In the U.S., climate change somehow has become a litmus test that identifies you as belonging to one or the other of these two antagonistic tribes. When we argue about it, Kahan says, we’re actually arguing about who we are, what our crowd is. We’re thinking, People like us believe this. People like that do not believe this. For a hierarchical individualist, Kahan says, it’s not irrational to reject established climate science: Accepting it wouldn’t change the world, but it might get him thrown out of his tribe.
hierarchy = 1.3. An arrangement or classification of things according to relative importance or inclusiveness (I picked definition 1.3 for 'hierarchy' because it's more general than definition 1.)
Etymology of individualist = 1840, from individual + -ist. Related: Individualistic.
(I heed the Etymological Fallacy, but I present this instead of the definition, which is self-revelatory from the root
How does it make sense for an individualist to be hierarchical then? What does this mean?
Footnote: The author has a BA in Politics, if this undergraduate background underlies his diction.