Arnold Kling on the political spectrum

Here in the United States, one thing that strikes me about my most liberal friends is how conservative their thinking is at a personal level. For their own children, and in talking about specific other people [TC: especially in the blogosphere!], they passionately stress individual responsibility. It is only when discussing public policy that they favor collectivism. The tension between their personal views and their political opinions is fascinating to observe. I would not be surprised to find that my friends' attachment to liberal politics is tenuous, and that some major event could cause a rapid, widespread shift toward a more conservative position.

Here is more.  I would make the related point that, in the economics profession, academic liberals are especially likely to believe in statistical discrimination: "Does he have a Ph.d. from Harvard or MIT?"  On the right, Chicago's previous reputation as an outsider school blunts this tendency, plus there have been Arizona, VPI, and other off-beat centers of market-oriented thought.


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