Confirmed: Conservatives understand liberal positions better than liberals understand conservative positions

posted at 1:21 pm on April 13, 2012 by Tina Korbe

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.

[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.

The president’s prattling about the Buffett Rule is a perfect example. He repeatedly uses the word “fair” when he discusses this rule that would require anyone who earns more than $1 million a year to pay at least 30 percent in taxes. The Buffett Rule is actually officially named “The Paying a Fair Share Act.”

Conservatives have been quick to cede the word “fair” to the president. Instead of debating whether The Buffett Rule actually is fair, we’ve focused on the idea that economic growth and entitlement reform are the  keys to deficit reduction. We know that our definition of “fair” is different than liberals’ definition of “fair,” so we’re never going to be able to convince liberals that the Buffett Rule actually is unfair. In a world dominated by liberal influences in the media, academy and culture, we have no choice but focus on the fact that The Buffett Rule would do very little to reduce the deficit.

If liberals understood the conservative definition of “fair,” they might better understand how it’s possible to oppose the Buffett Rule. As the debate stands at this moment, it’s conceivable that the average liberal thinks conservatives actually oppose a rule we think is fair just because we don’t think it will adequately reduce the deficit. But why would anybody oppose a fair rule? In fact, we oppose the Buffett Rule because, by our definition, it is unfair — not to mention that it does very little to reduce the deficit. (As an aside, I’ve been searching for an article in which a conservative argues explicitly that the Buffett Rule is unfair and am finding it surprisingly hard to find. Has anybody read a good one?)

The word “just” is defined as “based on right.” Our concept of what is fair starts with our concept of what is a right. Whereas progressives think that rights are given by the government, conservatives think that “we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights.” Among our God-given rights is the right to keep the fruits of our labor. So far, I have never heard a good argument that we have a right or a claim to the fruits of others’ labor unless they have promised them to us for some reason. We certainly never have an intrinsic a priori claim on the fruits of someone else’s labor.

As long as he is allowed to keep what he has earned, the conservative thinks he has been treated fairly — even if others have more than he has. The liberal has a completely different definition of fairness. Liberals seem to think we have a right to the same fruits no matter what our labor.

It is true that different kinds and quantities of work yield different kinds and quantities of fruits. That is sometimes hard to take — but if, in the end, we receive the fruits we agreed to when we selected our labor, then the fruits we receive are fair. (For example, if we agree to a particular day’s wages and we receive that day’s wages, then we have been treated fairly. Nobody changed the deal to which we agreed.) In making the choice to be a secretary and not a hedge fund manager, for example, the secretary forgoes some of the fruits of the hedge fund manager — but obtains some fruits the hedge fund manager never tastes, say the fruit of more time to spend with family or the fruit of less stress. If we are not content with the fruits of our labor, perhaps we ought first to consider changing our labor, rather than demand we be given different fruits.

One last thought: Conservatives clearly have a more expansive view of what constitutes “fruits.” We do not measure success and fairness solely by money. In the example above, I recognize the worth of time off and less pressure — two intangibles. For all that liberals like to talk about conservative greed, it’s interesting that conservatives can content themselves with less money in exchange for other benefits whereas liberals seem blind to those benefits and just want the money.

Update: Here is the link to Andrew Biggs’ post. My apologies for forgetting to include it before!


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At least on social issues, I find it pretty hard to understand why we should return to 6th century.
lester on April 13, 2012 at 1:50 PM

Translation: Any criticism at any time by anyone that could possibly make me feel guilty about living a libertine lifestyle is “forcing your values” on me.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on April 13, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Way to be on top of things, Tina. This story is at least several days (if not a week) old.

GWB on April 13, 2012 at 2:14 PM

I am actually great friends with one who went the other way. He was raised as a conservative by a domineering pastor father and an indifferent mother.

To him, Kos is Fair and Balanced.

Del Dolemonte on April 13, 2012 at 1:44 PM

If parents are too protective and domineering, from what I’ve seen, this happens a lot. The kids rebel against the overly tough authority, and once out of the house and on their own the kids go off the deep end the other way. But then they have trouble making it in the real world on their own, and find out the world doesn’t work the way the lib philosphy says, so they end up seeking the “comfortand protection” of the authority they experienced as a kid through the government.

I have made sure to allow my kids to make a lot of decisions on their own while growing up, but there were rules there were consequences for bad decisions; and right now (at 21 and 19) they are both hard workers with a very strong sense of personal responsibility. I really believe the over-protective domineering parenting style leads to rebelious but dependent libtard adults.

dentarthurdent on April 13, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Can we get a link please?

Scrappy on April 13, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Copy first sentence of the story into a search engine and you can easily find the story. Here you go.

Fallon on April 13, 2012 at 2:17 PM

Liberals do not live in reality

tom daschle concerned on April 13, 2012 at 2:19 PM

The impulse in liberals to do something (anything!) is impossible to overcome. In their minds, any change is better than no change, even if it’s change for the worse.

mchristian on April 13, 2012 at 1:32 PM

This is very true in my experience. I have a lib friend who was arguing that Obamacare is a good bill because it’s better than nothing. I was like “Uhhhh, I beg to differ”. When my dad was in the hospital for a minor procedure, the patient he shared the room with had a sob story of not having enough insurance coverage for whatever he needed done. My lib sister mutters “And you people are against health-care-reform…”

What makes being a fiscal conservative so frustrating to me is that I feel like Conservatives are looking at the BIG picture, the long term, and liberals are looking at the immediate gratification. You can show me a sob story of a poor child, denied coverage for her cancer treatment, and say “How can you not want this person to get help?” But the question *I’m * asking is, what is going to happen in 5-10 years when there are no more doctors willing to work for peanuts, and this same person has to wait 6 months for a diagnostic test, not to mention treatment?

It’s like being the mean mommy of politics.

Violina23 on April 13, 2012 at 2:22 PM

At least on social issues, I find it pretty hard to understand why we should return to 6th century.

lester on April 13, 2012 at 1:50 PM

The Therapist will see you now.

ToddPA on April 13, 2012 at 2:23 PM

How about a link to the actual article?

JeffinSac on April 13, 2012 at 2:23 PM

Missed it by that much. Sorry about that, Chief.

FlatFoot on April 13, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Copy first sentence of the story into a search engine and you can easily find the story. Here you go.

Fallon on April 13, 2012 at 2:17 PM

Thanks. Just seems like pretty lazy blogging not t just include it in the post.

Scrappy on April 13, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Liberal Habitat = “Cone of Silence”

Tim_CA on April 13, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Liberals are under the dome of silence Stupidity.

Akzed on April 13, 2012 at 2:01 PM

fix’t that for you to reflect reality.

SWalker on April 13, 2012 at 2:28 PM

My lib sister mutters “And you people are against health-care-reform…”

Violina23 on April 13, 2012 at 2:22 PM

I’ve learned to not even bother discussing any issue of importance with individuals who use terms like “you people.”

Happy Nomad on April 13, 2012 at 2:28 PM

At least on social issues, I find it pretty hard to understand why we should return to 6th century.

lester on April 13, 2012 at 1:50 PM

Since this is so generic, with no examples, it’s pure pointless trolling. But I’ll use it to expound on liberal thinking:

1. Liberals think if we ban abortion, next we’ll ban women working outside the home and probably take away their right to vote.

2. Liberals think we want to police private homes and make sure that sex is ONLY between married, heterosexual couples, just because we don’t want to change the definition of the word marriage. Those we catch having sex outside of marriage they think we want to put a big red A on.

3. Liberals think we want guns and self defense laws, as libfreeordie put it in a Zimmerman thread, “to kill young colored people.” even though we want to protect ourselves from ALL threats.

Conservatives say we want to change government programs to safety nets instead of permanent support and liberals respond “you want to kill the poor!” An emotional, indefensible, changing the subject response. No, we want a system that encourages the poor to pick themselves up.

Conservatives want to restructure Medicare to be a safety net for the poor while giving the option to shop for the coverage right for them, and we’re trying “take away old people’s healthcare!” They can’t argue against the logic that some old people are healthy enough to just need preventative care and others need more. They don’t want to face the fact that Medicare is struggling even though it pays so little most doctors won’t accept Medicare patients any more. Therefore, they can only win by challenging our motives in the hope of getting people to not even listen to us.

What it comes down to is that liberals believe the government is superior to private charity and free markets because those markets have been “unfair” to them. Hey, after all their degree in Womens Studies should make them as much money as the guy with the MBA in the Vice Presidency of a Corporation. They don’t believe private charity works. In the case of rich liberals, they are too lazy or too busy making money to take the time to research and give to charities, so they want the government to just take their money and figure it out. Only, the rich liberals don’t want to voluntarily do that on the IRS website, they want it “fair” by forcing everybody who makes what they do to give “equally” to the government, especially when their “charity”, government, can’t afford to do what they do any more.

How do you know you’re winning a political debate? The liberal starts calling you names or disparaging your intent.

PastorJon on April 13, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Well, at least you figured it out. What about the idiots that don’t? I want to know how they live in their bubble without the slightest thought on who, where, why, what and how they make it through.

upinak on April 13, 2012 at 1:28 PM

I’ll ask my sister and let you know.

Lost in Jersey on April 13, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Way to be on top of things, Tina. This story is at least several days (if not a week) old.

GWB on April 13, 2012 at 2:14 PM

How do you get a hat on your head with such a magnificent point up there?

SWalker on April 13, 2012 at 2:30 PM

What Haidt found is that conservatives understand liberals’ moral values better than liberals understand where conservatives are coming from.

Wait, wait…….liberals have moral values? Since when?

iurockhead on April 13, 2012 at 2:31 PM

http://dailycaller.com/2012/04/13/nc-dem-official-sexually-harrassed-staffer-party-fears-credibility-doomed/

speaking of liberals and ‘positions’…../

ted c on April 13, 2012 at 2:31 PM

How about a link to the actual article?

JeffinSac on April 13, 2012 at 2:23 PM

Sorry about that, Chief. Missed it by that much.

 

I don’t think Tina reads the comments section of her posts. I’ve never seen her post anything in the comments section whether for response or appreciation for a compliment or refutation or just to participate in the discussion in general. Try emailing her. I bet she reads those voraciously.

FlatFoot on April 13, 2012 at 2:31 PM

You know, I’ve noted a strong similarity here to the debates between the religious and irreligious. Understanding flows only one way.

Prufrock on April 13, 2012 at 2:33 PM

I’ll ask my sister and let you know.

Lost in Jersey on April 13, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Let me save you the trouble, as I already had that conversation with my liberal big sister… What? Bla bla bla, you so just don’t get it, bla bla bla…

SWalker on April 13, 2012 at 2:33 PM

The president’s prattling about the Buffett Rule is a perfect example. He repeatedly uses the word “fair” when he discusses this rule that would require anyone who earns more than $1 million a year to pay at least 30 percent in taxes. The Buffett Rule is actually officially named “The Paying a Fair Share Act.”

Consider also, the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ” for four other examples of definition discrepancies… I guess we can all agree that it’s an Act (and “and” is apparently used to link two thoughts together) , but that’s pretty much where the agreement ends.

BlueCollarAstronaut on April 13, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Try emailing her. I bet she reads those voraciously.

FlatFoot on April 13, 2012 at 2:31 PM

Are you suggesting that Jeffin knows what the word voraciously means?

SWalker on April 13, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Wait, wait…….liberals have moral values? Since when?

iurockhead on April 13, 2012 at 2:31 PM

Depends on what day of the week it is, and what time of day, and what the subject under discussion is and… Oh hell… No they don’t, to a Liberal, a moral value is, “The End Justifies the Means” ergo, what ever achieves their end goal is moral and ethical.

SWalker on April 13, 2012 at 2:37 PM

7. Democrats vote Democrat because we’re way too irresponsible to own a guns, and they know that the local police are all we need to protect us from murderers and thieves.

monster_man on April 13, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Yet they hate and despise the police because all police are like the ones at Kent State in the 60s. They are both anti-gun and believe that police are racist, fascist bastards.

My liberal father said that police “harrassed” him recently. Then when even he told the story my dad was clearly a belligerent, resistant jerk whose prejudices against police came out. In the end hearing himself tell the story, even he had to admit he was largely at fault for how he was treated.

It comes back to that “it really will work for you, even if I think it doesn’t work for me” that liberals follow. We have a Vice President preaching about giving more to the poor while he gives .01% of his generous income. We have liberals exempting their husband’s place of business (Pelosi, American Samoa) from minimum wage laws, because inequality is Ok when it helps their own millions grow. It’s Ok that Soros is a billionaire because he’s a liberal. It’s OK for Bill Maher to say what he says because he’s a liberal. Etc, etc, etc.

PastorJon on April 13, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Are you suggesting that Jeffin knows what the word voraciously means?

SWalker on April 13, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Now now … let’s be nice — and civil :)

FlatFoot on April 13, 2012 at 2:40 PM

Way to be on top of things, Tina. This story is at least several days (if not a week) old.

GWB on April 13, 2012 at 2:14 PM

Cut her some slack.

Her summation is far more adroit than yours, and she’s been living a tragic week in the wake of Bobby Petrino’s escapades.

O/T: Sorry for your [and all Razorbacks'] loss this week, Tina. I never held it against Petrino that he couldn’t run the animal house in Atlanta, but he would have earned more respect from us Georgians if he had at least tried. Now we know beyond a doubt he is a moral coward. Best wishes to all who are trying to re-build marriages, lives and programs after this silly waste.

rwenger43 on April 13, 2012 at 2:40 PM

Points A: Conservatives understand liberal positions because liberal positions are the predictable expression of the worst in human nature: pessimism, irresponsibility, an attitude of blame.

Point B: Liberals don’t understand conservative positions because of Point A. When you’re negative and focused on blame all the time, you can’t see a way out. There’s a big difference between being positive and understanding the destructiveness of negativism, and being negative and thinking that’s all there is.

Being negative is being condemned to despair. Negativism can’t ever correct itself. The only alternative is accepting that you have to change. What conservatives know is that if you do, the opportunities on the other side are more than the wildest dreams of your imprisoned negative mind. Liberals discount that reality on faith.

J.E. Dyer on April 13, 2012 at 2:44 PM

I am not finding this on AEI’s website. Does anyone have a link.

Sammo21 on April 13, 2012 at 2:51 PM

So in the liberal perception, they like CONTROL and think conservatives work for KAOS.

Pardon me while I get my shoe phone….

WhatNot on April 13, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Best ironic chuckle of the week. Here we have a self-congratulatory post about “how well conservatives understand liberal thinking,” and here are a sampling of the comments:

Because they’re suffering from a mental illness?
Trafalgar on April 13, 2012 at 1:27 PM

There seem to be an awful lot of mindless zombies on the left who do whatever they’re told, regardless of logic.
teke184 on April 13, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Liberals not only don’t understand, they don’t care and have zero intellectual curiousity.
MORconservative on April 13, 2012 at 1:29 P

Liberalism really is nothing but a power grab or a soft headed desire to do good without knowing a damn thing about outcomes.
NotCoach on April 13, 2012 at 1:31 PM

4 Liberal women in particular are very closed minded and angry. The fact that so many are butt-angry may justify their anger.
bw222 on April 13, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Contemporary “liberalism” can be simply summed up as a deadly witches brew of statism and nihilism.
Dr. Carlo Lombardi on April 13, 2012 at 1:46 PM

1. Democrats vote Democrat because they’re heads are so firmly planted up their ass it’s unlikely that they’ll ever have another point of view.
monster_man on April 13, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Gee, you can really smell all the understanding of liberal opinions!

Drew Lowell on April 13, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Haven’t read all the comments so not sure if this point has been made: one of the reasons conservatives understand liberal positions better than vice versa is because most conservatives have been liberals at one time or another (i.e. late adolescence). Any liberal with any sense drifts to the right as they grow up and experience more of life. The reverse is rarely true, therefore very few liberals have actually been conservatives. When I need an insight into liberal naivity, I just channel the 18 year old me.

Sharke on April 13, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Trafalgar on April 13, 2012 at 1:29 PM

I thought of the same quote. Though it appears it may predate the great man but a couple years.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A7ois_Guizot#Quotes

Though the word ‘republican’, as used here, has all but reversed meanings over time. Much like ‘liberal’.

OBQuiet on April 13, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Gee, you can really smell all the understanding of liberal opinions!

Drew Lowell on April 13, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Oh you sure nailed them. Wow, just stunning.

And most (all?) of those posts had nothing to do with what a liberal’s opinion on a topic, but were mostly joking attempts to describe why leftists have such a narrow worldview.

strictnein on April 13, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Gee, you can really smell all the understanding of liberal opinions!

Drew Lowell on April 13, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Of course.it is difficult to nail down liars.

Your ideology is so f$&@ing awesome you have to lie and impugn to advance it.

tom daschle concerned on April 13, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Gee, you can really smell all the understanding of liberal opinions!

Drew Lowell on April 13, 2012 at 2:51 PM

There’s a big difference between understanding lsomebody’s position on an issue, and understanding why they hold those views. Or in a completely different sense (in the sense that you misuse it) being understanding of leftist’s desire to destroy western civilization one institution at a time. Leftists, despite criticizing conservatives for their lack of nuance, hold quite simplistic views of how the world works and are usually quite easy to understand.

Fenris on April 13, 2012 at 3:05 PM

What makes being a fiscal conservative so frustrating to me is that I feel like Conservatives are looking at the BIG picture, the long term, and liberals are looking at the immediate gratification. You can show me a sob story of a poor child, denied coverage for her cancer treatment, and say “How can you not want this person to get help?” But the question *I’m * asking is, what is going to happen in 5-10 years when there are no more doctors willing to work for peanuts, and this same person has to wait 6 months for a diagnostic test, not to mention treatment?

It’s like being the mean mommy of politics.

Violina23 on April 13, 2012 at 2:22 PM

To the proggies, your prediction is perfectly okay with them, as long as everyone gets the same treatment regardless of income. The performance of the healthcare system comes a distant second to their perception of equality.

Of course, as in every socialist system, the ruling elites will have a way around the bureaucracy that they force on the rest of us. They don’t really desire a classless system, they only want to replace the wealthy class with the ruling class.

slickwillie2001 on April 13, 2012 at 3:07 PM

liberals don’t know what they don’t know

But…but….but they know EVERYTHING. Just ask ‘em!

GarandFan on April 13, 2012 at 3:07 PM

Liberals don’t know WHY they hold the views they do.

Hard Right on April 13, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Bernie Goldberg already schooled me on this. Progressives believe they are straight down the center on all things, so any offset to the right is flirting with Nazi ideology and must be evidence of some mental disorder or palpable hatred.

swinia sutki on April 13, 2012 at 3:28 PM

Gee, you can really smell all the understanding of liberal opinions
Drew Lowell on April 13, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Excellent point: to the purely emotional mind, “understanding” means “agreeing.”

Those capable of objective realize that there can be a difference.

logis on April 13, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Or in a completely different sense (in the sense that you misuse it) being understanding of leftist’s desire to destroy western civilization one institution at a time. Leftists, despite criticizing conservatives for their lack of nuance, hold quite simplistic views of how the world works and are usually quite easy to understand.

Fenris on April 13, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Holy smokes, can you really be so entirely blind to your own irony!?

Of course “leftists” are “easy to understand” if you actually believe that the goal of American liberalism is “to destroy western civilization one institution at a time.” That sure is easy to understand! Ridiculously, absurdly false, mind you, but easy to understand!

And yet, in the very next sentence, you criticize “leftists” for “simplistic views of how the world works!”

Astonishing. You definitely win today’s prize.

Drew Lowell on April 13, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Holy smokes, can you really be so entirely blind to your own irony!?

Of course “leftists” are “easy to understand” if you actually believe that the goal of American liberalism is “to destroy western civilization one institution at a time.” That sure is easy to understand! Ridiculously, absurdly false, mind you, but easy to understand!

And yet, in the very next sentence, you criticize “leftists” for “simplistic views of how the world works!”

Astonishing. You definitely win today’s prize.

Drew Lowell on April 13, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Thank you, I accept. But you seem to misunderstand a bit: Not all liberals, just leftists or progressives. Progressives want every private institution and aspect of life be taken over by the government. Can you dispute this? It’s sort of their stated goal to change society, so you kind of have an uphill battle.

Fenris on April 13, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Gee, you can really smell all the understanding of liberal opinions!

Drew Lowell on April 13, 2012 at 2:51 PM

In this case, “understand” is used as a synonym for “comprehend”. Conservatives comprehend liberal opinions and thought processes and can predict how a liberal would answer a question. It doesn’t mean that conservatives agree with the liberal or sympathize with the liberal or support the liberal or want anything to do with the liberal or that point of view.

Based on the report of the study, liberals cannot comprehend the conservative point of view-the thought processes of the liberal are limited.

Happy to clarify that point for you.

talkingpoints on April 13, 2012 at 3:54 PM

The only stone cold “evil” people I’ve ever met.. I mean evil in the biblical sense.. not a shred of humaniy have all been hard left. The testing page Tina linked to.. one of the questions was striking..

How much do you agree with the following?..
If all “evil” people could be, wiped out… would that make the world a better place..

Is genocide Essentially ever justified?

No moral being could ever say yes in my view.. to commit a great evil to eliminate a perceived “evil” is a kind of ends justifies the means question which has no good answer.

I hold a conservative can understand the thinking of those who would choose genocide.. but never act that way themselves.. a liberal is often seduced into saying yes to the question,… because eliminating “evil” is a greater good right?

A conservative whether through his faith or through his moral compass knows intuitively, there is no walking back from using evil means to an end, no matter how good it seems to be at the time. Is it serving “good” to become “evil” to fight it?

I say no, under every circumstance.. I’ve known liberals who would have said yes, confident they are “responsible” enough to walk it back from evil…

Conservatives believe that man is flawed, and power corrupts, no matter how good the intentions..

a liberal?

Everyone I’v known would love to be absolute ruler for a day,.. with a ready list of those to be “removed”.. I’m not kidding.. “the ends justify the means”.. no real conservative in my view would be seduced by that simplistic view..

You can’t remove “evil” by becoming “evil”, you just replace one servant with another.

I’d love to know why liberals always think that they.. them,.. Liberals.. are so moral, that they could use evil once and walk away untainted,… when you know in your gut, that’s not possible.

mark81150 on April 13, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Dunning, meet Kreuger ….

TheLastBrainLeft on April 13, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Liberals keep on depicting conservatives as extremists, out of touch, etc when 50 years ago or so much of today’s conservative ideals would be considered moderate or mainstream. Maybe that’s because the liberal philosophy has drifted so far hard left since the early 60′s.

susandiane311 on April 13, 2012 at 4:11 PM

Gee, you can really smell all the understanding of liberal opinions!

Drew Lowell on April 13, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Actually, we must first pass it before we can smell it.

NapaConservative on April 13, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Not to cling to confirmation bias, but this study demonstrates exactly what I’ve been saying about liberals for years.

TheLastBrainLeft on April 13, 2012 at 4:19 PM

Drew Lowell on April 13, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Great, another liberal expert who draws his informed opinions from the easy banter of an anonymous comment thread..

Yeah, that’s really representative of conservatives insights.. no.. it’s representative of our displeasure of the road the left has been dragging the country kicking and screaming in for the last 70 years..

It’s the height of liberal hubris, that they always “assume” that progress (in any form) is automatically a good thing. Liberals have run virtually every major city in the US since WW II.. and they have produced generations of decadence, poverty, and decay..

and they then double down on decades of failure with a fevered desire to go national on healthcare..

mark81150 on April 13, 2012 at 4:29 PM

For all that liberals like to talk about conservative greed, it’s interesting that conservatives can content themselves with less money in exchange for other benefits whereas liberals seem blind to those benefits and just want the money.

When you think about it, this phenomenon is quite easy to understand.

What socio-economic groups do most liberals belong to? Very low income and very high income, correct?

For the very low income, they never had money to live comfortably. They often believe that if they only had that money their lives would be far better.

For the very high income, they have more than enough money to never worry about money for themselves. All they know is insane amounts of disposable income, so the concept of not being able to “afford a little more” to give in taxes is completely foreign to them. If they pay another 10% of their income, it still won’t have the least bit of impact on the lifestyle they live.

gravityman on April 13, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Gee, you can really smell all the understanding of liberal opinions!

Drew Lowell on April 13, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Yup – all right on target. I’d say all those quotes show a perfect understanding of libtards.

dentarthurdent on April 13, 2012 at 4:49 PM

What socio-economic groups do most liberals belong to? Very low income and very high income, correct?
gravityman on April 13, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Not any more. Liberalism started as with a handful of unproductive rich people, with very well warranted guilt complexes.

The welfare system they created fostered a huge mass of completely unproductive poor people.

Then the explosive growth of “civil” “service” “workers” unions created for the first time in human history an unproductive middle class — which today has become an unproductive upper middle class.

So liberals are all linked by a single common trait. But it’s not income level.

logis on April 13, 2012 at 5:00 PM

It is possible that to a conservative “fair” is a child’s concept. We feel silly using it as an adult because we know it has no definitive form. To demand fairness is to insist upon Santa.

Bear on April 13, 2012 at 5:36 PM

They Can’t Hear Us

They hear us just fine…they just speak an entirely different language and don’t understand a word we say.

Jaibones on April 13, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Gee, you can really smell all the understanding of liberal opinions!

Drew Lowell on April 13, 2012 at 2:51 PM

If I could smell it any better I’d need nose plugs.

…not that conservatives have a monopoly on this, by any means.

MelonCollie on April 13, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Conservatism is an intellectual exercise. Liberalism is limbic system feeling reaction.

This.

ugottabekiddingme on April 13, 2012 at 6:14 PM

If you can’t stop name-calling, then you can’t even hear what the other side is saying much less understand it.

EdmundBurke247 on April 13, 2012 at 6:25 PM

If you can’t stop name-calling, then you can’t even hear what the other side is saying much less understand it.

EdmundBurke247 on April 13, 2012 at 6:25 PM

“Who needs to hear what they’re saying? We already know they’re doubleplus ungood!”

“Isn’t that…feeling?”

“Shut up you communist-babykilling-welfare statist liberal.”

MelonCollie on April 13, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Conservatives understand liberal positions better because, at one point, even if it was when they were a baby, they were a liberal.

Babies and small children want things. They don’t understand how money or reality works, they just want things. And, if they don’t get them, they throw a tantrum. They are destructive and selfish. They are irresponsible. In other words, they are liberals.

Eventually, most of us grow out of that stage because we learn wisdom – we learn the value of a dollar, the value of work, we learn pride, (a modicum of) self-sufficiency and how cause and effect works. This makes us conservatives. We learn responsibility. For many people, this happens in their teens or twenties. For some people, it happens later. For some people, it never happens and they stay liberals all of their lives.

This is why conservatives understand liberal positions better; because we were all there at one point of our lives. They haven’t matured and/or grown out of liberalism as of yet, so they have no insight whatsoever into our positions. They’re just not there yet.

Theophile on April 13, 2012 at 9:28 PM

They don’t really have any “positions.”

Most leftists are leftists because:

A. They want society to sanction whatever vice they have
B. They want government to get back at somebody for them
C. They’re lazy/jealous
D. They crave power
E. White guilt
F. Utopian fantasies of youth that haven’t yet faced reality

Try and engage a leftist in an economic discussion… you will almost certainly get something about “the rich” and “greed” and “fairness”… then minorities, women and gays will somehow creep in as well… long before they get around to explaining how their chosen system actually is supposed to work in the real world.

Go ahead, I dare you.

mankai on April 13, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Very good summation! Bottom line, liberalism is rooted in emotional immaturity.

kg598301 on April 14, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Many of my relatives are confirmed liberals, and a trait they all share is constant complaining about everything and everyone in the world, except the weak and the failed… and themselves.

They hate success in any form, and are in love with failure. The successful make it difficult to attribute their own lack of it to bad luck, or the conspiracies of “the greedy”.

Failure one the other hand, confirms by its abundance that their own bad choices in life are widely shared, and thus excusable.

Actually they “love” the poor like an alcoholic “loves” booze – they need the poor and they enjoy them – there is no true love involved.

drunyan8315 on April 14, 2012 at 2:22 PM

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