In an amusing, but otherwise meaningless study of “most sinful states,” the WalletHub website consulted a group of “experts” to determine how the 50 states ranked on an array of “sins” including “1) Anger & Hatred, 2) Jealousy, 3) Excesses & Vices, 4) Greed, 5) Lust, 6) Vanity and 7) Laziness.“
Those appear similar to a list of transgressions Christians consider fatal to salvation — the Seven Deadly Sins of pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth – and details in the survey’s methodology statement reveal that they conform rather closely. Since the study’s “panel of experts” consists entirely of academics, it’s possible that they wished to avoid a too-close association with Christian principles that might encourage irreligious readers to ignore their “rigorous academic study,” when their genuine motives were politically-progressive.
WalletHub: “Red states and blue states may like to point to one another as the source of all that is wrong with the U.S., but the truth is that each of the 50 states has its own virtues and vices.”
The real truth is that WalletHub’s rankings are an indulgence in moral equivalence, a practice defined this way: “Moral equivalence is a form of equivocation and a fallacy of relevance often used in political debates. It seeks to draw comparisons between different, often unrelated things, to make a point that one is just as bad as the other or just as good as the other. It may be used to draw attention to an unrelated issue by comparing it to a well-known bad event, in an attempt to say one is as bad as the other. Or, it may be used in an attempt to claim one isn’t as bad as the other by comparison. Drawing a moral equivalence in this way is a logical fallacy.”
The judge-not-lest-ye-be-judged “study” is full of logical fallacies.
In 1986, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, former U.S Ambassador the United Nations wrote, ”To destroy a society it is first necessary to delegitimize its basic institutions so as to detach the identifications and affections of its citizens from the institutions and authorities of the society marked for destruction. This delegitimization may be achieved by attacking a society’s practices in terms of its own deeply held values, or it may be achieved by attacking the values themselves.”
The conclusions in WalletHub’s “2019’s Most Sinful States in America” overlook many practical issues (e.g., fiscal health, illegal aliens/related crime, among others) to inform us that red states are often as bad as blue states, while judging that blue states are equally as, or in some cases, more virtuous than red states – occasionally vice versa. Regardless of the time invested, it is a perfectly useless exercise.
The Seven Deadly Sins stand in contrast to The Seven Contrary Virtues: humility, kindness, abstinence, chastity, patience, liberality and diligence, plus the Seven Heavenly Virtues — faith, hope, charity, fortitude, justice, temperance, prudence.
Apparently, though, virtues are too uninteresting (or insufficiently politically-useful) to survey.
What would we do – where would America be — without “experts”?