Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Worth of "Do-goodery"

As usual, I find myself agreeing with Jonah Goldberg:

For years, I've been one of many arguing that the press is liberal because certain kinds of people want to become journalists. Ditto teachers, government workers etc. Meanwhile, conservatives tend to define their happiness closer to home: family, community etc. Making more money helps the conservative provide more for his family. Getting promoted in some bureaucracy demonstrates that you're doing good at your do-goodery. Making a million bucks in business is a fairly conservative aspiration. Winning a MacArthur "genius grant" not so much. There are a thousand other ways to look at the tendency (lest readers feel inclined to overwhelm my email box with different interpretations). Conservatives are greedy, a liberal might say. Liberals are insecure, a conservative might retort. Conservatives are independent (money maximizes independence). Liberals part of the system (status exalts success in the system). All of them probably have a bit of merit. All of them are probably easy to over-emphasize as modes of analysis, since ideological affinities are more complex (and, in a way, more simple) than all of this might suggest.

Indeed. Is it better to look better to the rest of the world, or do look "good" to your family? Maybe. Is it streotypical to divide it down party lines? Sure.
Do we have a good chance of being right in those divisions? Probably.
Do different people have different preferences/requirements in this area?

If, for instance, I don't have a family to provide for/spend time with, I may have an equal chance of caring about status or money, depending on how much money I may want now or in the future.

However, I would add that the liberal side has the added benefit of trusting that if they are doing good and not making money and need money later, the government will be there to help :)