Liberals or conservatives: Who’s really close-minded?
Conservatives understand their ideological opposite numbers far better than do liberals.

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  • To be #conservative and close-minded, according to popular portrayal, is a redundancy

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  • #Conservatives understand their ideological opposite numbers far better than do #liberals. – Andrew Biggs

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  • #Liberals or #Conservatives: Who’s really close-minded?

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To be “close-minded” is, according to the dictionary, to be “intolerant of the beliefs and opinions of others; stubbornly unreceptive to new ideas.” To be conservative and close-minded, according to popular portrayal, is a redundancy—a package deal that liberals can and do take for granted.

But University of Virginia Professor Jonathan Haidt’s new book The Righteous Mind doesn’t simply suggest that conservatives may not be as close-minded as they are portrayed. It proves that the opposite is the case, that conservatives understand their ideological opposite numbers far better than do liberals.

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.)

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Andrew G. Biggs is a resident scholar at AEI.

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