Ron Guhname writes: WASPs rule! I wrote in a recent post that I was getting the sense that Americans with Protestant European backgrounds were the best behaved. So I decided to sum all my prior post numbers that dealt with ethnicity and moral behavior to assess this idea systematically. I followed the simple strategy of assigning a rank for each behavior for each of the 8 ethnic groups with sufficiently large sample sizes. Jews were often ignored in previous posts since one must turn to the religion rather than the ethnicity variable to get estimates, but I wanted to include them, so I calculated numbers and then ranks for them.
I included all variables that I have posted on–here’s a list of them: okay to cheat on taxes; drinks too much; ethnocentric; dirty house; frequents prostitutes; promiscuous men over 30; feel that infidelity is not wrong; gay; lesbian; husbands and wives who cheat; fathers divorcing mom; women arrested; and promiscuity for men and women and under. I realized that I had not posted on drug abuse so I added that to the rest. I ranked group so high numbers indicate more bad behavior, then I simply summed the 16 rankings for each ethnic group. Here are the totals:
Bad Behavior Index
American Indians 85
My hunch was correct. This pattern coincides with that feeling that goes way back among nativists that the moral quality of the country was slipping with the mass immigration from Catholic, southern and eastern European countries, and more recently in concern over immigration from Mexico.