Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Feb/10

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Secular Right reader survey

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A reader asked about a survey for this weblog. If you are a regular reader, please consider taking this survey. I’ll post the csv on the 6th of March (survey closes on the 5th). There are 30 questions, none of which are mandatory. They proceed from demographic variables, to general political ideology, to specific political questions. You can view results here. It goes rather fast since most of the questions have answers you should know without much reflection (e.g., your sex).

39 comments

  • Jeff Peterson · February 25, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    I think it’s great how in the survey Texas is its own region of the US!

  • mnuez · February 25, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Razib, I haven’t yet seen any commentary or postings of yours about the gnxp survey. If you did post it somewhere I haven’t come across it.

    On a related note, I recently used you as an example of why White Nationalism is boneheaded. If I don’t get the indulgent statistical analysis of your readers that I crave I’m afraid I’m going to have to reconsider my arguments and throw my lot in with the skinheads.

    You’ve been warned!

    mnuez

  • Author comment by David Hume · February 25, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    mnuez, lol. anyway WN’s are what they are, just like all sorts of nationalists and religionists are.

    jeff, i think texas is arguably distinctive enough from the rest of the south to be its own region. especially because it is now the second most populous state. i don’t think cali is as different from oregon & wash, as texas is from louisiana. though my texas-louisiana comparison is based on a small person N.

  • OneSTDV · February 25, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    “It goes rather fast since most of the questions have answers you should know without much reflection (e.g., your sex).”

    I’m guessing you’re excluding all your pre-op transsexual readers.

  • Author comment by David Hume · February 25, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    since this isn’t feministing, i really don’t care. ah, the semantical convenience of conservatism….

  • NotA · February 25, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    David Hume —

    Great idea. Glad to participate. For what it’s worth (nothing), I thought I’d mention two spots in your survey that gave me pause.

    (1) the abortion question: I think there’s ground between “abortion on demand with minor restrictions” and “abortion only for life of the mother, rape, and incest.” I think that there are probably a significant number of potential respondents who would allow abortion on some sort of viability-based or knowledge-of-pregnancy-based, and so backward-sliding (as science improves), grace period (or some other formulation) that would, as it were, allow what I presume are post-fertilization abortion decisions that nevertheless would be far short of “abortion on demand.” Then again, perhaps I am extrapolating from personal (and conceivably objectively incoherent) positions.

    (2) the who-for-president pick: Add Paul Ryan. Also, it might be interesting to add a “who would you *never* vote for category.

    I realize that you’re not going to alter your survey now to retrofit for these suggestions. I leave them just as thoughts about the potential un-suppleness (to invent a concept, I fear) of the results.

    Meanwhile, though, thanks to all of you for this blog and for your thoughts.

  • John · February 25, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Looking at the results of the survey so far, it looks like readers of this blog are a pretty sensible group :)

  • Mark · February 25, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Libertarian conservative? WTF is that? A polite term for a masochist?

  • Author comment by David Hume · February 25, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    @Mark

    well, many readers are quite kinky then….

  • Author comment by David Hume · February 25, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    @NotA

    thanks for being polite about it :-) and yeah, you’re right. some of these might benefit from having a 1 to 10 scale, but then i thought it would require a lot more thinking and slow everyone down.

  • Mark · February 25, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    @David Hume

    I get it–they are like unicorns.

    And the conservative libertarians are like Pegasuses.

    I think I am having PHL101 flashbacks….

  • Clark · February 25, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Wow. Looking at the choices for 2012 Presidency. Boy am I depressed. I can’t stand any of them. It’s been a while since there was a candidate I really was excited about and even longer since someone came out of the primaries I liked. (I liked Bush Sr. but no one since) I had been excited about Romney last time until it became clear just how opportunistic he was. I’m pretty underwhelmed by him now.

  • mnuez · February 26, 2010 at 5:06 am

    The survey results indicate what’s always been obvious, that we’re infested with Libertarians.

    Secular Right ought to mean something OTHER than Libertarian. The fact that rich people are against paying taxes isn’t very novel. It’s no surprise that secular well-to-do people would be economic conservatives. What IS novel is secular people who are “Right” on issues where you would expect they wouldn’t be, such as on abortion or gay marriage.

    It seems however that Libertarians feel that they don’t have enough blogs out there to rah-rah on so they come here and effectively drown out the various OTHER “secular right” views that don’t get a hearing or intellectually worthwhile communal discussion anywhere else.

    Razib, Derb and Heather have unique and worthy views that are nuanced, considerate of ideologies that have no established platform in the national conversation and are generally thought-inducing. It’s a shame i think that they, and people with similarly nuanced and complicated secular right views almost always get drowned out – even here – by Libertarians shouting their party line.

    Again, look through the poll and this becomes evident. What’s SECULAR about this community? The fact that only 7% believe in God. What’s RIGHT about this community? Pretty much only the fact that they prefer not to pay taxes. On “social issues” only 35% identify as being on the right, only 16% are in favor of intervention in foreign spheres, only 25% oppose abortion for the asking, only 8% reject recognition of gay relationships before the law and the VAST majority have no problem with drugs, obscene speech or completely free trade with foreign countries.

    About 40% of the readership here represents some dozen or so basic category of “secular right” views” while the remaining 60% stick to the basic Libertarian Party line and thus effectively squash any worthy conversation from taking place.

    If the authors think there’s something to what I’m saying they should do something about it. Religious freaks don’t populate this sphere because they know that it isn’t for them. They came, made some noise and left. If the Randoids were similarly howled down and told go ditto away on Hit N’ Run as the rest of us discussed our more rarely considered views they’d surely get the message too. This survey starkly demonstrates the need for just such an editorial clarification.

  • cerebus · February 26, 2010 at 5:37 am

    The survey results indicate libertarian leanings except on immigration, which isn’t too surprising considering the contributors.

  • Mike H · February 26, 2010 at 7:11 am

    It’s not that big a surprise that you get a lot of libertarians given that the site is about atheism and non-leftist politics. The internet is teeming with Paulites anyway.

    Libertarians are of course a minority in the population of course but I’m afraid agnostic or even atheist conservatives are an even smaller one.

    By the way, the black female Secular Right reader seems to be an elusive being indeed. This site is the nightmare of diversity planners.

  • Susan · February 26, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Well, I’m proud to be a member of an overwhelmingly boys’ club.

  • mnuez · February 26, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Now if you could only get a “race-realignment” you’d be the holy grail.

    Personally I think it’s unfair that race-realignment isn’t yet medically feasible. I’ve always felt like a Gujarati trapped in an Ashkenazi’s body. The genionormatives have been persecuting me and people like me for millennia.

  • Susan · February 26, 2010 at 7:57 am

    @mnuez

    You can be anything you like, according to Alan Goodman, who argues that race is simply a racist social construct established by white skin privilegists, and that, if I understand him correctly, we’re all Africans anyway.

    So I guess by his definition, I AM your holy grail. I shall put that on my resume: “Official Holy Grail of the Secular Right.”

  • Polichinello · February 26, 2010 at 8:06 am

    @Mark

    In the U.S., conservatives tend to hew to a “classically liberal” POV, so you will have hybrids. Look at one survey question about legalizing drugs. You had an option for legalizing pot and other soft drugs, but not the harder stuff, like, I assume, crack and heroin. A “libertarian conservative” would pick that halfway house.

  • Narr · February 26, 2010 at 8:49 am

    As Susan says at #17, we are indeed all Africans. The only differences among us are, apparently, date and means of departure from Mother.

    I tried to take the survey but had to enable cookies (I found out afterwards). Yeah, like that’ll happen ;-)

  • C.T. · February 26, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Question 18 is problematic. No block for the federalism answer? I think Abortion should be(and is) a state matter, and not a question for the Federal courts to resolve.

    Also, I agree with Clark. Those are my options to vote for? ugh. I’d rather vote for Barack.

  • Author comment by David Hume · February 26, 2010 at 11:13 am

    @C.T.

    re: federalism, i was going to add a proviso to ignore that. it would basically add another option to all the questions.

    re: libertarian or not. i’m not much of a libertarian personally, but i think the non-libertarian segment is prominent in the comments and among the contributors. i don’t really want to purge libertarians, they’ve always been a core part of the readership. but, i think it is important to note that *some* non-religious conservatives don’t identify as libertarian.

    p.s. the gay marriage numbers surprised me a touch.

  • William · February 26, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Two comments on survey.

    One can (and ought) to be against illegal immigration, but in favor of expanding categories such as the HB1 which are of great value.

    If None of the Above had been an option from among the possible 2012 candidates, it would it have drawn a higher response than Ron Paul?

  • RT · February 26, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    I find your question re environmental protection laws problematic. To me, it’s not a question of more or less or the the same amount of regulation. I would rather see an overhall or different set of environmental regulations. It’s important to me that businesses be made to bear the full costs of the externalities their activities create. Existing environmental laws could do a better job at this. However, much of existing environmental regulations are pointless, silly, or inefficient and could be done away with or changed.

  • Susan · February 26, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Paul has two positions that are distinctly non-libertarian. He’s opposed to abortion, and has said he’ll vote consistently in favor of every piece of pro-abortion legislation. And although he’s opposed to the federal war on drugs, he’s opposed to legalizing drugs.

  • John · February 26, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    mnuez, you are mostly ignoring the third leg of conservatism: foreign policy. Most readers of this blog are in favor of a strong defense budget, oppose open borders, are skeptical of treaties, ect. You are defining conservatism as only social conservatism, and saying, “Well, most people here aren’t Bible thumpers. Therefore they aren’t real conservatives.”

    If someone has libertarian views on economics and Reaganesque views on foreign policy, we fall under the “big tent” of conservatism–even those of us who think you should be able to smoke pot. Conservatism and libertarianism are partially overlapping catagories, not mutually exclusive ones.

  • mnuez · February 26, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    John, i mentioned that “only 16% are in favor of intervention in foreign spheres”. Now of course we can trace the history of such an idea over the course of the past century (or farther!) and argue about whether that’s a Conservative one or not but there’s no question that by today’s definition of the term that IS a Conservative viewpoint relevant to foreign policy and in fact the most important and blatant one relevant to foreign policy.

    Unless of course you’re going to include immigration within that field where, admittedly, a full 56% of “right wingers” on this blog favor curtailing it somewhat – incidentally tying themselves for the lowest percentage of any demographic in favor of curtailing immigration – HISPANICS. http://cis.org/Minority-Views-Immigration

    Yes, we’re so right wing on immigration that every group in the country favors curtailing it more than do readers of Secular Right, except for Hispanics, who are precisely tied with Secular Righters in their percentage who favor curtailing immigration.

    As for other foreign policy matters, see the numbers I quoted regarding free trade.

    Again, the internet is crawling with “fiscal conservatives” who are well to do and care about nothing but their own pockets. There’s nothing novel in such “right wingers” being secular and thus this blog is nothing but a place for them to drown out the possibility of any conversation that revolves around OTHER secular right ideologies.

    It’s true that other secular right ideologies generally animate the posts but no conversation can truly get off the ground in the comments when any other sort of secular-righter has to go up against 40 interchangeable Libertarians.

  • Author comment by David Hume · February 26, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    @mnuez

    mnuez, i don’t follow all the comments in detail, but i thought that in fact that libertarian views were underrepresented in the comments? but honestly, i don’t follow the threads when they get too big….

  • Author comment by David Hume · February 26, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    btw, 2/3 of respondents favor reduced defense spending. i think it’s fair to say that this is not a blog populated with “national security conservatives,” though that might reflect the biases of the contributors too.

  • C.T · February 26, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Fun and informative thread. Thanks Hume.

  • Ethan · February 27, 2010 at 3:02 am

    @mnuez
    I think you’re mistaking the nature of the opposition. For instance, though I strongly disagree with the tenor and usually the entire content of your comments, on the technical points I’m the secular right you think you want: knows-no-God, anti gay-marriage, pro life, slightly interventionist in a for-national-interest way, restrictive on immigration, ill to do and not into politicized pockets, etc; I might lose points with you for thinking pot should be legalized but then I’ve never smoked it so can I have double points back? Even if you were right that the comments have been full of CDS trading Randian Paulites, those few points we have in common are like a similar pattern of impact craters on completely different planets. You’d hardly be worse off with internet libertroids who buy gold and drink silver. At least they’ll turn blue for your entertainment.

  • Mike H · February 27, 2010 at 6:48 am

    I don’t think the viewership reflects the blog or the commenters here, one can’t forget that the poll was linked on other blogs as well.

    Close to 25% of the readers favor universal healthcare which doesn’t necessarily seem to be the view espoused by a lot of the contributors or commenters here, a similar % favors easier immigration which again doesn’t seem to be the view taken by most on this blog.

    There’s bound to be people reading who disagree with a lot of the blog, you can’t control readership. A lot of liberals and libertarians will go here out of curiosity as well.

  • mnuez · February 27, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Ethan, you misunderstood me. I marked myself as being in favor of unrestricted abortion as well as drug legalization. Anyone who thinks I’m arguing for a forum of likeminded citizens doesn’t know me. I’m arguing for (forgive the term) intellectual diversity.

    Libertarians are a legitimate form of secular righters but only one. Their predominance on this blog makes it such that worthy conversations regarding other forms of secular rightism never get off the ground. That’s why I wish the blog owners would go all Stalin on them, their sheer numbers turn this blog into a slighty off-message angry-atheist libertarian blog when in fact it ought to be a blog where people can actually learn something and be on fair ground among other, diverse, secular rightwingers.

  • NotA · February 27, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    @mnuez

    While I tend to fall somewhere in the libertarian conservative (or, better, conservative libertarian) camp myself, I think your concern is well taken. But it is also, is it not, capable of redress in a manner shy of wielding a banhammer on libertarians. Do you have propositions that you would wish to see discussed in explicitly non-libertarian terms? Couldn’t initial posts be structured to present the problem thus and explicitly to seek comments/discussion addressing the issue from a non-libertarian vantage? While having a lot of libertarian-leaning commenters might naturally shift some discussions in the libertarian direction, I don’t think that most libertarian-leaning thinkers are incapable of either (1) addressing an explicitly non-libertarian-oriented problem on its own terms; or (2) refraining from comment.

  • mnuez · February 28, 2010 at 4:01 am

    Do you have propositions that you would wish to see discussed in explicitly non-libertarian terms?

    @NotA

    Yes. I think that “secular right” should be a community of people who support RELIGIOUS positions (or one kind or another) despite being secular.

    This includes all of the issues that you can easily think of (gender roles, respect, etc) and one MAJOR one that practically no one here ever thinks of or discusses (because they’re almost all “fiscal conservatives”/libertarians), the fact that religious groups, religious teachings and religious icons are VERY against social Darwinism and believe in going the distance to help those less capable or lucky. (Their reasons for being so against social programs offered by government could easily flower into a few awesome threads by the way.)

    But whatever. That’s just one issue and one that demonstrates that the readership is ANYTHING BUT secular right in any way that’s interesting. Again, secular rich guys in favor of staying rich isn’t novel. Secular people who oppose promiscuity and female roles outside the home or who support church’s special legal status and bible readings (from a secular perspective of course) in school ARE novel.

    The point is that there are a plethora of such interesting individualists with a host of various “religious type” of views about the thing who expected this blog to fill that unfilled online niche but have instead watched it flounder as the conversations remained predictably libertarian and standard-issue religion-mocking no novel ideology emerged or even got much of a hearing. No matter the worthiness of anything I might write that was of a secular right nature (as defined above) it was quickly drowned out by a bunch of libertarians spouting the party line who flippantly misread what I wrote and just plowed forward. This is equally true for others who have written worthy posts of a secular right nature that ended up as comment-thread stillborns.

    I happen to be a fan of the internet libertarians and read hit n’ run and other libertarians (or their cousins such as Moldbug etc.) quite regularly but most they fill EVERY blogging void on the web that doesn’t clearly and vehemently reject them?

    Ron Paul!

  • brandon · February 28, 2010 at 10:56 am

    @mnuez

    You can put me in the category of a non-libertarian secular rightist. I think Libertarianism is
    a noble philosophy, but I have my doubts as to whether it’s a sustainable form of government…or results in a superior society. For it to be sustainable, it requires a constant majority of people who agree to the basic notions of individual freedom AND personal responsibility. I’ve seen little evidence that enough people would be willing to make a pact and not use the government to further their own advantage or save them from the results of poor decisions made in their lives. The temptation to vote yourself something from the government or vote something away from someone you don’t like seems too great.

    Freedom isn’t just freedom to do whatever one wants, but also freedom to live in the kind of society you want to live in. Las Vegas is probably one of the more libertarian cities in the United States. I happen to love Las Vegas, but I think it would be a shame if every city was like Las Vegas. Walking down the strip, you encounter hundreds of those people who try to pass out porno/prostitute cards to you. I think it’s intrusive, super annoying, makes me uncomfortable and would not like to see this sort of thing allowed everywhere. I prefer to walk in peace without being hounded by sex traders every 5 steps I take. I personally like the idea of different societies with different laws and norms, and you can choose the place that suits you. I could never live in a place like Georgia or Alabama, but if a group of religious folks want to establish their own place where they have strict rules based on whatever the local grand poobah decrees that day…Let’s just I’ll be glad to be in a separate society at arm’s length away from them, but still respect their right to live in their world with their laws.

    People always talk about the dangers of “Balkanization” and the U.S. being broken up, but I say bring it on. Nobody is ever realistically going to get 50 states to agree to accept a libertarian style of government, but if those who share the libertarian philosophy got together into a designated region and did it on a small scale it might be workable.

  • Twain · February 28, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    21% are for open borders or more immigraton? I can’t believe it. Why would people want to give away their country with open borders?

  • NotA · February 28, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    @mnuez

    Thanks, Mnuez. That’s an interesting take that never even occurred to me. Do I interpret you correctly that you take this site to be “about” secular social-conservativism, rather than “about” (or “for,” perhaps) secular modern American rightists generally (a category that would obviously include libertarian conservatives)?

    I wonder if the owners/authors/posters of the site have the same intentions and goals.

  • outeast · March 1, 2010 at 7:29 am

    @Twain

    Why would people want to give away their country with open borders?

    Question-begging much?

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