Group Identity and Fiscal Conservatism
By Arnold Kling
Will Wilkinson analyzes the generation gap.
I suspect that the more strongly certain libertarian ideas and tendencies are associated with the cultural politics of Baby Boomer conservative Republicans, the more strongly young people with libertarian inclinations will tend to identify with the Democratic Party and take on cultural assumptions and characteristics common to liberals. Here’s my bottom line. Democratic-leaning libertarian young adults are the primary “liberaltarian” constituency. They are to my mind who liberaltarianism is intended for. Liberaltarianism or libertarian-liberal fusionism is not about some ridiculous practical political coalition between Larry Kudlow and Bill Galston. It is about building a coherent, appealing, practical ideological identity for all those libertarian-ish young folks who don’t want a damn thing to do with the party of old, angry religious white people.
Read the whole post, which has data to back up his view of the generation gap. My sense is that in 2008, the young people Wilkinson is talking about voted overwhelmingly for Obama, knowing that they were sacrificing fiscal conservatism in order to express their group identity. Perhaps they will continue to fear “angry, religious white people” (the way that some Jews fear Christians), and so they will vote their group identity rather than their fiscal conservatism. That’s too bad, because I read the Tea Party movement as very focused on fiscal conservatism, rather than on the issues that frighten Wilkinson.