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October 2015

September 2015

Republicans & Democrats Tweet Differently. Here's How.

"I sing myself", a great liberal once wrote. Today he'd tweet himself. Democrats tweet the first person, the profane, the positive, the happy and amazed, their feelings and anxieties. Republicans tweet the great, the group, the "we", be it the country, the party or humanity; God and religion, the tentative and uncertain, the negative, the distinction, the opponent. Death is equally tweeted, or untweeted, by all.

"Be careful what you say on Twitter… It may  scream liberal or conservative, without you knowing it. Take a look at what researchers have found is the vocabulary of each group.",  writes at aei.org, reporting on a study published last week, from Queen Mary University in London, of almost one million tweets from over 10,000 twitterators.

Democrats' but not Republicans' most-frequent words: I, me, my, I'm, feel, fuck, shit, variants of happy and amaze.

Republicans' but not Democrats' most-frequent words: We, our, us, God, psalm, variants of great.

Democrats' consistent, significant correlations: Swear words, positive-emotion words, anxiety words, feeling words.

Republicans' consistent, significant correlations: Words of uncertainty and tentativeness, religious words.

Slight correlations with Republicans: Negativity, such as "not" and talking about opponents.

No difference: Words of certainty, death, and achievement.

(Variants means "stemmed" words including the root word)

Links and quotations for September 18, 2015: Conservative vs. liberal Twitter vocab, Obama and behavioral science, and more

Based on 

Study finds people’s conservative and liberal traits show up in their Twitter vocabulary

Based on the study:


Recent history shows Sanders Socialism is freedom's greatest challenge, greatest opportunity. Engage!

By John Crouch

Senator Sanders and his unabashed, intelligent, well-meaning case for socialism are a very real, huge new threat to freedom, prosperity, morality and responsibility in America, and in a world where America is the principal and sometimes the only champion of those essentials. And to the basic beliefs which make those things possible. It is likewise a great opportunity to defend and spread those beliefs and start a serious, nuanced public conversation about economic freedom which the media won't be able to ignore.

The average liberal response to Sanders's campaign is not, as conventional wisdom expected, to find him extreme, embarrassing, and a little too honest about what liberals believe and want. Instead, many educated, nice, people whose wisdom, integrity and practicality I respect in other areas of life, are not only unafraid but happy to embrace a socialism that dares to speak its name. How did we get here?

25 years ago the once-universal belief in socialism was completely discredited in theory and in practice. Initially encouraged by the media and left's' brief tactical retreat on the question (remember who said "The era of big government is over"?), conservatives and economic liberals believed that that debate was over, and freedom had won. They neglected to keep talking about the fundamentals of economics and freedom, overlooking that new generations would never learn about them and older ones would forget.

While President Clinton was saying big government was over and the Washington press was telling Gingrich how smart and beloved he was, Clinton's people were planting a shrewd campaign in an "alternative media" far outside the beltway -- non-political women's magazines. A thousand little stories about Republicans' assaults on a thousand little government programs -- nothing political or ideological, you understand, just programs women needed so as to take proper care of their families and themselves. Soon, without debating about market economics in general, they were able to take any Republican who opposed any program, and use the media to paint him not as an economic liberal, but a Religious Rightist, and bring down on him all the fear, loathing and contempt which liberals and moderates previously had only for racists, and for religious rightists who were threatening others' religious freedom, not just exercising their own. Eventually they found they could do this not only on economic issues, but on any legislative or procedural question that they deemed crucial to their hold on real power over America's government and culture. 

Soon a new term was coined: "Economic Extremist". That would have been incomprehensible when I was growing up in the 1970s, when anyone who dealt in the minutiae of economics, whether for the government or on Wall Street, was considered impossibly square and boring, and pictured as a prematurely bald fat guy in a suit with a cigar. (All of which was the opposite of cool at that time, in case you are too young to remember.) Next came the 1995 Government Shutdown, which the Clinton Administration planned, knowing that the Republicans would be blamed for it as the anti-government, anti-spending party. Especially with how flippantly Gingrich was talking about the virtues of a shutdown. As the kid who would quite understandably get blamed for everything in grade school whether I did it or not, I could see this coming from miles away. Clinton's brilliant aide Leon Pannetta later bragged on NPR, where he assumed only liberals were listening, that the whole thing was his idea.

From then until the bitter end, the GOP just barely clung to their House majority by never talking publicly about the reasons for economic liberty at all. At the same time they seemed to assume that the voters supported it, and did not need it explained. But they also shied away from  advocating and explaining the policies they were carrying out, for fear of scaring any voters, and getting tarred as "Economic Extremists." They fought a ground war and played a ground game, never an air war or a passing game, seeking votes only by "throwing red meat to their base" on other issues, but never working to expand that base or bring in younger people as older generations faded away.

After a few years leftists came back, simply ignoring that the public debate and awful consequences of socialism had ever happened. Shying away from the widely despised label of "liberal", they called themselves "progressives", a term that until then had meant the most extreme leftists whom other liberals would associate with. But the term had only been used within the left, so hardly anyone else recognized it.

Since then, they consistently sidestep the very existence of market economic science with an attitude of "What I shall assume, you shall assume." And that assumption is that socialism is justified by faith alone, and anyone questioning it is by definition selfish, evil, dangerous, and part of a conspiracy.

The most disappointing, but really the least surprising, champions of this faith-based "economic science is evil and irrelevant" view are Pope Francis and his two predecessors. As a Christian I'm a little irritated to hear our faith's most prominent spokesmen claim that Christ allows, and indeed commands, us to use force to make others give to charity, even when it's not for communal self-defense or some other life-or-death emergency, instead of giving voluntarily of ourselves.

Recently my friend Gina Harris asked why the Republican candidates are all attacking Hillary, when Sanders is leading her in the polls. All I could think to say was that they have always loved Clinton-bashing and Obama-hating even though it has never won them an election. And that it makes them sound like old people waving yesterday's banners, like all those baby boomers who still think the Vietnam War or civil rights are the ultimate questions in today's politics, and who are not even aware of the very wide-reaching movement for outright socialism that is going on.

So the candidates who can intelligently, compassionately advocate for economic freedom should welcome Sen. Sanders's invitation to an inter-party pre-primary debate, regardless of what other candidates show up. And they should take -- and indeed, should offer -- any other chances to debate him. They should seek out forums like the Charlie Rose Show, which allow thoughtful, nuanced discussion, not silly "Gotcha" questions. They should never attack him personally, because, among other reasons, he isn't the threat, his ideology is, and always has been. This is a rare opportunity to make the case for freedom to the American people, and to some of the most thoughtful, energetic, sometimes open-minded citizens on the left, who will watch the entire debate if only to watch Bernie and to eagerly await the Republicans' mistakes. And after the debates, continue the argument unilaterally and in every other forum.

Engage!


#Hillary's #GefilteFish free-trade would oust Galilean fishermen, rob #Jesus of disciples

Imagine no St. Peter, just a jobless ex-fisherman named Simon who never met Jesus and started the whole disciple thing? That frightening prospect is raised by the exception to the Galilean Carp Exception to US-Israel free trade which the U.S. allowed pursuant to Hillary Clinton's now-infamous Gefilte Fish Cynical Positioning E-mail.