Last week, a bunch of people wrote to say, “Wow! I had no idea there was another American expat in Japan who was right of center!” It kind of puzzled me because, for one thing, this guy, who’s more visibly conservative than I am, has a blog with a wide readership. And for another, I’ve never really felt all that marooned among leftists–and bear in mind that I’m not only gay but also employed in educational publishing. I only have one or two American friends, but among the colleagues and acquaintances I frequently discuss such things with, I think the majority supported the Iraq invasion, for example, even if they don’t like the way the Bush administration is handling the reconstruction. I’m kind of anti-social and consort with homosexuals and work in a famously left-leaning industry, so I figured I’d see what Gaijin Biker‘s take was, since he’s different on all counts. He said:
I went to an election day barbecue party last year in my Bush/Cheney t-shirt and I had lots of expat guys coming up to me to argue (plus, more entertainingly, slightly drunk Japanese girls telling me Bush is evil).
The typical American I-banker is a New Yorker from a well-off family who went to an ivy league college; those folks tend to be liberals, if of the limousine variety. Choosing a quantitatively-oriented job that pays well screens out some of the extreme tree-huggers, but there are still plenty left in the pool. And once you get outside the U.S. and look at bankers from Britain, France, etc., the Bush-hatred escalates in parallel with the love of nanny-state socialism.
The amazing thing I have learned is that someone can be a razor-sharp capitalist when it comes to analyzing companies or managing money, but still favor extreme liberal positions like super-high tax rates, massive social programs, gun control, etc. Look at George Soros!
That “Britain, France, etc.” part applies to other industries, too, BTW–especially law, but also consulting, health care, and import-export. There’s nothing more comically irritating than standing in a Tokyo fag bar with a German on your left and a Frenchman on your right–ganging up on you about how America is getting all arrogant as the world’s policeman–and having to bite your lip to avoid going all, “Don’t give me that crap! The only reason we are here having this conversation is that MY grandfathers kept YOUR grandfathers, honeychile, from killing YOUR grandfathers, bitch.” Yes, I have a thing about this.
Maybe part of it is that Japanese electoral politics tends to be dull; the last few weeks are a real anomaly. The locals don’t keep the air buzzing with the kind of talk about politics that would stimulate up expats to bring up what’s going on at home. Only those of us who are already news junkies really tune in. Be all of that as it may, I’m up-front about my political positions, and I don’t recall having had any tiresome confrontations with leftists who wouldn’t back down when they’re shocked to discover that I voted for Bush (and, in 2000, Santorum) and support the WOT and believe in privatizing everything but the Capitol Building.