Cross-cutting Cleavage Revisited

Category:Westminster constituencies in the Rep...

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So a former chairman of the Republican National Committee comes out as gay, and endorses gay marriage, but continues to support politicians who oppose gay marriage. For this he is labeled (on blogs too numerous to link) a first-class hypocrite.

I missed the memo about the new criteria for hypocrisy, so I’d like a little clarification here. Are Catholics now required to vote solely on the basis of Catholic issues, and union workers solely on the basis of union issues, and billionaires solely on the basis of billionaire issues? Or is it only gays who are forbidden to prioritize, say, foreign affairs and tax policy? And what’s to become of the multifaceted? If you’re a gay Jewish small business owner, to which brand of parochialism are you now in thrall? Please advise.

via The New Parochialism at Steven Landsburg | The Big Questions: Tackling the Problems of Philosophy with Ideas from Mathematics, Economics, and Physics.

It’s been over three years since I stumbled upon the importance of cross-cutting cleavages. People don’t belong to a single group or class. Many workers are capitalists and many gays are Republican. Class-based analysis is too simple and apt to be wrong. We all have multiple overlapping goals and agendas. No political party perfectly represents anyone’s views and only the brainwashed could be 100% supportive of any party. What we all should do is pick the most important issues, the ones that have the greatest personal value, and act accordingly. Providing tacit support for those in opposition to our less important beliefs is the necessary cost of supporting those who support our more important beliefs.


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