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Political philosophy as a consumer good November 1, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in ideas, intellectual.

Megan Mcardle hits the proverbial nail on the not so proverbial head when she says :

For most people, a lot of their beliefs are consumption goods. The irrational clustering of political beliefs–there is no logical reason that one’s views on abortion should be so tightly correlated with one’s view on business regulation or nationalized health care–indicate that there is a very strong social component to the formation of allegedly principled beliefs. The anger with which opposing views are met, and the in-group/out-group social dynamic of most political debate, suggest that for most of us, fitting in with our friends and feeling good about ourselves are at least as strong a component of belief formation as careful reasoning from first principles.

Think about it – once you figure out your position (lets ignore for now where that came from) on some of those key issues that you are really really passionate about, every position on every other issue just falls in place. It pretty much mirrors the view of that big group you identify with or that which opposes the view of the group you loathe for having divergent views on your core concerns.

What else explains the fundamental connection between being skeptical about global warming  and opposition to gun control – both of which issues dear to the conservative right. Or for that matter, the connect between the support of Darwinian theory and opposition to spontaneous order in other spheres such as that of economic activity ?



1. Can blogs be objective vis-a-vis MSM ? « Epistles - November 4, 2007

[…] P.S: Closely related to “Political Philosophy as a consumer good.” […]

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