Truth Before Dishonor

I would rather be right than popular

Conservatives Understand Liberals #tcot

Posted by John Hitchcock on 2012/04/15


But Liberals don’t understand Conservatives.

This has been widely known to be true for a very long time, but a study has only recently come out proving such to be the case. And it also helps to explain why the radical Left, such as the Obama administration and the Reid-Pelosi Congress, thought their problem was a communications problem instead of what it truly was: a complete and total fully informed rejection of their agenda.

Tina Korbe wrote an article last week regarding the research, which was publicized a week or so prior to her article.

At The American, AEI resident scholar Andrew Biggs highlights an interesting study that confirms what most conservatives probably already know to be true of themselves: We understand why our liberal friends think what they think more than they understand why we think what we think. [link to the article]

[University of Virginia professor Jonathan] Haidt’s research asks individuals to answer questionnaires regarding their core moral beliefs—what sorts of values they consider sacred, which they would compromise on, and how much it would take to get them to make those compromises. By themselves, these exercises are interesting. (Try them online and see where you come out.)

But Haidt’s research went one step further, asking self-indentified conservatives to answer those questionnaires as if they were liberals and for liberals to do the opposite. What Haidt found is that conservatives understand liberals’ moral values better than liberals understand where conservatives are coming from. Worse yet, liberals don’t know what they don’t know; they don’t understand how limited their knowledge of conservative values is. If anyone is close-minded here it’s not conservatives.

Haidt has one theory to explain his results, while Biggs has another. Haidt says conservatives speak a broader and more encompassing language of six moral values, while liberals focus on a narrow subset of those values. Biggs says conservatives understand liberal positions because they’re inundated with them — by the media, by academia, even to a certain extent by the culture.

Haidt and Biggs both have a point. It takes just about a year of actively debating politics or witnessing the debate of politics to realize that (a) the two parties to the debate don’t speak the same language and (b) the liberal party will have few opportunities to learn the conservative’s language. It’s not only that we don’t use the same words, it’s that we also assign completely different meanings to the same words.

I wanted to take the same surveys from both perspectives to see how well I did but couldn’t find the way to do so. I did, however, find a long list of surveys to take, and I think I did fairly well. It’s a rather easy process. Follow the above link, register (which surveys your self-declarations for use during your survey-taking), then take whatever surveys you wish. Of course, I self-identified as Very Conservative, Very Conservative fiscally, Very Conservative socially (and Very Conservative on any other questions I have likely forgotten). How did I rate compared to Liberals, Conservatives, Libertarians?

First, how well did I do logically and how well did I do defeating bias inputs I received?

So, both my blog name (Truth Before Dishonor) and my byline (I’d rather be right than popular) are quite apt. Now, onto other charts.

I self-identify as a Christian Conservative, a Fiscal Conservative, a Social Conservative, a Strong National Defense Conservative, and Very Conservative. The data in these surveys seem to validate my self-identifications. So, new visitors may have a better understanding of my perspective, along with a better understanding of the site title and byline. Regulars most likely would have been able to ferret that information out without seeing the survey results.

How do you fare? Take some surveys yourself and see.

UPDATE
The Colossus of Rhodey has nominated this article on Watcher of Weasels! That means more people will, indeed, be seeing this article. Including the inhabitants of Gay Patriot. And that’s a good thing. For those who don’t know already, I hold a “The Bible, the whole Bible, nothing but the Bible” position on my Christianity, which necessarily makes me a Conservative. But it also necessarily makes my position on homosexuality set in stone, due to what the Bible says. (It’s an abomination; a sin against Providence, a sin against others, a sin against your own body; a rejection of that which is natural for that which is unnatural, a choice.) That being said, I have much respect for Tammy Bruce, aphrael (a Liberal man with a “husband”), Jeff of Opinions Nobody Asked For (a Jewish Liberal hetero man who fully supports the homosexual agenda), because Tammy Bruce is right about most things, and the other two, while wrong on just about everything, debate with Honor and integrity. They value honesty, thus, they debate honestly. And that earns my respect.

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22 Responses to “Conservatives Understand Liberals #tcot”

  1. Foxfier said

    How can anyone resist Everyone’s Favorite Topic?

  2. Yorkshire said

    Always ask libs from now on where their thoughts and programs are supported in the Constitution. You will get no answer.

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