An article from David Brooks at The New York Times that at first glance looks typical. But this one is actually pretty good. Brooks is discussing research done by “More in Common”. and it’s interesting.
The original research can be found here.
The research finds that about 8% of Leftists are on the extreme and 6% of the conservatives. According to Brooks:
“The good news is that once you get outside these two elite groups you find a lot more independent thinking and flexibility. This is not a 50-50 nation. It only appears that way when disenchanted voters are forced to choose between the two extreme cults.”
The bad new is of course those folks are often irrelevant. It’s not a polite thing to say, but history tells us clearly that small highly motivated groups often drive the bus. Whether that is a bus to civil war or greater liberty depends on the time and place. But 14% of the population can quickly move another 30% towards one side or the other.
I see this disturbing trend quite a bit as well.
“Ninety percent of Devoted Conservatives think immigration is bad, while 99 percent of Progressive Activists think it is good.”
Immigration for hundreds of years was considered economic policy. What is good or bad about immigration? Brooks leaves it at that. Just good or bad. This dumbs down the debate and I think causes problems. If we’re going to compromise we’re going to have engage a bit more intellectually than just calling issues good or bad.
We’re going to talk about immigration quite a bit in the coming weeks, but let me start with this:
Do you want cheaper apples? Plant more apple trees and you’ll have more supply and a lower price.
Want lower wages? Bring more people in to the country and you’ll increase the supply of labor and lower the wage.
See how easy that was?
Now we can talk about whether or not lower wages is good for the country, but when we suggest that immigration is bad or good, it really doesn’t say anything.
It really is pretty good.