Monday, August 29, 2011

Sowell's Law: Using Politics To Predict Your Preferences

Thomas Sowell's insight in the conflict of visions between the constrained and unconstrained ways of looking at the world is one of the best means available to understand the liberal/conservative divide in American politics. Not only that, it's quick way to predict choices and preferences that people make in their daily lives.

For example, before last week, it would have never occurred to me to wonder about the political affiliations of the CEO's of America's leading guitar manufacturers. But now that I know, is it any surprise as to what my choice of guitar has been for the last 8+ years?

As with conservatism, Gibson guitars are something you work up to. Like many guitarists, I started out playing a no-name Korean brand, then moved on to some cheap Squires, then to a "Made In Mexico" Fender (a Tele, if you must know). After 20 years of semi-serious playing, I picked up a Gibson SG and realized, my God, now I'm playing a guitar. There's just something in the thickness of the neck and the perfectly balanced weight of the body that makes you feel like you're playing something that a human being labored over. I know that the Stratocaster is the "sexy" rock guitar, but Gibsons are what everyone uses when they want to get serious.

As for twee little Martin, and its progressive CEO, well you're talking about the Martha's Vineyard of guitars: expensive, exclusive, and mostly used by Peter Paul & Mary types who want to sing about whales. Never liked Martins much (frankly, I don't care about acoustic guitars as much as I do electrics), but Gibson acoustics are much more beautiful, and user friendly.

Just don't ask me about my favorite brand of drums.

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