With the recent 2012 presidential election it seems timely to write about MBTI and how it relates to politics. I have studied this topic for a while now and I think there are some interesting things worth sharing.
Let's start the discussion with some general trends based off the above table. You will notice that T and J lean Republican while F and P lean Democratic. This makes sense because thinkers tend to champion things and data while feelers tend to favor people. Republicans deal more with economic issues (things) while Democrats deal more with social issues (people). Judgers are also more strict and rule-based (Republican) while Perceivers are less strict and more open (Democratic). Sensors also tend to be a slight bit more Democratic/Republican while intuitives are a bit more Independent. Sensors also tend to lean a bit more Republican while intutives lean a bit more Democratic.
You will also find that INTPs are the most Independent of any group. This makes sense as they are the most likely to be loners and do their own thing. They are the most independent of the types along with the other NTs in general.
The most Republican of the group are the ESTJs. This is fitting as TJs are going to lean Republican. Sensors are also more likely to support existing systems which is also fitting. ISTJs are right behind the ESTJ with the 2nd highest Republican percentage, also fitting.
The most Democratic of the group are the INFJs which is a bit harder to make sense of. Obviously the feeler is going to lean Democratic, however, a judger is more likely to lean Republican. My thoughts would be INFJs are a precision Democrat where they are much more structured and understanding of Democratic beliefs. You will see that behind the INFJ is the ESFP 2nd and then the INFP 3rd. The ESFP makes sense as feelers and perceivers lean Democratic. The INFP makes the most sense as they contain all the ingredients for a Democrat.
Now, before we go any further it is worth clearing up a few words first. For the purposes of this article we will call Republicans Conservative and Democrats Liberal. Liberal and Conservative are words that both carry baggage and don't necessarily portray what they really represent underneath the surface definition. So I am going to clear this up a bit, obviously my own opinion and interpretation of these words.
Economic vs Social
The two main polarities at play in government and politics are economic and social based. Economic deals with the physical carrying out of tasks while social deals with the people. Economic and social issues generally tug against each other as social things are limited by economics. We may want to provide lots of social things for people but economics keeps a check on what we can allow for people and what we can't. Economics deals with prioritizing and balancing energy (money). So with that in mind...
Liberal / Democrat
Liberals are not open to anything. I know the word implies being "liberal" and allowing of things. And the classic liberals before the 1900s were open to anything. But this has changed the last 100 years. When we use the term liberal today we are actually only saying "open to social things". Liberals/Democrats today are not open to economic things. They want control on economic things and freedom on social things.
Conservative / Republican
The conservative stands in contradistinction to the liberal of today insofar as the conservative is open to economics things, but not open to social things. Conservatives want control on social things and they want freedom on economic things. So this is the main difference between a conservative/Republican and a liberal/Democrat in my eyes.
But there is an emerging third group to the mix, Libertarians. The Libertarians of today are the classic liberals of the 1800s. Libertarians are open to both social and economic things. They share the openness towards social issues with Liberals while they share the openness of economics with Conservatives. Libertarians don't want control on anything.
- Liberals - Want government control on economy, no control on social issues
- Conservatives - Want government control on social issues, no control on economy
- Libertarians - Want no control on either
So what's what?
So with these definitions borne in mind we can make a bit more sense of the 4 main dichotomies of the MBTI.
- SP - Doesn't Care
- SJ - Conservative
- NF - Liberal
- NT - Libertarian
And stated another way:
- NT - Independent
- SJ - Not-independent
- S - Conservative
- N - Liberal
Yes, I know, obviously it's not this cut and dry. But these are the trends and there are patterns to this. Most SPs you meet don't care much about politics. In many ways most SPs don't care much about anything, they just take life as it comes. A Republican is in office? A Democrat is an office? Who cares, they're all crooks and I got other things to do.
SJs tend to lean more conservative. SJs are traditionalists and the traditional view on America is generally more conservative. SJs want to go back to the good ol' days of America when we had lower taxes, less government intervention and moral values. To an SJ the role of government is to impose social rules on the population and make sure that the people are good. Social freedom scares SJs because religion, another key component of SJs, is heavily based on social rules. Religion (tradition) defines how people are to behave and government is used by the SJs to enforce the social tradition of religion.
SJs also tend to favor economic freedom as they are very big on family and hard work. They think it is good for people to look after their family and to earn their way through life. They would much rather earn something than have it given to them. SJs recognize the value in teaching people how to fish as opposed to giving them a fish.
NFs lean more liberal. This makes perfect sense as they are completely based around people and the greater good. First priority to an NF is people and execution and practicality is 2nd. So an NF is perfectly okay supporting economically nonviable social programs because on the surface level, the social level, it sounds good. The actual economic foundation in which the program or idea is built upon is a whole other topic worthy of little consideration to the NF. Social comes first and everything else will take care of itself.
NTs are Libertarians and/or anti-government. They discover that the SJs are correct in acknowledging economic freedom, but lacking in holding onto social control. They also discover that the NFs are correct in allowing for social freedom, but incorrect in that they prefer government control of the economy. NTs research the topics in depth before finally reaching the conclusion that both sides are 1/2 way right and 1/2 way wrong. NTs discover the unnecessity of government, similar to the unnecessity of religion, and prefer small amounts of government if any at all.
Bringing intelligence into the mix
Okay, so we have broken down the basic association of each MBTI group, but we can take it further than this and tie it into intelligence. Of course, intelligence is fairly subjective and hard to put a complete measure on, however, I have somewhat attempted to do so in previous articles. I have discovered that Ns are generally more intelligent than Ss in the sense that they are more curious than Ss. Ns are more influential and make better leaders than Ss. Additionally, you can also find how I have ordered the smartest MBTI types from #1 - #8.
With this information in mind we can gauge the political evolution of people as they grow in intelligence and understanding with a degree of accuracy. For example, an INTP is probably going to know more politically about subjects than an ESFJ. An INFJ will probably know more than an ESTP. Again, these are broad trends and generalizations and there are most certainly going to be exceptions.
So if we start with a lower intelligence MBTI like an ESFP or ISTP for instance, we will find that they are at the start of their political journey, so to speak. They really don't take an interest because they just don't care. It's common for people to not be interested in things that they don't feel like discerning and making sense of. Politics is a huge hogwash of lies, deception, argument and personal attacks. SPs would rather just stay out of it and keep their hands clean. It doesn't matter to them.
But as you grow in intelligence things that used to not matter start to matter more. What matters little to a child matters much more as they mature into an adult. And so as people lean more SJ they tend to become very militant in their political views, similar to their religious views. People have their mind set up on the right way to do things and you're not going to change it. They know what is right because tradition makes it so. It's always worked and there's no need to progress or change and improve things. So SJs become firm in their beliefs, whether it be conservative (most of the time) or liberal (less often).
As people begin to recognize the problems of stagnating tradition they begin to take on the liberal flavor. Like a child who knows something is wrong but doesn't quite know how to fix it, NFs wander semi-aimlessly into plan after plan with some direction, but lacking the overall oversight for complete direction. They know the foundations of the past are no longer working, but they unfortunately fail to offer any solution of greater foundation, and often times remove something that is tolerable for a change that is intolerable. NFs often times think they are doing good in their heart-felt efforts all the while destroying a broken SJ-enforced foundation constructed by NTs of the past with an often times more broken NF foundation. And while it is great the NFs challenge the rules of old, it is to great disdain that often times their well-intended feelings are lacking of economic principle. Being Ns, NFs most certainly are of a higher political caliber in that they ascertain greater foresight than Ss when it comes to solutions. SPs and SJs generally don't quite have the vision of the NFs, however, NFs don't quite have the precision towards execution and realism that the NTs have.
NTs, like the SPs, recognize politics as a hogwash of BS as well, only unlike the SPs, they are able to specifically and accurately tell you what is wrong and how to improve it. They have done their homework and reached the philosophical conclusion of proper government, which is essentially no government. Being the smallest percentage of the population the NTs just sit back and try to educate people and hope for a better day when people will discover the great amounts of nonsense in which they engage in politically on a daily basis. Being ahead of the median of citizens, they face an upward challenge convincing everyone of how useless central control and social planning really is. They illustrate the historical and logical advantages of a free market but to no avail. The SP, SJ and NFs want none of it. And so we are left with the collapse of a nation as the only viable catalyst for accomplishing change in a society so lacking in vision.
So it's as though you start out as a lower intelligence MBTI completely removed from the political spectrum. As you begin to grow in intelligence and enter into the political arena you are thrown around from ideology to ideology. As you grow in understanding you learn new things and let go of old things. You clear up some contradictions only to replace them with more contradictions. As you slowly develop the foresight of an N you start to finally see how pieces fit together. As you become a high end NF or NT, often times grouped with great introversion, you start to finally see how the big picture really works and how pointless government is in general. You start to realize that everything government does can already be done without government privately. You start to realize that government is really only a commercial monopoly subsidized by the sensors and general public who perpetuate the myth through ignorance.
And there you have it. Please share your thoughts :)
Another cool chart:
Filed under:Politics / Government, MBTI, Politics, Government