Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Research and Insights from a Leading American University

Imagine that you are a guy living in a hut in Africa or in a cave somewhere in Afghanistan or in a jungle in some part of South America. Your contact with the outside world is minimal, but you are not dead to the lessons you can glean from the world that is available to you for observation. By chance, you happen upon an American on tour in your country. You engage this American in conversation about his occupation and he explains to you that he works for a major state university conducting scientific research. Impressed, you ask the American to explain the nature of his research. How would you react then, when you come to understand that this guy gets paid to investigate earthshattering discoveries like this? Might you not wonder what this American bozo knows about the world that you had not been able to discover by living a life of relative isolation in a hut? You discover that the American has learned how to pull a good scam; that’s what he knows that you don’t. You’re likely to conclude that his ability to scam is the reason that the American is on holiday traipsing about your country and you’re in a hut.

So at what point do bleeding taxpayers and parents forking over exorbitant tuition begin to ask the same questions? If that first story is not enough to inspire the questioning, then take a gander at the other two items from that newsletter: if you’re out of work it’s a good idea to ask your friends if they know about jobs and if you want to change jobs, you should have a plan. This kind of exhaustive research and draining of the mental energies demands a sabbatical, I think--a permanent one.

Discussions - 15 Comments

The guy in hut would be glad he lives in a hut and not America is probably what would happen. No contanct with the fluff media and public mental training institutions means he is probably smarter than the researcher not to mention he has not endured vaccines full of mercury slowing down his mental development and with no technology he does not get spied on 24/7. Mabye we should inquire if the hut next door is for sale.

You have at it, Brutus. But if you haven't had your vaccines, you may not last very long in that hut! As for me, I'll keep both America and my vaccines . . . whatever their potential downsides. Anyway, I guess if my brain is slow enough, no one will be interested in spying on me . . .

And can you believe that my "Captcha" words were "of" and "jingoism" for that last?!

Where is your sense of rugged individualism? Just substitute the hut for a little house on in the big woods. Is America good or bad really America, I love the ideas of our country and I love the land that I live and work on, but at what point does it cease to be the country we love or are we going to be like our old foes and simply fight for mother America no matter what our leaders do?

Julie, if you're looking for some research with non-intuitive conclusions that don't necessarily mesh with your notion of common sense, try this. (start on page 5 of the PDF)

From summary:

"Although much research has examined the relationship between religion and
abortion attitudes, few studies have examined whether religion influences abortion
behavior. This study looks at whether individual and school religiosity influence
reported abortion behavior among women who become pregnant while
unmarried. Hierarchical Logistic Models are implemented to analyze two waves
of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Findings
show that personal religiosity is unrelated to reported abortion behavior.
However, conservative Protestants appear less likely to obtain abortions than
mainline Protestants, Catholics, and women of non-Christian faiths. Regardless
of personal religious affiliation, having attended a school with a high proportion
of conservative Protestants appears to discourage abortion as women enter
their twenties. Conversely, women from private religious high schools appear
more likely to report obtaining an abortion than women from public
schools
."

Would all of this just be common sense to the cave and hut-dwellers (be they those who live in the Middle East, Africa, or the American 'burbs)?

What, exactly, do you think is counter-intuitive about that study, Craig. I don't find it surprising at all--especially when it notes: "However, conservative Protestants appear less likely to obtain abortions than mainline Protestants, Catholics, and women of non-Christian faiths. Regardless of personal religious affiliation, having attended a school with a high proportion of conservative Protestants appears to discourage abortion as women enter their twenties." So called "mainline" religions (including run-of-the mill Catholics) having bought into the relativism running through so many social currents of the last several decades, have increasingly found themselves unable to combat the less savory elements of modernity. But this even this study suggests that those who adhere more faithfully to their religious tradition (and those whom they influence in their day-to-day lives) are LESS likely to procure abortions they get pregnant. (And I wonder what such a study would say about their likelihood to GET pregnant in the first place . . . I think you would find similar results.) This is just another example of that trend. And it's also why I'm not likely (unless I happen to find a surprisingly faithful and good one) to spend my money on a Catholic high school. It's also true that a large number of kids in those schools (especially high schools) are there because their parents believe or expect that private schools are a more likely stepping stone to a more impressive college admission. There is also an abundance of people attending private high schools because their parents fear they can't handle public high school . . . So their religious commitment at that stage in the educational experience is suspect anyway. I think it's (somewhat) different in the elementary years--though not as different as it was a couple generations ago.

If that bothers you, Julie, please make sure that you don't look into art and music department research and newsletters. They are virtually all relativistic, in-the-now/no-sense-of-history garbage. Far more troubling than your innocuous example.

The guy in the hut thinks, how great to be an American, where even if you have as little real talent as I do, someone will give you a job doing something.

Julie, I thought about your poet while reading this article in the WSJ about how to win the National Spelling Bee. It takes work. The article points out that the last seven out of eleven contest have been won by children of Indian descent (still only one percent of the population) and still concludes that the way to win the Bee is through hard work and a broad education. No mind can memorize the spelling of 450,000 words. Top spellers must be able to make an educated guess about obscure words using their wide-ranging knowledge of etymology, science, geography, history and literature. Come to America, work hard, and you get something for it. America is so prosperous that even if you work hard at something relatively useless, that research you mentioned or even how to spell every word used in the English language, chances are good you will get some reward.

I would suggest that it takes not great research to come to that correct conclusion. The statistical results of the research in Craig's pdf offering are not surprising, either, although his conclusions and some of the assertions and conclusions of the author of that piece are surprising and, yes, a counter-intuitive take on her statistics.

Julie, I highlighted one of the things from the study that I found to be counterintuitive - "Conversely, women from private religious high schools appear more likely to report obtaining an abortion than women from public schools."

That strikes me as significant, and not in accordance with the conventional wisdom on the matter.

Further, while you pointed out that "having attended a school with a high proportion of conservative Protestants appears to discourage abortion as women enter their twenties," you left out the other important conclusion that goes with that, namely:


"The influence of conservative
Protestant school context on reported abortion
behavior appears for women in their twenties,
but not for teenagers, suggesting that conservative Protestant norms are more likely to limit abortion behavior when the educational and economic costs are lower. Contrary to the
moral communities hypothesis, neither school
religiosity nor a conservative Protestant school
context increased the influence of personal religiosity
or conservative Protestant affiliation
on reported abortion behavior.

Kate, how much time have you spent among hut-dwellers anywhere (let alone even anyone from tax brackets below yours)? You might be surprised at the many significant talents they have. Not all hut-dwellers envy or crave to be Americans, either.

Our President HUSSEIN Obama's brother lives in a hut. By the way why haven't we heard anything about the new Arab terror attack. No not that French plane I'm talking about the army recruiter in ARkansas. A damn Arab killed him.

You are right, Craig, I have not spent time among hut-dwellers. My husband, daughter, relatives and many friends spend time in Kenya, Namibia, Peru, Ecuador and many other places in the world: missions trips. Reports are that those folks would like to come to America, to stay, not just to visit. The former hut-dwellers I have met are Americans, now, or trying to become Americans and are very happy to be here.

What do you know about my tax-bracket?

I read through your pdf, beyond the summery, and there is more to the matter than you say.

Yes Kate, of course there's more to the matter than what I've said, and more to the matter than what Julie's said. It's complex, valid social research. Some of it confirms what some people already think and some of it is counterintuitive to what some people think. What I quoted from the research in my last post was from the results section of the report, not the summary (you read the "summery" synopsis? The topic's a bit grim, I wouldn't exactly call it summery).

So, were all of the hut-dwellers "born American(s), but in the wrong place(s)"?

Maybe they were. Although most loved their places, their homelands, and would have made an America (in an idealistic sense, not a material one) of their nations - no, maybe I should say of their states. The sense is the same.

Yes, that was a laughable slip of my fingertip.

The first Christian school I worked at expelled a girl for getting pregnant. I argued for her, citing the right-to-life stance of the school. The girl was a senior, months from graduation. An abortion would have been the sensible, self-serving thing for her to do, but she didn't do it. I love her for it and went to the shower, later, with a hand-made gift and as much money as I could manage. The boy was too sensible and dumped her. It could have been worse, her mother was supportive and the girl was not completely alone. Sadly, I have other stories like this, which flavors how I read that research.

I think it is revealing that Craig Scanlon finds the study he cites to contain counter-intuitive information. It is counter-intuitive to what he thinks people like me and Kate think. And then he finds that his intuition about what we think is wrong. No wonder he has so little faith in common sense. It does not serve him well.

Whatever you say, Julie. Fine, you already knew everything that the research shows.

You: "But this even this study suggests that those who adhere more faithfully to their religious tradition (and those whom they influence in their day-to-day lives) are LESS likely to procure abortions [if?] they get pregnant."

The study: "At the individual level, personal religious
importance and involvement do not appear to
influence reported abortion behavior."

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