Midterm Results Point to a New Divide in Politics: Education
Comment of the Day

November 13 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Midterm Results Point to a New Divide in Politics: Education

This article from the Wall Street Journal may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

When Bill Clinton entered the White House a quarter-century ago, the parties evenly divided the top 30 districts. Republicans since then have gained in working-class and rural areas, and among white voters without bachelor’s degrees.

The result is an America divided in a new way. “The new cultural divide is education,” says Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster.

Education helps explain some of Tuesday’s results that might seem like outliers in solid-Republican states.

In South Carolina, voters last sent a Democrat to Congress from the Charleston, S.C., area in 1979. In Georgia, a Democrat raised $30 million last year to compete in an Atlanta-area district—and lost. On Tuesday, the party carried both seats.

Both those districts—South Carolina’s 1st and Georgia’s 6th—are in the top half among all House districts for educational attainment. Both also have some of the largest shares of college-educated adults in their states.

Eoin Treacy's view

There is one view that people who have been to university have more experience of life and the world, so they are better placed to arbitrate between arguments and are therefore more rational than people with less formal education. That’s a very nice narrative which will lead a lot of people to think that if they vote a certain way then you must be smart.

There is an alternative narrative. Universities are bastions of collectivism and state control where the indoctrination of the youth has been going on for decades, with the result that there are millions of graduates who all think the same way and are incapable to parsing arguments that go against their ideology.

This article from the New York Times focusing on the growth of the Intellectual Dark Web may be of interest. 

But they all share three distinct qualities. First, they are willing to disagree ferociously, but talk civilly, about nearly every meaningful subject: religion, abortion, immigration, the nature of consciousness. Second, in an age in which popular feelings about the way things ought to be often override facts about the way things actually are, each is determined to resist parroting what’s politically convenient. And third, some have paid for this commitment by being purged from institutions that have become increasingly hostile to unorthodox thought — and have found receptive audiences elsewhere.

I find this remarkable. We live in a time when being able to sit down with people who do not share your view and have a conversation is considered remarkable. I thought that was what being an adult is. I am reminded of Kipling’s “If” and wonder how many of the statements people still consider relevant today. How many today could “bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken, Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,” The simple fact is there is a clear trend of intemperance in the world and it is not getting better. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46473/if---

This additional section from the article caught my attention:

Since stories about left-wing-outrage culture — the fact that the University of California, Berkeley, had to spend $600,000 on security for Mr. Shapiro’s speech there,

When you get death threats for challenging the status quo then the chances are you are on to something.

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