Friday, December 10, 2004

Red state baiting

Dave Kopel blogs about the white baby gap and how Democrats are trying to use it to attack people in the red states:

A newer form of red-baiting claims that the supposedly moral red states are actually in a state of hypocrisy. For example, they vote against court-imposed gay marriage, but they watch Will & Grace on television.

A more sophisticated red-baiting argument appears in a recent posting on The DailyKos, an enormously influential Web site among left-wing activists, and one of the highest-trafficked political Weblogs in all the blogosphere.

Kos provides a chart showing teenage birth rates by states. Overwhelmingly, the low teenage birthrate states are blue, and the high-rate states are red. Kos writes:

When Red States get their social problems under control, and things such as teen pregnancy down to nationwide lows, then they can try and foist their solutions on the rest of the country.

But as things currently stand, on this issue (as well as others like divorce), the Red States have no ground to stand on. Those crazy New Englad [sic] liberals are running circles around them in this tangible measure of their residents' "values".

But this approach is not necessarily the best guide to moral behavior.

Kos is indisputably correct that red states have higher divorce rates. But the finding turns out to be an artifact of the higher marriage rates in those states. If you look at the number of divorces as percent of total marriages, then the blue-state superiority disappears.

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