The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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With all the geopolitical tumult and news I was a bit curious to see what The World Values Survey could tell us about public opinion in Egypt and Tunisia. Unfortunately, Tunisia hasn’t been in any of their surveys, though Egypt has. So I thought it might be interesting to compare the USA, Sweden, Turkey, Egypt, and Iraq, for wave 5, which occurred in the mid-2000s. The main thing I took away from the exercise is to reflect that Americans are a more equivocal people than I had expected. Many of the questions have a 1 to 10 scale, and I’m providing the most extreme answers. So the low fractions for Americans for some questions point to a relative moderation on some topics…which is kind of weird when you are asking whether “People choosing their leaders is an essential characteristic of democracy.” Since that’s the definition of democracy broadly construed anything below a 10 out of 10 seems strange to me.

(Control + should increase font-size if it is too small)

USA Sweden Turkey Egypt Iraq
Religion “very important” 47 9 75 95 96
Politics “very important” 11 16 13 9 37
Family life “very important” 95 92 99 98 96
Most people can be trusted 39 68 5 19 41
Satisfied with life (10 out of 10) 7 12 21 11 3
Great deal of control of life (10 out of 10) 17 16 24 14 9
Men have more right to job than women 7 2 53 89 84
Trust family completely 73 94 95 96
Approve of woman as single parent 52 49 9 2
University more important for boy than girl 1 0 7 26 25
Government ownership of business should be increased (10 out of 10) 1 2 12 25 22
Hard work brings better life (10 out of 10) 19 8 21 52
Great deal of confidence in armed forces 35 4 67 34
Great deal of confidence in police 17 13 36
Great deal of confidence in government 5 3 28 31
Very good for political system to have strong leader 7 4 23 8 11
Very good to have democratic system 45 76 57 79 55
Complete agree, too much science, not enough faith 12 4 20 14
Religious authorities interpreting laws is an essential characteristic of democracy 2 0 11 48 19
People choosing their leaders is an essential characteristic of democracy 56 79 48 79 58
Protecting civil liberties is an essential characteristic of democracy 44 66 44 57 47
Women having sames rights as men is an essential characteristic of democracy 57 84 57 51 27
Cheating on taxes always justifiable 2 1 0 1
Accepting bribe always justifiable 1 0 0 0 1
Homosexuality always justifiable 15 61 1
Abortion always justifiable 7 37 2 1
Divorce always justifiable 12 47 5 9 1
Don’t trust at all people of other religion 5 3 30 22
Don’t trust at all people of other nationality 5 2 29 40
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The 800-Pound Mama Grizzly Problem:

Ms. Palin, in fact, draws almost as much search traffic worldwide as the man she would face if she wins the Republican nomination: Barack Obama. And her name is searched for about 30 percent more often than the President’s among Google users in the United States.

Some members of Ms. Palin’s family also draw as much attention has the other Presidential contenders. Todd Palin, her husband, gets about as much search traffic as Mr. Pawlenty. Bristol Palin, her daughter (and a finalist on “Dancing With the Stars”), gets several times more than any of them (as does her former boyfriend, Levi Johnston).

I thought of this News IQ Quiz from Pew. I got 12 out of 12, which apparently places me in the top 1% of quiz takers? The only question I hesitated on was #11 for what it’s worth. Check out how different demographics do in the aggregate and by question:


• Category: Ideology, Science • Tags: Democracy, Intelligence, News, Politics 
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Just a question…do you think it is worth $100 a year to subscribe to The Economist? I was a subscriber several years back and let it lapse mostly because I found that I wasn’t checking in every week.

• Category: Science • Tags: News 
Razib Khan
About Razib Khan

"I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. If you want to know more, see the links at"