Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fashionable Politcs - Overstating

I wondered when imagining arguments against my premise whether some would find the word "fashion" unnecessarily belittling.  Whether one thinks that it's 5% or 10% of the electorate that votes one way because of bandwagon effect, or thinking it's more stylish, that's still more than a bit demeaning to the others, who base their vote on more substantive data, isn't it?  Even if it's a continuum, why go out my way to accentuate the negative?

Because neurology teaches us that it's not 5 or 10% of us that vote that way, it's 100% of us.  That is, all of us are affected by what we see as our group's fashions, and this forms at least part of our values.  We would like to be logical creatures, but this is only partly true.

So, does this leave us all on an even footing then?  No, it does not.  One never sees the remotest suggestion in liberal writing that they can apply this question to themselves, even if they know the general principle.  It's what makes Jonathan Haidt so unusual and worth reading.  He has popped onto the scene and said "Okay, we know this applies to conservatives.  And in theory, we know that this applies to everyone.  Therefore...could it be...nah, but...yes, that would have to imply that this applies to us as well!"  You just never find this, never the slightest self-doubt.*

Not that conservatives or libertarians ever ante up to that card game all that often, but at least there are some, usually religious writers.  It is on those few that I pin my hopes that future generations might someday see clearly what happened here (cue last speech from "Camelot").

*There is an imitation that provides immunity to self-observation, and it particularly infuriates me because of my own history.  There are liberals who in all humility acknowledge shortcomings - but they only acknowledge the type of shortcomings they think conservatives have, and cop to lesser versions of it.  "Yes, I find a resistance to seeing white privilege in my own life.  I have to fight against it."  Or "We all are too materialistic here in America, and I'm guilty of that, too."  You see the trick?  It is arrogance squared, disguised (even from oneself) as humility. Christians are especially susceptible to this, likely because they have some conscience reminding them that they should be humble.  It's a very Screwtape situation.  Or perhaps God In The Dock, "The Dangers of National Repentance." I see AVI-commenter David Foster commented on this very thing over at Chicago Boyz 30 months ago.

Update:  I just thought of a conservative Christian who does this in reverse, and I'm pretty ticked at her as well.  So it's not an entirely liberal phenomenon.

1 comment:

Sam L. said...

The liberals seem to be so convinced they are right, or that they can't be wrong, or would be shunned and cast out of "civilized society" for expressing doubts.