Determinants of political ideology



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Awesomelyglorious
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:39 am

Now, it is very obvious that a lot of people differ on political ideology, however, it becomes somewhat questionable to believe that this really has to do with one's favored team as really being right. The reason for this is that most people are really more interested in the thinkers who think like they do, they tend to have preconceived notions that they apply to each new decision, and political judgments themselves tend to be very complex. Because of that, it becomes a meaningful question of why people advocate the causes they do end up advocating.

So, why do you think that people advocate the political ideas they do? Genes? Parental values? Background culture? Attachment to a particular set of values at one point in time and then path dependency? Personality? Identification with a cultural group?



Sand
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:43 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Now, it is very obvious that a lot of people differ on political ideology, however, it becomes somewhat questionable to believe that this really has to do with one's favored team as really being right. The reason for this is that most people are really more interested in the thinkers who think like they do, they tend to have preconceived notions that they apply to each new decision, and political judgments themselves tend to be very complex. Because of that, it becomes a meaningful question of why people advocate the causes they do end up advocating.

So, why do you think that people advocate the political ideas they do? Genes? Parental values? Background culture? Attachment to a particular set of values at one point in time and then path dependency? Personality? Identification with a cultural group?


Why assume only one factor?



Awesomelyglorious
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:54 am

Sand wrote:
Why assume only one factor?

Given that this is a serious question, here is my response:
I really don't care how many factors you assume. I just want some sort of model of how and why political beliefs become what they are, and often people do make some factors more important than others. For example: the alignment of stars is less important than the political beliefs of your state governor(or whatever equivalent), and the political beliefs of your state governor are often less important than the political beliefs of your parents.



Sand
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:00 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Sand wrote:
Why assume only one factor?

Given that this is a serious question, here is my response:
I really don't care how many factors you assume. I just want some sort of model of how and why political beliefs become what they are, and often people do make some factors more important than others. For example: the alignment of stars is less important than the political beliefs of your state governor(or whatever equivalent), and the political beliefs of your state governor are often less important than the political beliefs of your parents.


Assuming this is a serious question do you expect to obtain cogent answers by various people guessing or do you think this is a query that demands surveys of people with a variety of political attitudes and correlation of those attitudes with actual backgrounds of these people to discover common factors ? Or, perhaps this is an actual attempt to make such a survey with correlation?



Master_Pedant
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:03 am

Sand wrote:
Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Sand wrote:
Why assume only one factor?

Given that this is a serious question, here is my response:
I really don't care how many factors you assume. I just want some sort of model of how and why political beliefs become what they are, and often people do make some factors more important than others. For example: the alignment of stars is less important than the political beliefs of your state governor(or whatever equivalent), and the political beliefs of your state governor are often less important than the political beliefs of your parents.


Assuming this is a serious question do you expect to obtain cogent answers by various people guessing or do you think this is a query that demands surveys of people with a variety of political attitudes and correlation of those attitudes with actual backgrounds of these people to discover common factors ? Or, perhaps this is an actual attempt to make such a survey with correlation?


I think it's more of an attempt to develop empirically testable hypotheses.



Awesomelyglorious
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:11 am

Master_Pedant wrote:
I think it's more of an attempt to develop empirically testable hypotheses.

I think it is no better or worse than every other thread, as all of them inevitably involve a lot of people guessing about things, and many times there are a lot of people who have no clue, and then there are some who have more background on the issue and who can argue a case somewhat for their own position or at least give insight through their perspective.

That being said, if questions on political forums were evaluated on the grounds of their ability to add to our objective knowledge on reality, most of those forums would be quite silent.



Sand
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:30 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Master_Pedant wrote:
I think it's more of an attempt to develop empirically testable hypotheses.

I think it is no better or worse than every other thread, as all of them inevitably involve a lot of people guessing about things, and many times there are a lot of people who have no clue, and then there are some who have more background on the issue and who can argue a case somewhat for their own position or at least give insight through their perspective.

That being said, if questions on political forums were evaluated on the grounds of their ability to add to our objective knowledge on reality, most of those forums would be quite silent.


There is nothing wrong with guessing as long as it is understood that it has limited value in solidity and the bulk of its value lies in in entertainment unless some surprising insight is revealed.



ruveyn
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:49 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
I really don't care how many factors you assume. I just want some sort of model of how and why political beliefs become what they are, and often people do make some factors more important than others. For example: the alignment of stars is less important than the political beliefs of your state governor(or whatever equivalent), and the political beliefs of your state governor are often less important than the political beliefs of your parents.


People grow up in different circumstances, have different experiences, have different educations and cultural exposures. And there are also inherent character differences as well. It would be very odd to find political and philosophical uniformity in the midst of all this variety.

ruveyn



Master_Pedant
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:04 am

ruveyn wrote:
Awesomelyglorious wrote:
I really don't care how many factors you assume. I just want some sort of model of how and why political beliefs become what they are, and often people do make some factors more important than others. For example: the alignment of stars is less important than the political beliefs of your state governor(or whatever equivalent), and the political beliefs of your state governor are often less important than the political beliefs of your parents.


People grow up in different circumstances, have different experiences, have different educations and cultural exposures. And there are also inherent character differences as well. It would be very odd to find political and philosophical uniformity in the midst of all this variety.

ruveyn


I'm sure there's some multi-causal model that could at least enlighten us and enable us to make probabilistic predictions when it comes to inclination towards a given political ideology. There must be some rules that govern the probability of a given person subscribing towards a given ideology: for instance, the overwhelming majority of people in rural Alamba are socially conservative - individual variance does not take away from that fact. Something must explain why so many distinct individuals would subscribe towards social conservatism.



Sand
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:13 am

Master_Pedant wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
Awesomelyglorious wrote:
I really don't care how many factors you assume. I just want some sort of model of how and why political beliefs become what they are, and often people do make some factors more important than others. For example: the alignment of stars is less important than the political beliefs of your state governor(or whatever equivalent), and the political beliefs of your state governor are often less important than the political beliefs of your parents.


People grow up in different circumstances, have different experiences, have different educations and cultural exposures. And there are also inherent character differences as well. It would be very odd to find political and philosophical uniformity in the midst of all this variety.

ruveyn


I'm sure there's some multi-causal model that could at least enlighten us and enable us to make probabilistic predictions when it comes to inclination towards a given political ideology. There must be some rules that govern the probability of a given person subscribing towards a given ideology: for instance, the overwhelming majority of people in rural Alamba are socially conservative - individual variance does not take away from that fact. Something must explain why so many distinct individuals would subscribe towards social conservatism.


But that does not exclude a multiplex of factors for each tendency. Locals can be influenced by a combination of common factors in each sector and one or two or more of these same factors might combine in other sectors for rather different political tendencies. It seems to me a very tangled quest not particularly subject to simple logic.



Master_Pedant
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:15 am

I know people have been working on multi-causal models of Party Affilitation since the seventies:

http://www.jstor.org/pss/2094315

They seem to disprove an atomistic and rational model (individuals choose the party within their rational best interest) and tend towards models that factor in religion, ethnic community, and social class. While a much finner project (since their are many factions and fine differences in ideologies - anarcho-capitalism, social conservativism, right-libertarianism, left-libertarianism, New Deal liberalism, social democracy, social progressivism, etc) that have been blended in highly syncretic ways (take, for instance, "Green Libertarianism"), I still think such a model is possible. Most of the very syncretic ideologies are miniscule and, therefore, largely irrelevant to any model of current political ideology.



Last edited by Master_Pedant on Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:24 am, edited 2 times in total.

Master_Pedant
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:16 am

Sand wrote:
Master_Pedant wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
Awesomelyglorious wrote:
I really don't care how many factors you assume. I just want some sort of model of how and why political beliefs become what they are, and often people do make some factors more important than others. For example: the alignment of stars is less important than the political beliefs of your state governor(or whatever equivalent), and the political beliefs of your state governor are often less important than the political beliefs of your parents.


People grow up in different circumstances, have different experiences, have different educations and cultural exposures. And there are also inherent character differences as well. It would be very odd to find political and philosophical uniformity in the midst of all this variety.

ruveyn


I'm sure there's some multi-causal model that could at least enlighten us and enable us to make probabilistic predictions when it comes to inclination towards a given political ideology. There must be some rules that govern the probability of a given person subscribing towards a given ideology: for instance, the overwhelming majority of people in rural Alamba are socially conservative - individual variance does not take away from that fact. Something must explain why so many distinct individuals would subscribe towards social conservatism.


But that does not exclude a multiplex of factors for each tendency. Locals can be influenced by a combination of common factors in each sector and one or two or more of these same factors might combine in other sectors for rather different political tendencies. It seems to me a very tangled quest not particularly subject to simple logic.


Yes, which is why I keep saying that it will be a "multi-causal model".



waltur
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Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:39 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
So, why do you think that people advocate the political ideas they do? Genes? Parental values? Background culture? Attachment to a particular set of values at one point in time and then path dependency? Personality? Identification with a cultural group?


yes.







though the weight of each factor is probably different depending on additional factors.


if we had only one or two (or maybe only 15 or 20) things factoring into out political views, it'd be a lot easier to say "i'm right and you're wrong" or "you're right and i'm wrong." our world is somewhat less simple than that.



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Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:03 pm

The answer is complicated. If you want to just guess with fair accuracy, do what political campaigners do and rely on demographic statistics: ZIP code, age, gender, socio-economic status, educational attainment, religion, race, and consumer habits (e.g., liberals may have an aggregate preference to shop at one store compared to conservatives, and certain magazine subscriptions (The National Review vs. The Nation) are a dead giveaway). This is merely correlation, however, and explains nothing.

First, people don't like to challenge the status quo too much, so people are fairly likely to take on the ideology of their parents or the prevailing ideology of their community. I'd say conservatism tends to be more prevalent in rural communities and liberalism in urban communities because conservatism and traditionalism better fit the rhythms of an agrarian lifestyle while liberalism provides a framework for different people and ideas to mingle in peace.

From that, we have identity politics and the culture wars. A person who strongly affiliates with their church (especially if it's of a fundamentalist or evangelical variety) is going to take the mission for Christian morals to the ballot box by voting Republican. Likewise, gay-rights activists, feminists, and others interested in minority civil rights are going to vote Democratic.

Economically, the different parties have platforms that may be more beneficial to different socio-economic groups and industries. Labor unions tend to support Democratic candidates, and much of the managerial class leans Republican; the people who aspire to the "American dream" by possessing a car and house may vote Republican because they see themselves as potentially rich CEOs in the future.

Psychological factors play a role in addition to these sociological factors. Research has been done into factors of personality that correlate with political views. For example, the Big Five personality dimension of openness to experience correlates positively with political liberalism; its inverse correlates with political conservatism. An overall cautious risk aversion and reticence towards change also correlates positively with conservatism. IQ, cognitive complexity/integration, etc. correlate with liberalism.



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Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:26 pm

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
So, why do you think people advocate the political ideas they do?


Personally, I began like the proverbial baby duck simply following the first moving object it saw. Then I bought into the idea of "fighting communism" while building bomb shelters ('50 and '60s) simply because that is what everyone around me was doing. Then I became a defiant "non-conformist" and rebel (thereby conforming) when several friends never made it back from VietNam.

Overall, I think people advocate whatever they think, believe, hope or claim to know is/as "best", and with overall-great varieties of drives and motives.


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