Shomron Center for Economic Policy Research

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Conservatives’ demand for free economy


Leftists’ and conservatives’ enlightement in light of the EconWatch results: enjoy, but with care

“…the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant;

it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”

Reagan R. “Time for choosing” October 27 1964

Professor Daniel B. Klein of George Mason University in Virginia, editor of the online journal Econ Journal Watch, in co-authorship with Zeljka Buturovic) published their really great job results:

Economic Enlightenment in Relation to College-going, Ideology, and Other Variables:  A Zogby Survey of Americans

Based on a survey, authors tried to assess the impact of political and ideological preferences and education on American economic enlightenment. The questionnaire was a mini-test for understanding certain elementary yet significant economic problems.

The results were impressive. Leftists (who often justly call themselves “Liberals” in the US) evinced a lack of awareness approaching total ignorance. Those surveyed preferred to disregard unpleasant facts, which are often common knowledge, if these facts did not fit the world picture dictated by their worldview. Such facts included washing out cheap dwelling under governmental rent price control; growth of prices for goods and services licensed by the state; being ready easily to “count” successful, large and growing companies among the monopolies; and so on.

The survey showed that education levels did not significantly impact levels of economic enlightenment. This is easily explainable by the leftists’ domination at universities. As a consequence, formal possession of a diploma is no evidence of either adequate basic knowledge, or culture of such knowledge acquisition (sometimes even information seeking skill). The article was published in May 2010.

The author became target for attack by leftist colleagues dominating the US academic community. The key “error” the author was ready to concede was his choice of well-known “sore calluses” of the Left and his having “gloatingly” stepped on them.

The next report (May 2011), very title made in sinner confessional style under “Party purges”. The authors are resolutely “bending their knees before the Party”. In the 2-nd  survey authors asked questions which stepped on the conservatives’ “sore toes.”  (“Economic Enlightenment Revisited: New Results Again Find Little Relationship Between Education and Economic Enlightenment but Vitiate Prior Evidence of the Left Being Worse” )

Conservatives in this report evinced a lack of deepened understanding of problems in the Welfare Economics and lack of familiarity with a university course in Public Sector Economics. Liberals answered the same questions “better” simply thanks to a pre-arranged correspondence of their ideologemes with the “correct” answers.

Conservatives evinced an insurmountable certainty that normal market deals are mutually profitable. In other words, conservatives believe that success can be achieved by honest labor, given free contracts and private property. Liberals, by contrast, believe that success is forced redistribution, and that there is no other way to achieve success. Hence also their conviction that state “correcting” redistribution is moral and efficient.

It is obvious that the second survey became a new proof of the conservatives’ commitment to principles of economic freedom and plain common sense, and the enmity espoused by the liberals toward the same principles (not to mention “occupy capitalists’ money” professors).

However, the authors opted to admit their error (!) in the first study. Protected by private property safeguards (George Mason University is private and commercial) and the First Amendment, American conservatives are afraid to defend their findings even when holding indisputable proof in their hands.

The 1-st surveys’ questionnaire most issues are really important; 2-nd surveys’ questionnaire’s questions’ (as if “vitiating” previous results) significance is questionable… ( two questionaries’ analysis and relevant references see here: EconWatch_comments).

In light of Reagan’s vision of the problem with liberal friend the only appropriate question for new survey IMHO would be:

Question Answer   options “Unenlightened”   person’s answer / comment
The   State principal responsibility and budget spending priority should be: 1.Defense,   security, justice2. Education, healthcare, culture, science3. Redistribution,   welfare4. Poor countries assistance and peace in the world promotion5.   Diversity, gender and race equality promotion All   choices but 1-st option /General (for all non-taxpayers’ democracies) trends   to expend state spending for mixed “public goods” at the cost of   pure public goods and with prospect to spend more and more for debt and   interest repayment, to impose more regulations on private business   explainable by the very basic choice of the State goals “… either to   promote happiness, orsimply to prevent evil”

Moshe Yanovskiy

English by Elen Rochlin


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