Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Violent Protests, This Time with Science

Matt Yglesias:
Princeton professor Omar Wasow has a relevant paper that examined county-level voting patterns in the 1960s. What he found is that exposure to nonviolent protests pushed people to vote for the more liberal presidential candidate, while exposure to violent ones pushed people to vote for the more conservative candidate.

The effect is large enough, according to Wasow, that the series of riots in 1968 swung the election to Richard Nixon.
It's just one study, and it probably proves what Wasow wanted to prove, but still. Violent protests are anti-democratic and wrong, and they probably hurt your cause anyway. Just don't.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

There seem to be a startling number of self-described "liberals" who don't understand the most basic tenets of liberalism.

Then again, it's not like we teach this stuff in schools. Unless you go to college (and even then, unless you take philosophy or political science classes), you'll most likely never have even a scrap of formal education on the matter.

The average American's understanding of what it means to be "liberal" is overwhelmingly shaped by sources like Fox News and talk radio programs. I imagine huge numbers of people don't even realize the term's etymology, history, nor inherent meaning, knowing it only as a contextual epithet.

It's like a child not knowing their parents names - not even knowing they have names - because they're just "Mom" and "Dad", and always have been. They haven't been exposed to the full nature of the truth, and so they think the sliver of knowledge they already possess is all there is to know. They're ignorant of their own ignorance - they fall victim to the proverbial unknown unknowns.

And we can't really blame people for that. They only fail the system because they system has failed them - they're only ignorant because we haven't successfully educated them, and we've conditioned them to not want to educate themselves. And that is perhaps the biggest flaw of our society today - democracy fails when the population is not sufficiently educated to engage in it.