We are all crossed by biases. We all tend to tribalism. To fall in love with ideas that form the foundations of our tall, beautiful and fragile castle of cards. Naturally, we are all intolerant of outgroup members (and all the ideas that come from there).
The difference is that smarter people have more sophisticated tools to spell out justifications for such intolerance. It doesn’t matter what your political point is: if you are smarter you can probably be more Machiavellian when it comes to displaying your intolerance .
Liberals and Conservatives
This is what a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests. Specifically, it states that conservative Americans are ideologically more intolerant than liberals, because the former are more politically sophisticated .
As the authors explain:
High cognitive ability allows individuals more cognitive resources, which makes them better able to reason about and justify their political ideology. From this perspective, cognitive ability influences ideological intolerance because those with higher cognitive ability are likely to have greater political sophistication than those with lower cognitive ability and, as a result, are more likely to trust their ideology when forming attitudes towards it. ideological exogroup, which makes the difference with the external group more prominent.
This relationship between ideology and exogenous intolerance also seemed to be influenced by extremism. Among both conservatives and liberals, extreme ideological views were linked to greater intolerance towards outsiders .
The researchers note that when comparing the data from the two studies conducted based on surveys, it appeared that the dislike of outside groups was much higher in the recent sample from the 2010s compared to the sample from the 1980s, which which probably reflects the greater polarization of American politics .
For this reason, there are also more examples of liberticide , both on one side and the other. Nobody pursues true freedom of expression. There are always ideological red lines, sanitary cordons, cultural cancellations, even assassinations or assaults. There is always some faculty that does not want, by force, that a speaker present their ideas because they consider that their ideas are monstrous.
For this reason, in all countries, and until a very few years ago, it was normal for genocide to be defended by intellectuals of international stature. Right now we live in a strange time where a minimum percentage of people believe that everyone should say theirs, and that in the event that two rights collide, we must ensure that freedom of expression prevails.
Perhaps that small percentage will disappear again shortly. Let’s do everything possible so that it doesn’t happen. So that some do not think that others are spoonfuls and that they deserve censorship, jail, cancellation or sanitary cordon. So that at least a small percentage of people don’t think that the solution to a perfect world is to eliminate those you don’t like :