December 21, 2015

More on the politics behind career vs. lifestyle strivers

Let's follow up on an earlier post about how the two political parties express the will of the two different camps in the status competition -- career strivers taking over the Republicans, and lifestyle (and persona) strivers taking over the Democrats.

Just because lifestyle strivers focus most of their status contests in that domain doesn't mean they don't have any time for work. Since they're lifestyle strivers, though, that ought to bias the kinds of jobs they pursue toward the Democrat side.

Here is a post by Andrew Gelman (co-author of Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State) about the changes over time in party affiliation of various occupations. Once the status-striving era kicked off during the 1970s with the Me Generation, a number of changes began. For example, professionals became much less Republican than the national average, while owners and proprietors became more Republican.

It's simple to see the change among business owners as reflecting the take-over of the Republican Party by career strivers. But what about professionals becoming more Democrat? Quite simply, most professional work feels pretty leisurely -- at least for those who pursue it, who respond to their tasks as though they were only part labor and part self-actualization.

Similarly, routine white collar workers have become more Democrat, while skilled workers have become more Republican. Skilled work may be rewarding, but a lot of it is dangerous onerous stuff. You're not doing that to fully cultivate your special snowflake personality, but to ascend the career ladder and make more money. Routine white collar work is like professional work -- go at your own pace, not very tough, almost like you're on leisure time at the office.

Gelman points to an even finer-grained look into the partisanship of various careers, as measured by contributions rather than actual votes. Here are some examples (click the link above to see the full list):

Sure enough, jobs in the leisure industries, and jobs that are half-leisure because the people doing them find them enjoyable and fun in a way, lean strongly Democrat. Librarian (not tough, location is a leisure spot), bartender (nightlife), park ranger (outdoors lifestyle), innkeeper, sculptor, yoga instructor, pro poker player, and assorted professional jobs. Anything involving the arts, leisure, science, intellectual affairs, and so on, will appeal to lifestyle strivers and will therefore lean Democrat.

Who leans strongly Republican? Those whose work is so dangerous, onerous, dirty, disgusting, or off-putting that you'd have to pay somebody to do it -- lots of money, perhaps. Such jobs will involve at most small amounts of leisure, arts, creativity, fun, self-actualization, etc. Urologist, petroleum geologist, logger, pilot, insurance agent, oil worker, truck driver, home builder, plumber, sheriff, cattle feeder, and so on. You only get into those fields for the money, so they will appeal to career strivers and therefore lean Republican.

The distinction between career strivers vs. lifestyle strivers seems to capture more of what's going on here. Other attempts get caught on one or another of the close pairs.

For instance, if it's high-IQ work that makes you lean one way, then why are smarties represented well on both sides? Intelligent lifestyle strivers go into the arts and academia, while intelligent career strivers go into medicine or petroleum geology.

Education level isn't it either.

If it's outdoor vs. indoor work, then why are taxi drivers so Democrat while truck drivers are so Republican? One is in a leisure industry, cruising around, while the other is strictly business. Park rangers and gardeners are Democrat, yet farmers and cattle feeders are Republican. Booksellers are Democrat, and insurance agents Republican. Only level of leisure vs. onerous labor captures the differences.

These same comparisons show that mental work vs. hands-on work is not it. It depends on whether the mental work is somewhat rewarding or onerous, whether the manual work is in a safe or dangerous setting.

Male vs. female has little to do with it either, since so few of the comparisons are between jobs with huge differences in the male:female ratio. Taxi drivers and truck drivers are all men, yet the political differences are big.

No, the broadest generalization we can make is that those jobs that are at least somewhat fun and rewarding to do, that allow for more of a work/life balance, and that are tied to a leisure sector, are going to attract lifestyle strivers and go Democrat. Jobs whose tasks make you feel the opposite of leisure, that demand more commitment for work than life, and that are not tied to a leisure sector, are going to attract those who are mostly motivated by money (career strivers) and go Republican.


  1. What about foreigners? I have had only one American cab driver in my life. Another cab driver was an American born Sikh. Everyone else was foreign.

    According to a couple of articles I looked up, taxi drivers in New York at least are overwhelmingly foreign.

    Truck driving is still a white man's job.

  2. You have Chairman vs. Chairwoman showing a clear male-female preference. It is nonsensical that gender isn't a factor.

    Women tend to avoid jobs that can be objectively measured, and puts them in a place to talk to people, aka the service industry. Librarians, teachers, HR departments, childcare providers, even pediatrician, all in their wheelhouse. But generally the service sector. Since personal service is so subjective it lends itself nicely to people that don't want to be measured. Things like Beer wholesaler and Truck driver however are back end logistics and efficiency can easily be quantified.

    Taxi drivers are an outlier with a clear demonstrable cause. Contrary to your opinion it is all about the money and there is no status with it. So much so that Americans don't really do it anymore. Less than 8% of NYC taxi drivers are American born. That is why its leans so heavily D.

  3. "I have had only one American cab driver in my life."

    But then you're hailing cabs in very diverse areas, probably urban ones too. It's not as though there are no taxi drivers in white areas.

    And truck drivers are not a white man's hold out. There's the National Hispanic Trucking Alliance, part of the gift of NAFTA. Of 3.5 million registered truck drivers, 1 million are Hispanic, or about 30%. If you count unregistered or other shady practices, who knows, maybe 40-50%. And that's not to mention all the other non-white groups.

    "Taxi drivers are an outlier with a clear demonstrable cause. Contrary to your opinion it is all about the money and there is no status with it."

    Taxi drivers are compared with truck drivers. Racial differences aren't that great between the two fields, hence don't explain the vast disparity in party preference.

    Taxi drivers are only in it for the money -- as proven by having a job where they cruise around, don't have to wear a uniform, get to shoot the bull with people, and hang out in lounges waiting for calls.

    Has a taxi driver ever struck you as the nose-to-the-grindstone type? Clueless.

    "Less than 8% of NYC taxi drivers are American born."

    Strange as it may seem, there are more taxi drivers in America than in DA CITY.

  4. Motel owners are far more Republican than innkeepers, despite all the Indian motel owners out there. The difference is that motels are run strictly to make money off of transients. Inns are part of the leisure sector.

  5. "You have Chairman vs. Chairwoman showing a clear male-female preference. It is nonsensical that gender isn't a factor."

    Well I assumed the reader wasn't autistic and could tell that this single case had a gender angle, but that's my mistake when talking to the internet.

    In any case, the surface-level gender angle can be reduced to the underlying leisure angle, as women are more leisure-oriented than men -- in general, and in choice of jobs.

    Park rangers are solid Democrats, while loggers are solid Republicans. It's not because most rangers are women, black, etc.

    Conclusion: race and sex explain almost none of the variation in party preference across occupations.

  6. The main reason that gender plays no role is that men and women aren't that different in party preference. Shock to the MRA's who somehow only fall into the orbit of urbanite psycho careerist sluts who fall asleep diddling themselves to Bill Clinton, but it's true.

    Democrat: 45% of men, 50% of women
    Independ: 15% of men, 16% of women
    Republican: 38% of men, 33% of women

    (General Social Survey)

    That's nothing compared to, say, racial differences, where Republicans are 40% of whites but only 9% of blacks.

    Find some better women to associate with, and you'll discover how little of a role sex differences play in the problems of the world.

  7. "Women tend to avoid jobs that can be objectively measured, and puts them in a place to talk to people, aka the service industry."

    Stereotypical "woman's work," clearly a chatty people-centered job involving no technology or drudgery:

    This stereotypical woman's job could never have been paid according to piece work because women avoid such jobs whose output and efficiency is easily quantifiable.

    All Americans these days, men and women, are likely to work in a service sector because the manufacturing and other sectors have been off-shored.

    How is other stereotypical woman's work not quantifiable? Being a cashier -- number of items rung up per unit time, average number of errors per item, expected waiting time per customer, etc.

    Or how about typing pools? "Words per minute" is one of those fuzzy things that can only be gabbed about rather than objectively demonstrated.

  8. FYI When women hear that kind of clueless, tone-deaf condescension about the kinds of work they do, they interpret it as belittling (which isn't very far off the mark, given the type of guy who says it), and it pushes them further into the mannish careerist direction.

    Part of it is resenting the ingratitude, but the other part is seeing that their work is perceived as not just low-status but almost contemptible and pitiable.

    Your message: "Girls, if you don't want to feel pathetic, you'd better do men's work like bucking trees and pointing guns at the bad guys."

    Women are more people-oriented, but denigrating their work by likening it to airheaded ERROR:UNQUANTIFIABLE nattering is one of the main sources of the feminazi phenomenon.

  9. I agree wholeheartedly with all your comments here. Midcentury men, for whatever reason, were terribly misogynist in ways that those before them were not (my intuition says part of it had something to do with the nascent sexual revolution); I think I've gone into this here before ;)

    In any event, the most strident feminists I've ever known were women who came of age during this, earliest Baby Boomers and older (the start date is harder to figure out, but my grandmother who came of age in the Flapper era? No way). For my own step-mother (a working naif during the Mad Men era), all men in general are still that midcentury man who pats women on the head despite being stupid himself and sees them only as sex objects.
    She experienced some of the *extreme*, hard-to-believe-that-really-happened stuff: like the gynecologist who attacked her as a teen during her first ever visit...with her mom right outside the door! And her mom told her to "hush up!" when her traumatized daughter told her of it!

    Generation X women seem to be the luckiest women in history. We weren't victimized by Midcentury Men and we were well-respected and loved (and adored men in return). No bitterness to mar our character, but went through enough drama to keep us grounded.

  10. I am curious, do you deal with all criticism of your theory by flinging poop?

    Anyway, I am not going to spend more than a couple minutes on it because its clear you didn't either. But 15 seconds with google and I was able to come up with Canada, a less diverse country than the USA, has 50,000 cabs in total, 50% of the operators are foreign born. But by all means continue to believe that in a country where the vast majority of the population centers are diverse, would somehow yield more American born cab drivers.

    I was also was a bit shocked to see you throw out some 3rd world factories as response to my statement. See I assumed, and perhaps that is just my autistic brain, that when you used the word striver, you were by necessity implying somebody that was not in subsistence or survival living. It had been my interpretation that you were merely discussing middle class behavior, because it is obvious that it can't apply to people that are not striving.

    You also miss the mark in your direct comparison of jobs. I think its because you don't have a lot of experience with the sub 100 crowd that you don't understand that many of them have limitations that wouldn't allow somebody who likes the outdoors to become a ranger where they could be a logger. Same with Taxi/Trucker.

  11. "In any event, the most strident feminists I've ever known were women who came of age during this, earliest Baby Boomers and older"

    Boomers in general are hostile towards masculinity, especially as represented by "dispassionate" (for lack of a better word) male authority figures. Like cops, generals, and industrialists. Howe and Strauss believed that the prophet type generation feels heavily chafed by the notion of the "system" holding you back from realizing you're dreams. Since men are more inherently intimidating (and more likely to have and use power) Boomer types develop an animosity towards other men, including their fathers.

    Spielberg points fingers at the (male) mayor in Jaws, and Roy Schieder (symbolizing ineffective authority) is slapped by a grieving mother.

    J. Cameron has his heroine berate a well-intentioned male scientist in Terminator 2. He's portrayed as being too focused on material reality and progress, when he should be more in touch with living, breathing human feelings and needs.

    Stalonne, as Rambo, rants bitterly that officious meddling bureaucrats masquerading as military leaders wouldn't let the soldiers "win" in Vietnam.

    You do see a bit more humility among later Boomers, probably because they were as tired as anyone else of early Boomers brashly questioning and defying authority.

    Think about it, most Boomer written material from the 70's and 80's generally sided with women. (even if, as you say, women were making great strides). It seems like by the late 80's and especially 90's, we saw a lot stories about doofus/selfish dads learning to appreciate the wife and kids. In Spielberg's Jurassic Park, there's nothing remotely unflattering about the two female characters. On the other hand, Jeff Goldblum is a slippery womanizer while Sam Neill is initially more interested in dino bones than kids.

  12. Ironically, by the way, Gen X-ers were far more likely to be abused and neglected by their parents and by society in general. They were the most aborted generation. Boomers are still less offended by abortion, showing their libertarian true colors (libertarianism is essentially a childish opposition to authority, "don't tell me what to do!").

    It's amazing how a generation that got a big fuck you to it's face is still, decades on, less bitter towards society than the average Boomer, who've dug in their heels about doing things their own way and to hell with everyone else.

    The difference is that Gen X-ers never felt entitled to ANYTHING, much less the dominion over man and Earth that all Boomers seek.

    It's pathetic, seeing increasingly aged (physically at least) Boomers still incapable of seeing things from others' point of view, squabbling as if they are still fighting over the bathroom with 3 Boomer siblings in a modest mid century suburban house.

  13. "Canada, a less diverse country than the USA, has 50,000 cabs in total, 50% of the operators are foreign born"

    I already showed you that at least 30% of *registered* US truck drivers are Hispanic, meaning more are Hispanic when you add in the unregistered / shady ones. And then add in the other non-white groups, and you're not far from 50% of truck drivers being non-white in America.

    The racial demographics are similar between cabbies and truckers, yet the political preferences are worlds apart.

    Conclusion: race makes no difference.

    Even if it did in the case of taxi drivers (and it doesn't), that would only be one fluke. You don't add more causes or variables than there needs to be. You want to explain every little nuance of the data, but then you don't explain anything -- explanation is about reducing the number of causes to fewer and broader ones.

    The 3rd world factories -- and first-world factories not so long ago -- disprove your remarks about women's work being basically sociopathic and parasitic. As though women go into fuzzy-wuzzy jobs where their performance can't be objectively measured and evaluated, hence they just verbally BS their way through not doing any real work and getting paid for it.

    It wasn't one of your main points, but I'm sick of hearing people demean "women's work" because it pushes them toward feminazi careerism, and pushes men toward expecting that kind of behavior. All that home economics stuff -- sewing, washing dishes, laundry, cooking, housekeeping, crafts, errand running, nursing sick children, reading stories, etc. -- is necessary stuff.

    And you can't BS your way through it -- any husband could tell objectively if his wife only washed 1/2 of the dishes, ran 1/2 of the errands, diluted the concentration of cheese in a casserole, hemmed the pant legs with crooked lines, and so on.

    "many of them have limitations that wouldn't allow somebody who likes the outdoors to become a ranger where they could be a logger"

    Folks of below-average intelligence do not favor more dangerous or disgusting jobs. Cashier doesn't require high IQ, but is a fairly leisurely (if boring) job. A urologist is exposed to grossness all day, every day. Same with surgeons. But that kind of disgusting manual labor also requires high IQ and skills.

    And that is what accounts for an occupation going Democrat or Republican -- is it the kind of work that people don't mind, relative to other jobs (all labor being somewhat boring), or is it the stuff that you'd have to pay somebody pretty well to do? Each type comes in higher and lower-IQ varieties.

  14. "In any event, the most strident feminists I've ever known were women who came of age during this, earliest Baby Boomers and older (the start date is harder to figure out, but my grandmother who came of age in the Flapper era? No way)."

    If you look through lists of leading feminists -- the ones who started the movement in the '70s -- they're almost all Silent Gen. Boomers were too young overall, although the earliest ones played the role of hangers-on. But most were in their 30s and 40s during the 1970s. Faye Dunaway's character from Network being a great example (she was born in '41).

    That suggests that it was mostly Silent Gen men who were starting to denigrate women's work, take them for granted, rationalize their adulterous behavior, and so on. That would fit with Silents being the leaders of the Me Generation. Someone like Jack Nicholson or Dennis Hopper -- who would've been of the age of the Mad Men characters during the '60s.

    You're right about that kind of attitude not being common among Greatest Gen men. They had their squabbles with their wives, but who doesn't? They stuck it out, compromised, and made it work.

    They're the Leave It to Beaver, Donna Reed Show, Father Knows Best kind of couples. The husbands didn't genuflect toward their wives, but they didn't take them for granted either. Each had their own necessary role in the household, separate but equal in the sexual division of labor -- much like the harmonious hunter-gatherer couples who pair-bond for life, men hunting and women gathering, and where family discord is almost unheard of.

    I don't have firm evidence, but I suspect that the Greatest Gen men saw the nascent misogyny of Silent Gen men during the '60s (even before The Sixties, like the Mad Men era), and thought they were a bunch of punks.

    In retrospect, the consensus is that Ed Sullivan was an out-of-touch, stuffy old meanie for not digging the Stones or Jim Morrison. But it was probably more like the Greatest Gen host feeling the harmony of society threatened by Silent Gen me-first-ism, including their new attitude that "women are just warm holes".

  15. A quick check of the founders of the Men's Rights movement in the '70s were also Silent Gen -- Warren Farrell born in '43, and Herb Goldberg born in '37.

  16. If you want to downsize both career striving, and the lifestyle striving by those either unlucky/not good enough social skills/too incompetent to rise by the first route you need to liberate smart people from the economic necessity of participating in the striving competitions.

    Incidently, this would also solve the problem of having to deal with spitful nerds in the workplace, as well of disgusting SJW/libertarian lifestyle strivers.

    An unconditional basic income and destigmatizing being a NEET would get these sorts deciding to post on the *chans or spend all day writing disgustnig superwholock erotica fanfic.

  17. "The racial demographics are similar between cabbies and truckers, yet the political preferences are worlds apart."
    Bullshit. Most demand for cabs is in urban areas, so they start drawing on a different demographic base, and then on top of that are overwhelmingly immigrant even relative to the immigrant proportion of the urban population. Truckers are more rural and far more likely to be white Americans. Look at which diners cater to truckers vs cab drivers. The former are apt to be so immigrant-catering they don't even bother having menus in English. The latter will tend to serve greasy American staples.

    In addition to being more rural, truck drivers are also older than the rest of the population. The average age is 52, with very few under 35. Older Americans tend to be more Republican, as well as whiter. The census found that 15.7% of truck drivers are immigrants, relative to 13% of the general population, so a slight over-representation. That number was closer to 25% in New York, but in 2004 84% of New York cabbies were immigrants. 25 and 84 percent are basically the same, right?

  18. We don't need to study which diners cater to which groups, you foodie faggot.

    I've already given statistics of how non-white the US truck driver force is. 30% of *registered* truckers are Hispanic. Throw in everyone else, as well as the unregistered and shady ones, and you're in the same neighborhood as cabbies.

    Whether they're immigrants or not is irrelevant. Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, basically all non-white racial groups lean heavily Democrat.

    Even worse for your argument, foreign-born non-whites are LESS heavily Democrat than the native-born non-whites. Check the GSS -- double-digit point differences.

    So much for your spastic objection.

    Why are you guys so obsessed with a single comparison anyway? My explanation accounts for the cabbie vs. trucker difference, as well as the rest of the comparisons on top of it. Dweeby nitpicking about HBD gets you nowhere in this study.

  19. I notice an association between fetishizing powerlessness and being a pathetic yet fervent pseudo-explainer.

    When you're fatalistically afraid of changing things for the better ("they'll never get better!"), you're also going to be too afraid to explore the conceptual world outside of your ideological man-cave, where you'd rather shiver and hunker down in bitterness because solitary confinement makes you feel more secure than the open-ended outside world.

    1. Fantastic and brutal takedown

  20. No more lame hand-waving in the objections. You claim the difference between cabbies and truckers is due to racial (or other) demographic factors, then give us a model with real-world parameter values which reveals that most/all of the political party diffs between the two jobs are due to the demographic make-up of the two.

    To be explained: 85% of cabbies are Democrat, while only 30% of truckers are Democrat.

    Break each group up into distinct racial groups (or other demographic groups, as long as they don't overlap and add up to the whole group). Use known estimates of how big each slice of the pie is.

    Weight each group by known estimates of their Democrat affiliation.

    Add up each weighting and show overall differences as extreme as the ones to be explained.

    I'll even help get you started. We've already looked into the demographic breakdown.

    As for the party leanings of each group, check the GSS variables: partyid (0-2 for Democrats), reg16 (0 vs 1-9 for foreign vs. native residence at age 16), year (2000-2014 to keep it current), race, hispanic, etc. I've already run the tables but don't want to give the answers since you need to do some homework to improve your moral fiber.

    Time to put up or shut up.

  21. I don't buy the percent figure from the National Hispanic Trucking Alliance. I'm guessing they want to exaggerate their importance. Other sources put the hispanic male percentage of truck drivers at 18.7%, while white males are 60.6% in 2014. I highly doubt that high of a percent of cabdrivers are white males nowadays, though roughly that percent of cab+limo drivers were white in 2000 (back then immigrants were only 71% of New York's) and the numbers had been dropping for decades. This is something I thought would be obvious to anyone, particularly someone who's often gone on about relying on your gut intuition. Cab drivers and truck drivers are not demographically similar.

  22. I might look into the GSS later, but not during the holidays.

  23. Those circa 2000 taxi+limo numbers do not distinguish between whites and hispanics (black and asian were the only other category), so the figure for whites would be hispanic + non-hispanic white and an upper-bound on the latter (for both men & women). Whereas in 2000 66% of truck drivers were white males. Immigrant cab drivers are not primarily white Europeans. 7% of all drivers were from South Asia, 7% from the west indies, 6% from Africa, and 2-4% from South America, the rest of Asia, Mexico, Europe/former Soviet Union, or the Middle East.


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