much money as their more Republican peers and don't receive as many opportunities.

In industries where issues like the use of natural resources and the use of cheap semi-skilled or skilled labor are not as central to their business (e.g., banking, the entertainment industry -- note, I'm not saying these issues are not relevant to these businesses; just that they are not central), the relationship between Republicanism and money is weaker.