Liberalism and Low Self Esteem

Liberalism and Low Self Esteem, by the TruthIsJustice blog.

Liberals have less self esteem than conservatives to begin with. This is the conclusion of a 2012 paper published in the Journal of Research on Personality. …

There is also experimental evidence showing that self esteem has a causal relation to liberalism. Researchers from Stanford have shown that causing people to feel especially good, or bad, about their looks influences their political beliefs and behavior. … When participants were made to feel poorly about themselves the opposite happened: they adopted a more liberal worldview and were more likely to donate to liberal groups. …

So far we know that liberals have low self esteem and that having low self esteem causes people to be more liberal. There are at least two ways of looking at this. One way is to say that having low self esteem causes someone to be liberal because it makes it rational for them to favor equality. Equality helps everyone on the bottom half and that’s probably where you think you are if you have low self esteem. There’s clearly some truth to this narrative. But I believe that people with low self esteem will also be attracted to liberalism because being a liberal helps your self esteem a little bit. In particular, being a liberal lets you view yourself as a kind of moral hero waging a battle against dark and evil forces. …

Politics is all about moral superiority for the left:

The thing that initially caused me to think that liberalism boosts self esteem is the fact that liberals seem to be very proud of their political ideology. They want everyone to know about it. You can tell someone is liberal by the car they drive, the clothes they wear, and the food they eat. Non-liberals aren’t normally like this. I can’t look at someone and know whether they are a moderate, a conservative, a libertarian, etc. It’s only liberals that I can reliably spot on sight.

It also seems clear to me that morality is involved. Liberals are always crusading against something immoral. It’s never a simple factual disagreement. Conservatives are sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. And they hate the poor. Of course, many of these charges are ridiculous. … Notice that conservatives don’t respond in kind: conservatives don’t normally argue that liberals hate the poor, women, straight people or minorities, even though they think that liberal policies will negatively effect these groups.

Research by the moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt lends support to this theory. … Haidt found that conservatives were fairly accurate in their depictions of the moral values of liberals. But liberals were widely inaccurate in their view of conservative morality: they drastically underestimated how much conservatives cared about moral values like fairness and kindness. … Haidt showed that liberals irrationally view conservatives as immoral and view themselves as far more righteous than they actually are.

The behavior of liberals is also consistent with viewing them as moral crusaders. Pew polling shows that liberals are far more likely than conservatives to end a friendship with someone due to a political dispute. This is what we would expect from people who view the opposition as evil. Who wants to be friends with evil people? …

I think this explains why liberals care so much about things that are offensive and don’t matter. If you want to feel morally superior to everyone around you, you can’t agree with them. And so you have to find things wrong with society which society won’t admit to. And so as time has gone on, liberals have had to invent increasingly ridiculous complaints about society. …

There are basically no trannies. And most of the few that do exist are clearly insane. So they are the perfect group for the left to champion. …

A lesser but similar case can be made about gay marriage. Being gay is rare, and almost no gays actually want to marry. But gay marriage is offensive to many people. So it is a great issue for the left. It creates lots of bogeymen.

Which explains a lot:

I’ve found that this theory helps to explain a lot about how liberals debate. In my experience, liberals are more concerned with proving that I am evil than proving that I am wrong. (“The races differ in mean IQ scores.” … “You’re racist!”) I now think that this is because they can only grandstand by showing that I am evil. Showing that I am wrong won’t boost their self esteem the way that showing to the world that they are battling evil does.

From my experience, this is correct. PC virtue signalling provides an ego and self esteem boost, as well as looking good in the eyes of others. And it is very cheap — you just need to express opinions, which, magically enough, all your PC friends will vigorously agree with.