The triumph of partisanship


In the 1967 move, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, liberal parents have the depths of their liberalism plumbed when their daughter brings home a black man as her fiance. According to Cass Sunstein, political identity is now a more potent organizing force in society than racism:

Researchers have long asked such questions about race, and have found that along important dimensions, racial prejudice is decreasing. At the same time, party prejudice in the U.S. has jumped, infecting not only politics but also decisions about dating, marriage and hiring. By some measures, “partyism” now exceeds racial prejudice — which helps explain the intensity of some midterm election campaigns.

In 1960, 5 percent of Republicans and 4 percent of Democrats said that they would feel “displeased” if their son or daughter married outside their political party. By 2010, those numbers had reached 49 percent and 33 percent. Republicans have been found to like Democrats less than they like people on welfare or gays and lesbians. Democrats dislike Republicans more than they dislike big business.

Would you want your son or daughter to bring home a liberal Democrat to be your future in-law and parent of your grandchildren? Think about if for a second.

The two poles in the discussion are the epitome of the “no label” crown, David Brooks, and the man who has done more than any other pundit to poison political discourse in America, Jonathan Chait.

In Brooks’ view, judging people based on their politics (or just about any other criteria) is wrong. To give you an idea of Brooks’ self awareness you need to read the opening to his essay:

A college student came to me recently with a quandary. He’d spent the summer interning at a conservative think tank. Now he was applying to schools and companies where most people were liberal. Should he remove the internship from his résumé?
I advised him not to. Even if people disagreed with his politics, I argued, they’d still appreciate his public spiritedness. But now I’m thinking that advice was wrong. There’s a lot more political discrimination than I thought. In fact, the best recent research suggests that there’s more political discrimination than there is racial discrimination.

I hope that no one ever asks Brooks for his advice again or, failing that, someone sues him for mal-advisory or something.

There are several reasons politics has become hyper-moralized in this way. First, straight moral discussion …read more    

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