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  • “Do readers of liberal and conservative blogs live in two different countries?” (Part II)

    Posted by Jonathan on May 16th, 2012 (All posts by )

    I put up a post a couple of weeks ago about the BlogAds survey of blog readers.

    Now there’s an updated graphic from BlogAds, based on data from the same survey, providing information about liberal/conservative blog readers’ positions on some questions that weren’t addressed in the initial survey report:

    Survey of Blog Reader Attitudes, Part II

    There certainly are some strong patterns here, not that this comes as a shock to anyone. (Of course my caveat about self-selected data samples applies to these results as it did to the initial results.)

    (Chicago Boyz is a BlogAds affiliate.)

     

    14 Responses to ““Do readers of liberal and conservative blogs live in two different countries?” (Part II)”

    1. Michael Kennedy Says:

      The clue is the unconcern about energy prices. They just don’t know what makes the world work.

    2. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Yes. Next question?

    3. Bill Brandt Says:

      Have we always been this divided between Left & Right? I think so – but the differences became more obvious with Vietnam …

      I think the pronounced differences have always been there – just not so exposed.

      I read James Garner’s autobiography The Garner Files – he met his wife Lois at an Adlai Stevenson fundraiser at a home –

    4. Jonathan Says:

      The group that is unconcerned about energy prices is also very concerned about global warming. As Americans become less-well educated they become more susceptible to leftist appeals that promise outcomes better educated people would know are inconsistent with reality.

    5. SO Says:

      How is there an inconsistency?

      Higher energy prices discourage energy use and thus lower to some extent the CO2 emissions, which in turn supposedly helps against global warming since CO2 is a very long-lived greenhouse effect agent.

      There are sporty BMW Series 1 cars with about 50 mpg. This is a symptom of decades of higher gasoline prices in much of Europe.

    6. Jonathan Says:

      It is inconsistent with reality to expect reduced energy use in the USA to affect global warming much. India and China are the big polluters and they aren’t going to cut back their use of fossil fuels. And the relationship between use of fossil fuels and higher global temperatures remains highly uncertain. If more Americans understood how the world works they would support increased energy use as important for economic growth.

    7. SO Says:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions

      The U.S. is responsible for about 18% of the global carbon dioxide emissions.

      Increased energy use per se does not increase economic output. Or does buying an inefficient car grow the economy better than buying one with a magnificient diesel engine design? Don’t think so.

      I am generally quite disinterested in global warming because resource supply issues already justify much more effort for higher energy efficiency. It’s sad when people are fatalistic about global warming and forget that it still makes sense to avoid wasteful consumption and to reduce one’s energy supply costs. High energy prices lead to better energy efficiency as a normal reaction of the market.

      Last but not least; there’s no contradiction between not freaking out about still relatively low gas prices and being concerned about global warming.

    8. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Here we see evidence that people still think global warming is a serious problem. Jonathan, you were right.

    9. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      There’s a strong correlation between energy use and economic activity. The USA has 21-22% of the worlds GDP, and also a lot of the world’s coal, so more coal gets burned than, say, in the EU, which imports a lot gas and oil. China also has a lot of coal which they burn for power and so produce a great deal of CO2 while having about 1/2 the GDP of the USA.

      On the other hand, I would be strongly in favor of shutting down coal plants and replacing them with clean natural gas power plants or clean, safe nuclear power. Oh, wait and minute! The Left is ALSO opposed to drilling for gas and nuclear power. Dang!

      (SO, regarding climate change, I suggest you read up on Milankovitch cycles.)

    10. Jonathan Says:

      The relationship between CO2 emissions and global temperatures remains highly uncertain. Moreover, according to the Wiki chart you link to, the USA and EU together account for only 1/3 of global CO2 emissions. So, even if CO2 emissions were known to affect global temperature, if we reduced our CO2 output significantly (say, by half) it might have little affect on global temperature. Yet the taking of such action would certainly cost a significant fraction of our GDP. This seems like a poor tradeoff.

      Energy is a component of production. It is to production what grain is to bread. If energy supply is artificially constrained by politics, energy prices will be higher and economic output will be lower than they would be otherwise.

      It may be more productive to use scarce investment capital to improve the efficiency of car engines, or it may be that investing that capital elsewhere yields higher overall output. That’s the tradeoff you have to look at and it’s one that governments don’t make well. The high-MPG diesel was developed in large part in response to govt-imposed economic distortions in the form of taxes and regulations that raise fuel prices far above market levels. Your argument ignores the direct cost and opportunity cost of diverting investment capital to engine development and away from higher-yielding uses.

    11. SO Says:

      Higher-yielding uses?
      Jonathan, point at me the great success story of U.S. automotive production post-1973, especially in regard to exports. Once you did, I’ll point at the German story and we can compare who has invested better in research.
      Last time I checked, the U.S. doesn’t produce nearly as many goods as it consumes and its industrial output is a tiny fraction of its overall economy and not competitive enough to prevent a trade balance deficit about as large as the huge military spending of the nation.

      Seriously; the U.S. has its own huge distortions and is no good example for R&D funds allocation.

      Besides; check out the economic theory of externalities and you’ll see that distorting a market outcome (with a Pigou tax, for example) may be a very good thing because markets often have systemic imperfections.

    12. mishu Says:

      The funny thing about those who point out the theory of “externalities” while touting the benefits of expensive energy, they turn a willful blindness to the negative externalities.

    13. Trent Telenko Says:

      In 2006 the USA used 21% of global energy production.

      See:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_in_the_United_States

      The USA produced 23.52% of Global Domestic product in 2011:

      See:

      http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/gdp

      The upshot is the US economy responses to market price signals on energy per unit GDP, and produced less CO2 per unit of GDP produced.

    14. SO Says:

      “The USA produced 23.52% of Global Domestic product in 2011:”
      Almost all of it is services, not that relevant to the energy topic.

      @Mishu:
      Not sure what you’re writing about. The positive externalities are usually the neglected ones because nobody wants to subsidise them. The negative ones get more attention.
      Your link appears to have no relation to externalities at all.