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Chart of the Day: Red States, Blue States, and Morality

June 30, 2009

See voting patterns by state and the incidence of divorce, teenage birthrates, and pornography usage.

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47 Comments
  1. Blackadder permalink
    June 30, 2009 9:59 am

    Might the fact that things like divorce, teen pregnancy, and pornography are bigger problems in some states lead people in those states to see those issues as more pressing concerns (and to vote for candidates who express a similar view)?

  2. June 30, 2009 10:07 am

    Possibly. But it doesn’t explain why they blame the “other states” for the preceived moral decline of the country.

  3. June 30, 2009 10:22 am

    The deep blue state California is the number one producer of pornography in the Country, and indeed, the LA Times considers that local industry something of a point of pride and runs a lot of feature articles about it. Other “blue state” media organs also tend to celebrate cultural degeneracy rather loudly as well.

    Also, you’re probably missing a few key elements in your stats:

    – Do more people in poor states go without broadband internet unless they specifically want it for pornography?

    – Do lower teen pregnancy rates in large “blue” states like California and New York basically reflect much higher abortion rates there than in the deep South?

    – Are you simply seeing different stages in cultural degeneration? Divorce rates in the rich seaboard states peaked much earlier — and by this point marriage is a dead institution in significant demographics of those states.

  4. brettsalkeld permalink*
    June 30, 2009 10:22 am

    Re: Chart 3. What makes Utah and Montana so different? Some real shockers in here. Very interesting.
    Teen abortion rates would be an interesting addition to the teen birth rates. I.e., Are the girls in New Hampshire not getting pregnant, or just not having babies?

  5. June 30, 2009 11:17 am

    Do we know California is the number one producer? One thought we can discard is the notion that marriage is dead in some blue states–the statistics given speak of divorce rates, not raw divorce totals.

    We’ll need more of this to pry conservatives off their moral superiority kick. Ideology has always been a measure less of sainthood and more of lemminghood.

  6. Magdalena permalink
    June 30, 2009 11:52 am

    California is definitely the biggest producer of pornography. Every once in a while in Cali there is an attempt made to regulate the adult industry to make it safer for performers – require more frequent HIV testing, mandatory condom use etc., but the porn industry has such a significant role to play in the local economy that these attempts always get squashed because the industry threatens to leave CA for friendlier climes. Sickening but true.

    Darwin and Brett correctly point out the problems with these kinds of statistics. Charts like these are interesting but they don’t “say” anything any more than the famous statistics showing that Blue State people give far less to charity than Red State people.

    It’s true, dollar for dollar, if you live in a Blue State you are less likely to be charitable with your money. Red Staters are much more generous, dollar for dollar, in spite of the fact that compared to the Blues they are usually much poorer. But you can’t neccesarily use that to prove that Blue State people are selfish hypocritical jerks (which is what most people are trying to say when they bring up those stats).

    Similarly you can’t use stats like these to show that Red Staters are… hypocritical jerks. Too many variables not accounted for.

  7. June 30, 2009 11:53 am

    Todd – The divorce rate per the census is defined as the number of divorces “per 1,000 total population residing in the area.” It is not a percentage of marriages that end in divorce.

    A state with fewer marriages per 1,000 would very likely have fewer divorces per 1,000. This chart is bs.

    Example: Connecticut has a marriage rate of 5.8 per thousand population and a divorce rate of 3.1 per thousand. So divorces are 53 percent of of marriages there.

    Arkansas has a marriage rate of 13.4 per thousand and a divorce rate of 6.1 per thousand. So divorces are 45 percent of marriages there.

    Yet Arkansas finds itself way on the top on this list and Connecticut way at the bottom.

  8. June 30, 2009 12:07 pm

    Do we know California is the number one producer?

    At least dating back to when I moved away six years ago, the LA Times frequently described LA County and the city of Burbank in particular as being center of the US porn industry and the corporate center for all the largest porn movie companies. They could be lying, but I’m hesitant to do generate the click train necessary to confirm all this via research.

    If you think about it — this is hardly surprising given that the porn movie industry piggybacks on a lot of the same technology, distribution channels and even people as the mainstream film and TV industry, which is heavily based in SoCal as well.

    One thought we can discard is the notion that marriage is dead in some blue states–the statistics given speak of divorce rates, not raw divorce totals.

    A low divorce rate does not necessarily indicate a healthy marriage atmosphere. If few people are getting married at all, a low divorce rate doesn’t indicate that marriage is a healthy social institution. A lot of the blue coastal states have lower marriage rates, which is the real cause of the lower divorce rates. Some examples:

    Divorce Rate 1990 2007 Delta
    Alabama 6.1 4.6 -25%
    New York 3.2 2.9 -9%
    Mass 2.8 2.3 -18%
    North Dakota 3.6 3 -17%

    Marriage Rate 1990 2007 Delta
    Alabama 10.6 9 -15%
    New York 8.6 6.7 -22%
    Mass 7.9 5.9 -25%
    North Dakota 7.5 6.7 -11%

  9. June 30, 2009 12:39 pm

    THis charts are always fun. Let me say I find the Stats on porn Suspect and I would think some more studies should be done.

    A clue to this is that Utah is at the top and for some reason a State that is similar in many ways to Idaho is at the bottom. That should alert people something is off. In fact while whole States do indeed have their own culture and personality they seem to act often as Unit with neighboring states on many things. For instance is sort of Odd that almost Every State Tenn borders has high rate of Porn usage but Tenn is at the bottom. Again a sign that more studies need to be done abd something is off, ( I mean is Memphis Strip Club Captial of the South more morally upright than their neighbors in West Memphis Arkansas?)

    As to illgetimate births and Divorces of course we have more firm stats on those. A more interesting map would be one done by Parish of County. There would could see evidence of apsect of race , economic income and of of course who carried that County.

    Being in one of those red states that is near the top, I rarely hear people “Blaming” other states for a bunch of problems. THey might not like that Calif is trying to introduce gay marraige nbationwide through the backdoor but I rarely hear people blaming California for all these divorces or for the economy, or for education woes

  10. June 30, 2009 12:45 pm

    Darwin you are correct California is the largest producer of porn in the nation. THat is because in California it is the only state where it is legal to produce it. While other states like Arizona and parts of FLorida have a small pornt inustry it is nothing like California . This is mainly because the legal protections are very unclear and of course the producers do not want to go to jail

    A example of this is why the Feds went to Flordia to prosecute one of the big porn proiducers under the obscentiy statute recently

  11. June 30, 2009 12:47 pm

    From what I read, especially in the Catholic blogosphere, there’s a self-congratulatory ethic afoot among conservatives, a meme that goes something like: Thank goodness we’re not immoral like all those liberals and heterodox Catholics.

    I think statistics can and should be carefully examined. They are better, however, than subjective judgments like “I think California makes more movies, therefore they must make more porn.” Maybe they do. Maybe internet porn has lapped the film industry. However, the point I derive from posts like this is that the narcissism of the Right does need to be punctured from time to time.

    Let’s just concede that sound morality aligns with no ideology, that individual human beings can make gravely sinful choices, and that cultural systems–governments, corporations, and other groups of human beings–can assist in the perpetuation of immorality.

  12. June 30, 2009 12:58 pm

    Morning,

    We could pull up wacky State legislators in both parties all day long. Neeldess to say this State Rep from Oklahoma is prob not known outside her district.

  13. June 30, 2009 1:07 pm

    Todd,

    It may be that there are some people foolish enough to take such an approach, but if so we have recurrent events like Gov. Sanford’s downfall to bring people back to earth.

    I guess what I see here is a rather different dynamic at play. It’s well known that there are two axes to the modern political divide: an economic one and a cultural/moral one.

    Political liberals (including Catholic ones) often argue that liberal economic policies are beneficial for all “ordinary” people and that conservatives only use the cultural/moral issues to dupe red state fools into voting against their interests. Whether that’s true is a matter of debate, but it’s unfortunate that many political liberals who profess to be serious Catholics (or otherwise Christians) often stick with the “look, those red staters are all moral hypocrites” arguments and never bother to do anything to clean up the very real moral rot which has a home in their party.

    I would certainly make no claim that conservatives are personally morally superior, but it’s a pretty plain fact that the political left is home to a culturally destructive ethic which holds most of traditional morality to be meaningless at best and destructive at worst.

    So while people with MM’s political affiliations may make themselves feel better by putting up charts that “prove” that red state residents are more immoral than blue state residents, he should not be surprised if people who actually care much about family structure and morality are invariably drawn to the party which at least gives those moral structures lip service rather than the one which is home to so many groups which actively trample them.

  14. June 30, 2009 1:13 pm

    Todd when I turn on my TV down here In RED State Cental on Sunday Morning the TV preachers are ranting against the divorce the porn the out of wedlock births and they are not talking about Maine. Further I hear it around the water cooler, and various other forums. I think “red Staters” know quite well there are problems.

    As for Liberal Catholics ( yes I know people don’t like those terms) but don’t liberal Orthodox Catholics that lean Democratic also want to reverse the things above.

    I would say a good many of the contributors here are not exactly GOP card carrying members. But I have rarely seen theior personal morality questioned. That would be problem since they talk about these subjects too.

  15. June 30, 2009 1:14 pm

    Also, just to be clear:

    They are better, however, than subjective judgments like “I think California makes more movies, therefore they must make more porn.”

    Is not remotely what I said. I referred to California as the primary US source of porn because the LA Times routinely reported it to be so, with some pride.

  16. June 30, 2009 1:48 pm

    Well, I don’t know about other political liberals, but I’m satisfied steering clear of the major political parties. Agreement on the moral rot, which strikes me more as a function of personal greed that, again, ideology. That said, I do think there are some GOP and Dem politicians who manage to steer clear of the worst of what their party has to offer.

    I’m happy to let MM speak for himself, but I don’t subscribe to any notion other than the antithesis of “I’m more moral than you are” no matter where it comes from.

    “(I)t’s a pretty plain fact that the political left is home to a culturally destructive ethic which holds most of traditional morality to be meaningless at best and destructive at worst.”

    If we’re talking about the non-religious and amoral left, then yes, we can add the non-religious and amoral Right and say the same thing. Which pretty much makes your statement as meaningful as “Immoral people are immoral.” And immoral people on the Right have been inclined to be as culturally destructive as anyone.

  17. c matt permalink
    June 30, 2009 3:28 pm

    …sound morality aligns with no ideology

    Not sure what you mean by “ideology”? Do you mean no particular political platform? Even that might be too strong a statement. A political platform can contain elements that are moral or immoral, and therefore align or not align with morality (eg, abortion is ok/torture can be justified – immoral; abortion is not ok/torture is not ok – moral). You need some “idea” of what is or is not moral to see what aligns. Sound morality itself is an ideology of sorts (from Wiki: An ideology is a set of aims and ideas, especially in politics. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things).

  18. Mickey Jackson permalink
    June 30, 2009 3:42 pm

    What’s even more illuminating is an examination of how much money the red states receive for every dollar they pay in taxes, compared to how much the blue states receive. That whole yarn about how folks in “the heartland” are more self-reliant and do just fine without “big gummint” is complete crap. Farm subsidies alone…

  19. June 30, 2009 3:48 pm

    Mickey: yes, that was also in my mind when I did this post. The people who cry loudest against “big government” and “small taxes” are the ones who benefit most from this government, and other peoples’ taxes.

  20. June 30, 2009 3:59 pm

    Neat chart. I’d like to see one that breaks things down on abortion, violent crime and murder – let’s throw property crimes into the mix as well. And better, let’s break it all down by county rather than state.

    A blue state is sure to have red areas that affect its numbers for better or worse, likewise a red state is going to have some blue areas that tip the numbers.

  21. GodsGadfly permalink
    June 30, 2009 7:28 pm

    1. As others have noted, what does “teen birthrate” say, other than that they’re not aborting? (Apostate Puritanism at its best)
    2. If you’re gonna talk about divorce rates, why not talk about rates of cohabitation, homosexual partnerships, etc.?
    3. And about pornographic websites? Versus print porn and pornographic movies?

  22. June 30, 2009 7:53 pm

    “What’s even more illuminating is an examination of how much money the red states receive for every dollar they pay in taxes, compared to how much the blue states receive. That whole yarn about how folks in “the heartland” are more self-reliant and do just fine without “big gummint” is complete crap. Farm subsidies alone…”

    Farm subsidies and and I say that coming from generations of farmers is a whole different kettle of fish

    Plus many of those stats for Federal dollars for Fed spending are at least in the Red South inflated a tad by military base spending where many are located

    Also there is more Federal spending because of the natural migration to the South , Midsouth, and sun belt

  23. June 30, 2009 8:06 pm

    And Darwin, this has nothing to do with feeling “better” than other people. I think we all need a “there but for the grace of God go I” attitude. You won’t see me scoring gleeful points over Mark Sanford. The point of this post is to point out the hypocrisy.

  24. June 30, 2009 8:44 pm

    MM

    What is the hyprcrisy? I mean I have followed for your psot now for what two years. I have never noted that you are against “family” values which seems akin to Catholic values

    The problems cited above are well known in the “red States”. They talk about them all the time. Is your soultion to make failure and not meeting the mark a non topiuc. That is by rationizling all immoral behavior

    Good Grief thank God the Catholic Church is not held to the same standard as the GOP or the so called religious right. After seeing the latest Priest Scandals how could we stand for various moral imperatives with that attitude. Should we because Priest violate their vows and engage in sexual misconduct with minors now say hey that is all ok

    Beware your argument about human weakness that is being applied against a poticla segemnt can be applied against Christ’s Church. I know you are not intending going there.

  25. June 30, 2009 8:48 pm

    The problem is that many of the most vocal defenders of “red America” make the claim that their culture is more morally virtuous. See Palin and her fanclub.

  26. June 30, 2009 9:16 pm

    “I would certainly make no claim that conservatives are personally morally superior, but it’s a pretty plain fact that the political left is home to a culturally destructive ethic which holds most of traditional morality to be meaningless at best and destructive at worst.”

    What do you mean by “culturally destructive ethic”? What is that ethic, how is it culturally destructive, and how do you know it is rooted in “the political left”? Examples?

    I’m genuinely curious.

  27. June 30, 2009 9:43 pm

    Utah’s porn problem may be explained by the fact it is one of the youngest states in the union. Possibly her women are more chaste and more likely to be married as well.

    These stats need to account for population age. Of course older populations won’t marry or divorce much, and I do hope our elders have less attraction to porn.

    Also, how many of those teen birth rates in Southwest states are due to Dem-voting Hispanics?

    I could rewrite this in the cynicism of anti-racism, claiming that morality is about whites panicking about and policing minority misbehavior.

    However, Ross Douthat suggests a more likely explanation: working- and middle-class people who have to live with the tumult of dissolute lifestyles are more likely to favor strict moral codes. Those who are wealthy enough to escape the worst effects of immorality feel moral codes cramp their style.

    Blue states tend to be richer, yes?

  28. July 1, 2009 5:43 am

    It’s Utah – what else is there to do ? :P

    Western European countries, godless leftist hellholes (with health insurance) that they are, tend to have significantly lower teen pregnancy and abortion rates. It stands to reason that the pledge ring doesn’t help much re: contraception :D

    The USA has an abortion rate of 19.4/1000 women age 15-44. Germany, where I am right now (130 mph on the Autobahn weeeee), 7.1.

    Teenage pregnancy rate
    USA 55/1000
    Netherlands 7/1000

    Teenage abortion rate
    USA 30/1000
    Netherlands 3/1000

    One could argue that Western Europe is “blue” versus America’s “red”. Conservative Americans pride themselves on not being like those immoral Europeans. Why, nobody knows. It certainly isn’t based on how “pro-life” the USA is. Secular European countries are far more “pro-life” in deed.

    Now I’m off to Bamberg’s medieval old town :)

  29. July 1, 2009 7:23 am

    On the third chart, it is worth noting that the primary conclusion of the study on which it is based was that there is very little variation among states; Utah has 5.47 online porn subscriptions per 1000 broadband users and Montana as 1.92 per 1000 broadband users, which is a relatively tiny difference as state variation goes. Also, it’s worth noting that the makeup changes rather significantly if we look at online porn subscriptions per 1000 people, rather than per 1000 broadband users; Utah is still highest at 1.69 per 1000 people, but Montana is suddenly middling, and Arkansas, which is fairly high at 3.69 per 1000 broadband users, is suddenly very low at 0.59 per 1000 people. And if we measured it in neither of these ways, but per 1000 internet users, we get a different order again (and doing it that way, seven of the top ten would be blue, as opposed to eight of the top ten being red when considering broadband users). But in any of the three ways of doing it we are actually talking about a tiny minority of people in each state.

  30. July 1, 2009 7:59 am

    So MM, let me ask you something. Through a history offhand remarks and such I have a general idea of what you do for a living (or at least what your field is).

    Apparently you sought out various sources of data and decided to format that data to “make a point”. Here’s the thing, and this goes back to the old adage that statistics don’t lie, but statisticians do.

    In your line of work, is the goal generally to compile and flip data to better understand a thing and then make the most informed decision possible or is the idea to select methods of analysis that will support your predefined conclusion or fit your narrative? If the former, would you say that this is what you’ve done here with these graphs?

    Really, do you think these truly say anything? If you didn’t have an axe to grind and were sincerely trying to find out if there was a correlation between morality (moral ideals and moral actions) and party preference/identification, would this be anywhere close to your summary product? And let’s say there can be no question about the validity of the source data, could you possibly defend this work before your peers?

    As you were selecting data sets and flipping the numbers trying to get as much red near the top as possible, did it ever occur to you that that might say something relevant?

    I’m not very familiar with your general field, but I am curious as to whether these graphs are indicative of the type of study your organization publishes or if you just deviated from your own professional standards to “make a point”.

  31. July 1, 2009 9:45 am

    For the last time, Rick, I am not out to *prove* anything, other than hypocrisy. If serial adultery and manifest sexual immorality are huge problems in red states, that’s nothing to gloat about. But the political respresentatives and public spokesmen for these region are constantly in the habit of lambasting the so-called “lib-uh-ral” regions for these very sins. It’s the same issue about the cries against “big gov’mint” when these very areas are major net beneficiaries of the tax-spend system.

  32. Joseph permalink
    July 1, 2009 10:13 am

    MM,

    You didn’t answer any of Rick’s specific questions. It might be a good idea to read Karlson’s subsequent post for a little reminder.

  33. July 1, 2009 10:42 am

    Well, perhaps I’m way off, but it strikes me that the cultural objection normally stated by conservative is that that they are better than “blue state” people, but rather that they espouse right morality rather than mocking or discarding it as often happens within the left leaning political/cultural sphere.

    Perhaps this is a way in which peole talk past each other, but it seems to me that the argument often breaks down to conservatives saying that we should uphold traditional moral values, with liberals answering back, “but you don’t actually live any more morally than we do, so look how hypocritical you are to espouse these beliefs.”

    I don’t think that MM means to make the whole of this argument in his post here. Clearly, he himself accepts Catholic moral teaching, which is itself rather more demanding than what passes for “traditional morality” in the modern US. But it does strike me as unhelpful to adopt the secular habit of mocking conservatives for upholding traditional moral beliefs in the public square on the basis that their practice may not be much better than that of those who espouse more libertine principles.

  34. July 1, 2009 10:43 am

    Okay, so you’re out to prove hypocrisy.

    1. An expression of agreement that is not supported by real conviction

    2. Insincerity by virtue of pretending to have qualities or beliefs that you do not really have

    First you have to establish that someone or some group proclaims something like “x is wrong, except when I do it”. Frankly, that’s not demonstrated in the least by your graphs. In fact, if you were to actually discuss these things with someone of a conservative bent you might find that they make no exceptions for themselves even if they are personally prone to or have committed such offenses. For example, I sin and have a strong propensity toward certain sins. However, I don’t for a moment think that it is okay for me to do it, and in contrast to some others, I don’t try to claim that it’s okay altogether or minimize the gravity for me or anyone else.

    Second, you had to have to manage and narrow your data in a very specific, non-organic, and unreasonable manner to “prove this right wing hypocrisy”. But I suppose the good end you were getting at justifies it all.

    Third, you’re not a dummy or an amateur – you look at numbers for a living. You have to know that this is garbage. It is not nearly granular enough of a look to determine anything of merit. You know full well that in all probability a couple large blue cities in a rural red state sku the numbers for the state as a whole. If so, that would say nothing about the hypocrisy of the those on the right, but much about the values of the left.

  35. July 1, 2009 12:30 pm

    You know full well that in all probability a couple large blue cities in a rural red state sku the numbers for the state as a whole.

    I assume by “sku” you mean “skew”. Anyway, I most certainly DO NOT know this. It sounds like grappling at straws — the only reason people in red states engage in sexually immoral behavior is because they are not Republican supporters. Huh?

  36. July 1, 2009 1:12 pm

    Hehe, I caught that misspelling too – it’s an acronym I use a hundred times a day in my line of work. Okay, so you do not KNOW that, but it’s quite feasible, right? That if you were going to embark on an analysis project for work it would be something you would be negligent in not considering, right? (Lord, I hope so anyway) It’s something that could have a dramatic effect on the results and conclusions and for there to be any credibility should be accounted for. My whole point of challenging you on this is that I believe you’re the one grappling at straws.

    I make no claim that people in red states don’t engage in sexually immoral behavior, ditto that of Republicans. Nor do I claim that Democrats do. FTR, I’m not a Republican, and have little use for that party. I think it’s so faulty and wrong headed on a host of issues that I can only find one major party that I find worse.

    Never mind that we could easily find a ranking Republican operative with a history of serial moral failings and find a charming Democratic couple who have been faithfully married for 50 years. It means nothing because we could just as easily find a ranking Democrat with serial moral failings and a charming Republican couple who have been married for 50 years. The differences are that as a parties and a demographics go, one group is quite lax regarding (or even supportive of) immorality and the other not quite so. One lobbies for moral standards regardless of individual failings, the other lobbies to demolish those moral standards or characterize them as good.

    If charts like these can be used to legitimately accuse or condemn people based on their party preference (something I reject), then do it up right. Get granular in your analysis, and look at things like unwed pregnancies, abortion rates and live birth ratios. Get rid of your broadband criteria on porn and look actual sales of all varities of porn. Compare marriage-divorce ratios and marriage to single parenthood. Then look up prostitution, rape, murder and other violent crimes, illicit drug use, etc.

  37. Joseph permalink
    July 1, 2009 3:05 pm

    “If charts like these can be used to legitimately accuse or condemn people based on their party preference (something I reject), then do it up right. Get granular in your analysis…”

    But then his findings wouldn’t match his presuppositions, and his feigned objectivity would be discovered. Not to mention, making authoritative, chest-thumping accusations that aren’t based on objective analysis is much more fun.

  38. Kevin permalink
    July 2, 2009 7:17 am

    MM,

    Aren’t you at all embarassed by these posts of yours?

  39. July 2, 2009 7:44 am

    Not only is the data presented ambiguous (do high teenage birth rates mean abortion is eschewed or that there is more teenage pregnancy? Does less divorce per 1,00 mean a lower divorce rate or less marriages?) and insufficiently detailed (no break down by party affiliation w/in the states), but even if it were not, why is it better to reject marriage altogether than to propose it as an unmet ideal? It reminds me of C.S. Lewis’s remark that “..the ‘frankness’ of people sunk below shame is a very cheap frankness,” and Neuhaus’s “…it used to be that hypocrisy was the tribute that vice paid to virtue, whereas now it is the charge that vice hurls at virtue.”

    I’m not sure why MM thinks it’s even worthwhile to waste time putting together specious statistics in service of such a petty point.

  40. July 2, 2009 8:49 am

    Yes, I should stop pointing out that the cultural movement that deems itself so morally superior actually scores poorly on sexual ethics and family values. That clearly is not a valuable topic. I should probably spend more time talking about things that clearly are more fitting for a Catholic blog – such as the greatness of the secular state of America, why war is good, why torture is OK if Americans do it, why global warming is a conspiracy againt our God-given right to consume as much as we want, how America is turning socialist even when it has the lowest taxes in the OECD, why neocons have always been right and will always be right, how the global financial crisis is the fault of the poor and minorities, why “small government” is the way go except for the military, why Obama is the most “pro-abortion president ever” because Fox News and Rush Limbaugh told me so… Yeah, what was I thinking???

  41. July 2, 2009 9:52 am

    Yes, I should stop pointing out that the cultural movement that deems itself so morally superior actually scores poorly on sexual ethics and family values.

    Well you didn’t actually point that out. The statistics you cite are irrelevant at best (deliberately misleading at worst) to supporting that claim. You’ve failed to address any of the legitimate criticisms of the divorce or teenage birth statistics, which suggests you are more interested in partisan mudslinging than accuracy.

    Moreover, your eagerness to paint people who advocate sexual ethics and family values as hypocrites is somewhat bizarre, given that you also advocate those things, albeit in a rather idiosyncratic fashion. As to your parade of horribles, the ‘no enemies to the left’ schtick gets tiresome, even when I agree with you.

  42. July 2, 2009 11:10 am

    Seriously, MM, are you doing alright these days? That last comment is a just a trifle…unhinged.

    On the content of your post, what you don’t quite seem to be grasping (or at least acknowledging) despite people pointing it out to you repeatedly is that the perceived divide between parties is not, “Republicans are virtuous while Democrats are evil” but rather that far too often traditional moral values in regards to sexuality, life, family, etc. (value which you and I share, so far as I know) are routinely mocked in leftist political circles and given respect (though not necessarily obedience) in conservative ones.

    I seriously don’t understand why you see fit to carry the standard cultural leftist talking points and mock conservatives for expressing respect for “family values”. Would you really rather that both parties openly mocked them? Would that somehow be better?

  43. July 2, 2009 1:11 pm

    I’m doing very well indeed, Darwin, thanks for asking. And by the way, the litany you refer to as unhinged comes from a recent purusal of some of the content on First Things and Ameican Catholic. Demented as I am, I find these arguments far more problematic from a moral perspective than, say, a post on how Michael Jackson’s music knocked down barriers, or how indicators of immorality are highest in red states.

    On the point you are making, don’t you think it’s a little funny that those who, in your words, routinely mock morality are actually the ones who better live up to it? Of course, I’m talking about a very narrow sexual ethic, but this is what the so-called conservatives harp on about so much. And I’m not sure if the divide is as clear as you claim — I don’t see any more opposition to divorce on the right than on the left. I don’t see much difference in approaches to adultery, even to pre-marital sex for that matter. The big difference I see relates to homosexual activities, and here, I don’t know what’s worse — singling out gays for their immoral behavior, or saying that there is no moral issue whatsoever.

  44. July 2, 2009 10:40 pm

    DarwinCatholic,

    Much of this thread dissects the “statistics” presented in the graph. So how can you back up your claim that liberals/blue-staters “mock” morals and family values?

    I think what liberals mock is the hypocrisy of social conservatives and the often unrealistic ways that they try to enforce those values in society — NOT the values in of themselves. For example, abstinence. Few liberals would argue that rising teen pregnancy rates are a GOOD thing. What they mock is abstinence-only education because they see it as unrealistic and ineffective. On adulterous politicians, my liberal friends are mostly indifferent. They view a politician’s private life as largely irrelevant, provided it does not affect the quality of his/her public service. What they mock is the self-righteousness of conservative politicians, who for all their trumpeting about family values and for indeed adopting the safeguarding of “family values” as part of their political platform, do not seem to be any more immune to questionable behavior than liberal politicians. It is also interesting to note that while Democrats such as John Edwards and Eliot Spitzer ended their political careers, Ensign and Vitter are still in the Senate, Gingrich remains prominent, Larry Craig refused to resign, and I don’t believe there is any true expectation for Sanford to resign either.

    Meanwhile, there are a number of moral issues that liberals take the higher ground on, and this includes torture. Just ask yourselves: would Jesus have supported torture? For even questioning the dubious morality and effectiveness of torture, liberals are constantly mocked by Republicans from Limbaugh to Sarah Palin (see “read them their rights” from her convention speech).

    If it is not a moral/value that conservatives share, conservatives do not seem to have any qualms whatsoever about belittling liberal beliefs and trying to shut down discussion.

  45. Hmmmmmm.... permalink
    July 20, 2009 6:47 am

    Are you kidding me? I have two friends who were born and raised in Utah and HAVE to go back to see their families because of religious reasons. Both of them tell me that the prevalence of sex is high, VERY HIGH in that state!! This chart corroborates what they said. I asked them why. Both told me that it’s because of sexually repressed feelings, high polyamy, and other deviant sexual behaviors. Wait til I show them this chart. Like Sanford, the GOP has placed themselves in an extremely difficult position. Allegedly being the party of “family values” and not caving in to their internal sexual needs. I agree with what “K” above says about abstinence-only programs. Utah is highly Republican and thus hold very high “family value” oriented positions. A lot of older white men said that the internet wasn’t around when they were younger and making decisions about marriage. That’s why you see the stories of Craig and Foley’s homosexual behavior; and Vitter, Utah where the Internet infrastructure is growing daily. Ensign’s behavior belies all comprehension and I see no way out for him because of the sledgehammer of legal suits coming against him. His mother can only pay the mistress and her children off so much — especially in this economy. And she didn’t even pay for the third child so the money must be running out. But I digress. There are a lot of us who know Utahans who would not be shocked by Utah being #1. I, for one, am honestly not shocked. Utah still belives in polygamy, though it’s against the law. There are currently 60,000 polygamists in Utah. Utahans also believe that polygamists and bigamists, which is also prevalent in Utah, 35% of the popluation said that they should not be persecuted! When asked about changing the law, Utahans did NOT want to do but were forced to do it by the Federal Government for issues surrounding statehood. And on and on…..

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