The political landscape has recently featured a raft of policy decisions by conservative politicians and jurists that unerringly support the pro-death side of the decision. 

Take the unanimous decision by the Supreme Court’s six conservatives to overturn the Biden administration’s ban on evictions in the midst of an upsurge in coronavirus deaths. Take their decision to reinstate the Trump administration policy of keeping asylum seekers exposed to violent drug cartels in Mexico rather than letting them wait safely in the U.S. Take the decisions by conservative governors to oppose Centers for Disease Control guidelines for reducing the carnage from the surging Delta variant of the coronavirus, by prohibiting school districts and county governments from mandating that school children wear masks and employees get vaccinated. Take rulings by conservative-dominated legislatures to ignore voters’ referendums supporting extension of government-supported medical insurance to low-income people, despite evidence that states adopting such extensions have saved thousands of lives. 

Conservatives’ continuing efforts to reduce restrictions on gun ownership ignore the evidence that the U.S. has millions more guns (190 million guns) and consequently thousands more suicides by gun each year (~24,000/year) than any other European or anglophone country. The pro-death tendency of conservative social policies is reflected in the life expectancy statistics of states where conservatives dominate the legislature and occupy the governor’s mansion. They have constituents who die, on average, 2.2 years earlier than constituents of states where progressives dominate. 

The states with the longest life expectancy are dominated by progressives: Hawaii (81.5 years), California (81.0 years), Minnesota (80.8 years), New York (80.7 years) and Connecticut (80.6 years). The states with the shortest life expectancy are dominated by conservatives: Mississippi (74.6 years), West Virginia (74.9 years), Alabama (74.9 years), Kentucky (75.1 years) and Arkansas (75.4 years). These statistics make clear why conservatives see voter suppression as a more practical way to win elections than trying to convince voters that conservative policies will better protect their families’ lives. It also explains conservatives’ obsession with anti-abortion, anti-contraception policies. Their pro-birth policies are designed to offset the higher death impact of their social policies for the already-born.

William McCarthy

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