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Liberals are more intolerant than conservatives

Stone.Cold.Krazy 2011/10/21 03:27:25
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Before anything else, let me quickly disclaim: I am not a conservative.

The very fact that I feel compelled to make this disclosure from the outset says something powerful. It says that I fear the consequences of writing this piece because, while not state-censored, the views I am about to express are strongly disfavored.

March on I must, though. I think there is a major problem in elite circles like this university, and it is a problem of intolerance. No, I’m not talking about intolerance toward the usual suspects — gays, minorities or women. I’m talking about an equally invidious but far more socially acceptable type of discrimination — against conservatives.

Conservatives and their sometimes-brethren, libertarians, have been driven underground in the top centers of learning, coastal capitals and the media. My very unscientific observation is that there are nary a dozen to be found here at Princeton. Of course, many haven’t come out of the closet yet, fearing social retribution. That’s because wherever they go, conservatives are vilified. Representative Gabrielle Giffords gets shot by a lunatic off his rocker this January; liberals blame the climate of hate created by Republicans, drawing a line between a random act of violence and the Arizona immigration law. (Never mind that Giffords personally had no nexus to Arizona SB 1070, that state’s odious anti-illegal immigrant law, which is currently under judicial review.) But out came a one-way torrent of vitriol. Just a few weeks later, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker received death threats for challenging public sector unions, but the media barely made a peep. Mind you, his only transgression was modestly chipping away at benefits bestowed on cosseted public workers. Liberals wept — not for Walker, but for the tragic plight of thumb-twiddling DMV workers and teachers banished to the rubber room.

Another example of liberal intolerance is that directed at Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Long a punching bag for our friends on the left, he most recently earned their displeasure for penning the majority opinion in Connick v. Thompson. Joined by four other justices, he denied a plaintiff millions in damages for prosecutor misconduct. The reasoning was plausible — or at least nothing out of the ordinary for a decidedly conservative court. Still, one tendentious analyst had no problem calling out Thomas for writing “one of the meanest opinions ever.” Other commenters on Slate magazine and elsewhere in the media picked up on cue and continued to excoriate Thomas’ credentials, idiosyncratic views and reticence during oral argument. And, yes, his race. Thomas does think differently from anyone else on the court and often sides with certain other justices. But there is nothing fundamentally wrong about his legal philosophy. What really offends liberals are his politics (and his politics, given his race), but they obfuscate with ad hominem attacks. Sadly, these do harm to the credibility of their positions. For those of us who are still open to persuasion, it’s kind of hard to entertain arguments that begin with “The other guy is a terrible human being.” When did we become so averse to differences in opinion?

A little closer to home, now. I’m in a class taught by a former political figure who is a Republican (gasp). After class last week, a classmate remarked to me that the instructor is “way too nice to be conservative.” I was taken aback, but I knew what he meant. Somehow, in the milieu of Princeton, there is a presumption that conservatives are anomic bloodsuckers and liberals saintly seraphs.

I do not have a theory explaining the ascent of liberal philosophy among the intelligentsia in the media and at elite universities. I do think the culture of intolerance persists in part because of the rise of political correctness. The term “political correctness” itself implies that there is a set of political values that are correct. An increasing PC consciousness hasn’t been all bad, but it has allowed liberals to propagate preferred viewpoints while driving others underground, ironically under the cloak of greater tolerance. This is precisely the chilling effect the court’s liberal lion Justice William Brennan warned against. Brennan was of course talking about law, and I talk about social norms. But they both can have the same chilling effects.

In closing, I can’t say for sure that conservatives are more tolerant on average than liberals. That certainly has been my experience. What is certain is that liberals hold themselves out as being more tolerant, while pharisaically denying a minority in their midst the ability to express dissenting viewpoints without fear of reprisal. This fact is deeply troubling. In the name of tolerance, I think we should look within and see if this is really the kind of liberal democracy we want.

Ashok Ayyar is a first-year graduate student in the Wilson School from New York, N.Y. He can be reached at aayyar@princeton.edu.

Read More: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2011/05/06/28509/

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Top Opinion

  • Paige 2011/10/21 03:31:51
    Agree
    Paige
    +11
    Shamed by the PC police for wanting our country back to its' roots..........

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  • Pug For Huck 2011/11/07 14:22:56
    Disagree
    Pug For Huck
    Crap, I hit the wrong button. i meant to say agree.
  • Todd *RP 2012* 2011/10/29 02:57:42 (edited)
    Disagree
    Todd *RP 2012*
    I get flaming hate from as many or more RWNJs here on sodahead than I do from LWNJs.

    In one poll they support me for my fiscally conservative views.

    In another they scream and slobber hate when I suggest that using to government to control people's lives is not conservative, but is in fact progressive. They get offended by that for some reason.
    Libertarians get hate from both sides.
  • seathanaich 2011/10/24 21:47:44 (edited)
    Disagree
    seathanaich
    As fiscal conservative who is socially conservative on some subjects, socially liberal on others, I find that on this site almost all of the intolerance is from US conservatives.

    Conservatism in the US seems to be on another planet compared to conservatism in Canada.
  • Andrew 2011/10/22 05:22:45
    Undecided
    Andrew
    Dunno
  • WhereIsAmerica? ~PWCM~JLA 2011/10/22 00:37:35
    Agree
    WhereIsAmerica? ~PWCM~JLA
    I have found this to be true in my experience with both sides, I am an Independent moderate in the middle of it all.
  • DFA 2011/10/22 00:34:41
    Disagree
    DFA
    Independents are intolerant of both.
  • Grace 2011/10/21 23:55:57
    Disagree
    Grace
    Thats BS.
  • bonehead15329 2011/10/21 19:23:26
    Agree
    bonehead15329
    This guy seems smarter than the average college kid.
  • twhiting9275 2011/10/21 17:04:53
  • mivic 2011/10/21 14:38:33
  • SocratesIII 2011/10/21 12:36:43 (edited)
    Agree
    SocratesIII
    I applaud your courage in coming out and denouncing liberals actions. Conservatives have known the nature of this beast for a long time. It started way back in the 20s and 30s when all the intelligentsia were espousing the great virtues of socialism and communism and even fascism compared to our own. It culminated in the 60s with the Summer of Love that is very similar to the OWS phenomenon. The liberals accomplished a coup and a fait accompli when they did an end run around conservatives in America to implement one liberal socialist program after another. The new math and english and science do not work and are an abysmal mark against liberalism itself. Rather than teach students the basic skills they need to succeed in America, they are indoctrinated into the socialist liberal progressive norm. If you don't toe the line; as a student or a professor or graduate, you will be punished with lower grades, job opportunities, pay raises and promotions.
  • tea for you 2011/10/21 09:56:19
    Disagree
    tea for you
    conservatism leads to Facism
  • Maynard tea for... 2011/10/21 11:46:28
    Maynard
    +2
    Typical liberal, I see YOU use a CAP for the word fascism,

    WHY?

    I have seen this for 3 years now, on the worlds WORST OF THE WORST and you all give the respect, fidel, hitler, che, mao, stalin, fascism, mcveigh and so on and so on.


    YOU ARE THE fascists you liberal lefty loons.
  • mivic Maynard 2011/10/21 14:42:24
    mivic
    Fascists with masks though
  • tea for... Maynard 2011/10/21 17:21:05
    tea for you
    I recent the word typical . Liberal facist is a oxy-moron . your familar with the word moron aren't you
  • Socrate... tea for... 2011/10/21 12:38:43
    SocratesIII
    +1
    I meet more Liberal Morons this way. meet liberal morons root for our side
  • tea for... Socrate... 2011/10/21 17:21:50
    tea for you
    you sound as if you have liberal envy
  • mary 2011/10/21 09:49:58
    Disagree
    mary
    No one is more intolerant than conservative Evangelical Republicans.. Ask Mitt Romney & the Mormons.. The
    conservative Evangelical Republicans only like very smart people like Sarah Palin or Rick Perry.. YES RICK PERRY & SARAH PA:LIN are the smartest conservative Evangelical Republicans in the world.. YOU BETCHA... PLEASE DO NOT VOTE FOR THESE REPUBLICAN FOOLS
  • atomikmom 2011/10/21 05:31:04
    Undecided
    atomikmom
    That's hard to say, because in their own ways they are both Pig-Headed
  • Barbara 2011/10/21 05:05:04
    Agree
    Barbara
    +2
    The saddest thing to me is that you felt a disclaimer was needed in your first paragraph, and the words "I fear the consequences of writing this piece" followed in the second one.

    Your post was very eloquently and concisely stated! Kudos!
  • reaper 2011/10/21 04:41:50
    Disagree
    reaper
    +2
    we just have a more wrong sense of humor. and besides, who are the ones more likely to dehumanize and call others un-american?
  • jeepster4 2011/10/21 04:35:17 (edited)
    Disagree
    jeepster4
    +1
    As a liberal college grad in the Mid West, who made a rather good living off of red necks and rural folks in the Middle and Southern part of this great country, sales you know, I'll assure you that you don't discuss religion or politics with the great unwashed. An ability to legitimately enjoy country music, hunting, booze, babes, NASCAR and guns will let you fit in with most Red Necks. Just don't admit to an equal enjoyment of the dance, opera and Formula One racing.. Keep the more liberal aspects of your id to yourself because conservatives have no tolerance for opposing views. This I've learned from a lifetime of associating with Conservatives. The only time we get to express an opinion, is behind the closed curtains of a voting booth.
  • The Black Dagger 2011/10/21 04:32:59
    Agree
    The Black Dagger
    +1
    They are not above becoming violent when they protest (of course, this will be spun as extremism). Don't believe me? Take away their entitlements and watch the fun begin. I see the OWS exploding soon, providing they do not perish first from the diseases cropping up due to their own filth.
  • Farnsworth 2011/10/21 04:24:22
    Agree
    Farnsworth
    +10
    Liberals tolerate all thought....as long as it matches theirs.
    Liberals tolerate all religions except Christianity.
    Liberals like jews.....as long as they donate to liberal candidates
    Liberals claim to protect the helpless......as long as it was born
    Liberals are against racism........as long as you are non white
    Liberals support America.........as long as it provides them with a handout.
    Liberals support the military......as long as they control it
  • Forever Browncoat 2011/10/21 04:10:26
    Agree
    Forever Browncoat
    +1
    Just listen to them speak in Congress, or, better yet, listen to 20 minutes of NPR and then 3 hours of The Dennis Prager Show. 3 hours and 5 minutes of solid proof right there.
  • Alex 2011/10/21 04:09:30
    Agree
    Alex
    +3
    They're big on "accepting" others so they can sleep better at night. There are liberals I personally know in my life that absolutely CANNOT STAND religion, conservative ideals, and the Tea Party.
  • Tim 2011/10/21 03:57:26
    Undecided
    Tim
    +2
    Universities the world over have always been, and probably always will be, bastions of liberal, even socialistic thinkers and opinions. There is nothing strange about that: most people are left-leaning radicals in their youth because that's the time when most don't have a brass razoo with which to bless themselves, and when their hearts, minds and souls are filled with idealistic good will to all people. It's usually only as we age and start to build on our careers, our wealth and our possessions that we start to become cynical, paranoid, even hypocritical, i.e., conservative; and the older we get, the more conservative most of us seem to become.

    I am surprised to read, however, of liberal leanings on the part of your media commentators, because here in Oz the opposite is the case: for every left-leaning commentator we probabaly have ten of the conservative breed.

    Maybe I should consider moving to the US to be able to read and listen to some refreshingly radical views?
  • david shiel 2011/10/21 03:55:40
    Agree
    david shiel
    +2
    Far and away.
  • santanasmooth 2011/10/21 03:41:24
    Disagree
    santanasmooth
    +4
    on what planet are you from?
  • JohnFit... santana... 2011/10/21 03:46:16 (edited)
    JohnFitzgeral12
    +4
    If you think this is far-fetched I think you should turn your question back on yourself.
  • santana... JohnFit... 2011/10/21 03:48:48
    santanasmooth
    +1
    Conservative I have talked to on this site, Anti gay, Anti Non Christian, Anti non white, if there is an Anti they are for it. Your right to belie what you want ends when it harms or offends someone else. So ya the list is long with the Cons i have encountered
  • JohnFit... santana... 2011/10/21 03:50:19 (edited)
    JohnFitzgeral12
    +5
    You should read my comment below.

    "Tolerance has nothing to do with acceptance. This is where liberals get tolerance all wrong."

    Either way, I can counter your argument with my own personal experience.
  • tomas 2011/10/21 03:40:52
    Agree
    tomas
    +5
    Agree. There is no question about that.
  • mg's haven~POTL~PWCM~JLA 2011/10/21 03:37:11
    Agree
    mg's haven~POTL~PWCM~JLA
    +4
    Who else would analize the hell out of a bully instead of letting teacher kick the kid out of class so they can do their job TEACH (nuff said)
  • JohnFitzgeral12 2011/10/21 03:36:34 (edited)
    Agree
    JohnFitzgeral12
    +5
    College drove me crazy. I vividly remember going up after class to discuss a point the professor had made during lecture. I presented a counter (in this case, the point could be proved empirically) and she told me to "Stop it!" I was astonished. All I was trying to do was provide another viewpoint, but she just wouldn't have it.

    Yes, in my experience, liberals are some of the most intolerant people on the planet. Tolerance has nothing to do with acceptance. This is where liberals get tolerance all wrong.

    By the way, take it easy on the thesaurus, Ayyar.
  • Paige 2011/10/21 03:31:51
    Agree
    Paige
    +11
    Shamed by the PC police for wanting our country back to its' roots..........
  • rightside 2011/10/21 03:28:55

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