The left wing spin-doctoring of social science that’s summarized in a Scientific American, article titled Is Social Science Politically Biased? (quote at bottom of this post) has also occurred with American history, and for the mostly same reasons, explained in How American Popular Culture Misunderstands Conservatism.
Specifically, the notion that Republicans had a “southern strategy” to win the south with overt and covert “dog whistle” appeals to racism is a lie.
In the article The Party of Civil Rights Kevin D. Williamson says the book “The End of Southern Exceptionalism: Class, Race, and Partisan Change in the Postwar South (Harvard University Press, 2006). shows that “The Republican rise in the South was contemporaneous with the decline of race as the most important political question and tracked the rise of middle-class voters moved mainly by economic considerations and anti-Communism.” Dinesh D’Souza summarizes the same book, in his Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party saying The south became more Republican over a period of decades during the 1950s and 1960s as it gradually became less racist
- “As the South became more prosperous economically during the 190s and 1960s, the racist appeal lost its currency and white southern Democrats realized that they had more in common with the Republican Party. The identified with the GOP idea of controlling your own destiny and improving your own life.”
- “In a remarkable book, The End of Southern Exceptionalism, Byron Shafer and Richard Johnston make the case that white southerners switched to the Republican Party not because of racism but because they identified the GOP with economic opportunity and upward mobility. As the agrarian South became more industrial and then post-industrial, white southerners switched parties not because of race but because of economic prospects. Interestingly, whites moved to the Republican Party for the same reason blacks moved to the Democratic Party: both groups saw the journey as congruent with their economic self-interest.”
- “Shafer and Johnston show how Democrats tried, and failed, to keep southern whites in the fold by appealing to racism. Southern whites, however, migrated to the GOP as the party that better represented their interests and aspirations. Shafer and Johnston supply reams of data to substantiate their claim that the poorest, most racist whites remained Democratic, while more prosperous whites who were not racist were more likely to become Republicans. To the horror of the Democratic Party, the South moved in the Republican direction as white southerners embraced the GOP as the non-racist party of economic opportunity and patriotism.” 21
Other sources that debunk the “southern strategy” lie include:
The Myth of Racist Republicans in the Claremont Review of Books, by Gerard Alexander, reviews five books about the Southern Strategy and concludes:
The point of all this is not to deny that Richard Nixon may have invited some nasty fellows into his political bed. The point is that the GOP finally became the region’s dominant party in the least racist phase of the South’s entire history, and it got that way by attracting most of its votes from the region’s growing and confident communities—not its declining and fearful ones. The myth’s shrillest proponents are as reluctant to admit this as they are to concede that most Republicans genuinely believe that a color-blind society lies down the road of individual choice and dynamic change, not down the road of state regulation and unequal treatment before the law. The truly tenacious prejudices here are the mythmakers’.
History Lesson: Racist Democrats and the Big Lie uses electoral maps to show that the facts belie the “Big Lie”
Chapter 12, Civil Rights Chickenhawks, from Ann Coulter’s book Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama, tells the same story in words, as does D’Souza’s Hillary’s America, which I converted to a simple listing of facts in outline form here.
The Southern Strategy Debunked Again, by Steven Hayward.
Southern Whites’ Shift to the GOP Predates the ’60s, by Sean Trende.
Nixon’s Southern Strategy and the Liberals’ Big lie, by Patrick J. Buchanan.
The Myth of the Republican Democrat Switch on Civil Rights at FreedomDaily.
With Landrieu’s Loss, the End of an Epoch, by Kevin D. Williamson.
The GOP Southern Strategy Reconsidered, by W. James Antle III.
Excerpt from Is Social Science Politically Biased? in Scientific American
How does this political asymmetry corrupt social science? It begins with what subjects are studied and the descriptive language employed. Consider a 2003 paper by social psychologist John Jost, now at New York University, and his colleagues, entitled “Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition.” Conservatives are described as having “uncertainty avoidance,” “needs for order, structure, and closure,” as well as “dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity,” as if these constitute a mental disease that leads to “resistance to change” and “endorsement of inequality.” Yet one could just as easily characterize liberals as suffering from a host of equally malfunctioning cognitive states: a lack of moral compass that leads to an inability to make clear ethical choices, a pathological fear of clarity that leads to indecisiveness, a naive belief that all people are equally talented, and a blind adherence in the teeth of contradictory evidence from behavior genetics that culture and environment exclusively determine one’s lot in life.
Duarte et al. find similar distortive language across the social sciences, where, for instance, certain words are used to suggest pernicious motives when confronting contradictory evidence—“deny,” “legitimize,” “rationalize,” “justify,” “defend,” “trivialize”—with conservatives as examples, as if liberals are always objective and rational. In one test item, for example, the “endorsement of the efficacy of hard work” was interpreted as an example of “rationalization of inequality.” Imagine a study in which conservative values were assumed to be scientific facts and disagreement with them was treated as irrational, the authors conjecture counterfactually. “In this field, scholars might regularly publish studies on … ‘the denial of the benefits of a strong military’ or ‘the denial of the benefits of church attendance.’” The authors present evidence that “embedding any type of ideological values into measures is dangerous to science” and is “much more likely to happen—and to go unchallenged by dissenters—in a politically homogeneous field.”
Political bias also twists how data are interpreted. For instance, Duarte’s study discusses a paper in which subjects scoring high in “right-wing authoritarianism” were found to be “more likely to go along with the unethical decisions of leaders.” Example: “not formally taking a female colleague’s side in her sexual harassment complaint against her subordinate (given little information about the case).” Maybe what this finding really means is that conservatives believe in examining evidence first, instead of prejudging by gender. Call it “left-wing authoritarianism.”
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