Monday, January 10, 2005

Tolles Civil Liberties Redux (Part Three)

13. Out of order slightly: Look: religiosity is a measure of how religious one is. Jews, Christians, Muslims, atheists, Hindu, etc. everyone can have a level of religiosity. That doesn't strike me as even being an interesting observation it is so obvious. They have excluded everyone who is not Christian or atheist/agnostic from this measure. Does that make any sense? Click Read more.

Second: I'll use myself. I am Catholic. One of the religiosity questions asks if you believe the Bible literally. So according to this definition, fundamentalist Christians are automatically more religious than anyone else. More religious by default than I *can* be by virtue of my Catholicism. Another question asks if you self identify as "evangelical". Same story. Another asks if you believe Israel is the fulfillment of Biblical prophesy. Again, these are not measures of how religious you are. They are measures of whether or not you are a fundamentalist Christian. Honestly, I am flabbergasted that you attacked this point. But since you did, I'll point out that there are very commonly used measures of religiosity in survey research. There are also very commonly used measures of fundamentalism. I know; I have used them. I just defended a dissertation that has both sets of measures in it. I am not "toss[ing] out inconvenient definitions". Nor am I "determining for myself what religiosity means". As Daniel Patrick Moynihan said: "everyone is entitled to their own opinions; everyone is not entitled to their own facts". This one is simply a fact.

14. I stated that the "male/female thing is not likely to be an issue" for a couple of reasons. First, to point out that the male/female example I had just used is not indicative of polling reality. I used it because we know for a fact that this should break down very close to 50/50. Pay close attention. Weighting male/female doesn't lead to much potential bias because 50/50 is very, very close to reality. What is the reality of Dems vs. Reps? See why male/female doesn't make a difference? There is no worry about intentional or unintentional bias affecting the results. It is not a difficult concept, although maybe it was poorly explained.

15. Your third item below conflates a couple things by tying together the male/female thing and the lack of race reporting. Those items were actually three posts apart and not related at all. Let me clarify the racial issue. They go out of their way to note that they weighted by race. There is no particular reason to note it; they are not being methodologically rigorous in a lot of things. But since they do note it, it calls particular attention to the fact that they never report any data broken down by race. I left the rhetorical question laying out there. Let me be more straightforward.

Race is inherently "interesting" in the academic world right now. It is difficult to get pieces published if you have not considered the race angle even if it is just to include a line saying: "results did not differ between the sample as a whole and the minority/black/Latino sample". Virtually anywhere a dependant variable differs by race there are social scientists swooping in to publish work based on those differences. To someone who is accustomed to this milieu, it is quite odd to see researchers call attention to the fact that they weighted by race but never present findings by race. Since this is obviously not a peer reviewed piece, they are free to do this. My strong guess is that their minority sample scored significantly worse on civil liberties than the white sample and they didn't want that finding muddling the "good" message that religion and Republicanism lead to lower levels of civil liberties.

16. On point six: I'll start by saying that I have a rule of thumb: I don't go to to see what conservatives think and I don't go to to see what liberals think. Both sites have been co-opted by the loonies of their followers and it is an intellectual cheap shot to try to tie them back to the mainstream of liberal or conservative thought. That is why I refer to the moonbat left: to distinguish them from the serious, important left. One is worthy of respect, the other is not. But since you asked, I checked it out. Here are the first five responses to the article:

A. Sorry to be so crass, but I do[support restricting Muslim's civil liberties].
B.You know, I hate headlines like that. These pollsters only interview a select amount of people, and then they extrapolate the results onto the population at large. It annoys me when they such-and-such percent of Americans believe so-and-so, when really, they mean that that percentage of the people they interviewed believed that.

Sorry, off my soapbox now. FWIW, I think curtailing Muslims' civil rights is a VERY bad idea. What about the next group that offends people? Christians are a majority in this country, but hey...we offend people, and weren't McVeigh and Nichols Christian?

You see where I'm going with that.
C. Muslims have their civil rights as does anyone else. But we would be stupid not to profile them, we would be stupid to allow their organisations to send money to terrorists in the Middle east, we would be crazy to forget the fact that so many Muslims have already been caught aiding the enemy.
Didnt we profile Italians, Japanese, the German Bunds.

Civil rights are one thing defense is another.
D. Our Constitution prohibits such action. Moslem citizens enjoy the same rights every other citizen enjoys. In the USA, we treat all citizens alike. Only if a citizen breaks the law are constitutional liberties restricted, and that only after due process.

We change this at our peril.
E. We are engaged in a bloody World War with muslims, we got to face up to the truth that radical muslims want to kill each and every one of us. No time for foolish self defeating political correctness on our part. We gotta do what needs to be done to defeat the enemy or else lose this conflict. President Bush are you listening? Take a lesson from the history of WWII and what was done for homeland security during that war..

If you cherry pick your way through the comments there are clearly a lot of outrageous things being said, but honestly this was far less outrageous than I expected. The thread appeared to still be open by the way. On the issue of ignoring the post 9-11 crackdown on Muslims: I dunno. Reports suggest that the Justice department quickly rounded up between 5,000 and 6,000 Muslims (out of a population of between 5,000,000 and 8,000,000; no one is quite sure). Those with criminal problems or immigration problems were dealt with, the rest were interrogated. They were not randomly picked up but were people of interest. Were some innocent people accidentally caught up in this? Surely, yes. Still, there is a difference between questioning 1 out of every 1,000 members of a group (those strongly believed to have valuable information) and sending 100% of a population off to slave labor and death camps. The difference is subtle, I grant, but there. Having said that, I will say that I am glad there are dedicated civil libertarians to watch over events like this, but I don't accept their every utterance as proof of the existence of a new SS.

On the No Muslims, No Terrorists bumper stickers I refer back to the freerepublic point. The existence of moonbats does not mean much. I can probably find people who think President Bush started the Tsunami by setting off undersea nuclear explosions to detract from the war in Iraq. But I wouldn't seek those comments out as proof of liberal thought. I am not sure I really get the bumper sticker. Is it suggesting we kill all Muslims? Deport them all? Just pointing out that terrorism is largely a Muslim thing these days? The last possibility does bring up a second point. What percentage of terrorism that we face today is non-Muslim? I grant it exists, but what is it? 1%, 5%?


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