Monday, October 13, 2008

Education vs Political leanings

A friend sent me some interesting articles written by conservatives decrying the Republican shift...not away from traditional values, or free economy, but towards the undiversified undereducated masses. It's interesting to think of that as a conservative Republican crises; after all, much of their party is the traditional, bootstrap, free economy do it for yourself mentality and I can see that leaving a lot of people behind. What's interesting to me is the idea of an educated Republican mindset, a responsible mindset who uses well-reasoned facts to govern instead of just traditional values...remember, the first president I remember was Reagan and the first was I knew was the Cold War. Republican values haven't represented reasoned, rational interests to me in quite some time.
One of the editorials mentioned the liberal bias in colleges, which caused me to rethink that idea. Until now, I had figured that liberalness came as a product of being educated - that you would be more open-minded and willing to cultivate diversity and less traditional mindsets. It's caused me to rethink this - it's true in a way...Conservatives are more likely to go for the self-made person approach and spend their time in corporations where their own ingenuity is rewarded rather than an institution where they are rewarded by the growth of others. Liberals most of the time have an idea of giving back and enriching the individual, while Conservatives tend to put those impulses into caretaking - feeding the poor and homeless through church initiatives, donations, etc. Therefore a college campus and teaching would have a broader appeal to liberal minds than conservatives.
I think for me it has come down more to depth of perception of the individual. It turns me off to hear a factoid rattled off by some talking head who equates the zeal they support the idea with to the facts of the debate. I can't say that liberals or conservatives have the edge on this front (Sean Penn comes to mind) but I can truly say that a well-reasoned person probably comes closer to moderation than any other leaning, and I wouldn't mind having four years of that...or eight...or twelve, rather than electing someone based on how well they can quote sound bytes that put me at ease with them.

1 comment:

Taco said...

One important way to understand how the conservative mindset can be well reasoned is to analyze its perspective on the use and distribution of money, vis a vis taxation. Tax cuts to the rich are given because the rich will use the additional money as capital and invest it in businesses which will then employ the working classes and thereby immediately raise their standard of living or give them jobs where there weren't any.

However, if you take that equivalent amount of money and distribute it to the poor it has tendency to disappear as consumer expenditures on non-durable goods or paying off already incurred debt.

The advantage in the first instance is that an investment in capital has a durability that can continue to exist beyond the first expenditure and many people can continue to gain benefits from it well into the future. A fundamental component of capitalism is that the labor classes are notoriously short sighted (by spending just as selfishly) and you can count on the capital classes to be motivated by their own self interest.

The average Joe doesn't really understand this, but he has been taught to follow the influence of leadership (typically capital leadership) inside the Republican party, which, on close analysis turns out to be a rather strange mix of individuals who in more generally liberal societies would not be associating with each other.