Sunday, July 6, 2014

How do you plead? Postscript

Via Total Frat Move.

Jonah Goldberg may have been distressed by declining American patriotism as measured by whether people think this is the "greatest country in the world" or not,  or how PTBAA they are (for you youngsters, that's "Proud To Be An American" as it used to be abbreviated in the Nixon era, when patriotism was marketed more than usually like a yogurt brand, but the July 2013 Pew poll he was looking at isn't the only one out there.

Another is the quadrennial American National Election Study, reported by Lynn Vavreck in yesterday's Upshot (via Ed Kilgore), which asked some different questions, writes Vavreck:

When you see the American flag flying, the A.N.E.S. asks, how good does it make you feel? People can choose from categories that range from “extremely good” to “not good at all.” In 2012, 79 percent of Americans responded with extremely or very good. Only 7 percent said slightly or not good at all.

There is also a question asking how people “feel about this country.” More than 95 percent of Americans either love or like their country, with 70 percent saying “love it” and only one-third of one percent saying “hate it.” Sixty-one percent say that being an American is “extremely important” on a personal level. Only 1.5 percent say it is “not at all important.”
So when you ask people to report their patriotism in specifically conservative terms of "exceptionalism" you don't find much patriotism, but when you ask in terms that apply to everybody you find quite a bit. Hm, how do you suppose we should interpret that?

The ANES survey does find, as the Pew one did, that there's a striking difference in patriotic attachment between older generations and millennials; only 67% of the latter feel extremely or very good about seeing the old flag fly (which is still a pretty powerful majority) and just 45% consider their American identity to be "extremely important".
Andrew Jackson's Big Block of Cheese. Via Mental Floss.

A standout item for me was the response to questions about inequality:
One of them was: “It is not really that big a problem if some people have more of a chance in life than others.” People who agree with the statement are saying that the differences in people’s prospects aren’t terribly problematic for American society. Only 28 percent of Americans agree with that statement; 21 percent neither agree nor disagree. Half think it is a big problem that some people get more of a chance in life than others.

The difference between millennials and the Silent Generation on this question is 20 points. While 42 percent of the older generation thinks unequal chances in life are not a big problem, only 20 percent of millennials do. As for the reverse, only 37 percent of the Silent Generation think unequal chances are a big problem compared to 57 percent of young people.
So the generation that is finding itself a little less patriotic is the one that's having a lot clearer perception of increasing inequality in our society? As if the society's failure to live up to its promise of equality of rights and opportunities could be making it a little less lovable?

I'm hoping—not without some evidence—that they're figuring out that voting is the best revenge.

No comments:

Post a Comment