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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

You forgot Poland Texas!

Over at Conservapedia we are once more being treated to the sorts of "insights" that have made them not just famous, but infamous on the internets:

Or, in plain text:

Christian Conservatism - True and Once Again Triumphant

Conservative North Dakota still has the lowest rate of unemployment in the United States. The state unemployment rate is 3%.

Another positive aspect of North Dakota is that according to a CUNY 2000 religious survey, it appeared to have the lowest per capita number of atheists in the United States (people who answered "no religion" on a survey).

The Bible declares, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want" (Psalm 23:1). North Dakota, which contains plenty of Conservative Christians, certainly seems to be a shining example of this Bible verse. North Dakota has more churches per capita than any state in the United States. [emphasis original]

Now, on the one hand I have to give Conservapedia props because at least, in this instance, they're not directly stating that North Dakota is doing well specifically because it has few atheists.* On the other hand, they did then basically state that North Dakota is awesome additionally because it doesn't have atheists, which is not dissimilar from suggesting that a given neighborhood is awesome because it contains so few brown people. Progress, this is not.

So is it true that North Dakota is awesome? Sure! I mean, I don't know- I've never been to North Dakota- but I'll be damned if I'm going to go out of my way to denigrate an entire state just because Conservapedia suggested that they're awesome. People live in North Dakota, and a lot of them probably like it, so Conservapedia can just forget about my being indiscriminately offensive** to North Dakotans. No, instead, what I'll point out is that if Conservapedia's contention were correct, we'd also expect other states with a heavy conservative Christian presence- like Texas, for example- to be doing just as well. For that matter, we might expect countries that have tiny proportions of conservative Christians- you know, like Sweden for example- to be cess pits. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine if this is the case, but given Conservapedia's track record in the "being right" department, you can probably guess the outcome.

Still, what should we expect from a website that runs headlines like this:

Or, in human language:

After a public school funding bill failed for the second time in six months in Toledo, a public school teacher writes, "Change in funding must occur immediately if public education is to survive." One question: why should Americans want public education to survive? [emphasis original; yes, all of it]

To which I respond: because it's a public good you morons. Most Americans cannot afford private schools, and that's true both now and historically, but the public at large can. If you have a democracy, it's kinda dangerous to allow most of your population to be painfully ignorant, not to mention economically suicidal in a global economy. But, hey, who needs book learnin' when you got Jesus?

Yeah, as it turns out? Everybody.

* Actually, in a desire to be honest- a trait Conservapedia lacks- I should note that the survey they refer to totals up those with "no religion," who may or may not actually identify as atheist. So it would be more accurate to say that North Dakota has few religiously unaffiliated individuals.

** I mean, hell, I usually try to be very specific in whom I run the risk of offending.

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Blogger LuckyJimJD said...

I actually have been to North Dakota, a few times. It is much nicer than people who have never been there probably imagine. The two biggest cities ("biggest cities" being, in this case, a highly relative term), Fargo & Grand Forks, are really quite charming (even in the frigid winter), and the people I met were uniformly pleasant and open-minded.

Anyway, lost in Conservapedia's glee over the state's nominally low unemployment rate is this tidbit (quoted from Wikipedia): "Since 1923, North Dakota has experienced a virtually constant decline in population, particularly among younger people with university degrees. One of the major causes of emigration in North Dakota looms from a lack of skilled jobs for graduates." So yeah, a state with a small and shrinking population (>650,000) manages to employ most of them, largely in low-skill, low-wage jobs. Yippee!

Also, the yahoos at Conservapedia would no doubt be far less keen on the state if they knew it had the only state-owned bank and state-owned grain elevator in the US. Socialism in One Prairie!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010 9:52:00 AM  
Blogger Roman said...

now, it's quite obvious that all of conservapedia is really good at being fucktards and really dumb, but I think the case for privatizing education isn't that horrible. Considering that demand in the market is much higher now for college education, and literacy and basic skills are pretty mandatory in the workforce, and given that with full privatization, the cost of private education should go down because of intra-college competition. It wouldn't make america a cesspool of ignorance by any means, and if the government wanted to support the poor, they could reallocate the funding from the schools towards scholarship programs (even if the college tuition goes up through privatization, this sort of support could get everyone into the schools they deserved). Honestly, with the way education in america is now, trying to pull the willingly ignorant up to a standard of intelligence rather than education those who want education with NCLB & stuff, I almost would support such a system.

Monday, November 15, 2010 6:24:00 PM  

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