Liberal intolerance, by the numbers

At last we have statistical evidence that liberals are less tolerant of views that disagree with theirs than are conservatives.  Andrew Malcolm of Investor's Business Daily points us to the data, found in a Pew Center for the Internet and American Life Project study.

The new research found that instead of engaging in civil discourse or debate, fully 16% of liberals admitted to blocking, unfriending or overtly hiding someone on a social networking site because that person expressed views they disagreed with. That's double the percentage of conservatives and more than twice the percentage of political moderates who behaved like that.

The proportion jumps even higher when someone on a social site disagrees with a liberal's post.

Only 1% of moderates would block or shut out someone who dared to disagree with them, compared to 11% of liberals, whose rate was nearly three times that of conservatives.

The same 11% of liberals would block or unfriend people who offended them by daring to argue about political issues, vs 6% and 7% for other political views.

Liberals (14%) even blocked or shut out those they deemed posted too frequently on politics, vs 8% and 9% for moderates and conservatives, respectively.

The delightful title of the piece sums it all up: "Online, liberals far less tolerant than normal people"

This confirms my life experience, as someone who was born into a liberal family, spent decades in higher education, and lives in Berkeley, California. There is a characteristic set of responses from many liberals when they encounter someone (me) able to seriously discuss political issues and point out the flaws in liberal policies.

The first response is to stop the conversation, one way or another. At all costs avoid facing the cognitive dissonance of pretending to care about people while advocating policies that, when the evidence is examined, turn out to do harm.  The smoothest end to the conversation would be a variant of "Oops, gotta go...."  The roughest end is an emotional breakdown, which happens in circumstances where substantive exchange of arguments begins and suddenly the cognitive dissonance hits. It might be rent control, welfare, or any of the myriad of counterproductive liberal policies; when the realization hits that a cherished belief might be wrong, negative emotions will rush in, and the conversation will be terminated by tears, a change of subject to another emotional topic (this is frequent with family members), or an angry outburst.

There are a lot of people whose self-concept as a good person is validated by their advocacy of what they think of as enlightened and compassionate liberalism. If politics makes them a good person, it frees up their consciences when dealing with others in real life. Very convenient.

But if an annoying conservative (me) challenges the morality of the very policies that make them moral persons, they suffer painful cognitive dissonance.

Malcolm cites the data for those who admitted shunning over politics:

-- 21% of them blocked, unfriended or hid a coworker,

-- 31% blocked, unfriended or hid a (formerly) close personal friend,

-- and 18% blocked, unfriended or hid an actual family member.

At last we have statistical evidence that liberals are less tolerant of views that disagree with theirs than are conservatives.  Andrew Malcolm of Investor's Business Daily points us to the data, found in a Pew Center for the Internet and American Life Project study.

The new research found that instead of engaging in civil discourse or debate, fully 16% of liberals admitted to blocking, unfriending or overtly hiding someone on a social networking site because that person expressed views they disagreed with. That's double the percentage of conservatives and more than twice the percentage of political moderates who behaved like that.

The proportion jumps even higher when someone on a social site disagrees with a liberal's post.

Only 1% of moderates would block or shut out someone who dared to disagree with them, compared to 11% of liberals, whose rate was nearly three times that of conservatives.

The same 11% of liberals would block or unfriend people who offended them by daring to argue about political issues, vs 6% and 7% for other political views.

Liberals (14%) even blocked or shut out those they deemed posted too frequently on politics, vs 8% and 9% for moderates and conservatives, respectively.

The delightful title of the piece sums it all up: "Online, liberals far less tolerant than normal people"

This confirms my life experience, as someone who was born into a liberal family, spent decades in higher education, and lives in Berkeley, California. There is a characteristic set of responses from many liberals when they encounter someone (me) able to seriously discuss political issues and point out the flaws in liberal policies.

The first response is to stop the conversation, one way or another. At all costs avoid facing the cognitive dissonance of pretending to care about people while advocating policies that, when the evidence is examined, turn out to do harm.  The smoothest end to the conversation would be a variant of "Oops, gotta go...."  The roughest end is an emotional breakdown, which happens in circumstances where substantive exchange of arguments begins and suddenly the cognitive dissonance hits. It might be rent control, welfare, or any of the myriad of counterproductive liberal policies; when the realization hits that a cherished belief might be wrong, negative emotions will rush in, and the conversation will be terminated by tears, a change of subject to another emotional topic (this is frequent with family members), or an angry outburst.

There are a lot of people whose self-concept as a good person is validated by their advocacy of what they think of as enlightened and compassionate liberalism. If politics makes them a good person, it frees up their consciences when dealing with others in real life. Very convenient.

But if an annoying conservative (me) challenges the morality of the very policies that make them moral persons, they suffer painful cognitive dissonance.

Malcolm cites the data for those who admitted shunning over politics:

-- 21% of them blocked, unfriended or hid a coworker,

-- 31% blocked, unfriended or hid a (formerly) close personal friend,

-- and 18% blocked, unfriended or hid an actual family member.

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