Friday, April 10, 2009

Constructing a smarty party platform

I am working on constructing a "Smarty party" political platform based on data from the GSS. So far, I've dug up responses on what follows below. These are merely shorthand for the questions as they are posed, not the answers high IQ respondents necessarily give.

- Abortion for any reason?

- Prayer in public schools?

- Taxation: Too high on poor, too high on middle class, too high on rich, progressive tax structure?

- Gov't spending: More or less on education, environmental protection, stem cell research, law enforcement, culture and the arts, housing for poor families with children, childcare for working parents, disabled children, prenatal care, military/national defense, health care, in general more emphasis on reducing taxes or increasing spending, government should insure jobs and stable prices?

- Welfare: Reduce benefits so working becomes more attractive, working or trying to find work to receive welfare, in general spend more on welfare?

- Legality of distributing pornography?

- Gun rights: Police permit to carry, background check required prior to sale?

- Immigration: Illegal immigrants keep people in my family from getting desired jobs, legal immigrants eligible to receive welfare benefits, immigration levels to the US are too high, birthright citizenship, illegal immigrants to be given work permits, immigrants pushing for too many rights in the US, English to be the official language of the US, bilingual education to be supported?

- Support free trade?

- Multiculturalism: Ethnic organizations promote separationism, speech deemed harmful to specific ethnic groups banned, government involved in keeping different cultures distinct?

- Affirmative action favored?

- Divorce to be made easier?

- Birth control information made easier to obtain?

- Corporal punishment for children?

- Same sex marriage allowed?

- Military: Confidence in, if a draft arises out of necessity in the future should conscientious objectors be exempt?

- Freedom: Gov't classifies too many documents as secret, importance for freedom of limiting government involvement in lives of citizens?

- Capital punishment for murder?

- End of life: People with terminal diseases allowed to die, person "tired of living" be allowed to die?

- Humans evolved or created by God?

- Automobiles required by government to increase gas mileage efficiency?

We're working within the limits of the GSS, especially as it relates to foreign policy, for which there is very little to go on. Also, there does not appear to be anything on positions toward drug use or the war on drugs in the database. That said, I'm sure I've overlooked at least a few other important political issues up to this point, so please point out those potential oversights on my part.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey wait a sec ... I re-read your first and last paragraphs a few times and I can't figure out what you're doing. Sounds interesting though. -Blode0322

Jokah Macpherson said...

Are earnest-looking smarty party members going to knock on my door on a Saturday morning in late October to ask me whom I'm voting for? Or is that beyond the limits of the GSS to predict?

Audacious Epigone said...

Blode & Jokah,

Heh, that royal "we're" at the beginning of the second paragraph makes it sound like this is a political organization or something at work. It's much more modest than that, though. I'm going to come up with all the positions on these issues that appeal to the majority of the 8-10 Wordsum crowd (approximating an IQ of 112 and up). It's looking quite whiterpersonish, so it's not going to be my ideal party platform by any stretch.

Jason Malloy said...

The basic finding is that smarter people are more "libertarian" on both economic and social issues.

Also here is a drugwar question:

GRASS: Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal or not?

Blode0322 said...

Oh, I got it. That's a very cool idea.

Audacious Epigone said...

Jason,

Right, but I'm interested in this case more in smart majorities, not necessarily smart proportions relative to less-smart proportions. And in some cases, there are variations on that basic pattern.

Thanks for the GRASS variable. I'm not sure how I missed that one (escapes "drug", "war on", etc, I guess.

FeministX said...

I can see the need for this. The liberal elite have allied themselves with a number of downtrodden minority classes for the sake of power. Meanwhile, the intelligent people with conservative leanings have been forced to ally themselves with the concerns of low IQ whites in order to maintain a balance of power.

Since you are looking for "smart people", I would suggest that you deviate from the buzz issues. Smart people can probably comprehend more complex questions than "are you against gay marriage" or "are you against flag burning"? Many of the value issues are just there to keep those with minimal political literacy interested enough to vote.

You could ask questions that necessarily deviate from any party line and require independent thought. For example, you could ask about what should be done to mitigate the effects of an aging populace that can live decades past their retirement age.

PS, I learn a lot from your blog. Please do visit mine and tell me what you think: feministx.blogspot.com.

Anonymous said...

Apropos of Feministx's first paragraph, I wonder about attitudes towards dysgenics. Most people seem to be against eugenics in any form (voluntary or involuntary), to the point of supporting dysgenic welfare policies. I wonder how the most intelligent people with children feel. I ask because I suspect a lot of the high-IQ leftists who oppose it vehemently are unmarried and/or childless. (The latter of course stand to gain from policies that make them look liberal even if those policies sell out the future.)

My sense is that the twain will never meet because childless people travel in such dramatically different social circles than families.

The Undiscovered Jew said...

Apropos of Feministx's first paragraph, I wonder about attitudes towards dysgenics. Most people seem to be against eugenics in any form (voluntary or involuntary), to the point of supporting dysgenic welfare policies.

Oh!

Perhaps AE should use the GSS to examine how people who believe genes are important to social outcomes feel about various issues.

Charles Murray has said the evidence for hereditarianism is reaching critical mass in the biological sciences.

As hereditarianism reaches a boiling point, we might be able to predict how future political attitudes will change towards issues like immigration, eugenics/dysgenics and interracial marriage, etc.

Ron Gunhame at the inductivist had a post demonstrating whites who believe genes are important to life outcomes are much more likely to support a law against interracial marriage than whites who believe in nurturism.

Understanding what people who already believe in the importance of genetics believe will give us insight into how public opinions on a variety of issues will change as genomic data starts rolling in over the next 5-10 years:

http://inductivist.blogspot.com/2009/02/hereditarianism-and-racialism.html

More than 1,000 white GSS-ers were asked if they felt that having better genes is important for how your life turns out. Look at the graph: those who believe there should be a law prohibiting marriage between blacks and whites are much more likely to think that genes are important.

I wonder if more whites will adopt hardcore racial attitudes as science makes it increasingly obvious that genes matter. Of course, this type of analysis cannot tell us what is causing what. It could easily be: law against marriage <-- racialism --> genes matter. There is no logical necessity that hereditarianism lead to racialism, but I think one could make the case for a historical connection. Many academics believe the two go hand-in-hand and fear the research for this reason.

FeministX said...

"Ron Gunhame at the inductivist had a post demonstrating whites who believe genes are important to life outcomes are much more likely to support a law against interracial marriage than whites who believe in nurturism."

Obvio.

A law against interracial marriage is not going to gain popularity any time soon. Even most conservatives do not care about the hereditary basis of low IQ or the effects of low IQ. The average conservative believes the problem with blacks is their culture which comes from libertine unchristian principles.

And otherwise, it's unamerican. Even the Vdare founder is against laws against interracial marriage. Freedom is freedom.

And it wouldn't actually be fair. What if it's a high IQ black? What if it's a recent African immigrant whose whole family has IQs above the white average?

And I really don't think you are close to a boiling point when proposing the idea that genes are responsible for the black/white IQ gap and that low IQ is responsible for the black community's problems.

The Undiscovered Jew said...

A law against interracial marriage is not going to gain popularity any time soon.

I wasn't arguing in favor of a ban on interracial marriage.

My point was to use GSS data explore how attitudes on a variety of issues - such as education, immigration, eugenics, interracial dating, etc - may change in the future as hereditarian/genetic evidence accumulates.

I merely used Gunhame's post to show how belief in the importance of genetics might alter public opinion on all sorts of issues, not simply interracial relationships.

FuturePundit said...

What I would like to know:

1) Which issues do smarter people rate as important? It is one thing to list a bunch of issues and ask people what they think about them. But what do people really care about and attach importance to?

2) Is there a way to measure realism tied to intelligence? Lots of people are smart. But some live in fantasies. Are there surveyable indicators to spot the more empirical and less ideological? A lot of brain cycles get wasted on religion and ideology.

Audacious Epigone said...

FeministX,

Right. As Jason says, the libertarian streak cuts on both sides of the 'mainstream' left-right political spectrum.

Unfortunately, the GSS questions are pretty simple for the most part, which also makes it a tricky database to use for getting at what Futurepundit is after. "What should be done to mitigate the effects of an aging populace that can live decades past their retirement age?" just isn't going to come up.

UJ,

That's a great variable the Inductivist found. Thanks for reminding me of it. The X party platform could be a fun theme to run with for awhile. Definitely something to look at. There are other questions along the lines of "blacks use lots of welfare," "whites commit lots of crime" that are a less 'extreme' than the question on miscegenation.

Futurepundit,

People who think a person's personality is primarily influenced by environment are more intelligent on average than those who think genetics is a stronger influence than environment. That's one example of higher IQ types wasting brain cycles on a religious belief system.

Anonymous said...

Intelligent people are often libertarian, however, smart libertarians often forget that most people are not smart enough and self disciplined enough to live productively in a libertarian society.

Until we have a better human product, we'll all have to live in some form of authoritarian society. If we could only all behave - wouldn't that be liberating?

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

Yes, libertarians often do not realize that the more intelligent a society is, the greater that society's potential for allowing personal liberty without pathological consequences.

Anonymous said...

I'm smart and I don't like the stupid gov't policies of paying dumb people not to work (bread and circus) and overpaying smart people to do work that doesn't need to be done (patronage).

Dumb and smart alike need to be weaned from the public tit. It won't kill them. They will just have to provide a service of some value to someone instead of sucking from the gov't.