"David Hume" at Secular Right reflects on ideology and socialization in America:

People often ask me if I’m really a conservative. Old friends, some of them not particularly liberal themselves. The reason is in large part my sociodemographic profile. I’m an atheist. I’m scientifically educated and inclined. I don’t hate France and appreciate fine foods. Often people will push me and ask if I’m a libertarian, rather than a conservative. I simply respond that I’m a conservative who happens to have some libertarian views, not a libertarian who happens to align with conservatives for tactical purposes. As an individualist in my personal life who has no deep need for conformity to the norms of my social circle I have no great interest in becoming a Left-liberal or libertarian to forestall the future queries I’ll no doubt receive. I’m satisfied with that.

But the bigger reality is most people are not like me. They conform and are shaped by the wisdom and norms of their subculture. Positive feedback loops of agreement naturally emerge with these networks. To be a liberal or conservative in the United States results in the acceptance of a wide set of beliefs which one has not closely examined, or which one is not even very well informed about.

It's a fascinating post - which makes me feel less lonely in my hybrid (by American standards) political identity. One commenter's pushback presents the atheist conservative dilemma rather succcinctly:

How do you decouple “tribal conservatism” of this culture from its foundational cult? To defend the basic traditional more of this society, you have to use its language, and that language is religious. The only other option, as far as I can see, is resorting to some sort of juvenile elitism, as Nietzsche did.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.