Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Two points for the price of one

I wouldn't ordinarily link to Dana Milbank as a main source but he gives me a useful twofer.

First topic of discussion: according to a new Pew poll, almost half of Republicans say humans have existed in their present form from the beginning, i.e. evolution is a lie from the pit of hell, while only 43% accept evolution in some form, including that yeah, it happened but it was divinely guided. That's apparently down by 11% from the last time they asked four years ago. Since the total percentage of the population that believes in evolution -- 60% -- hasn't changed, this seems to mean that the people who are willing to self-identify as Republicans is increasingly restricted to religious fanatics.

Okay, that's not a surprise. But then Milbank says this:

This continues a long-term trend in which both parties are shrinking into smaller entities at opposite extremes. The gap on social issues between Democrats and Republicans (and independents who lean toward one party or the other) has nearly doubled over the past quarter-­century.

It's obligatory, of course. If you're a DC-based corporate media yammerer, you face a $50,000 fine and three years in the penitentiary if you fail to say that both sides are equally extremist and both sides do it. What's weird about this is that in the next few sentences, Milbank totally disproves the above paragraph. He does say that Democrats have become more secular, which I suppose he considers to be an "extreme" view. But then he says "The Republican Party is achieving the seemingly impossible feat of becoming even more theological. Democrats and independents haven’t moved much in their views, while Republicans took a sharp turn toward fundamentalism." Evidently the only position that is not "extreme" is non-fundamentalist religiosity. Or is he just compelled to utter the balance mantra even though he is fully conscious that it is nonsense?

I can't tell.

1 comment:

Don Quixote said...

Cognitive dissonance.