The ideological left has consistently considered itself to be more “woke” and tolerant than conservatives. Of course, leftists will balk when they hear a conservative idea or find out their friend or family member is conservative. All of a sudden, the mental barricades in the leftist mind arise and tend not only to attack conservative principles but also to attack the individual with those values. They are under the impression that open-mindedness only applies to identity, not ideas.
Here’s the harsh reality of the situation: open-mindedness has nothing to do with your political affiliation. On many occasions, conservatives can be more tolerant than a leftist, or vice versa. Back in 2017, Politico contributor Matthew Hutson researched whether liberals are actually more likely to be open-minded, so he cited a recent study from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. The study discovered that “conservatives, liberals, the religious and the nonreligious are each prejudiced against those with opposing views. But surprisingly, each group is about equally prejudiced.” Unlike Hutson, I do not find this particularly surprising. Every person has a set of biases based on their life experiences, and few people take the time or have the patience to be accepting and listen to unfamiliar or uncomfortable concepts, regardless of how ludicrous it may seem. On that end, it is essential to remember the saying, “Don’t be so open-minded your brain falls out.”
But the left seems to be the only side using the excuse of open-mindedness as a political weapon. By accusing everyone with conservative values of being intolerant or closed-minded (with the occasional sloppy historical reasoning), it does an adequate job of stereotyping and silencing people on the right. Unfortunately, there is a belief by some leftists that conservatives not only have bad ideas, but have the notion that we are bad people.
In recent years, progressives will like to claim that the right has become radicalized and that Trump has driven the Republican Party down a concerning authoritarian path. Fortunately for the right, a Pew Research Center study showed quite the opposite. A key takeaway from the study was that the Democratic Party had moved significantly farther left since 1994, and the Republican Party had only shifted slightly more to the right. They gathered data from each party’s views on a variety of issues, and its change over time.
It is expected that the partisan divide will continue to grow wider. The nature of progressivism is to progress, regardless of whether or not a specific reform would be considered reasonable. Over time, the Democratic Party will only continue to radicalize, and Republicans are predicted to stay roughly in the same ideological spot.
The concept of tolerance has little to do with political leanings, but the left has proved a rather disappointing point, that it is sometimes difficult to separate politics from the person.