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09 August 2009

Fairer societies simply work better.

I recently ran into an article about the distribution of wealth in different societies, and the correlation that has with societal ills. And while I understood a lot of the underlying information, I wa surprised to find a chart that may have bearing on an oft used phrase of theists. A lot of theists want to point to a time when there weren't a lot of problems in the basic US culture, and say that has something to do with the prevalent theism imposed on individuals of the time. Despite the fact that greater and greater theism is associated with more problems. Heck, there are a lot of direct correlations with societal ills and religiosity that are very telling. And these studies are very consistent over time.

What I DID find interesting is that the "golden era" of American society has a great deal more correlation with a narrowing of the concentration of wealth gap. Let's take a look at two graphs. The first one talks about the distribution of wealth within the United States. The graph should be self explanatory, but since the average American seems to be a frikkin idiot, I'll explain briefly. The longer the line on the graph, the more of a disparity there is. And this isn't a top 2% type of graph (then the line would be much longer) but of the top 20$ versus the bottom 20%. That encompasses 40% of the population of this country. It shows that there is a very skewed bulge of wealth distribution within the country itself. (Click on each image to see the graph in full size.)

And then look at this graph:

Rather an interesting correlation between those two graphs! Then the thng that really made me think about how people pine for "the old days" when things seemed much better, was this graph. I think THIS is the graph that brings it all home.

Given what we know about the correlation of religiosity and problems, AND what we know about skewed income distributions and problems, we are in an interesting area of thought. As the religiosity of the US was gaining influence in the 50s, there was a sudden increase of problems in "juvenile delinquency" and other such ills. There was a decrease in religiosity and conservative thought in the late 60s and early 70s, and many societal ills were getting addressed. But then suddenly the distribution of wealth got skewed, so problems were back on the increase. Add to that the increase in radical or fundamental religiosity, and now we have a double whammy of problems getting heaped on the US.

It has nothing to do with taking god(s) and prayer out of schools and public displays (which the data points to being a correlating factor for societal ills, but now the huge disparity in wealth distribution is what's helping drive the more visible societal ills.

Okay, so I've shown data and correlations... So what? Hell, with my new job, I'll actually be in the top 20%, and actually in the top 5%... You know what? I don't mind paying a few extra taxes. I just wish that the programs we had in place were actually effective though. Right now, the social programs of the United States are only slightly more effective than prayer (meaning that while prayer has ZERO effectiveness, these programs are only slightly above that). If I am going to pay taxes, I'd like for the to actually work.

It's funny how sometimes people hold up the government as the model of inefficiency, yet they enjoy some incredibly efficient government services. The US Postal Service is the best in the world. How about the safety of our drinking water? The highway system? Out air traffic system. Sure, they are starting to show their age, and are in desperate need of updates, but damn, the government did a damn fine job of that. And our armed forces. That is a government run and controlled program that has no parallel in human history. Even the Romans didn't come close to the level of professionalism and competence of the United States military. Yet people seem to think that the entire government is a bunch of buffoons. I think that only applies to the elected critters at the national level. The people actually doing the work are damn competent, and will continue to be.

Anyway, this whole rant was just about the fact that religiosity has nothing to do with social ills (aside from making them worse). It's the total greediness and douchebaggery of people that really drags societies down. I'm not an economist, nor am I any type of legislator, so I'mnot really sure what canbe done to solve a lot of the problems. And to be honest, it would negativelly affect my income... But maybe having a fair and stable society would be somewhat worth it. Sure beats the gigantic clusterfuck of assholes and douche bags that are running around everywhere I look.


Rich said...

The rise in fundamentalist religions is no accident. In the last 20 years or so far right patrons such as the Coors family and other billionaires set out to link up with Christian zealots. These are the dominionists who believe only they should have control of the country. Their goal is to end our free society and replace it with a theonomy. Although this sounds like crazy conspiracy theory nonsense, it is true and the evil bastards gained a strong foothold during the G. W Bush administration. I have posted several blog entries on this topic at

We are actually facing a genuine fascist movement, but the American people slumber on. The people that are being whipped up to shutdown public discussion of healthcare reform are the same ones rounded up to support that miserable wretch from Alaska, Sarah Palin. These are the same people that they send to abortion clinics. They are mindless ignorant thugs.

JD Curtis said...

We are actually facing a genuine fascist movement

I agree. Obama absolutely seems like the Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato
type. Without question.

Larian LeQuella said...

While my inclination is to be skeptical of your claims, the news of "The Family" and other fucktardery lends some merit to your claims. Fucking frightening o say the least.

Although, I say let these zealots and crazies get away with it to the pint where there is such a public backlash that it will drive religion into the fringe belief that it should be!

Larian LeQuella said...

My comment was directed at Rich, although JD, I am skeptical of everything you type... Your data is 50 years out of date, and you are a religious right wing nut. I have a copy of your psychiatric evaluation, and it ain't pretty. :P

Rich said...

(written before the 2008 election)

We are not messing with your father's fundamentalists anymore. What we are up against now are Christian fascists. They are surreptitious, unprincipled, and dishonorable. There is no way to debate them, because they believe they have all the answers. They are only interested in taking over the government and most of the people and the major media seem unaware of what is happening.

They will lie, cheat ,and do anything they can to obtain power. Sarah Palin is a dominionist and one of a long line of these cretins. Even if she and McCain are defeated at the polls (and we need to be on guard for massive voter fraud) it will take years of fighting them to achieve any breathing space. Here is their plan:

Destroy public education

Establish sham home schools and train a fifth column of sequestered children to grow up and fight the establishment

Rewrite American history to satisfy their narrative

Hobble local government organizations such as school boards by introducing legal actions to drag them down

When conditions are right (perhaps another major attack on the homeland) declare martial law and suspend the constitution.

Round up the countries leaders and hold sham trials.

If you need a picture, look at what Hitler did in Germany in the 1930s.

We scoff at these buffoons at our peril. They managed to get G. W. Bush elected twice. They have operatives in every branch of our government and military patiently devising ways to stall and create roadblocks to effective government.

Their co-conspirators have accumulated radio and tv assets that constantly pump out lies and fabrications.

Sarah Palin must be utterly destroyed before the November elections. The Republicans must be forced to pull her from the ticket.

The members of the Council for National Policy (CNP) are all dominionists, or should I say Christian Fascists. They are responsible for turning the Republican party into the Republican Christian party and for using the money and resources of tax free churches to engineer the re-election of G. W. Bush in 2004, especially in critical states like Ohio. CNP Members

They're not kidding and neither is the risk they'll gain control of government with some observers in Washington believing they already have it including journalist/commentator Bill Moyers saying "for the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington." Some call them "The Christian Mafia" noting they're well-funded by and allied with wealthy, powerful hard right businessmen like beer magnate Joseph Coors and Amway founder Richard DeVos, Senior. Hedges calls them American Fascists, and his powerful book leaves no doubt how great a threat they are to our cherished liberties in a free society that now is in great jeopardy.

American Fascists, The Christian Right and The War on America, by Chris Hedges

Kingdom Coming, by Michelle Goldberg

American Theocracy, The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21stCentury by Kevin Philips

Reports on the web include:

(This is a small sample of information that is on the web.)

Larian LeQuella said...

Rich, mind if I publish this comment as a blog post? While I may not FULLY agree with it as far as the perceived danger to society, I do agree that xtians are a lying sack of shit bunch of power hungry bigots intent on making this nation in their image (as terrifying as that is). I just think that in the end people with an IQ over room temperature will see them for what they are, and it would be the biggest blow that religiosity can possibly suffer exposing it for the pure unadulterated bullshit it is.

JD Curtis said...

What we are up against now are Christian fascists

And in order to substantiate this claim of yours, could you please cite a prime example of a "Christian fascist"?

They are only interested in taking over the government and most of the people and the major media seem unaware of what is happening.

Somewhat related. What party are the vast majority of the members of the media (radio, tv, print) members of?
A. Republican
B. Democrat

Here is their plan: Destroy public education

Baloney. I am in contact with many conservatives and they would MUCH rather the public school sytems stick to teaching the "Three R's" and leave the rest of the politically correct fluff out of it. Not destroy them.

Establish sham home schools and train a fifth column of sequestered children to grow up and fight the establishment

Ba ha ha! Is it your belief that parents who would like to protect their children from sexual predators such as teachers and their own schoolmates, assault, shootings, etc. by teaching them more advanced curriculum at home are in some way in cahoots to undermine this country? It is to laugh.

Rewrite American history to satisfy their narrative

You mean tell the truth regarding the foundation and heritage of this country (US) as opposed to the revisionist history portrayed by globalist, leftists in the classroom that portray the US as the source of all evil in the world?

When conditions are right (perhaps another major attack on the homeland) declare martial law and suspend the constitution.

Obama and Co. are the ones advocating a national civilian defense corps, not the Anabaptists.

Hobble local government organizations such as school boards by introducing legal actions to drag them down

Like what? The people who feign outrage and demonstrate mock horror at the mention of a generic "God" or faux suffering over a manger scene?

If you need a picture, look at what Hitler did in Germany in the 1930s

Yes. Let's examine it closely, shall we?

The Nazis,

A. Boys inducted into the Hitler Youth were required to explicitly reject Christianity by oaths like this: “German blood and Christian baptismal water are completely incompatible.”

B. At Hitler Youth center at Halle, was the following prominent statement: “The Faith fanatics, who still to-day slide down on their knees with faces uplifted to heaven, waste their time in churchgoing and prayers, and have not yet understood that they are living on the earth and that therefore their task is of a thoroughly earthly kind. All we Hitler people can still only look with the greatest contempt on those young people who still run to their silly Evangelical or Catholic Churches in order to vent their quite superstitious religious feelings.”

C. Or consider these quotations out of Hitler Youth training manuals: “Christianity is a religion of slaves and fools.” “How did Christ die? Whining at the Cross!” “The Ten Commandments represent the lowest instincts of man.” and “Christianity is merely a cloak for Judaism.”

As William Harman Black, one of the most outspoken American opponents of Nazi anti-Semitism wrote in 1938: “The initial battle is for control of the youth of the country. The Christian Church, on the one hand, desires to maintain its parochial schools, where the young people may grow up with an education based on the morals and the manners of the Christian religion; on the other hand, the German State wants to divorce all religion from the education of its youth. As Hitler himself announced ‘The State must control all attitude, shaping influences finally, completely and irrevocably.’” (From Canada Free Press)

Who does this sound more like? Small government conservatives who would like to limit government or a certain party who is trying to nationalize 17% of the national economy (healthcare)?

Ivan3man said...

JD Curtis: "... could you please cite a prime example of a 'Christian fascist'?"

Like, er... click here.

JD Curtis said...

I meant "politically" Ivan. An actual politician.

Rich said...

You can find all of them you want by going to the URLs I called out.

JD Curtis said...

Which one is your favorite, most clear-cut example of a "Christian fascist" Rich?

JD Curtis said...

This just in....

Drawing from 15 independent testing services, the Progress Report 2009: Homeschool Academic Achievement and Demographics included 11,739 homeschooled students from all 50 states who took three well-known tests—California Achievement Test, Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, and Stanford Achievement Test for the 2007–08 academic year. The Progress Report is the most comprehensive homeschool academic study ever completed.

The results? Homeschooled students outperormed Public school students by an average score of 86 to 50 on a variety of subjects. Link

Who wouldnt want their kid to be home schooled if they could do it?

JD Curtis said...

Also, I came across this post at another blog this morning.

"I am a public school teacher, and I agree that homeschooling probably provides a better education than traditional public school. Part of the reason is understandable- one-on-one customized education is of course going to have better results than mass-group education. Part of the reason is societal- those who can homeschool are more likely to be able to afford to spend time at home instead of workings and probably have a more stable home life too.

But part of the reason that homeschooling is more effective is that so much of what children is taught is liberal poop administered by uneducated fools who know nothing of management techniques. Kids brains are filled with liberalism, feminism, gayism, and other isms, instead of learning real knowledge.

Sorry, that's just the way it is- don't be surprised that homeschooling gets good results. Over at my blog I've written many posts on the liberal slant in education- check it out at

Rich said...

My point about homeschools has absolutely nothing to do with tests. Since you seem to be a student of history, check out what happens to children when they are sequestered by religious zealots. Then get back to me.

JD Curtis said...

Since you seem to be a student of history, check out what happens to children when they are sequestered by religious zealots. Then get back to me.

This from the guy who cannot cite one single example of a "Christian fascist" after first raising the term?
When using the term fascist, are you refering to Italian fascism or something more along the lines of the British Union of Fascists?