Gucci Little Piggy asks why so few libertarians are women (GLP is a blogger who often has something interesting to say), but the high male-to-female ratio of libertarians is part of a more general observation that libertarians tend to be smart losers.
The most typical libertarian is a computer programmer (or “software engineer” if you want to give them a fancier name). This is a group of people that gets paid a decent above-average middle-class salary, but they are hardly rich. Very few rich and successful people are libertarians. Way back in 2006, the libertarian blog Samizdata noted that there are very few rich libertarians.
Libertarians tend to be smart, and they also tend to have bought into the idea that the free market rewards smart people, and they are libertarian because they optimistically believe that they are going to become rich in the future on account of their smartness and they don’t want no government taking their future wealth from them.
But the way the world really works is that people don’t become rich though self-directed value creation, they get rich from value transference, which usually involves schmoozing people. People who are good at schmoozing don’t espouse unpopular political philosophies like libertarianism. The best way to get ahead is to present the impression to others that you share their beliefs, and of course this is most easy to do if you actually do in reality share their beliefs.
Thus there’s the anomaly that the richest people, the people who according to theory have the most to benefit from libertarianism, are not very likely to be libertarian.
And why aren’t there very many female libertarians? The answer is that women are more conformist in their thinking and are less likely to be associated with fringe groups. Similarly, atheist groups are mostly ugly men. Good-looking people benefit more from the status quo, so they too are less likely to belong to fringe groups.
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And in a strange coincidence, a reader presented me an article from today’s Washington Post, explaining that kids who are popular in high school earn more money in the long run. Although it needs to be pointed out that the study found a pretty small earnings boost, only 2%.