ANTI-WAR PROTESTS….To those of us who are not simply insane warhawks, our common sense reaction to the size of the anti-war protests has been “Jeez, that’s a lot of people.” Sure, more people watch Survivor than march in protests, but it takes a lot of energy and a lot of anger to get most of us off our butts and onto the streets. Survivor only requires a flick of the index finger on the remote.

That’s common sense, but Kieran Healy has, um, sources, and they tell him that the common sense view is, in fact, absolutely accurate: those anti-war protests are really big. You can read all the details here, but the bottom line is that these protests are unusually large and should be taken seriously.

POSTSCRIPT: And an observation of my own: unlike the big Vietnam protests, the current protests aren’t just made up of students. There are lots of middle class protesters involved too, and my gut feel is that these might very well be the biggest gatherings of middle class protesters ever. Something to think about.

UPDATE: Since I’ve gotten a couple of comments about this, I’d just like to say that no, not all pro-war partisans are “insane warhawks.” However, a number of bloggers have spent an amazing amount of energy (a) questioning the patriotism of protesters, (b) insisting that the turnouts for protests really weren’t that big, and (c) literally frothing at the mouth about continued opposition to the war. Those are the people I’m referring to.

Moving along, Megan McArdle has a different take on my comment about middle class turnout. She thinks it’s a bad thing because it shows that the anti-war movement is basically being run by aging hippies and has failed to appeal the young, surely a core constituency for any protest movement. Could be, could be. She also thinks the Gulf War I protests were bigger, which doesn’t sound quite right to me, but since Kieran’s data only goes through 1975 so far, that could well be true.