Listen now | Rob Henderson just received his PhD in psychology at St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge. Zach Goldberg is a former research fellow at CSPI and currently affiliated with the Manhattan Institute. They both join the podcast to talk about Rob’s idea of “luxury beliefs” and
My question for the group: how does the idea of luxury beliefs relate to Bryan Caplan’s arguments against the self-interested voter hypothesis? It seems to me that if voters are fairly altruistic as appears to be the case (young people vote for senior benefits, old people vote to fund education, non-farmers support farm subsidies) that elites who vote to de-police must on some level actually believe that the policy they vote for will be good for people other than just elites.
To me this idea seems complementary to the luxury beliefs theory in some ways and in other ways not. No one is directly “suffering for their beliefs” when they vote as Hanania points out, but elites do arrive at beliefs that in aggregate cause damage to the poor because they’re insulated from any direct experience with the consequences of those attitudes. On the other hand, the implication of luxury beliefs sometimes seems to be that elites are uniquely selfish in choosing beliefs that benefit themselves and hurt others. Based on Bryan’s arguments, this seems wrong—all voters are fairly altruistic and when an elite believes differently from their elite peers it’s not because they are less selfish, usually it’s that they, like Rob, have different direct experiences that lead them to different conclusions about what’s good for society.
This is missing the point perhaps, and it's not relevant to how you vote in the privacy of the election booth, but having political beliefs outside the range of acceptability for your social group can have drastic consequences in the form of ostracization. This is more true for conservatives than for liberals, both because of cons being more generally accepting and lib milieus often having more economic, sexual (though not reproductive,) and intellectual opportunities. All of this is biased by me being a con who has only lived in lib cities and being exclusively attracted to women who are coded lib.
We all have to keep calm and carry on. No easy task, with gender fundamentalists attempting to thwart actual science education and research, and social justice thwarts actual justice. For mind/body work to get through it all, new YouTube channel: Ute Heggen
I'm pretty allergic to this kind of braining/excusing groups -- "elites" "inner-city communities."
I think that liberals also think birth control access, abortion access, safe sex teaching in schools are all important. Yes, normalizing promiscuity is bad but the liberal elite types don’t have a ton of kids because they have the impulse control to have safe sex and they have never been particularly opposed to safe sex. If we just take it as “promiscuity is good” then that could be a luxury belief, but they also have these beliefs about birth control.