This afternoon (Sunday, November 1), while perusing the Internet, I noticed an AOL tease concerning the nation's health, and it's worst states for health. The article, "Stay away from these death states," referenced via the above, identifies them, from the worst to the worst of the worst, as George Bush and his acolyte cronies were want to say about the Git'mo detainees: Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Louisiana, West Virginia, Alabama . . . and can we get a funereal dirge roll of the drum for "The Very Worst of the Worst of All?" MISSISSIPPI.
Is it just coincidence, bad luck, that with but one exception, that of West Virginia, every one of the bottom 10 US states for both health and education are both politically very conservative and the bastion of the Bible-belt?
No, it is not bad luck! As Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner make clear in their book Freakonomics, evidence matters. And when it comes to the variables of a polity's education level, the cultural strength of its religious beliefs, and the physical and economic health of the citizenry, the strength of the statistical correlation of the variables is glaring! Like walking from a darkened theater into the bright of a sunlit summer afternoon . . . it painfully attacks the eyes, so much so that the urge to look away is overpowering. Regardless how strong might be the compulsion to look away, to not see what is hitting you in the face, it's important -- Nay, it's absolutely critical to one's very survival -- to not retreat into the palliative state of denial.
I have been for years begging all I meet, when the issue of conservatism (and religious faith) arise, for just one person to tell me one positive attribute that is idiosyncratically conservatism's and religious faith's alone. My years of beseeching have gone unanswered. In the referenced report that was released today, that plaintiff cry takes on triage-critical urgency; triage-critical because people are dying, and people are suffering terribly.
While one is certainly entitled to believe what one prefers, and to worship whatever promulgated deity one wants to, I submit that no one person, as has no entire group, the right to damn to death and to agonize entire populations on altars to blind adherence to propositions that have zero credibility and evidence behind them.
-- Ed Tubbs