Government health warning

In the Spectator Dalrymple reviews a tendentious book, Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous Than Others, in which New York University psychiatry professor James Gilligan claims that Republican presidencies inevitably lead to a much higher death rate. (H/t Michael P.)
Some of his statistical manipulations to arrive at his conclusions — which, despite his repeated protestations to the contrary, I suspect were foregone — seem to me to be doubtful. For example, on page 28 he states that the difference in violent death rates between Republican and Democratic presidencies ‘amounts to a difference… representing roughly 114,600 fewer violent deaths per year under Democrats than under Republicans’.
A man who can look at that figure and not see immediately that it must be wrong is no more to be trusted with statistics than an alcoholic in a wine-merchant’s. There are approximately 16,000 murders a year in the United States, and 30,000 suicides. Even Gilligan does not maintain that all of those are caused by Republican presidencies, or the memory or possibility thereof; but even if he did maintain it, it would still not amount to 114,600 per year. He writes what cannot be true.

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