More on the Remarkable Ignorance of Progressive Democrats

In yesterday’s blog, “‘Whatever that number is’: Vaccine Hesitancy, Common Sense, and Stigmatizing Christians,” I noted a relationship between watching establishment media and misperception of basic facts, with progressive Democrats most likely to consume and believe establishment media being most misinformed on key issues, which strongly suggests establishment media is a propaganda operation disseminating misinformation and, really, disinformation.

Today, I am sharing a study, “How Informed are Americans about Race and Policing?” carried by the website Skeptic, that shows how misinformed progressive Americans are about the number of unarmed black men killed by police every year. Progressives are so badly misinformed, in fact, that it would be comical if not tragic, since their ignorance feeds popular support for a regressive political movement. The irony appears lost on those who run around telling everybody to “listen to the science.” Progressives actually believe things that, if one knows even a little about policing in America, are impossible.

How many unarmed blacks were killed by the police in 2019? As few as around a dozen (most sources I have seen). Around two dozen at the top end estimate (according to this source, but this is an extreme outside estimate). However, over half (53.5 percent) of those reporting “very liberal” political views (i.e. progressive) estimated that 1,000 or more unarmed Black men were killed in the year. Nearly a quarter said it was about or more than 10,000. That’s translates to more than two dozen unarmed blacks a day. That’s twice as many blacks killed annually than during entire period of lynching!

How off are these perceptions? Police annually kill around 1,000 suspects in total, 96 percent of them armed, and around a quarter of them black. In other words, three quarters of progressives are wildly wrong about all the relevant facts. Liberals aren’t much better at estimating police shootings of unarmed civilians. Who was most accurate in their perceptions on the matter? Conservatives (with very conservative not far behind). But they’re supposedly mouth breathing white supremacists, rubes, and snake handlers.

As I pointed out in yesterday’s blog, this is also the case with estimates of hospitalizations from COVID-19, with 41 percent of progressives Democrats believing half or more of those infected with COVID-19 wind up in the hospital. This is astounding. How is it even possible to be this ignorant? For those of us on Facebook and Instagram, we are daily inundated with posts virtue signaling masks, vaccine cards, and calls for mandatory vaccination. Who makes these posts? We know the answer. And they presume to tell us about science and policy?

There are a lot of folks upset with me because I keep repeating facts, such as: police kill twice as many whites than blacks every year; controlling for crime and circumstances, racial disproportionately in lethal civilian-officer encounters is explicable and therefore does not suggest systemic racism; controlling for crime and circumstances, police are more reluctant to shoot black suspects than white suspects; the number of unarmed suspects killed by the police every year is very small. I keep repeating these facts because I know the establishment media, which knows these facts, too, is misleading their audience. They are lying.

I’m a teacher, and it is my role to not only correct my students’ misunderstandings, but also the public’s misunderstandings. I can’t allow lies and myths to stand. So you’ll have to hate me, progressives. Scientists don’t like to talk in terms of truth, but there are at least three as-close-to-the-truth-as-it-comes-in-science truths: (1) the earth is not flat; (2) the earth is not at the center of the solar system; (3) the police are not systemically racist.

Finally, a note: Being unarmed doesn’t mean a person is not a threat. It just means they were not threatening the police or somebody else with a weapon. Hands and feet are deadly enough without a weapon. People are beaten to death or permanently injured by hands and feet used as weapons. Don’t assume because a person killed by the police was unarmed that he (or she, although this is extremely rare since females are underrepresented in the most serious violent crimes) was not a threat or that he did not cause his own death by decisions he made in interacting with law enforcement.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

2 thoughts on “More on the Remarkable Ignorance of Progressive Democrats”

  1. I think it might be helpful to think of Critical Race Theory as an epistemology: if bias is as universal and foundational to human social structures as they claim then it is basically impenetrable. Your statistics are therefore subject to bias and no better than the lived experiences (i.e. heuristic bias) of POC, according to which police are motivated by racism.

    1. More than this, CRT collapses epistemology into ontology, supposing that reality itself is determined by one’s experiences and perceptions. In this sense, it is an extreme form of objective idealism positing infinite truths. At the same time, CRT wants to have it both ways, asserting that victims enjoy an epistemic privilege and that their truth is therefore the better truth. CRT seems to suppose a transcendent essence of blackness that comes with political commitments that mark the person authentically black. It is very much a quasi-religious ideology. Extraordinarily irrational in character.

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