Redistibutionists tend to be Angry and to Plot Revenge.

Oliver Willis expands on the views of Kos, arguing that Glenn Reynolds chose the side of the political aisle that encourages people to shoot cops:

The conservative blogs are enraged that people are pointing out that they have and are stoking the fires of an atmosphere of hate that leads to police officers getting killed. As I've written for years, this is part of their pattern of behavior in America and for too long we've accepted their verbal diarrhea and incitements to violence as honest political dialogue and not the insanity it is.

. . . Its days like this I'm glad that when I was deciding what side of the political aisle I wanted to be on, I didn't make the same mistake as Glenn Reynolds and choose the one where we encourage people to shoot cops.

In taking apart Kos's views, Confederate Yankee is too generous to the Kos/Willis position:

Anger, is an emotion. It is apolitical and amoral, neither right nor wrong nor identifiable with a party affiliation. It is how a person choses to channel anger into action that defines him as good or evil or benign.

This is true, but there are patterns in opinions and attitudes. I discuss some of them in "Testing Social Dominance: Is Support for Capitalism and Opposition to Income Redistribution Driven by Racism and Intolerance?," a chapter of my Ph.D. thesis that I've presented at faculty workshops at Yale and the Univ. of Chicago, as well as academic conferences. An earlier version can be downloaded here.

Contrary to the prevailing view of political psychologists, those who support capitalism and oppose income redistribution do not express traditionally racist or intolerant attitudes. Indeed, they tend to express views that are slightly less racist and intolerant than other Americans. The Von Mises thesis posits that redistributionists are driven by envy for the property of others and a frustration with one's lot in a capitalist system. If that were true, one would expect redistributionists to express more unhappiness, anger, and a desire for revenge—and they do. In General Social Surveys, both redistributionists and anti-capitalists express significantly lower satisfaction with their financial situations and with their jobs or housework. Indeed, they report that they are less happy overall and have less happy marriages.

The 1996 General Social Survey explored the emotional makeup of Americans in greater depth. About 900 respondents were asked: "On how many days in the last 7 days, have you felt" happy, sad, lonely, calm, anxious, angry, tense and angry, and twelve other emotions. I compared these results to the results on an income redistribution question, EQLWLTH . . . .

As Table 3-3 illustrates, strong redistributionists (category 1) reported that they "worried a lot about little things" on about one more day a week than strong anti-redistributionists (category 7): 3.3 days a week compared to 2.3 days a week. They also reported being "lonely" and being unable to "shake the blues" on about an additional day a week. Strong redistributionists (category 7) also reported about one fewer day a week on which they were "happy," "contented," and "at ease."

In terms of relative odds (Table 3-3), compared to strong anti-redistributionists (category 7), strong redistributionists (category 1) had about two to three times higher odds of reporting that in the prior seven days they were "angry" (2.0 times higher odds), "mad at something or someone" (1.9 times), "outraged at something somebody had done (1.9 times), sad (2.1 times), lonely (2.3 times), and unable to "shake the blues" (3.5 times). Similarly, as Table 3-4 shows, anti-redistributionists had about 280% higher odds of reporting being happy (3.8 times) and about 110% higher odds of reporting that they were at ease (2.1 times). Overall, favoring income redistribution positively predicted 9 of 12 superficially negative emotions and negatively predicted 4 of 7 superficially positive emotions, which was a remarkably consistent pattern. The data are consistent with redistributionists in the general public being considerably more angry, sad, lonely, worried, and restless, and less happy, at ease, and interested in life.

Not only do redistributionists report more anger, but they report that their anger lasts longer. Further, when asked about the last time they were angry, strong redistributionists were more than twice as likely as strong opponents of leveling to admit that they responded to their anger by plotting revenge.

But do these attitudes have behavioral consequences? In other words, are the data consistent with the hypothesis that anti-redistributionists are more generous or altruistic? Data from self-reports in the General Social Survey (Table 3-5) appear to support the notion that those who oppose income redistribution are somewhat more altruistic in their behavior than redistributionists.

It is sad that Willis would point to Republicans as particularly angry or vengeful, when those who strongly favor income redistribution (a central position of the current Administration) are more than twice as likely as strong opponents of leveling to admit that they responded to their anger by plotting revenge.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Oliver Willis on Republicans Encouraging Cop-killers.
  2. Redistibutionists tend to be Angry and to Plot Revenge.

Oliver Willis on Republicans Encouraging Cop-killers.

It is highly odd that Oliver Willis would attribute murdering cops to those who hold Republican views.

ARREST RATES. In the debates over whether felons can vote, both Republicans and Democrats seem to agree implicitly that felons will tend to favor Democrats. I have never heard anyone even hint the opposite.

That is consistent with General Social Survey data showing that the odds of a Democrat or Independent reporting having been arrested or charged with a crime are 122% higher than the odds of a Republican reporting being arrested or charged with a crime. Among those who report having been arrested or charged, only 12% are Republicans. The others are 9% Independent, leaning Republican; 18% Independent (no leans); 18% Independent, leaning Democratic; 40% Democrats. (Of course, arrest is not the same as offending or conviction, but the political makeup is likely to be in the same general direction.)

I am aware of no data on the party identification of murderers in general or of cop-killers in particular, but there is no reason to suppose that the political orientation of cop-killers is any more Republican than the general criminal population, which everyone assumes (and GSS data indirectly suggests) is disproportionately Democratic.

ANGER AND HAPPINESS. As to anger and happiness, in the GSS Republicans report being much happier, being less likely to be angry at someone, and less likely to be mad at someone or something. When angry, their anger lasts less time, and they are less likely to plot revenge.

Compared to non-Democrats, on the other hand, Democrats report being somewhat less happy and when angry, their anger tends to last longer. On being angry at someone, being mad at someone or something, and plotting revenge, the results are not significant because Independents are (usually insignificantly) more extreme than Democrats on these issues).

I don't know whether Democratic views cause criminality or anger -- frankly, I doubt it. The likelier causal direction is that unhappiness with one's lot in business and in life tends to make someone Democratic, a probable example of what social psychologists call motivated social cognition.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Oliver Willis on Republicans Encouraging Cop-killers.
  2. Redistibutionists tend to be Angry and to Plot Revenge.