Have you ever paged through The Atlantic or the New York Times and run across a quote from Streiff, Brandon Morse, or Bonchie?
I know … the notion is hilarious, right?
As Sherlock Holmes said in “The Adventure of Silver Blaze,” sometimes the things you DON’T hear are the most important of all. And what I am about to explain … good grief. You are about to understand liberals on a whole new level.
A brilliant social psychologist at NYU named Jonathan Haidt has performed experiments that looked into the differences between liberals and conservatives. Not to give away the ending, but he discovered that conservatives understand what liberals think far better than liberals understand what conservatives think.
If you have always suspected this, you may perform your victory dance now.
As Haidt describes in his book The Righteous Mind:
[W]e tested how well liberals and conservatives could understand each other … One-third of the time [study participants] were asked to fill out [a questionnaire] normally, answering as themselves. One-third of the time they were asked to fill it out as they think a “typical liberal” would respond. One-third of the time they were asked to fill it out as a “typical conservative” would respond … Who was best able to pretend to be the other? The results were clear and consistent. Moderates and conservatives were most accurate in their predictions, whether they were pretending to be liberals or conservatives. Liberals were the least accurate, especially those who described themselves as “very liberal.”
Haidt’s results flatly contradict the narrative usually presented to the public. Progressives are constantly berating conservatives for not understanding their deeply empathetic plans for the perfect society, immersed as we are in our bigotry, hate, and oil money.
Turns out, we understand their plans very well. We just … disagree.
This differential is writ large in the Left media. Those guys stock the shelves with what sells. If liberal readers wanted to better understand what the other half thinks, you’d see Vox, the Daily Beast, and the New York Slimes running all sorts of articles deconstructing and criticizing what Rush Limbaugh, Streiff, Ann Coulter, Dennis Prager, and others publish.
But they don’t. They stock fragrant bags of haughty we-are-right-and-they-must-be-silenced steer manure.
By the way: I did a little jury-rig test of my own, did you catch it? I put a hook in the beginning of this post. I said, “You are about to understand liberals on a whole new level,” and you are still reading. Signs are, you really want to know what makes libs tick, even if they annoy the fish out of you. Otherwise, you would have stopped reading– “Don’t waste my time …”
But just because conservatives understand WHAT progressives believe, that doesn’t mean they always have a solid grasp on HOW they think–how they arrive at their positions.
Conservatives give it the old college try. Whether on Breitbart, RedState, Fox News, American Greatness, Powerline, or Townhall, one finds an earnest–if sometimes irritable–effort to better understand how progressives arrive at their ideas.
This is a demonstration not just of flexibility and wisdom but of perseverance. There’s a reason conservatives test better at mentalizing their opposites: they work toward mapping progressive thought processes constantly. But conservatives are not nearly so successful at grasping HOW as they are at grasping WHAT. (For a deeper look from Professor Haidt at the HOW, see the TED talk at the end of this post.)
From this HOW weakness, conservatives tend to get pulled into traps and abusive games. Like adolescents who manipulate their parents, progressives have learned that they can spout nonsense to paralyze their opponents, who mill around like ants trying to rationalize it:
KID: “Your telling me to go to bed is oppression. You’re like North Korea, and your terribleness going to make me anorexic and Asian!”
PARENTS: “Oh my stars! Okay, instead of making you go to bed, we’ll spend the next two hours earnestly figure out what you mean, then debunking it …”
Like these parents, conservatives waste untold energy and time. They write column after column diagraming the hypocrisy from liberals, very pleased with themselves for showing–QED!–that Alyssa Milano and Maxine Watters don’t make sense.
Well DUHHHH! It wasn’t supposed to make sense. It was supposed to drag out bedtime, and you fell for it.
Donald Trump is the first conservative politician in a long time who groks progressive tactics and turns them back on them. As soon as they start some diversionary nonsense, like the impeachment, he ignores them; does what he’s going to do anyway; and starts a bigger show himself to snatch the wind from their sails–Biden family corruption, FBI malfeasance, Twitter slap-fights.
Trump has done this so well, many Americans only dimly notice an impeachment going on.
If this material intrigues you, Professor Haidt has a lot more to offer. The TED talk below is a fast intro to some of his ideas. I guarantee you’ll find it fascinating. If you happen to write about politics, I would call this a must-see and vital resource. Enjoy.