Yesterday, there was a strong reaction to the cross-posts from my Conservative-Truths website which rather surprised me and I wanted to take a few moments to clarify what is, and what is not, the purpose of the Conservative-Truths website.
The idea for Conservative-Truths was born out of a posting from Markos Moulitsas in late 2004 about Massachusetts having a lower rate of divorce than Texas. That got me to thinking that there might be a lot of other statistics that could be interesting, and counter-intuitive to the conventional wisdom, about conservatives and liberals. By reading the annual Census Bureau Statistical Report, I discovered that indeed there were lots of other interesting statistics and Conservative-Truths was launched through the help of numerous members of the Daily Kos community and I posted a new “truth” every Monday from January 2005 through November 2008.
I was very happy to the reaction to the site and it was featured from time to time on much larger websites like Crooks And Liars and I was very pleased to be able to help Elizabeth Warren during her guest posting on Talking Points Memo during the 2005 Bankruptcy Legislation debate. I knew that regardless whomever won the 2008 Presidential Election that the site would have to go on hiatus until 2012 because it takes two to three years for new data to come in. In January 2012 the site re-launched and I have used my Daily Kos diary to cross-post the information on the website.
One thing that is important to understand is that the postings on Conservative-Truths are just correlations and correlation does not mean causation. I am simply posting correlations that I find to be interesting, such as: There Is A Higher Rate Of Divorce In Conservative States Than In Liberal States, There Is A Higher Rate Of Burglary In Conservative States Than In Liberal States, and There Is A Higher Rate Of Death Due To Accidents In Conservative States Than In Liberal States. Why conservative states have these higher rates is not addressed on the website. Answering the question of “why” is for someone else to do. I am just posting the data exactly as published by the Census Bureau Statistical Report.
Every week I seem to have commenters ask the same series of questions that are answered in the website’s FAQ, but which they do not take the time to read, that I want to address here.
Q: Why is “X” listed as a conservative? Why is “Y” listed as a liberal?
A: If it is a President being discussed then the Republican President will be listed as Conservative and the Democratic President will be listed as Liberal.
Q: Why is “X” listed as a conservative state? Why is “Y” listed as a liberal state?
A: The label is chosen by the way that State voted in the 2008 Presidential Election, with the Conservative States being those that voted Republican and the Liberal States being those that voted Democratic. I know that this is an over-simplification and that there are many Liberals in Conservative States and many Conservatives in Liberal States, but this is the simplest and most common way to determine a State’s overall political leaning.
Q: Why don’t you use the state’s county election results to determine which states are conservative or liberal?
A: The Census Bureau Statistical Report only provides data on a state level. There is no county data provided, so it is impossible to use county level data.
Q: You are just posting this diary to drive traffic to your website, aren’t you?
A: No. If I was just trying to drive traffic to the Conservative-Truths website then I wouldn’t be re-posting the weekly article in its entirety. I do not receive much traffic from my Daily Kos Diary posts because there is nothing additional on the site. Everything on the site is the same as in the Diary.
Yesterday (April 9, 2012) I discovered that I had not cross-posted last week’s post: There Is A Higher Rate Of Murder In Conservative States Than In Liberal States, so I posted that along with this week’s post: There Is A Higher Rate Of Death Due To Alzheimer’s Disease In Conservative States Than In Liberal States. These posts really struck a nerve with some people and I started to be accused of saying that conservatism makes you a murderer or conservatism makes you get Alzheimer’s Disease. Of course, I never said any such thing.
I can absolutely understand how uncomfortable it is for some people to read that there is a Higher Rate Of Murder and a Higher Rate Of Death Due To Alzheimer’s Disease in Conservative States, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is a Higher Rate Of Murder (50% of Conservative States versus 34% of Liberal States) and a Higher Rate Of Death Due To Alzheimer’s Disease (82% of Conservative States versus 45% of Liberal States) in Conservative States. The statistics are simply the statistics.
Is it because of the socio-economic background of the state? Is it because of the quality of healthcare in the state? I have no idea. The “why” is not addressed on the Conservative-Truths website, and it is never going to be. If you want to figure out why, then you are welcome to look into it and then create your own website and/or Daily Kos Diary. However, I am going to continue posting correlations that I find to be interesting.