Are your political views always right?
Kaitlin Toner and Mark Leary
The more extreme a person’s views are, “the more they think they are right,” said psychologists Kaitlin Toner and Mark Leary. In a new study, we’ve found that both hard-line conservatives and extreme liberals have a strong sense of “belief superiority,” with disdain for everyone who doesn’t share their views.
People with moderate views, on the other hand, didn’t think their opinions were the only ones with any merit. They supported a “middle of the road” approach to solving problems, rather than seeking ideological purity. For example, moderates believe that abortion should be legal in some but not all circumstances, while right-to-lifers and pro-choicers insist on either a total ban or total legality. The phenomenon of “belief superiority” explains why so many of today’s intensely partisan pundits, politicians, and even commenters on online articles sound so smugly confident of their views, and so certain that the other side is 100 percent wrong—and even evil.
It also explains why the politicians they elect to Congress are now so deadlocked in partisan rancor. If your views alone are valid, why compromise—or even bother to talk to the idiots on the other side?