Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Among the savages

James Taranto comments on the discoveries of a Stanford anthropologist who has ventured out among her fellow citizens and returned to explain their peculiar ways:
.... Tanya Luhrmann, a Stanford anthropologist, did some field work on an exotic tribe called "evangelical Christians." She explains their mysterious ways to the open-minded, curious readers of the New York Times.

"If you want to understand how evangelicals conceive of their political life, you need to understand how they think about God," she explains. "I saw that when people prayed, they imagined themselves in conversation with God. They do not, of course, think that God is imaginary. . . . They imagine God as wiser and kinder than any human they know."

Fascinating, isn't it? Apparently some of these people live right here in America! In her fieldwork, Luhrmann reports, "I met doctors, scientists and professors at the churches."

And they vote—but they vote differently from the way regular people—oops, make that "secular liberals"—vote: "When secular liberals vote, they think about the outcome of a political choice. . . . When evangelicals vote, they think more immediately about what kind of person they are trying to become—what humans could and should be, rather than who they are."

Uh-oh, that could spell trouble for liberal politicians. But don't worry, Luhrmann has figured it out: "If Democrats want to reach more evangelical voters, they should use a political language that evangelicals can hear." And don't worry: "The good news for secular liberals is that evangelicals are smarter and more varied than many liberals realize."
Taranto is having fun with an article that actually explains rather sympathetically how evangelical voters approach politics. But it is extraordinary how out of touch with so many of their fellow citizens a large proportion of secular liberals seem to be.

The Comical of Higher Education - WSJ.com