Because they mischaracterize their motivations - Science Asks: Why Can't We All Just Get Along?
Jonathan Haidt is a psychologist at the University of Virginia. He's also Reason magazine's cover boy this month. He has been working on a big project that asks these questions:He has conducted a survey inquiring what values motivate different political persuasions, and written a book "The Righteous Mind" about the results. One of which explains the animosity that many liberals have to conservatives; he asked liberals to pretend to answer questions as conservatives (and vice versa):
Why do people disagree so passionately about what is right?
Why, in particular, is there such hostility and incomprehension between members of different political parties?
The biggest errors in the whole study came when liberals answered the care and fairness questions while pretending to be conservatives. When faced with statements such as "one of the worst things a person could do is hurt a defenseless animal" or "justice is the most important requirement for a society," liberals assumed that conservatives would disagree.The usual caveats about social science and statistics apply, of course, but the finding has the ring of truth. Often, when I express a conservative thought to a liberal, they come back with some variation of the "Why do you hate X" argument (often, X being the environment). Of course, I don't hate X, I simply think that the liberals solution is not the one that leads to the best outcomes.
I do not assume that liberals (at least most liberals) have malice in their hearts, and desire bad outcomes most of the time. I assume their motives are pure, but their means are suspect.