Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Politics As Religion

I'm catching up on my "Conversations with (Economist) Tyler Cowen" podcasts (earlier on Tyler). Here's a great quote from an interview with social psychologist Jonathan Haidt:
National politics is different from local. National politics, I believe, is much more like religion than local politics is. If you take it all the way down to the very local level — who the dogcatcher is, who the treasurer is of the town — that’s all very practical stuff. People are very worried about their property values and things like that. It’s not very ideological. National politics is much more like a religion. The president is the high priest of the American civil religion
And to be clear, I think this is mostly a negative.


  1. I have wondered if increased political tribalism is symptomatic of failures in more immediate communities. Like how people who become radicalized online often start out feeling lonely/isolated/ rejected from mainstream groups.

    1. Totally. Same for terrorism.


You are the reason why I do not write privately. I would love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or not.