Friday, November 2, 2012

Dear Red States

The following is an update to the famous "Dear Red State" letter that went viral on the internet back in the dark Dubya days.  The author of the original piece, much less this update, is unknown; effusive thanks will be posted if the identity of either author can be provided:

"Dear Red States:

"We're ticked off at your Neanderthal attitudes and politics and we've decided we're leaving: "Legitimate rape." is almost reason enough!

"We in the Blue States intend to form our own country and we're taking the other Blue States with us.

"In case you aren't aware that includes California, New York, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and the rest of the Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation and especially to the people of the new country, The Enlightened States of America (E.S.A).

"To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states.

"We get stem cell research and the best beaches.

"We get Andrew Cuomo and Elizabeth Warren.

"You get Bobby Jindal and Todd Akin.

"We get the Statue of Liberty.

"You get OpryLand.

"We get Intel and Microsoft.

"You get WorldCom.

"We get Harvard.

"You get Ole' Miss.

"We get 85 percent of America's venture capital and entrepreneurs.

"You get Alabama.

"We get two-thirds of the tax revenue.

"You get to make the red states pay their fair share.

"Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition's we get a bunch of happy families.

"You get a bunch of single moms.

"Please be aware that the E.S.A. will be pro choice and anti-war and we're going to want all our citizens back from Afghanistan at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they're apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose and they don't care if you don't show pictures of their children's caskets coming home. We wish you success in Afghanistan, and possibly Iran as well, but we're not willing to spend our resources in these sorts of pursuits.

"With the Blue States in hand we will have firm control of 80% of the country's fresh water, more than 90% of the pineapple and lettuce, 92% of the nation's fresh fruit, 95% of America's quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners) 90% of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the US low sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy League and Seven Sister schools plus Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

"With the Red States you will have to cope with 88% of all obese Americans and their projected health care costs, 92% of all US mosquitoes, nearly 100% of the tornadoes, 90% of the hurricanes, 99% of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100% of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia.

"We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.

"38% of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62% believe life is sacred unless we're discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44% say that evolution is only a theory, 53% that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61% of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals than us lefties.

"We're taking the good weed too. You can have that crap they grow in Mexico. Sincerely, Citizens of the Enlightened States of America.

In a more serious, but no less tragic vein, "Jeff Frankels Weblog" offers some more comparisons in his "Sinners, Red States, Blue States.":


States where residents suffer more from obesity, in part because they have worse eating habits, tend to vote Republican, as I showed in a blog post last June. To illustrate, a mere 1 percentage point decrease in a state’s obesity rate is associated on average with an estimated increase in the ratio of Democratic to Republican voters from 1.00 to 1.07. The relationship is highly significant statistically. (Figure 2.)


"States where residents get less physical exercise tend to vote Republican. (Figure 10d inappendix.) The relationship is highly significant statistically. Figure 3 combines physical exercise and lack of obesity into a single index of physical fitness.

"In his recent book, Coming Apart, Charles Murray argues that those who live in the “super-zip codes” - the areas with high education levels, like Belmont, Massachusetts - have maintained traditional American values of hard work, while those who live elsewhere show “crashing” rates of industriousness. He writes that those who live in areas with less education have been leaving the labor force for years, often falsely claiming disability. They “goof off,” “sleeping and watching television” (p.180-181). Those that remain employed have reduced the length of their work-week and their dedication to their jobs, at the same time that those living in the super-zip codes have increased theirs (p.176-77). Some academic researchers and news media fear accusations of liberal bias if they talk about such things. AEI scholar Murray may be immune from this fear: he is well-known as a conservative/libertarian whose earlier book The Bell Curve dealt with black-white differences in test achievement. (The statistics in his recent book look at whites alone, so as to control for race.)


"Sex is interesting. Red states residents buy more online adult entertainment, according to a 2009 study in the Journal of Economic Perspectives by Benjamin Edelman. Notwithstanding proclamations about the importance of pre-marital chastity, evidence suggests that young people in red states do have sex before marriage. It is less likely to be safe sex than among those in blue states. States that vote Republican have higher birth rates among 15-17-year-old girls, as Figure 4 shows. Again, the difference is highly significant statistically. They also have higher rates of the sexually-transmitted disease Chlamydia . (This difference, unlike the others, is not statistically significant at the aggregate state level; but it is when combined into an overall measure of unsafe sex.)

"Apparently the gap between what they say and what they do is particularly wide for teen-agers who describe themselves as evangelical Christians. According to research by Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas, Austin, white evangelical adolescents usually state a belief in pre-marital abstinence — 74 per cent — but in fact are surprisingly active sexually, compared to mainline Protestants and Jews who do not tend to state such a belief. When the evangelicals do engage in sex, they are less likely to use protection than others. The gap between word and deed is strikingly high for the millions of teenagers who take a formal pledge to remain celibate until marriage, typically in a ring ceremony, according to a New Yorker article by Margaret Talbott (”Red Sex, Blue Sex“). The majority of them, though holding out for awhile, “end up having sex before marriage, and not usually with their future spouse.” Two other sociologists, Peter Bearman (Columbia University) and Hannah Bruckner (Yale) find a positive correlation between the abstinence pledge and Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD). Pledgers are less likely to use a condom if and when they first have sex and overall are slightly more likely to contract a STD. (Under George W. Bush, the federal government subsidized such abstinence pledge program despite their questionable effectiveness.)


"People who drink too much endanger themselves and endanger others as well. You guessed it: States with high rates of fatal accidents from drunk driving tend to vote Republican (Figure 6). Statistically significant.

"The five most “red” states are Wyoming, Oklahoma, Utah, Idaho, and Alaska. The five most “blue” are New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and Hawaii. The average score of the five reddest states is worse in each category than the average score of the five bluest states: more obesity, smoking, Chlamydia, teenage pregnancy, drunk driving fatalities, and firearms assaults. In the latter three of those measures, the “reckless” shares of the population are almost twice as high among the first five states as among the last five. While we are at it, we might as well acknowledge that the red state populations also tend to be less educated and more prone to divorce.

There you have it, the surprising statistics. 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.'"

[This article draws in part on an op-ed concerning Obamacare in the Christian Science Monitor and another concerning Romney's "47%" remarks at Project Syndicate. VoxEU also has a version. Details on data and computations are available in a posted statistical appendix.]

And finally, from, "Study: Red States Are More Charitable":

"The eight states whose residents gave the highest share of their income — Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Idaho, Arkansas and Georgia — all backed McCain in 2008. Utah leads charitable giving, with 10.6 percent of income given.

"And the least generous states — Wisconsin, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire — were Obama supporters in the last presidential race. New Hampshire residents gave the least share of their income, the Chronicle stated, with 2.5 percent."

The Red States are the home of the Conservative sheeplets and are more often to be pitied than despised.  When Conservatism is criminalized, much of our efforts must be concentrated in a new Marshall Plan to educate the sheeplets, and hopefully lead them into the 21st Century from their status as a third world nation  Much of our problems are due to their inherent deficiencies, congenital and learned (, and perhaps new strides in neurological science can be brought to bear to enable them to better comprehend the world around them.

For their leaders, other options will be considered. (

"People who say they don't care what people think are usually desperate to have people
think they don't care what people think."

George Carlin