Spot-on observation by Danial Hannan, conservative member of Parliament, in the Washington Examiner. Hannan writes, “to a greater degree than most of us care to admit, our political leanings are expressions of our character traits, and are not dependent on empirical data:”
If you start from the conviction that you’re standing up for the underdog, you will naturally assume that your political opponents are for the powerful. You will subliminally screen out evidence that challenges that view. As Danusha Goska put it in American Thinker not long ago, “Never, in all my years of leftist activism, did I ever hear anyone articulate accurately the position of anyone to our right. In fact, I did not even know those positions when I was a leftist.”
Do rightists also caricature their opponents? Yes, but not to anything like the same extent. A 2012 study by Jesse Graham, Brian A. Nosek and Jonathan Haidt asked conservatives and liberals to answer a series of questions as themselves, and then to answer them in the imagined personae of a typical conservative and a typical liberal. It found that the liberals were the least able to accurately to guess their opponents’ views, seeing conservatism as a kind of moral failure.
They’re not playing to the gallery. They’re not sloganizing. They genuinely believe that we conservatives went into politics because we hate the poor.
Read the whole thing. As Hannan writes, “In all the years I’ve been in politics, I’m not sure I’ve shaken a single socialist out of the ‘you conservatives hate poor people’ shtick. The only way to answer, I’ve found, is to say: ‘Yup, you’re right: we want to turn them into rich people.'”
But then they would be evil. Unless they were Democrats.