Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Imagine if Bill Bennet pointed this one out

Instead of the New York Times:

Population Loss Alters Louisiana Politics

Published: October 4, 2005
BATON ROUGE, La., Oct. 3 - The two recent gulf hurricanes may result in a significant loss of population for Louisiana, and state officials are now virtually certain that Louisiana will lose a Congressional seat - along with federal financing and national influence - after the 2010 census.
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Having dislodged more than a million people in southern Louisiana alone, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita are also likely to alter the state's political landscape, demographers and political experts say, reducing the domination of New Orleans over the State Legislature and increasing the influence of suburban and rural areas.

With a low-wage economy and consistently poor educational performance, Louisiana was losing population even before the hurricanes. The state had a net loss of more than 75,000 people from 1995 to 2000, according to census figures. But the physical and psychological damage inflicted by the hurricanes could push tens of thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands, of people out of the state for good, state officials say, comparable only to the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression and possibly the 1927 floods...."

Think of the screaming from the left. Now instead they will be wringing their hands over the lost congressional seats.

It's demographics pure and simple.

Bill Bennett, in using a distasteful reductio ad absurdium to refute the assertions of Steven Leavitts "Freakonomics", inadvertently highlighted something.

Statistical truths are distinct generalizations, and cannot be assumed to be valid in the specific; but some things are usefully taken as generalizations.

Demographics in general, and voting in particular, are among those things.

How about trying this one on for size; It's a related argument, about a different topic: Legalized abortion has almost guaranteed that conservative majorities will eventually dominate all of the country except for concentrated urban areas; because the vast majority of abortions are "chosen" by liberal women, predominantly living in urban areas.

Additionally conservative birth rates are more than twice as high as liberal birth rates, and conservatives are more likely to raise their children in an atmosphere that transmits conservative values. Unlike the extremely negative reaction that the baby boomers had to their parents values, the last two generations seem to be retaining their parents values to a greater extent.

These are all statistical truths,which may or may not be valid when discussing individuals. It is useful to generalize in these cases, because electoral politics is highly demographic in nature; and demographics is the sort-of-science of identifying specifics within the greater generalities of populations. Those specifics are then used to group, and target individuals, without requiring individual knowledge.

It's all demographics, and many find that distasteful; but realistically, how can we talk anout a nation of hundreds of millions, without making generalizations?

We do it every day, every hour. We use our general experiecnes and general knowledge to make general assumptions. We would not be able to function if we COULDN'T make that sort of generlization. We base many of our interactions on our demographic perceptions.

In fact, if you are unable to do this, you are considered to have a mild form of autism.

So why aren't we allowed to talk about it?