Patterico's Pontifications

6/30/2011

Harvard Study: The July Fourth Parades Makes People Into Republicans!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 2:25 pm

[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.]

35 Comments

  1. I’ll fly the good flag! I’ll play patriotic music!

    I love it!

    Comment by Dianna (23319c) — 6/30/2011 @ 3:01 pm

  2. I notice that the left hates using the words “Independence Day” so we all have to call it “4th of July”. Although, that’s good too cuz you can never forget what day Independence Day is.

    The main problem they have with “Independence Day”, even more than the fact that they promote dependence ( it’s how they continue to exist ), is that we are supposed to believe in indivisibility. We even swear an oath to it thousands of times in elementary school, and indivisibility is the enemy of independence.

    Comment by j curtis (6646dc) — 6/30/2011 @ 3:09 pm

  3. I would never throw a copy of Time on the fire, it might contaminate the meat.

    Now, if Stengel was wrapped in them….

    Comment by AD-RtR/OS! (18ec4c) — 6/30/2011 @ 3:13 pm

  4. How is it that they claim the Right appropriated these ideals?

    Comment by JD (b98cae) — 6/30/2011 @ 3:32 pm

  5. Is this shocking? The 4th of July is about celebrating history, and most liberals just think history is a bunch of stuff that happened in the past that is no longer relevant.

    Comment by A Conservative Teacher (3a8d4b) — 6/30/2011 @ 3:59 pm

  6. AD

    now, now, let’s not go all cat stevens on this…

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (73a7ea) — 6/30/2011 @ 4:09 pm

  7. Extra bonus on 4th of July is watching stuff get blowed up and maybe blowing some stuff up yourself.

    Yeeaaarrrgghhhh!!!!!!

    Don’t put out your eyes, kiddies.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 6/30/2011 @ 4:16 pm

  8. @conservativeteacher,

    I have to disagree. Liberals don’t think history is unimportant, but rather something that must be managed. Academic liberals have gone to a great deal of effort to control how history is perceived.

    When Liberal academics desire to repress historic perceptions which they hate, they squash these historical publications through the review process. Look at what parts of historical information which have disappeared from textbooks, and what information has replaced it. Western history has been reduced to less than 15 percent in high school AP World History classes. Asian and Middle Eastern history dominate these classes. Of course, people argue that these regions have a much longer history to cover. True. But there is not enough time to teach an in depth history of Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Western heritage, which is the history of democracy, was voted as a lessor priority to learn.

    Comment by bmertz (d77c52) — 6/30/2011 @ 4:22 pm

  9. There’s a significant cultural loss when patriotism, the 4th of July, and waving the red, white and blue become tools to be used and to be measured by success or failure rather than symbols of remembrance, pride and honor. An ironic politicization of what is of equal value to us all.

    Comment by Dana (4eca6e) — 6/30/2011 @ 4:24 pm

  10. bmertz – Get with the program. Social justice and self-esteem are more important than damn history, unless you need history to claim some kind of victim status, in which case history becomes very important.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 6/30/2011 @ 4:30 pm

  11. 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.

    So Republicans consider themselves more patriotic than Democrats … OK, obviously a vile slope-forehead sentiment on their part.

    But wait …

    Their findings also suggest that Democrats gain nothing from July 4th parades, likely a shocking result for all the Democratic politicians who march in them.

    Does not that suggest that Democrats consider themselves less patriotic? Is the problem that those evil right-wingers have coopted the symbols of patriotism or that Democrats have abandoned them?

    What a load of fatuous crap.

    Oh, and for my very patriotic Democrat friends on this blog, this is not attacking you. This is attacking this fatuous pile of crap.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 6/30/2011 @ 4:31 pm

  12. I do think that there is a minority of people in the Democratic party who, for reasons of ideology, hold some form of relatively “anti-american” reactions to patriotism. Sadly, these people dominate out of proportion to their actual numbers due to the usual factors of extremism in party politics.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 6/30/2011 @ 4:32 pm

  13. It is surprising that those who most fervently celebrate patriotism are attracted to the political party that seems more fervently patriotic?

    I’m sure it has nothing to do with the history of liberalism coming out of Vietnam protests and things like Obama’s insistence to not wear a flag pin. Somehow those devious Republicans were “more successful in appropriating American patriotism” (or not alienating it, whatever).

    Comment by Crispian (70c05e) — 6/30/2011 @ 4:33 pm

  14. “likely a shocking result for all the Democratic politicians who march in them.”

    SPQR – If I attend a local parade, I try to sit curbside and wear an especially insulting T-shirt for Dick Durbin who usually shows up for it. I have caught his eye several times, resulting in some great double takes on his part.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 6/30/2011 @ 4:36 pm

  15. politically biased events that socialize children into Republicans,

    Oh the horror!
    :O
    The ugly secret is out!!

    This study appears to imply that we are using parades to brainwash future generations of the Hitler Youth movement

    Comment by bmertz (d77c52) — 6/30/2011 @ 4:37 pm

  16. “Sadly, these people dominate out of proportion to their actual numbers due to the usual factors of extremism in party politics.”

    SPQR – I blame the Jooooos and Halliburton, but not Kyoto.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 6/30/2011 @ 4:38 pm

  17. Gee, the Democrats spend decades calling the Republicans “Warmongers”, in spite of the fact that Democrats got us into both World Wars, Korea, and the worst of Vietnam, and now people associate Republicans with the great ant0fascist War victories. Democrats spend decades running down the opinions and feelings of Americans in favor of “World Opinion” , and now somehow people don’t connect the words “Patriot” and “Democrat”. The Democrats, and their subcultural allies the Western Intellectual Twits, spend decades playing Radical Chic, and somehow nobody thinks of them as wholesome Mom-and-apple-pie types.

    Hear that tiny squeaking? That’s the worlds smallest violin playing “My nose bleeds for you”.

    Comment by C. S. P. Schofield (8b1968) — 6/30/2011 @ 4:41 pm

  18. daleyrocks, I would hug you … but in a fraternal way.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 6/30/2011 @ 4:41 pm

  19. @daleyrocks #10

    Social justice and self-esteem are more important than damn history, unless you need history to claim some kind of victim status, in which case history becomes very important.

    It is actually scary to watch history being replaced by selective narratives that often amount to social/cultural/political shaping tools. Poor Europe appears to be primarily recognized for its negative history, while its powerful contributions are briefly given a nod and then forgotten.

    Comment by bmertz (d77c52) — 6/30/2011 @ 4:46 pm

  20. OFF TOPIC;

    Is anybody else here going to make a point of watching the musical 1776 on July 4? If you don’t know it, I heartily recommend it to your attention.

    “I have come to the conclusion that one USLESS man is called a disgrace. That two are called a law firm. And that three or more become a Congress!”

    John Adams, quoted in “1776″

    Comment by C. S. P. Schofield (8b1968) — 6/30/2011 @ 4:46 pm

  21. SPQR – Thank you. Friends I used to attend with now shy away from going with me even though they are conservative. They want editorial approval of the attire.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 6/30/2011 @ 4:46 pm

  22. Comment by C. S. P. Schofield — 6/30/2011 @ 4:41 pm
    *snicker*

    Comment by bmertz (d77c52) — 6/30/2011 @ 4:51 pm

  23. I have caught his eye several times, resulting in some great double takes on his part.

    *Another snicker*

    Comment by bmertz (d77c52) — 6/30/2011 @ 4:56 pm

  24. John C. Fremont was the first politician to run as a republican for President. Lincoln was the first republican elected to the White House. For many years African-Americans voted republican, in honor of Lincoln. I’m an old-school conservative democrat, in the Harry S. Truman mold. Can’t wait for the fourth! Spareribs, barbecued chicken, peach pie and raisin salad-than of course the obligatory rodeo and fireworks show. I feel like Jim Bowie and Jeremiah Johnson, all rolled into one.

    Comment by The Tamandua (4de175) — 6/30/2011 @ 5:00 pm

  25. History is just a bunch of random dates marked on a calendar; whereas Progressive Social Thought, teaches us what people were feeling as the world was changing around them, and how those changes, if driven by Progressivism, was beneficial, while if it was driven by unfeeling, militaristic, autocrats, would doom civilization to centuries of darkness – except, of course, that when bad results were the product of Progressivism, it was because a, the wrong people were in charge; and be, they didn’t spend enough money.
    And, as we all know, feelings are more important than facts.

    Comment by AD-RtR/OS! (18ec4c) — 6/30/2011 @ 5:00 pm

  26. The way we were and the way we aint no more: “Hotter than a cowboy’s pistol on the fourth of July.”

    Comment by PE (0609ab) — 6/30/2011 @ 5:36 pm

  27. @8
    Liberals don’t think history is unimportant, but rather something that must be managed.

    Some liberal instruction manual I read once put it as “who controls the past the conrols the future: who controls the present controls the past.” At least, I think it was “controls”… it might have been “win the future” instead.

    As far as Republicans “appropriating” patriotism, I think it’s more of a matter of Democrats rejecting it. I, for one, would be more than happy to see Democrats actually give a damn about the country.

    Comment by malclave (1db6c5) — 6/30/2011 @ 7:42 pm

  28. Ah yez! I remember being a good little democrat until somebody let me shoot off fireworks. Now I are a Republican!

    As far as Republicans “appropriating” patriotism, I think it’s more of a matter of Democrats rejecting it. I, for one, would be more than happy to see Democrats actually give a damn about the country.

    Comment by malclave — 6/30/2011 @ 7:42 pm

    Hear Hear!

    Comment by starboardhelm (e93080) — 6/30/2011 @ 7:55 pm

  29. Harvard must be running out of rat studies.

    Comment by rochf (f3fbb0) — 7/1/2011 @ 10:44 am

  30. :dhock: Harvard said this?

    Comment by DohBiden (15aa57) — 7/1/2011 @ 10:50 am

  31. Stato Briggs also fisks the study here, seems that data analysis and statistics were not the paper’s strong suit ;)

    Comment by Pete (e9b761) — 7/1/2011 @ 1:57 pm

  32. It makes sense if you think about it. Parents who take their kids to 4th of July parades tend to be patriotic Americans celebrating personal independence and consequently are likely to raise independent patriotic children.

    Conversely, parents who live on welfare checks, subsidized housing, and food stamps are likely to raise lazy bums dependent on taxpayer funded public programs who naturally gravitate to the Democrat party.

    Comment by ropelight (aec4d9) — 7/1/2011 @ 3:45 pm

  33. It’s worth following the link (buried among the links to political cartoons) to the actual study. (PDF file, 40 pages)

    I note the researchers used a proxy for attendance at July 4th parades, and this proxy was weather. Their hypothesis was that if it rained, attendance at such events would be lower. So if, as a child, which they defined as between the ages of 3 and 18, ten parades were rained out, your attendance was expected to be lower than if only five were rained out.

    From the abstract:

    Our estimates are significant: one Fourth of July without rain before age 18 raises the likelihood of identifying as a Republican by 2 percent and voting for the Republican candidate by 4 percent. It also increases voter turnout by 0.9 percent and boosts political campaign contributions by 3 percent. Taken together, the evidence suggests that important childhood events can have persistent effects on political beliefs and participation and that Fourth of July celebrations in the US affect the nation’s political landscape.

    I regard this as a curiosity, and would be careful about imputing a causal relationship. For example, maybe July 4th parades on rainy days were attended by more gung-ho parents, who dragged unwilling kids along “for their own good”, and these kids then rebel against their Democrat parents.
    I haven’t even read the entire paper to see how well they say they’ve connected the dots.

    Nevertheless, it was amusing to post it on Facebook and see which liberals declared themselves insulted by it. :-)

    Comment by Karl L (1b8646) — 7/2/2011 @ 7:31 pm

  34. The republicans did not appropriate these ideals,they accepted and honored them, democrats have rejected and denied them.They use a long list of disparaging terms for patriots like jingoists and chauvinists, the last refuge of scoundrels ,etc, etc.

    Comment by dunce (b89258) — 7/2/2011 @ 9:04 pm

  35. Just as violence is the last resort of the incompetent, because the competent use it earlier when it might accomplish something, so Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel because the honorable man never left it while it is the last thing the scoundrel thinks of.

    Comment by C. S. P. Schofield (8b1968) — 7/2/2011 @ 9:19 pm

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