Saturday, May 01, 2021

Why Is Everything Liberal?

Richard Hanania's newsletter at his substack carries his article "Why Is Everything Liberal?" I found the link over at Quillette where I was reading the review of When Men Behave Badly (also quite good.) I believe he is somewhat liberal himself, though I may be reading the tea leaves wrong.  He brings out interesting data about the greater energy that liberals bring to their causes, while conservatives tend to want to do other things with their lives.  I have noted something similar here before, and related it to raising children, and possibly to having jobs other than at non-profits.

People who have children at home invest less time in protests and other culture causes. Their legacy is right in front of them and they volunteer for blood donation, scouts, little league, soup kitchens, community clean-ups, unwed mothers, and schools, even after their own children are grown. Hugely more, nearly 80%. Liberals see their legacies in terms of changing the culture.

Conservatives, especially religious ones, give their money to actual charities rather than culture-influencing causes. (See Arthur C Brooks, Who Really cares?)

I confess that while I see that as an understandable imbalance and see why it works, I also see the difference in where one's time is going as an enormous contrast of adulthood and morality.


RichardJohnson said...

Another way of looking at the divide is that liberals tend to have greater interest in politics, and will be the first to bring up politics in a conversation.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

That seems like the same thing viewd at 90 degrees.

David Foster said...

Sebastian Haffner, who came of age in Germany between the wars, offers some relevant observations. He says that when the political, social, and economic situation began to stabilize (which he credits to Gustav Stresemann) most people were happy---but not everyone:

"A generation of young Germans had become accustomed to having the entire content of their lives delivered gratis, so to speak, by the public sphere, all the raw material for their deeper emotions…Now that these deliveries suddently ceased, people were left helpless, impoverished, robbed, and disappointed. They had never learned how to live from within themselves, how to make an ordinary private life great, beautiful and worth while, how to enjoy it and make it interesting. So they regarded the end of political tension and the return of private liberty not as a gift, but as a deprivation. They were bored, their minds strayed to silly thoughts, and they began to sulk."


"To be precise (the occasion demands precision, because in my opinion it provides the key to the contemporary period of history): it was not the entire generation of young Germans. Not every single individual reacted in this fashion. There were some who learned during this period, belatedly and a little clumsily, as it were, how to live. they began to enjoy their own lives, weaned themselves from the cheap intoxication of the sports of war and revolution, and started to develop their own personalities. It was at this time that, invisibly and unnoticed, the Germans divided into those who later became Nazis and those who would remain non-Nazis."

Zachriel said...

Richard Hanania: In a country where Republicans get around half the votes or something close to that in every election, why should this be the case?

Since 2000, the average popular vote has been as follows:

Office: Dem - Rep
President: 50.0 - 47.4
Senate: 50.1 - 45.6
House: 48.7 - 47.8

Democrats won the popular vote for president 6 out of 7 times.

Richard Hanania: Populists, in order to bring institutions more in line with what the majority of the people want, need to rely on a more centralized and heavy-handed government.

The majority of "people," he means, having already granted that Republicans only represent about half of voters. It is interesting that he notes the relationship between populism and authoritarianism.


It's important to realize that the political center has been trending left since the Renaissance. Where once it was considered radical to support the vote for blacks and women, nowadays, that is the mainstream position. Social Security and unemployment insurance are largely taken for granted, as are laws regulating pollution and worker safety. And that's just the last century. Before that, the notion of equality before the law was a revolutionary position. And prior to that, it was considered heresy that someone might read and interpret the Bible for themselves.

When seen in the light of this historical trend, it's not so extraordinary that at any one point in history, there are more liberals than conservatives.

Zachriel said...

Z: Democrats won the popular vote for president 6 out of 7 times.

Oops. That's 5 of 6 in the period in question. Democrats also won the popular vote in 1992 and 1996.

Grim said...

AVI, confer if you like with Weber’s findings on the results of a necessarily continuous administration of government. The findings are I think compatible.

dmoelling said...

I see a lot of this in how much you are interested in your job/profession. You see this in Librarians who as the profession shifted from being a human/card cabinet google service, to a less demanding picking new acquisitions. So the mix of new titles slowly shifted leftward in the 1970s. The same happened with K-12 teachers. The old normal school grads took pride in actually teaching the core topics. The 1970's hires (more men due to the draft) wanted to make their political mark.

David Foster said...

dmoelling...yes. I think there are a lot of 'educators' who aren't actually not very interested in *knowledge*, who are largely devoid of intellectual curiosity...and who can't believe anyone else is very interested in such things, either. Hence, every subject must be dressed up to make it 'relevant'.

Sam L. said...

I did Scouts with my son, and after he gave it up, and I donated blood starting when I was in the AF and until I walked in, picked up the "Do Not Donate if taking any of these drugs", and the first on the list was one I was prescribed. It would have been #82.

Zachriel said...

"The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' [...] 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do'." — an unnamed official in the George W. Bush administration


"Reality has a well known liberal bias." — Stephen Colbert

Kevin said...

Unrelated to this thread. Wishing AVi well, whatever is taking precedence now.