Sunday, March 18, 2012

Study: liberals are clueless about what conservatives think

At The Atlantic, Katherine Mangu-Ward discusses (hat tip: Instapundit) some interesting psychology research from the University of Virginia:
In an effort to figure out why conversations across the aisle so often degenerate into shouting matches, [psychologist Jonathan] Haidt (along with colleagues Jesse Graham and Brian Nosek) asked liberals and conservatives to try on each others' ideological shoes, answering a series of questions as they thought their opponents would:
The biggest errors in the whole study came when liberals answered the care and fairness questions while pretending to be conservatives. When faced with statements such as "one of the worst things a person could do is hurt a defenseless animal" or "justice is the most important requirement for a society," liberals assumed that conservatives would disagree. [Emph. added]
Haidt theorizes that this kind of blindness to the real motivations of others is driving discord in Washington and around the country.
I say this is part of a more general proposition: liberals live in a self-created fantasy in which they are the heroes. This is of course a pleasant fantasy. The need to protect that fantasy is why liberals tend to be so hostile to any information which threatens their status as heroes. For example, while conservatives accept the existence of CNN and MSNBC, liberals are in constant battle to banish Rush and Fox News through fair means or foul. Even if they don't listen to either, liberals know the information both present is a threat to their fantasy world.

RELATED: Instapundit has more on the same theme:

JEFF GOLDSTEIN RESPONDS TO STANLEY FISH: Progressivism And The Authoritarian Impulse. “Fish’s single standard, distilled and properly understood, is that liberals are (they’ll claim) morally superior by virtue of their very belief in their own political identities — which identity is tied to an ideology that, manifested politically, privileges governmental theft, sanctioned inequality as a function of tribal identity, and a giant foundational question beg: namely, that moral superiority comes from being on the left, so therefore being on the left means you can really do no fundamental moral wrong.” Progressivism is a religion that preaches salvation by faith, and utter damnation for the nonbelievers.

UPDATE: An illustration: “You and I are not racists. I just gave my imaginary child’s college fund to Barack Obama, and your mother is Nancy Pelosi. So of all the people in the world — we are not out to fuck black people.” Democrats can’t be racist. Just ask Bull Connor.

The last illustration above is Bill Maher, who just donated $1M to Obama, talking to videographer Alexandra Pelosi. Again, in their fantasy world, liberals are virtuous just because they are liberals.

PREVIOUSLY on liberals and their fantasy worlds:
Obama's rich fantasy life
Liberal talk show hosts and their paranoid fantasies
Rep. Pete Stark fantasizes about Pres. Bush's motives
Hate crime fantasies
Real or fantasy: Obama's core value is "unity"?
Salon Magazine and its sexual fantasies involving Sarah Palin
Michelle Obama fantasizes that she is the first White House resident to care about military families
Feminist imagines that all men are pro-rape and pro-domestic violence
Rep. Barney Frank's fantasies: the mortgage crisis was caused by "conservatives"
How reporters avoid addressing reality
If only hate could change false to true

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