[FoRK] FoRK Digest, Vol 150, Issue 8

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon Apr 11 12:59:49 PDT 2016

On 4/11/16 12:31 PM, Dave Long wrote:
>> http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2016/04/10/a-new-divide-in-american-death/
>> Wow, some amazing "data journalism" combined with excellent "shoe-leather
>> journalism"... Lots to think over. Is it overstating oxy? Is it possible to
>> overstate?
> I think it's easily overstated, in that I currently believe it's a symptom rather than a cause.
> For instance, the following line is telling:
>> This reversal may be fueling anger among white voters: The Post last month found a correlation between places with high white 
>> death rates and support for GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.
> It's hard to tell from where I sit (in what is nominally the third world, but certainly seems first world in comparison to US 
> news) but my knee-jerk reaction* is to say that both of these correlations could be easily ascribed to one thing: these are places 
> where the non-morbid and the non-Trump supporters have moved away to a better life, and the correlation is due to the remainder 
> staying put.
> I'd think something like the CCC might help in reaching out to give the rural US a hand so it can step up into the XXI, but it's 
> been a long time since I've been around.  What do you all think?
> -Dave
> * not quite knee-jerk; much of this is colored from having been dragged back into paying attention to US news by a morbid 
> fascination with Yugobundya (Bunkerville, NV) and Bundyland (Malheur NWR), and the culture from which both events arose. 

There are large swaths of the rural US with socially encouraged dumpth, where drinking and smoking and more dangerous pursuits are 
extremely popular.  The savvy truly do move away as soon as they can, which certainly affects statistics.  But that just clarifies 
the root cause that is often hidden in more mixed areas: subcultures that don't value education, growth, health, exercise, 
achievement, and avoidance of habitual pitfalls lead directly to poor health and early death.  There's little that the medical 
community can do when cultural pressures outweigh facts and good advice.

The area where I grew up was not and is not the worst in this regard, but I saw plenty of it.  I have a son who is right in the 
thick of many of these issues; the other children are thankfully much better oriented.


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