First, watch:

Madonna was roundly (and largely rightly) mocked for this video. But it also raises a political question I’d like to explore: is the left’s tendency towards collectivism the result of personality inclinations?

The first thing Facebook decided I should watch this morning was a video of Amy Lee from Evanescence, talking about coronavirus and performing songs from home. I had it playing on my phone while I got dressed and ready for the day. It was very nice. Among the things she said, before starting a song, was how coronavirus is serving as a great equalizer—making us all the same, worldwide. It was a live video, and I don’t recall the exact wording, but it was very similar to what Madonna says above: rich or poor, whatever your background, talents, etc., coronavirus has put us all in the same boat.

As an aside, I do not know Lee’s politics . . . and I do not want to know. I love Evanescence, and would rather just listen to their music without politics intruding. But the fact that she echoed Madonna’s sentiment at least got me thinking about the question. (We all know Madonna’s politics, and other than that one album that William Orbit’s brilliance made almost passable, I have no use for her music.)

Now, this “great equalizer” sentiment is, in one way, laughable: coronavirus is hammering the world economically—especially those who can least afford even a moment’s unemployment. It is tone-deaf to talk about coronavirus’s equalizing effect without acknowledging that—especially for musicians who are almost certainly not wanting for money. But in another way, the assertion is true. Coronavirus is something we all now have in common. That is what they mean. They aren’t trying to be tone deaf; they are trying to express something that matters to them.

The interesting question is, WHY does it matter to them?

Evidence is mounting that fundamental personality traits—and perhaps even biological predispositions—may actually precede ideological inclinations. The correlation is never going to be one-to-one—there will always be choice involved—but it’s looking increasingly like certain “types” of people tend to be drawn to their respective ideological positions.

Among these is the community vs. independence dichotomy. People with a strong independent streak tend to be drawn towards the you-can-succeed-if-you-work-hard ethos of the right. People with a longing for community tend to be drawn towards the collectivist left. Of the many ways this has manifested itself, one of the most striking comes from the 20s and 30s, where progressives were explicitly expressing a longing for the galvanizing effect of World War I. Why can’t we have that same thing without all the carnage, they wondered.

I think that may be what is at work here. I think the desire for a “great equalizer” may reflect a deep-seated longing—manifested here in an idealistic appreciation for the fact that we all have something in common now. I doubt it occurred to them that they were being tone-deaf about the fact that we are not all equal in terms of the economic impact. They were expressing something they truly feel, and I think they assume that others know what they mean and feel the same way.

On one level, I do know what they mean, and I do share some of the same feeling. Coronapocalypse has had the effect of putting us all in the same boat (in some ways) and giving us all something in common. It really is heartwarming to see people helping the elderly in stores, singing songs from their balconies, etc. Maybe there may be some long-term beneficial side effects from this. But I suspect that for Lee and Madonna, the feeling runs even deeper. It’s a longing. And I think it’s a longing that, as a generalization, lefties feel far more keenly than righties.