Should’ve Taken That Left Turn at Albuquerque

Daily Best of the Web   —   Posted on May 20, 2014

The following is an excerpt from OpinionJournal.com’s “Best of the Web” written by the editor, James Taranto.

What’ll They Think of Next?
“WSU Program Helps Prepare Teachers for Real Classrooms”–headline, Seattle Times, May 16

Road-RunnerShould’ve Taken That Left Turn at Albuquerque
“Beep Beep: Giant Las Cruces Roadrunner Is Homeward Bound”–headline, Las Cruces (N.M.) Sun-News, May 18

Everything Seemingly Is Spinning Out of Control
“Local Asparagus Absent From Festival of Asparagus”–headline, Associated Press, May 16

News of the Tautological

  • “Brazen Robbery Has Kanawha Deputies Looking for Suspect”–headline, West Virginia Metro News, May 16
  • “Anarchist Conference Descends Into Chaos”–headline, Independent (London), May 14

Breaking News From 1917
“Obama Supporters Call for ObamaCare Czar to Avoid Another Rollout Disaster”–headline, FoxNews, May 17

Bottom Story of the Day
“Jill Abramson Says New York Times Firing ‘Hurt,’ Won’t Get NYT Tattoo Removed”–headline, HollywoodReporter, May 19

Driving While Affluent
“Pity the rich,” ABC News “reports”:

They drive their expensive cars with little respect for the law, they break the rules thinking they won’t have to face the consequences, and they even take candy from children.

Their unethical behavior, according to new research, is driven by the fact that they see nothing wrong with greed.

Psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley, have conducted seven studies involving nearly a thousand participants from college students to senior citizens indicating that the rich are, indeed, different from the rest of us. . . .

In one creative study, [the researchers] and several of their students positioned themselves at four-way-stop intersections in the San Francisco Bay area to see which cars ignored state law to yield to the first vehicle to reach the stop sign. The drivers could not see them as the participants ranked the vehicles on the basis of their value.

Drivers of expensive cars were four times more likely to cut off another vehicle and ignore the right-of-way than drivers of cheaper cars, the researchers found. The most flagrant offenders: Mercedes drivers.

In another experiment, 26 drivers of deluxe cars blasted through an intersection while ignoring a pedestrian who had entered the crosswalk, another violation of state law. No one driving a cheap car failed to yield. Some 426 cars were involuntary participants in these two experiments, and it’s worth noting that although prosperous drivers were more willing to break the law than working class drivers, about half the fancy cars yielded. So not all rich folks are jerks.

Based on these descriptions, the researchers knew nothing about the drivers other than the make of car they were driving, including even whether the driver was the owner of the car, much less anything about their motives. When cops engage in this sort of guesswork, it’s called “profiling.”

In fact, the ABC report notes that one of the researchers, Dacher Keltner, is a counterexample of his own stereotype: “He is a super-achiever in two areas reflecting status: He is highly educated and holds a prestigious job. And he’s hardly poor, but when it comes to vehicular status, he flunks. He drives a 13-year-old Subaru, and his wife drives a 17-year-old Honda Civic.”

Even so, not all rich professors are jerks.

For more “Best of the Web” click here and look for the “Best of the Web Today” link in the middle column below “Today’s Columnists.”