11 Comments

Judging from your summary, the book would seem to be profoundly ignorant (if that's not a contradiction in terms). Whilst, in a narrow sense, the Left/Right polarity does date from political jockeying in post revolutionary France, in a much more profound sense, in the 20th/21st c. West, the Left dreams of political 'Progress', the Right is deeply sceptical of this utopianism. This is a very big - and entirely non-arbitrary philosophical divide. To call it 'tribal' is fatuous.

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Sep 11·edited Sep 11

The claim is easily contradicted by the correlation between character traits and political position and it's highly heritable.

AI can actually predict political position from facial features with quite an accuracy. I was surprised none of you mentioning that: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-79310-1

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That Left and Right hold positions that vary (and even switch over) in time does not at all mean that the divide is tribal and has no essence. It simply means that the essence in not policy-related, but linked to something else. As in, smallest stable coalition building (HLvM model).

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"In both cases, we pretend that it is a thing outside of us that we care most about, while in fact we mainly use that external thing to bind us together." Why is it necessary to pretend? Is it because if we didn't it would be too obvious to ourselves what was motivating us and that's too undignified (to just want to be bound to others)? Seems more plausible that we want to be bound to others that share our values/tastes.

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ITP BryCap and Robin arguing that Lewis brothers argument against essentialism is too essentialist.

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Well if the differences are just tribal then how is it that the left and right parties of multiple countries across the globe align on policy issues related to things like labor, environmental issues, and civil rights? It is much more accurate to say that these differences are real, and that people's attitudes might become tribalist after discovering which movement aligns with their values.

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Aug 23·edited Aug 23

How do you explain the fact that the left-right distinction can be applied to political parties in *all* countries? It's not the arbitrary parties of one country. There's something about it that generalizes to every country in the world, where we can peg different parties globally as left or right. The following clear demarcation can be made:

Left: on the side of workers unions, increased taxes on the rich, increased funding for welfare and social programs, higher minimum wage, diversity initiatives, pollution control; make the strong help the weak

Right: on the side of most corporations, decreased taxes for the rich, decreased funding for welfare and social programs, no minimum wage, against diversity initiatives, against pollution control; let the strong do as they will

So, the simple ideological difference is, left="make the strong help the weak," right="let the strong do as they will."

I suppose the right-wing response to this would be that the government itself is strong, and should be constrained from doing as it wants. But the appeal of this argument, for the right, is specifically that the government should be prevented from making powerful private industry help the truly weak (the poorly-off individual). When the government is not doing that, but is instead an ally of powerful private industry, this is categorized as right wing (e.g. Italian fascism, Bolsonaro) and the right-wing favors increasing the power of that type of government, especially executive power.

There is also the view that *by* letting the strong do as they will, the weak will be helped indirectly because the economy as a whole is stronger. I'm not going to argue against this too much here, as my point here is not that the right wing is *bad*; the demarcation I made stands, whether or not the right-wing position is better for the weak in the end.

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