Politics and Identity
By Arnold Kling
I recommend this lecture from Bill Bishop. By the way, I am finding an incredible amount of interesting videos these days. I think that somebody who is motivated to learn and has some good sources of recommendations could get do much better on line than by attending college. A few months ago, I was not aware of so much stuff.
Anyway, Bishop says that politics is closely linked to identity. He says that door-to-door voter efforts work best when someone who looks like a neighbor does the canvassing. It reminds me of the auto dealer that keeps one salesperson of each ethnic group on hand, and then matches like with like as you walk in the door.My identity is confused, of course, and it always has been. I mostly identify as an intellectual, putting me in the far left camp. But there is a part of me that loses patience with intellectuals. I would much prefer to spend time around smart business people than around college professors. I may occasionally complain about my lack of academic status, but I would never trade my years at Freddie Mac and as an entrepreneur for the equivalent years in academia. Above all, I would not trade my wife for an academic spouse or trade my daughters for faculty brats.
I think that the main element in my identity is that I resent being told what to do, and I resent people in authority. I have a hostility toward top dogs, whether they are in academia, business, or politics. I can control this hostility up to a point, but it is never far from the surface. So it is not surprising that I would gravitate toward a libertarian outlook. I don’t root for either the Democrats or the Republicans to gain more authority.