Mister Orphan is out this week and the next due to a condition known as "on vacation." I'd like to say I'll be filling in for him, but as his own posting regularity is somewhat erratic and mine is even more so, our five or so readers are more or less boned.
This week you get random musings, which may subsequently turn into larger posts.
On group identity, then. Orphan has written extensively about this before, here and elsewhere, so you get a second (or third) dosage here. "Group identification" refers to the tendency, inadvertently or otherwise, of people to label themselves or place themselves directly into groups. That's hardly a complicated or insightful comment, of course, since we're all pretty damn familiar with this tribalism thing, anyway. Labels are useful things, allowing people to convey concepts and amalgamations of ideas under a single or a few headings. So, of course, we have "liberal," "conservative," "libertarian," and so forth in the political / economy arena, and as pretty much every living, sentient being trying to engage in debate has discovered, labels also have the curious property of extending all attributes of themselves, perceived or otherwise, onto the labeled entity.
Self-identifying with a group is an extremely stupid thing to do. That's not just generalization; I'd argue it as fact. I would be more than a little surprised if there is a single person identifying with a group who accepts all characteristics associated with that group as befitting himself. When someone describes himself as a "liberal," I don't dismiss his viewpoint because of what that perspective entails (though it surely does not help his case), but because of what a horrific simplification that is. I probably cannot find two self-described "liberals" holding the exact same views as one another. Someone providing a single word to sum up the entirety of his principles, opinions, beliefs, and whatever other fucking synonyms you want to tack onto that list is evincing either a disinterest in disclosing his views to you or a staggering level of ignorance.
But, of course, this is all well-known. Every member of any group is aware of this on at least some level or another. Yet people still seem more than happy to describe themselves this way. I haven't quite figured out the appeal of that.
So, it goes without saying that quite a few people then refuse to identify with a group, which is fine. The fun part is trying to have a discussion with someone who cannot grasp this.
I run into this most frequently with "conservatives" (self-described, of course), and it usually starts with a phrase like, "You libertarians..." I dismiss these people out of hand now; I've found it isn't worth my time or the effort of typing to try and disengage them of these ideas. I really have no interest in arguing with someone's characterization of me which happens to be based on a few labels pulled from his ass.
This rambling, incoherent mess doesn't have any direction, of course - I did state that these were random musings. I'm giving you quantity, not quality, and I think you'll find that the quantity is pretty spare, too.