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Posts Tagged ‘Gallup

“It’s the end of the world as we know it / And I feel fine”*…

From the Department of Polarization…

While the percentage of Americans who are satisfied with the direction of the United States is only around 17 percent — up from 11 percent in the pits of the pandemic but still down from 41 percent two years ago — respondents are telling pollsters that nevertheless they’re personally doing just great. Fully 85 percent of respondents said they are satisfied with how things are going in their personal life, a little bit off the all-time highs of 90 percent but still definitely on the higher side of the historical range in responses to the question, which has been asked since 1979. While 51 percent of Americans are “very dissatisfied” with the direction of the country, 51 percent are also “very satisfied” with their own personal life.

@WaltHickey and his invaluable Numlock News (@NumlockAM) on Gallup‘s (@Gallup) January, 2022 “Mood of the Nation” poll.



As we reconcile, we might recall that it was on this date in 1820 that the first 86 African American immigrants sponsored by the American Colonization Society departed New York to start a settlement in present-day Liberia.

The ACS had been founded in 1816 by Robert Finley to encourage and support the migration of free African Americans to the continent of Africa– in response to what he and his cohort saw as a growing social problem: what to do with free Blacks. Slave owners feared that these free Blacks might help their slaves to escape or rebel. At the same time, many white Americans saw African Americans as an inferior race. To these whites, “amalgamation,” or integration, of African Americans with mainstream American culture—giving them citizenship—was undesirable, if not altogether impossible. There was, the ACS argued, little prospect of changing these views. African Americans, therefore, should be relocated somewhere they could live in peace, free of prejudice, where they could be citizens.

The African-American community and abolitionist movement overwhelmingly opposed the project. Contrary to stated claims that emigration was voluntary, many African Americans were pressured into emigrating. Indeed, enslavers sometimes manumitted their slaves on condition that the freedmen leave the country immediately. William Lloyd Garrison, author of Thoughts on African Colonization (1832), proclaimed the Society a fraud. According to Garrison and his many followers, the Society was not a solution to the problem of American slavery—it actually was helping, and was intended to help, to preserve it.

According to historian Marc Leepson, “Colonization proved to be a giant failure, doing nothing to stem the forces that brought the nation to Civil War.” Between 1821 and 1847, only a few thousand African Americans, out of millions in the US, emigrated to what would become Liberia. Close to half of them died from tropical diseases.

Map of Liberia circa 1830 (source)

It’s positively evolutionary!…


Since 1982, the Gallup polling organization has been asking Americans about their beliefs as to the origin of our species.  The latest results are in; and while a plurality of those queried still believe that “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time in the last ten thousand years or so,” a growing minority professes belief in some form of evolution:

There’s been no revolutionary change of beliefs over the last three decades, but one can detect a shift that’s…  well, positively evolutionary.

As we begin at the beginning, we might wish a happy birthday to Isaak Yudovich Ozimov– aka Isaac Asimov– who was born on this date in 1920.  A biochemistry professor, he is better remembered as an author– more specifically, as one one of the greatest science fiction authors of his time (imaginer of “The Foundation,” coiner of the term “robotics,” and author of “The Three Laws of Robotics”).  But Asimov was extraordinarily prolific; he published over 500 books– including (in addition to sci fi) mysteries, a great deal of popular science, even a worthy volume on Shakespeare– and wrote an estimated 9,000 letters and postcards.

Asimov in 1965


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