Saturday, June 03, 2017

John Lott was a Democrat in 1993

In an article that claims the famous researcher John Lott is partly responsible for mass murder, the author let slip an interesting bit of information. John Lott was a Democrat before he conducted his well known research.  From
Outside of the Baylor auditorium, Lott told me about his journey to becoming the most prominent and most hated gun researcher: His interest in guns, he said, started when he was an economist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Students asked him about his thoughts on gun control, and so Lott started researching. He wasn't a gun expert then, just an economist. But he noticed that, despite the volume of gun research, there were few well-designed studies with large sample sizes. Around the same time, Lott had become disillusioned with the Clinton administration. He said he had been a Democrat, but found himself starting to align with more-conservative belief systems. He felt that the response to the research he'd started doing on guns encouraged his political transformation. It appeared to Lott that the liberal establishment had gotten everything wrong, and that, in their rush to prove their progressive fantasies, they had ignored the facts.
I contacted John Lott about the allegation that he had been a Democrat. Because the psmag author was wrong in many of his allegations, I wanted to be certain about this.  Lott wrote that "The PS piece was very inaccurate and dishonest."

He also wrote that he was a registered Democrat until 1993. We can credit the psmag author with getting that right.  Lott's seminal research on the effect of concealed carry laws on violent crime was published in 1996 at the University of Chicago.

It is not uncommon for researchers to change their views on gun control once they have done actual research on the subject. John Lott changed his political affiliation.  Wright and Rossi changed their views on gun control.  Gary Kleck changed his views on the effectiveness of armed self defense. Most criminologists and economists now agree with John Lott. I do not know of any researcher who has switched the other way. Most of the articles that claim Lott's research is inaccurate are in health care journals.

That is a significant argument that the side that wishes to disarm the population is wrong. People are prone to selectively believe things that reinforce what they already believe. It is known as confirmation bias. It takes a significant effort to look at data objectively and accept the implications, if they disagree with what you already believe.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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sage419 said...

It's not uncommon for democrats to change affiliation when they grow up and learn how the real world works...

Anonymous said...

Sage419 you are correct. My first time at the voting booth I voted for John F Kennedy. As I grew up and got married I learned the error of my ways. He was and will be the last liberal I will ever vote for.

Stuart Ingraham said...

the Dem's in 1960 were not the Dem's of today.....JFK was not a liberal......things started changing in the 80'S......