The doublethink of personal opportunity
This is my third post in response to a single post from weeks ago, but bear with me – I have three unrelated thoughts. In a reaction to this blog and feminist economics generally, Peter Boettke articulates a common reaction to identity politics:
Women, like men, let alone minorities, should not accept any artificial barriers to pursuing their goals. If people get in your way, don’t let them — either side-step them or run them over. Don’t ever let others define you, you define yourself; you are in control of your own destiny. The cream always rises, is what my father always taught us.
I think this is something we need to believe on some level in order to function. Certainly, as I work towards my goals it helps to imagine that I am in control of my own destiny, that my “cream” will rise if I work hard enough. But the social scientist in me also sees barriers, institutional and otherwise, which put others like me (women, queer women) at a disadvantage.
I’d suggest that, broadly, people on the left are more likely to experience this disconnect. That got me to wondering if this is why conservatives are happier than leftists. Lo and behold, that study’s authors argued something similar.