Tyler Cowen suggests that for many people, “the real force behind a political ideology is the subconsciously held desire that a certain group of people should not be allowed to rise in relative status.”
Take the so-called “right wing.” I believe that some people on the right do not like those they perceive as “whiners.” They do not want these whiners to rise in relative status. That means they must argue against the whining and also they must argue against the presuppositions behind the whining.
If the whiners say that times are bad, the rebuttal is that times are pretty good or times will become better again. But if the whiners want to increase government benefits (perhaps there is a victim to whine about), we hear about the need to tighten our belts and all the talk about good times is, at least temporarily, muted. Fiscal discipline is now in order.
Take the so-called “left wing.” Some of these people favor a kind of meritocracy. They feel it is unfair that money so determines access in capitalist society and they do not want the monied class to rise in relative status, certainly not above the status of the smart people and the virtuous people. It is important to fight for the principle that the desires of this monied class have a relatively low priority in the social ranking.
Fits in with my long held view that ideologies (and many other things, including degree of faith) are to an extent preprogrammed by personality or temparament (which certainly express themselves through the manner of emotional response to other people).