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Why Are Artists Typically Left and Politically Liberal

Artists Are Typically Politically Liberal

Seinfeld - Political Spectrum
Seinfeld Political Humour

It’s commonly opined that artists, whether musical or visual artist or any art related field is commonly thought to be politically leaning Liberal Left.  I believe the majority of Artists today are the Liberal left. This can be for many reasons. If you study it closely and understand the differences between the political spectrum you can come to a

better understanding of why. There are characteristics mostly associated with Liberals such Openness, Liberty and freedom. However, they’re not the only ones in the pool of artistry. Conservatives are rarer in this arena. But Liberals are the majority.

A common, simple way to understand the values of Liberal and Conservative would be to suggest that Liberals think with their heart – wearing their heart on their sleeve so to speak- while conservatives tend to think with their brain. The thought on this can be interchanged it is not they solely think way. But it’s a good mechanism understanding my point.

Openness to new ideas is common for liberals. It’s the same reason why they promote liberty, novel ideas, open borders. There is a common thread. Openness means freedom to have more novel ideas, abstractions and less sticking to the rules per se, having the ability to express. At face value these ideas are commonly the opposite among conservatives, they are not as open and do no prefer novel ideas etc. They prefer to “Stick with what works” or has worked.

Conservatives do no seek out novelty as much Liberals I ‘d argue, since it has been studied in many books. I write this because I came across it through Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion but also I thought about it as I’m currently reading John Powell’s book Why You Love Music.The-Righteous-Mind-Why-Good-People-Are-Divided-By-Politics-And-Religion-Haidt-GraphEven with the characteristics of musical preference it can be broken down to openness and receptiveness to new ideas. It’s becoming understood that people that enjoy complex forms of music such as jazz, classical, folk etc. are more associated with freer and liberal leaning thinking. The opposite is true for people that enjoy pop music and less intricate forms of music. It also has relation to extroversion and introversion.

Other factors included Agreeableness/ Conscientiousness and Ability to have new experiences. (http://vwordpress.stmarys-ca.edu/vgonzalez/2013/02/28/psychology-and-music-links-between-personality-and-musical-preference/)

I found this link between personality and musical preference interesting. Of course, their must be outliers. What of the outliers that mingle and transform and penetrate more spectrums of personality and political preference? It probably can all be measured, plotted on a graph.

Liberals’ generally stand for openness. They are heart over head. They require new stimulation. They prefer freedom of expression and less rule for principle.

However, Liberal artists have their strengths and weakness. For instance, sometimes artists make the mistake of becoming to open. I discussed this before in Why is Modern Art so bad. Openness can sometimes lead to too much abstraction and it can make something unprincipled and undefined.

It’s fantastic that science is now breaking down what people from a gut-instinct understand of artists through political affiliation or through personality. It helps in understanding the world around us.

lib vs cons.jpg
Echo Chamber

I see mostly Liberals or Left leaning politics among my peers. Even with most artists/celebrities, they consistently discuss Liberal values.

This is not to say conservatives are not in the midst and do not create, or can’t be open to ideas. If anything it can be a tell-all to reveal that one is truly unique to not become like the mass of artists that are considerably Left leaning with solely Liberal principles.

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7 comments

  1. I would argue against two of your points. First I do not believe that liberals / leftists favour free-expression over conservatives. I think it is self evident that both have fought wars against free speech at different times. It is clear that the current politically correct war against free-expression across the western world is being driven mostly by left leaning “progressivists.”

    Second, while I agree that most artists seem to lean towards the left; that is often a product of a strong need to be popular. I agree that they tend to think with their hearts rather than their brains and that helps them to create their art, but it does not help them to analyse issues and construct valid arguments. Reality to them is often measured by how they feel rather than what is demonstrably real.

    In terms of embracing new ideas and new concepts; ones that actually work; I think more conservative types are way ahead. Artists create art and that is valuable; but they don’t build things and they don’t come up with innovative new products or practises than benefit society. I am willing to bet that 90% of all human discoveries and inventions were pioneered by people who could be considered relatively conservative in outlook.

    1. I might also add to lanavor22’s comment that liberals do not seem open at all from a conservative’s perspective. The left, such as SJW, tries to shut down the free speech of anyone who disagrees. They are not open to listening to others suggestions that may oppose their ideals even in the slightest. In this way, liberals come across very closed. Conservatives are open to free speech for everyone, even when it opposes their own views. They want everyone to be heard and all ideas to be considered, then they weigh all views using reasoning and logic.

  2. Artists are able to think in the abstract- normally the more educated or open the person, the more liberal their thinking is. Not all, but a lot. I don’t think it has anything to do with thinking with heart vs head– that’s silly.

  3. To think that an Artist is probably a liberal is like thinking that a homeless person is probably a liberal. Many homeless people whom I’ve met are angry White-Anglo-Saxon conservative men who have for whatever reason lost their jobs and/or their homes. They are expected to be “liberal” because liberals, by and large, comprise the faction of social workers who feed them. Similarly, an Artist is expected to be “liberal” because funding for the Arts comes largely from liberal philanthropist and non-profit organizations.

    The very fact the conservatives entertain more association with liberal-minded acquaintances than liberals do with conservative associates certainly belies that liberals are in any sense more “open-minded.” What it does seem to say is that liberals tend to be more “sensitive.” I have had liberal friends decide to delete me from their existences over disagreement on a political issue. No conservative has ever dissed me completely because I disagreed with them. They’ll continue to argue the point ad nauseum far past the point where the liberal is already nauseous, So personal mettle needs to be taken into consideration here; and perhaps this says something more about the relationship between sensitivity and open-mindedness, than it says about anything else.

    But these are only generalizations, and of course I only can speak from my own experience. I personally feel that there is a place for liberalism and a place for conservatism in the world spectrum, but that the idea that an Artist is necessarily politically liberal ought to be smashed as soon as possible. I also think that the differences betwen Extroversion and Introversion, which you touched on, could be explored further. I read somewhere that Introverts understand their Extroverted associates more accurately than Extroverts understand their more Introverted contacts. Speaking from the perspective of an extreme Introvert who feels almost completely misunderstood in a world of Extroverts, I don’t doubt that this statistic is accurate.

    Thanks for this well-thought-out and provocative article. And thanks for following me. I read through a couple of your posts, and I could learn a lot from you about Sound Design. Not sure if you’ve clicked on any of my tracks, but I’m basically pseudo-sequencing using Finale notation software and touching things up with Audacity. Kinda wish somebody else could do all the technical stuff for me (fat chance) because I’d rather just stick with Composing and Arranging, which are my fortes. The modern sound world does mystify the O.G. at times.

    Thanks you also for the great effort you’ve put into presenting yourself. You are truly an inspiration.

    1. Thanks for your take on my post. I’ve heard of Finale software it seems ideal for composing grand arrangements on sheet music. I have to program most of my more complex material. I have to find middle ground between the traditional classical sound and using electronics to spice things up. I played piano in my teenage years and the electronic just consumed me. Your piano playing is great as I’m hearing your compositions now. Cheers!

    1. Hey thanks for getting back so soon – a busy guy like you, I appreciate that. Thanks for the compliments on my piano work. I do have a little of it on my web site, but if you listened to any of the piano work on “Ode to the Universe” or any of the other pieces I’ve posted on my blog, it’s all done through “pseudo-sequencing” on Finale – that is, it pulls the notes off of the musical score and “interprets” them. So I never do any actual playing of any of the instruments — although I like to think I can play piano that well. Anyway, you probably know that already, or at least have figured it out.

      I used to have a piano bar gig that was pretty lucrative, I’ve recently relocated and am trying to land something like that up here. But I spend most of my time composing — or more literally, scoring and “pseudo-sequencing” the music I’ve already written “in my head.” It keeps accumulating over time, and I always feel like I’m playing catch-up with it. All right, man – thanks again for the encouragement. You gave me a good muse. I’ll be checking out the stuff on your SoundCloud by and by.

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