Steven White

Steven White is a former TAP Online intern. He blogs at stevenwhite.typepad.com.

Recent Articles

ATHEISTS: CONSISTENT IN BEING IMMORAL.

ATHEISTS: CONSISTENT IN BEING IMMORAL. Via John Derbyshire , I find The Christian Post is reporting that a recent survey by the Barna Group shows evangelical Christians and atheists exhibit the most consistency between their faith and practice. Of course, for atheists, this means a "fundamental dismissal of social conventions and participation in favor of more self-centered views and behaviors helped them to stand out from the crowd in a different way." A few thoughts: First, coverage like this makes it less than surprising that atheists are perhaps the most stigmatized group in the country . A 2006 article in the American Sociological Review found they are more distrusted than Muslims, gay people, and other groups large numbers of Americans are leery of. People view them as "other" in a way that doesn't seem to make sense in a society becoming more tolerant of various faiths. The ASR article, however, argues this is precisely why atheists are stigmatized: With tolerance increasing...

The Myth of Bryan Caplan's Seriousness

Libertarians gather to hear the case against letting the ignorant, irrational masses decide the direction of society.

What happens when libertarians get together to talk about why people who disagree with them shouldn't make decisions, why democracy isn't really as important as people think, and why low voter turnout isn't a bad thing? People roll their eyes and move on, right? Actually, no. Apparently employees of government agencies, embassies, and think tanks trek down to 1000 Massachusetts Avenue to listen and be enlightened in the F. A. Hayek Auditorium. On Tuesday, the Cato Institute sponsored a panel discussing George Mason economics professor Bryan Caplan's new book The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies (Princeton University Press, 2007). Cato Unbound managing editor Will Wilkinson moderated, Caplan gave an overview of his argument, and the Pew Research Center's Director of Survey Research Scott Keeter provided a few comments. "If you were to ask me, I would tell you that mammals make the best pets," Wilkinson explained by way of introduction. "But if you're...

WHEREIN I GIVE FUEL TO TOM SCHALLER'S FIRE.

WHEREIN I GIVE FUEL TO TOM SCHALLER'S FIRE. I like Sasha Abramsky 's review of Joe Bageant 's new book, Deer Hunting With Jesus , except for one off-handed comment in the last paragraph. While praising Bageant's work, Abramsky writes, "No single book will ever be able to fully explain why so much of impoverished America so consistently votes against its own economic self-interest." This assumption is a powerful one in liberal circles. Call it the Thomas Frank Theory of Why People Don't Vote For Us. Why would any working-class Southern white guy ever vote Republican? Well, maybe he really thinks an aggressive military is necessary. Perhaps "freedom isn't free" is more than an ironic statement for him. He might really believe criminals deserve punishments that only a Republican could dish out. Ditto on guns, abortion, affirmative action, etc. The point is, this has to be understood as being about more than the economic part of social class. Class is also cultural. And different cultural...

EDWARDS VS. OBAMA ON POVERTY.

EDWARDS VS. OBAMA ON POVERTY. In today's WSJ , Christopher Cooper writes that John Edwards "seems to be playing an outsized role in driving the terms of the party's debate -- generally to the left -- on everything from Iraq to health care." Poverty also comes to mind. Referencing back to the 2004 election, Cooper writes: Mr. Edwards seems to feel freer to address issues that might alienate the party and business establishment. Just as former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean pushed the Democrats toward more staunch opposition of the Iraq war four years ago, Mr. Edwards seems to be having a big impact on forcing the pack to follow his agenda. Whether Cooper is right or not, Barack Obama did recently offer some poverty proposals of his own. As the Washington Post puts it : Edwards has focused on the malignant effects of the concentration of poverty in inner cities. He has argued for dispersing low-income families by replacing public housing with a greatly expanded rental voucher program to allow...

A QUESTION.

A QUESTION. Here’s something that's been on my mind -- and I think on the minds of some commenters -- especially with all the Democratic Party blogging lately: What, exactly, makes Hillary Clinton a strong candidate? Not just a "good" candidate, but a candidate worth supporting with one's primary vote? My take is that both John Edwards and Barack Obama are simultaneously more liberal on the issues than Clinton but perceived by the electorate to be more moderate. This seems like a dream combination for progressives. Clinton, on the other hand, is the relatively centrist candidate, but perceived by many to be extremely liberal, which actually seems like the worst imaginable combination. Not to mention the fact that a Hillary Clinton presidency means four people from two families will have controlled the White House for at least 24 years (32 if you count the first Bush's vice presidency). Aside from the identity politics discussed by Sam and Ezra , what am I missing? If Clinton is the...

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