Gene Expression

Pew has a nice survey up right now, A Closer Look at the Parties in 2008. Here are three questions, and the Republican – Democrat difference on the responses:

Do you think the US made the right or wrong decision in using military force against Iraq?, a 50 point difference on both “yes” and “no.” I’ll let you guess the signs!

Do you think abortion should be…

Legal in all cases -13 difference
Legal in most cases -10 difference
Illegal in most cases +19 difference
Illegal in all cases +6 difference

Books that contain dangerous ideas should be banned from public school libraries

Agree +4 difference
Disagree -2 difference

Check out the other responses. I’m struck how long-standing “Culture War” issues are actually far less stark in their dichotomy than proximate, almost epiphenomenal, policies such as the Iraq War. And when it comes to “core” values such as free speech there isn’t much of a difference between the parties (though a shockingly high proportion of both Democrats and Republicans believe that books with “dangerous” ideas should be banned).

Comments

  1. #1 B.B.
    August 25, 2008

    razib says:
    And when it comes to “core” values such as free speech there isn’t much of a difference between the parties (though a shockingly high proportion of both Democrats and Republicans believe that books with “dangerous” ideas should be banned).

    I don’t think it would be accurate to characterize public schools refusing to propagate certain literature as “banning”. There is a stark difference between being allowed the autonomy to promote certain unpopular views and having explicit help from the state in doing so.

    I also suspect that if people were asked if a specifically extreme example of dangerous literature that should be refused distribution in public school libraries, you could get a much higher percentage from both parties accepting limitations. Try asking them whether they would accept literature from NAMBLA or something? Suddenly promoting a diversity of view-points will take a backseat to other concerns.

  2. #2 Salamander
    August 26, 2008

    And when it comes to “core” values such as free speech there isn’t much of a difference between the parties (though a shockingly high proportion of both Democrats and Republicans believe that books with “dangerous” ideas should be banned).

    I would imagine that they would differ considerably as to what constitutes a “dangerous” idea, however.

    Really, I think most people want the same things in the abstract: less crime, less poverty, clean environment, economic prosperity, etc.. They just have wildly different ideas of how to accomplish it.

  3. #3 Arcane
    August 27, 2008

    Really, I think most people want the same things in the abstract: less crime, less poverty, clean environment, economic prosperity, etc.. They just have wildly different ideas of how to accomplish it.

    Dead on the money.