Who's really more tolerant
And five scientific breakthroughs to give you hope
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Everyone is talking about division and polarization. So, let’s look at tolerance instead. Who is more tolerant, the Right or the Left? How tolerant are you?
Leftists think Conservatives are intolerant, backward, vindictive, and stuck in their ways to the point of being anti-democratic and authoritarian.
Rightists think Liberals are intolerant of them, eroding traditional values, emotional, divisive, spoiled, and ruining society.
Time for a quick history lesson.
After the French Revolution, the French Parliament arranged itself such as the more traditional aristocratic representatives sat on the right side. In contrast, the representatives of the more common folks and low clergy sat on the Left. Both sides used Left/Right as slurs towards each other. The Left represented the “republicans.” Yep, you read it correctly. The “republicans” favored the new republic over the monarchy. While the Right called themselves “conservatives” seeking to uphold the more traditional social and political institutions and practices, the monarchy at the time…
Fast forward, things have changed but not that much. The Left pride itself on going forward, changing things, and disturbing the stale order. In comparison, the Right claims to protect the established traditions and order. They call themselves “Republicans” and “conservatives.” In reality, as we all know, both sides bow to the same giant financial donors, of which 99% of the population is not. Here’s a list of the largest organizational donors for the 2022 political cycle. You will see they hedge their bets throwing money at both sides.
End of the history lesson.
What is tolerance?
It is a personality trait reflecting a liberalism frame of mind, an acceptance/allowance of the differences between people, their values, and beliefs. The term is associated with psychological resilience, which arises from the ability to tolerate various forms of stress without negative consequences. And people who are not on the same page do stress each other out. But a supposedly tolerant person can look past the differences and connect with the humanity in others. Tolerance does not condone bad/harmful behavior. Although even this becomes a contested territory. What is “harmful” to one is fine to another. But that’s a different discussion.
So, who’s got tolerance? Do you? Here’s a test you can take (it’s free and fun), so answer based on your reality, not what you think is the right answer to the questions. According to the test, I am 80% tolerant. Wanna guess which questions I answered as not OK by me on the test? Try. 😊
Right vs. Left
American National Social Network Survey shows that Democrats are more intolerant than Republicans of someone from the opposite side of the political spectrum. The survey also shows the role of diverse social networks. It offers data on how many people we have in our “close social networks,” with more and more people (doubled from 2013 to 2020) saying zero close contacts. That’s 0, no one, nada, zilch. That is scary! Plus, it discusses how people feel about the American Dream. Check it out. It’s worth the read.
But for the purpose of our discussion:
Democrats would be far more upset than Republicans would be if their son or daughter married someone whose views of Trump were at odds with their own. More than two-thirds (69 percent) of Democrats who view Trump unfavorably say they would be at least somewhat upset if their son or daughter married a Trump supporter. In contrast, only 30 percent of Republicans with a favorable view of Trump would find this upsetting.
More than seven in 10 Democrats (75 percent) and Republicans (71 percent) with politically diverse networks say they have had disagreements with family and friends over the past year, while substantially fewer Democrats (59 percent) and Republicans (54 percent) with homogeneous networks report having had a political argument. Notably, Democrats with diverse political networks are also more likely to argue with strangers than are those whose social circle shares similar political opinions (48 percent vs. 37 percent). Republicans with diverse social networks are not much more likely to have political disagreements with people they do not know well than are those with politically like-minded networks (36 percent vs. 32 percent, respectively).
Part of the reason political disagreement and discussion may produce less common ground is that it tends to reinforce people’s assumptions rather than encouraging them to review or revise them. Americans say that when they have conversations with people who hold different political views, they are more likely to become more certain in their views than they are to question their assumptions (58 percent vs. 39 percent).
Democrats are generally more likely than Republicans are to find it stressful talking with people whose views differ from their own. More than six in 10 (61 percent) Democrats, including two-thirds (67 percent) of liberal Democrats, say talking politics with people who do not share their views is frustrating and stressful, a view shared by 54 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of conservative Republicans. Notably, independents are about as likely to say talking with people who do not share their political views is informative and interesting as to say it is stressful and frustrating.
This Pew Research on political polarization and trust states that 24% of “consistent liberals” and 10% of mostly liberal liberals are likely to drop a friend over a political difference. That’s compared to 16% of “consistent conservatives” and 9% of mostly conservative conservatives.
Liberals who mostly see themselves as champions for diversity display more intolerance towards political opponents. This may feel counterintuitive to many, so that’s why DATA. Data doesn’t care about your feelings.
I think of myself as a moderate. Once before, I called myself “stressed in the middle.” I have friends on both sides of the spectrum. I find myself more tolerant and compassionate towards the conspiracy theorists on the Right (kind of entertained and dismayed by them) than I find myself towards the woke Leftists (kind of like annoyed by their shortsightedness and what seems to me as non-constructive self-centeredness.)
OK, I realize that what I just said makes me sound more conservative than I actually am and is bound to piss off a lot of people on the Left. So, before you jump on me, please know that I am mostly a social liberal and kind of more conservative on the fiscal end, but I still support stuff like universal medical care and free education. This, again, proves that seriously stress in the middle, and 80% tolerant!
How was this for you? Share your thoughts in the comments. Also,
Five scientific breakthroughs to cheer you up – The Financial Times. No paywall as far as I can tell.
1) An alternative to animal testing
2) A new era of astronomy
3) Harnessing the power of bacteria
4) Predicting potential with Artificial Intelligence
5) Nuclear Fusion
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