To most people, a 14-pound stack of statistics interspersed with dry, scientific text might initiate a regurgitation reflex. But not to hard science types. We love data. We seek it out, embrace it, analyze it.
Data tell stories. Statistics spice up those stories. Take the well-worn liberal saw that women and men are the same. Right. Then why aren’t half of all nurses men? Why aren’t men in half of pedicurist, nail technician, massage therapist, and secretary jobs? Why aren’t men on the LPGA tour? Why are there no male wives? Why aren’t half of women men and half of men women?
The National Organization for Women declares that it “levels the playing field so people of color and all women have the chance to compete in education and in business.” Whining that men hold up to 97% of executive jobs, NOW wonders how bad this would be without affirmative action. No need to offer cogent arguments when you can pose what-ifs.
NOW complains that female-owned businesses get only 3% of federal contracts. If you want to have your ancestry impugned, raise the possibility that the women in these 3% represent a large proportion of female-run firms that bid on the contracts. Our gals protest that women compose only a quarter or fewer of doctors, lawyers, auto mechanics, and engineers. NOW assumes that there are enough women who want to go into these fields to fill half of the available positions. They also report that pink is blue. Furthermore, NOW has this to say to its detractors: You may be right. We may be crazy. But we just may be the lunatics you’re looking for. Turn out the light. Don’t try to save us. You may be wrong for all we know, but you may be right.
Adherents to the fallacy that men and women are psychologically identical state opinion after opinion as incontestable truth. They let passion speak in place of facts and demand that people raise their eyebrows and nod in agreement.
How about evidence? Let me whip out that 14-pound stack of paper—the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 Statistical Abstract. Hat tip to business and economic writer Robert Samuelson, writing in the Washington Post, for putting me onto this source.
In 2009, women comprised 17% of the U.S. House of Representatives, while Canada boasted 22% and the Netherlands, 41%. Either NOW is flubbing its mission to “level the playing field” or American women are focused on things besides having female representation in their national legislature on par with a former central Asian Soviet republic—Uzbekistan (17.5%).
Some people take the male-female sameness credo to laughable extremes. Psychiatrist Edgardo Menvielle asserts that a child must “be well adjusted, healthy and have good self-esteem. What’s not important is molding their gender.” We see. Emphasize self-esteem, something secondary to success, while scoffing at gender identification, something critical to success—in life. To the believer, this makes sense.
Moving on, liberals push for more money to hire more teachers to decrease student-teacher ratios—“to improve student learning.” Reality again explodes the liberal story. Data in the 14-pound stack indicate that although student-teacher ratios plummeted, from 22:1 down to 15:1 between 1970 and 2007, test scores hardly budged. A flagrant example of zealots pushing falsehoods occurred in my own state of Arizona in 2006. A national survey had determined that whites and students from wealthy families performed academically at the national average while low-income and minority students lagged. Two “researchers” who wrote an Arizona Republic article1 on the state’s abysmal overall showing claimed, “This [minority issue] ties back to cash: 42 percent of Arizona’s nearly one million students are poor. Research shows poor kids lag behind wealthier peers and do better in smaller classes with experienced teachers. Both cost money.”
The last three sentences brought to you courtesy of Fabrication 101. Columbia University2 puts the figure at one-quarter, not 42%. And the total number of poor Arizona kids is 135,000, not the 420,000 implied. The writers ignore that performance improvement with smaller class size is but a hypothesis, one that has never passed the smell test. The theory is routinely debunked. Arlan DeBlieck, with the Public Interest Institute, found no correlation and showed that the oft-quoted, highly suspect “Project STAR” is often used as a club to secure funding based on a mythical cause-and-effect.
We data-driven types love data.
All those “helping” programs that government liberals push, do they help America’s poor? Back to the 14-pound stack. In 1980, about 18% of children lived below the poverty line. By 2007, liberals had dispensed so much help to so many people that this proportion was—drum roll—about 18%. No government largesse, no matter how gargantuan, can change human nature, which responds to behavioral reinforcement.
The percentage of America’s population living on less than $1.25 a day is zero. In Rwanda, 77% exist on less than $1.25 a day. Human nature produces different levels of poverty in different socioeconomic systems, depending on environmental factors (reinforcement). America’s capitalism produces prosperity, and will continue to do so if voters stop the socialist march in the next two national elections. Rwanda’s corrupt, pseudo-socialistic, elite-privileged system produces destitution.
Buses of American liberals touring Rwanda with buckets of money could not improve the plight of Rwandans who have it in their minds that they live life a certain way. Herds of Capital Hill donkeys moseying up to the homes of poor American families only reinforces the generational mindset of these families to stroke the donkeys’ noses as they clip-clop along with their Santa sacks. If we reduce handouts, minimize taxes, encourage business growth, and require people to take the jobs these actions create, poverty will dwindle. Liberals will never see this.
Returning to our heavy stack of statistics, between 1980 and 2007, Americans went wild for pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs. Ownership quadrupled to almost 102 million vehicles while the number of cars rose only 12%. Greenies don’t like this. Democrats don’t like this. The über-CEO of Detroit, Barack Obama, is especially perturbed. He and his fellow Smartie Car and hybrid vehicle advocates in Congress will continue to bribe, coerce, and flat-out order Chrysler and GM to make cars that Americans don’t want. Greenies must “save the planet,” which doesn’t need saving. But let’s not go there.
Instead, let’s end on a positive note.
In the 14-pound stack there lurks a statistic which sets liberals’ hearts a-flutter. By 2007, almost 40% of babies born in America were born to unwed mothers—a doubling in 27 years. Progressivism, liberalism, emotional abandon bolstered by unreasonable reasoning, or whatever else we call it, has had a least one effect on society that liberals love. For more and more people, if it feels good, they do it.
1 Anne Ryman and Pat Kossan, “Ariz. Deserves ‘least smart’ tag,” The Arizona Republic, Oct 22, 2006.
2“Young Child and Family Incomes Rates, 2005,” National Center for Children in Poverty, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 2006.