April 30, 2018

THE rIGHT IS THE lEFT:

IDEOLOGY ISN'T REALLY ABOUT ISSUES: New research finds our attachment to political labels is based more on social identity than policy positions. (TOM JACOBS, 4/30/18, Pacific Standard)

It's a puzzle: Average Americans aren't especially ideological, but our political polarization is intense and growing. If we're not driven by fierce convictions, why the disdain for the other side?

New research provides an unsettling answer. While most people aren't all that invested in public policy, we are all driven by a deep impulse to divide the world between "them" and "us." We instinctively identify with one side of the political divide, and view the other as the enemy.

"Americans are dividing themselves socially on the basis of whether they call themselves liberal or conservative, independent of their actual policy differences," argues political psychologist Lilliana Mason of the University of Maryland. The roots of today's political polarization, she writes, "are largely based in our social attachments to ideological labels, not only to thoughtful collections of opinions."

Both wings are almost purely reactionary, though there are a couple issues that divide them from each other and the other 60% of us--tribe for the Right and opposition to capitalism for the Left.

The problem for both is that, at the End of History, there is a massive consensus that dismisses their distinctive concern in favor of protestantism, democracy and capitalism.

Posted by at April 30, 2018 4:26 AM

  

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