Here’s how I see it: it’s about self-image. Tech types like to imagine themselves above the fray, operating on a higher plane than those grubby political types. But if you get serious about US politics, you realize that this is actually an irresponsible pose. As Roberts says, the parties are not symmetric, and wisdom does not lie somewhere between the extremists on both sides. In fact, policies that the tech elite support, like carbon taxes, are supported only by the left wing of the Democratic Party; the entire Republican Party is controlled by climate denialists, and anti-science types more broadly. And in general the modern GOP is basically anti-rational analysis; it’s at war not just with the welfare state but with the Enlightenment.
But for an ubernerd to acknowledge this reality would be to sound, horrors, partisan. And so they refuse to go there; all their belief in data and careful analysis gets set aside when it comes to politics, because the political data — and there really are a lot of data on all this — tell you what they don’t want to hear.
I actually think Krugman is being rather generous here. He refers to nerds’ “belief in data and careful analysis,” but I have seen little to indicate that that stance is anything more than posturing.
The tech community would have us believe that they are a data-driven meritocracy, all about innovation and letting the best idea win. Like any libertarian fantasy, though, they are just as driven by socio-political biases as everyone else.