By Bryan Caplan
Several responses in the comments dispute my premise that the two issues conservatives are most passionate about are immigration and war. I’d be happy to be proven wrong, but it’s hard to believe. The conservatives that I know can’t stop talking about these topics. They bring them up spontaneously, frequently, and invariably to express outrage about American weakness. Can my sample really be that biased?
Suppose we just did textual analysis of major conservative outlets for the last decade. Is there really much doubt that immigration and war would be the two topics where words like “angry” “outrage” “get tough” etc. would be most pronounced?
The best counter-example in the comments was abortion – and here I will admit that I know relatively few staunchly religious conservatives. But again, how much angry attention has this topic really gotten in major conservative outlets during the last ten years? A minority of conservatives is clearly extremely angry about abortion, but a majority of conservatives seem extremely angry about Mexicans and terrorists.
P.S. If you’d like to propose a bet, I’m listening.