Monday, September 10, 2007

Understanding the Left

JR at The Astute Bloggers has a very interesting post on what makes convervatives and liberals think the way they do, with lots of links to articles by himself and others. This is a subject that's long interested me, and which I plan to post on further when I've done a bit of research.

I can fully understand young people leaning left: I did when I was a teenager, but then I started reading books, and I quickly grew out of it, so I'm intrigued as to why others don't. I've encountered a lot of people who espouse left-wing views reflexively, without knowing anything of the issues on which they pontificate (a good example: I've met several people who think that Che Guevara was just some cool and nice-looking freedom fighter, and are surprised and highly skeptical when I tell them that he used to enjoy shooting political prisoners in the head in Castro's prisons).

The above applies to people on the right too, of course, but to a far lesser degree. Many superficially well-educated and intelligent adults continue to hold leftist views, so there are obviously other factors at work here. I agree with Dennis Prager and others that people on the left tend to deal in emotions, while people on the right tend to deal in facts, but I'd like to know more about why this is so. I'm particularly interested in why 'creative' people such as actors and musicians tend to hold predominantly left-wing views, and why lefties feel a stronger urge to coerce others into sharing their views, for example by abusing their positions as teachers and journalists, than those on the right do.

If anybody has any theories, or can suggest articles or books that deal with this subject, leave me a comment. In the meantime I'll be making a start by delving into JR's post. We may never find a cure for leftism - presenting people with the facts certainly doesn't seem to work - but with most Western countries split (very roughly) down the middle we need to work out how to win over the waverers.


Anonymous said...

Why do we liberals think like we do:
Otto Bettmann could tell you.

I'm surrounded by liberalism, a safe food and medicine supply, an interstate highway system nearby, proper building codes, a decent education system, internet access, public services that serve the common good are everywhere and they are enjoyed by conservatives as much as liberals. It baffles me how conservatives complain about liberalism when they are nestled in it. Conservative always cite the exceptions to the rule, like che, to illustrate how we supposedly think. Maybe you should read more books.

Mike said...

Only a liberal would think that the quantity of books a person reads is what matters, rather than the content of the books. Doubtless you've read lots of Chomsky and Michael Moore, and look what it's done to you. Perhaps if you'd made better use of that decent education system, and the internet, you'd understand that nothing that you list above is the product of liberalism any more than it's the product of conservatism. Might check out the book though – we can only begin to help people like you when we understand what's been done to you.