[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here. Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]
Every now and then we see the latest academic study telling us that people are conservative and/or republican because they are uninformed racist idiots or something like that. And every single time they turn out to be based on dubious scientific techniques that attempt to dress up the scientists’ biases as objective science.
So I am not going to take this study, that seems to make Democrats look bad, very seriously. But I admit I kind of laughed, reading it anyway:
“Fourth of July celebrations in the United States shape the nation’s political landscape by forming beliefs and increasing participation, primarily in favor of the Republican Party,” said the report from Harvard.
“The political right has been more successful in appropriating American patriotism and its symbols during the 20th century. Survey evidence also confirms that Republicans consider themselves more patriotic than Democrats. According to this interpretation, there is a political congruence between the patriotism promoted on Fourth of July and the values associated with the Republican party. Fourth of July celebrations in Republican dominated counties may thus be more politically biased events that socialize children into Republicans,” write Harvard Kennedy School Assistant Professor David Yanagizawa-Drott and Bocconi University Assistant Professor Andreas Madestam.
Do read the whole thing. It will make you smile.
But it is most likely wrong. The 2% swing mentioned is less than impressive. Further, chances are these sociologists were not following these people around as children, so what they were actually measuring who stated that they remember going to Fourth of July celebrations, which is a different question than whether they actually went to them. Not to mention the issue of correlation v. causation which I am sure all of you are familiar with.
Still this weekend, join your neighbors in celebrating the birth of this great republic and perhaps introduce some of our children to what makes this country great. Who knows, you just might be making them into Republicans.
And perhaps if you are at a barbeque, throw something on the fire…
Might not be good for cooking, but it will make you feel good.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]