Political Tribalism

One of the oddest things about being in Germany during an election campaign is that I’m pretty sure I have right-of-center views relative to German politics. The CDU believes in limiting carbon emissions and has no intention of scrapping universal health care or eliminating pensions for old people. Nor do they believe in torturing prisoners and launching unprovoked wars. Conversely, it really does seem to me that labor markets in Germany are counterproductively over-regulated.


But every time I hear a businessman type talk about how he doesn’t like the Social Democrats, I instinctively want to side with the SPD. All my instincts are to side with the union-backed party against the business-backed party and to immediately tune out anyone who’s complaining about “socialism” or making vague assertions that people on the left don’t understand that economic growth is important. I’m just uncomfortable with the idea of being a conservative, even in a country where the policy status quo and the issues are quite different.

At any rate, SPD leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier is hosting a rally right by my hotel very soon so maybe he’ll convince me. (More likely he’ll be speaking German which I don’t understand at all).