Can education make liberals less tolerant?

28 May

Following up on May 18th’s post on Jonathan Haidt’s TED talk, Haidt was on KQED’s Forum yesterday talking about his book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion (http://www.kqed.org/a/forum/R201205241000).

One snippet that caught my attention: Haidt suggested that well-educated conservatives are more likely to encounter and therefore have to learn to engage with people who are ideologically different from them (read: liberals) in their social and professional circles, than are well-educated liberals. In other words, educationally elite liberals are more likely to remain within-group ideologically, and are more prone to lacking the experience, skills and practice of getting along with people who don’t think like they do (read: conservatives).

Of course, we’re all more complex than just our political orientation, but it’s interesting to consider the privilege of being ideologically liberal as an educated person in the US.

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