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zapatos

Attributes Along the Political Spectrum

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In another thread someone implied that gun ownership was an indicator of "Right Wing" politics. While I recognize that more guns are probably owned by people on the Right than on the Left, I didn't really think that gun ownership was an attribute of a conservative political viewpoint, so much as an attribute of living a more rural lifestyle. That is, living in rural areas might make you more conservative AND more friendly to guns, but the friendliness to guns didn't come from being conservative, it came from being in a location where a gun can be a tool (hunting, varmint control, etc.) I would suspect conservatives who live in urban areas tend to not have guns, where liberals who enjoy a more rural setting (like me) would tend to embrace guns. I don't consider my gun ownership (or thoughts on public fiscal responsibility) indicators that I lean Right.

I was hoping that in this thread we could not only talk about whether or not gun ownership is a conservative political attribute, but what attributes in general belong where on the political spectrum.

Is being a strong Christian a political attribute of the right? Is being fiscally responsible an attribute of the right? If you are a civil rights advocate does that make you a Democrat, or are civil rights a strong issue for Republicans? Are some attributes common from one end of the spectrum to the other?

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I think one needs to contextualize things a bit more as they are obvious very specific for a given country. There are globalization efforts underway but coalesce political affiliation with certain topics between countries, but they often still have very different nuances. Another thing one might need to add is that are differences in attitudes to topics along the political spectra and the agreement with actual policies. For example folks may be against welfare in general, but have positive attitudes to medicare (especially when they rely on it). There are also multidimensional aspects to it. For example there is a general agreement (a bit more on the left) that creating affordable housing should be a government priority. However, just by inserting a picture of a black family into such surveys, the support magically drops. There is also the big issue that if one party makes a certain issue their topic, folks may just fall in line to support the party, which can lead to massive reversals in support. For example, there wasn't a huge divide between right and left when it came to mainstream media (using Germany as an example if anything, the left were more skeptical, especially as many larger outlets were held by a conglomerate of well-known conservative publishers). But since then the Republicans have more commonly started to attack media, cumulating in the rather unprecedented attacks by Trump himself. Accordingly, Republicans have lower opinion on journalism than Dems. However, it is interesting to note that among the Republicans who support Trump the most, the disdain for journalism is much higher than the difference between those more critical of Trump vs Dems.

Another example of changing attitude is climate change. Before the influence of the Kochs, the Republicans and Dems were on board to discuss the challenge of climate change. As we see now, this has become and incredible partisan issue.

So in other words, there is quite a bit of a difference between the attitude of folks on certain topics, the way the choices are presented by the respective political parties (such as talking points), as well as how folks perceive how topics are related to the respective parties and on top we deal with changing priorities. Thus the categorization could be difficult. Should be set up groups according to support to a particular party? Should we look for correlation between an issue and support for a given party? Should we rely on what the parties tell us? I think all these are valid strategies but will tell us different stories.

 

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Many good points and explains why my view on the politics of gun ownership could be completely at odds with the views of another.

I wonder if perhaps what attributes could be placed on the political spectrum are not actual policies (welfare, housing, taxes, etc.) but something more fundamental. For example, a belief in personal responsibility vs the greater good, people like me vs people not like me, evidence vs belief, hands off government vs heavy government involvement, etc. If a more fundamental set of attributes could be assigned then it could be easier to understand why a particular policy tends to be championed by one party over another.

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1 hour ago, zapatos said:

I wonder if perhaps what attributes could be placed on the political spectrum are not actual policies (welfare, housing, taxes, etc.) but something more fundamental. For example, a belief in personal responsibility vs the greater good, people like me vs people not like me, evidence vs belief, hands off government vs heavy government involvement, etc. If a more fundamental set of attributes could be assigned then it could be easier to understand why a particular policy tends to be championed by one party over another.

This is an excellent question, though I think it would be quite difficult to elucidate. I am thinking for example how Dems started to embrace minorities and, to some degree, immigrants, but I cannot help but wonder how much is driven by the animosity shown by right wing policies rather than some underlying values. There are studies which explore attitudes and associate them with political orientation.

From memory I believe that Republican voters are more likely to view economics as a zero sum game than Democratic voters, for example.

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When I mentioned gun ownership, Zap, it was just a shot in the dark ( no pun intended ).
I didn't know you were a gun owner;.I'll watch what I say from now on; you can find where I live from my profile.
( just kidding :D:lol: )

I would imagine political values are subjective in that a lot of criteria are involved.
I do consider myself somewhat socially liberal, but somewhat fiscally conservative.
Then again, that is based on what I consider liberal or conservative, which might be different from the metric you, or CharonY, use.
IOW, everyone has a lot of scales, and everybody's scales have different units.

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14 minutes ago, MigL said:

When I mentioned gun ownership, Zap, it was just a shot in the dark ( no pun intended ).
I didn't know you were a gun owner;.I'll watch what I say from now on; you can find where I live from my profile.
( just kidding :D:lol: )
 

You'll be easy to find too. Your picture looks just like Clint Eastwood!

I've actually got a number of long guns and handguns. I even have my concealed carry license although I think I've only carried my gun one time. But for me they are almost entirely for shooting targets. Which is what got me thinking about the association of guns with conservatives. Perhaps the conservatives (especially in the US) tend to draw attention to themselves wrt guns by being so outspoken about their gun rights. 

Quote

I would imagine political values are subjective in that a lot of criteria are involved.
I do consider myself somewhat socially liberal, but somewhat fiscally conservative.
Then again, that is based on what I consider liberal or conservative, which might be different from the metric you, or CharonY, use.
IOW, everyone has a lot of scales, and everybody's scales have different units.

Yes, which drives home the fact that it is dangerous making assumptions about people based on their politics. Turns out I'm a gun nut and you're a socialist. Who knew? 😁

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There are obvious clues to ones politics based on these attributes. Guns, religion, abortion, rural vs urban, feelings towards same sex marriage, evolution, climate change, skin color, etc.

These are trends, and many have been used as wedge issues to great effect, but there are always outliers... data points which don’t fit the curve. You and me with our guns, for example. 

I’ve found that these characteristics all wash away, however, when ideological split is explained in this other way... that none of these attributes remain relevant when you realize the split boils down much more simply to:

Folks on the right tend more often to prioritize wellness of the self wherein folks on the left tend more often to prioritize wellness of the group. 

It’s the break between “FU!! I got mine, Jack!” and “The good of the many outweighs the good of the few... or the one.”

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On all the variables mentioned, long ago I came to view the inclusion of these with politics as variables being forced into the political discussion.

As if, at some point in time in the past, the two parties felt a need to simplify the decision making of voters down to lists of party beliefs, bullet points from their platforms

"If you are for- gun control, abortion rights, liberal welfare standards, health care for all....., then that is what we believe, you should register as a democrat"

same for the GOP with their 'pros and cons, for and against'. It is like the both parties decided they no longer trusted the American citizen to make the decision for themselves in a subjective manner and instead gave them a checklist to use to make the decision for them.

And this has made the process one where tolerance of the other side's positions is less and less accepted.

Like how, those liberals in rural areas who own guns may be automatically labeled by urban liberals as some type of unknown and incomprehensible entity. "how can you be with us when you own a GUN?!"

For people like me, firmly in the middle, I reject the attempts to be put onto a political team of democrat or republican. I also reject the virulent partisanship that has been growing over the last 3 decades as a result of this simplistic method of political self identification. 

I register as an Independent, then select the candidates I will vote for based on THEIR positions and goals. Not their party's. I realize that there is often times a very small distinction in this regard, but for me, to just go into a booth and vote straight party anything is just a lazy way to claim one has exercised their right. If my chosen candidate has some positions I do not like, i look at what I do agree with as well as the person's demeanor and character/record. If those outweigh, in socio-politcal importance, what I do not agree with, then that is my selection. This is a compromise one must do with yourself and it seems that many people do not or can not get their heads around the idea of balance and finding a middle way.

of course, in 2020, this decision will be far easier and require far less scrutiny for obvious reasons.

 

-----------------------------------

On firearms ownership in particular. A few things=

I do not think that the mere status of gun owner, makes one a conservative or a liberal in belief or a democrat or republican by party affiliation. I do know too many people who are single issue voters and, as gun owners, always vote republican no matter the candidates stance on other issues.

This is an asinine position to take.

A firearm is a tool, and like a hammer or a saw, it should be treated and cared for as such. Of course, one must secure a firearm far more then a hammer, but both tools have specific purposes and applications to be used as needed. Nothing more.

There are however, and I do know a few of them, gun owners who venerate their firearms, nearly to a religious level. This too is asinine. It seems somewhere along the way, they distorted the meaning of 'respect the weapon' -meaning it is dangerous, treat is as such- to 'worship the weapon'.

On semi automatic weapons, there is so much distorted information out there. Incorrect or imprecise info the media spreads about them and too many people, on both sides of the issue- go with this incorrect info and get involved in '2nd amendment fights' sounding like asses the entire time. All driven by emotional reaction from both sides.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, iNow said:

Folks on the right tend more often to prioritize wellness of the self wherein folks on the left tend more often to prioritize wellness of the group. 

Instead I've always thought folks on the right tend to tell you how you can act, while folks on the left tend to tell you how you can think.
I'm probably being too general/simplistic and just considering the worst of either group.
( is it any wonder I don't like labels )

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On 12/16/2019 at 3:52 PM, zapatos said:

 

I was hoping that in this thread we could not only talk about whether or not gun ownership is a conservative political attribute, but what attributes in general belong where on the political spectrum.

 

Good idea for a thread Zap. Now, where to begin? Some attributes are clearly Left/Right, where others are simply those aligned with those currently supporting those on the Left/Right.

I guess it all started in France (the Left/Right terminology, not the divisions) and was based on where they sat in the National Assembly and then grown and morphed from there:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left–right_political_spectrum

It would be interesting to see some reasonable test for Left/Right. I think most would agree and disagree with various attributes across the spectrum despite Party affiliation/alignment, though many might not admit it.

For the record...not a gun owner... though I thought I owned hunting shot guns/rifles at one point (Family members gave away why grandfather's and father's hunting rifles/shot guns assuming I had no interest in them as I had not used them in some time)

So MigL's guess was correct...

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Here are two more possible splits to help ID left or right:

Wine or whiskey

Openness to new foods vs preference for what they know

 

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I consider myself a moderate in general, although heavily liberal on social issues. I'm fiscally conservative, as I said I own guns, and in the old days I voted Republican a lot more than Democrat. Nowadays I tend to vote straight ticket for the Democrats. This is not because I think Democrats are so great, but because I despise people who try to force others to live their lives a certain way. Basically I feel strongly enough about the rights of minorities that I'm willing to lose out on otherwise admirable politicians in the Republican party.

My strong opposition to Trump has nothing to do with his position in the Republican party, but what I feel is the real harm he has done and continues to do to this country. I would not shed a tear if his lifelong consumption of fast food led to an early demise. I am as equally disgusted with the Republicans who support Trump through lies and obfuscation. 

I feel most politicians put their desire to keep their office above serving the public, Democrat and Republican, but imo the Republicans have taken the low road to new depths.

I imagine if I was in Canada or Europe I would probably tend to vote conservative, but I don't really have a feel for whether or not the character of the individuals in one party tend to outshine those of another.

So basically I'm a gun owning, straight ticket Democratic voter, who feels he is a moderate.

17 minutes ago, iNow said:

Wine or whiskey

 

NPR or Fox

Do you hand the panhandler a dollar or do you walk past.

Edited by zapatos

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What if you like both wine and whiskey.
And beer too !

And I like my comfort foods, like breads, pasta, chicken and potatoes, and other traditional Italian foods, but I've also tried ( and sometimes hated ) frog legs, snails, squid, cookies with grasshoppers, and all things you can get on a stick in Shanghai.

What does that make me, other than drunk and confused ?

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1 hour ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

 

So MigL's guess was correct...

Now I'm gonna take a guess that MigL believes in the right to bare arms...it get's pretty hot (and humid) in St. Catherines in the summer! 

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Had a 'prohibited' semi-automatic handgun for a while.
Found it after my dad passed away; I have no idea how he managed to bring it on the plane from Italy in 1968.
Took me a year and a half to get the police to come take it away.

Still own a side by side Beretta shotgun in Italy that belonged to my grandfather and the municipal government took for safe-keeping when he passed.
( I remember shooting that when I was 5 yrs old )

And a good friend of mine, Peter, is an instructor at a nearby gun club, which I've visited.

But no, have no need for, and don't like guns.
( especially in the hands of other people )

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18 minutes ago, MigL said:

Still own a side by side Beretta shotgun in Italy that belonged to my grandfather and the municipal government took for safe-keeping when he passed.

What does that mean? Do they still have it?

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17 minutes ago, MigL said:

Had a 'prohibited' semi-automatic handgun for a while.
Found it after my dad passed away; I have no idea how he managed to bring it on the plane from Italy in 1968.
Took me a year and a half to get the police to come take it away.

Still own a side by side Beretta shotgun in Italy that belonged to my grandfather and the municipal government took for safe-keeping when he passed.
( I remember shooting that when I was 5 yrs old )

And a good friend of mine, Peter, is an instructor at a nearby gun club, which I've visited.

But no, have no need for, and don't like guns.
( especially in the hands of other people )

C'mon MigL

You own a Smith & Wesson Model 29, chambered in .44 Magnum

Don't deny it!

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Yes they do, Zap.
But I don't have an FAC and other requirements ( Canadian law ) to bring it to Canada.

And I've fired my friend's  S&W .357 magnum, JC.
( shortly after saying "Go ahead; Make my day." )

Edited by MigL

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8 minutes ago, MigL said:

Yes they do, Zap.
But I don't have an FAC and other requirements ( Canadian law ) to bring it to Canada.

And I've fired my friend's  S&W .357 magnum, JC.
( shortly after saying "Go ahead; Make my day." )

Now, that probably cost him a fist full of dollars...

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An interesting article on DNA research potentially indicating our social and political inclinations. 

Quote

Yet a study published in 2015 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B managed to do just that, showing that genes encoding certain receptors for the neurotransmitter dopamine are associated with where we fall on the liberal-conservative axis. Among women who were highly liberal, 62 percent were carriers of certain receptor genotypes that have previously been associated with such traits as extroversion and novelty seeking. Meanwhile, among highly conservative women, the proportion was only 37.5 percent.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-genes-of-left-and-right/

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8 hours ago, YJ02 said:

An interesting article on DNA research potentially indicating our social and political inclinations. 

It is interesting, but also has not yet been replicated so take it with a grain of salt. There is a whole field exploring this topic known as genopolitics: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genopolitics

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I wouldn't think these receptor genotypes change with age, yet, if you go by percentages as in your quote from the link, there is a very strong correlation between age and political inclination. A larger percentage of young people are progressive or even socialist, while a large percentage of the elderly are conservative.

I usually take any 'social' studies with a grain of salt.
It's virtually impossible to isolate any/all extraneous variables, so at best, you gain insight into a correlation, not a cause.

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1 hour ago, MigL said:

It's virtually impossible to isolate any/all extraneous variables, so at best, you gain insight into a correlation, not a cause.

Agreed, and the study does not show a tremendous effect size and is also mostly an association study (if it is the one I am thinking about). So even in the best case scenario they can only demonstrate correlation in the first place.

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Setting gun control aside for a minute...
One important distinction seldom seems to get an airing.

If you are not personally able to afford all your own healthcare, education, transport and other needs then it makes sense to vote for a government that will help with those things.

Most people are in that position- they make use of state schools rather than fee-paying ones and so on.

So most people should vote for a government that provides this sort of assistance.
The only practical mechanism to do that is by taxing people and, there's no point in taxing people with little or no money- so a progressive tax system of some sort is needed.
So, most people should vote for a government that taxes the wealthier members of society in order to help those who are less well off.

And so most people should vote for a more or less Left wing government.

And, in a democracy, the majority view- a Left leaning government should always be elected.

The Right wing parties know this. And yet they seek power.

And, I conclude from this that one trait of Right wing politicians (though not necessarily of Right wing voters) is dishonesty.

They know they can only get in to power by misleading people into voting against their own personal best interests.

OK, so far, that's just conjecture.

Here is some evidence
https://metro.co.uk/2019/12/10/investigation-finds-88-tory-ads-misleading-compared-0-labour-11651802/

It's not exactly a new observation.

 

 

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