The shocking intolerance of the left.
“Tolerance” is, supposedly, one of the supreme virtues of modern society. But what does it mean, exactly?
Oxford defines “tolerance” as “the willingness to accept or tolerate someone or something, especially opinions or behavior that you may not agree with, or people who are not like you”. Merriam-Webster, the preferred American reference agrees.
Tolerance is not just liking certain groups, even if they’re different from you. A non-Muslim who indulges Islam yet violently attacks Christianity, is not tolerant. They’re a religious bigot. If someone likes black people yet despises white people (notwithstanding, as is often the case, their own blinding whiteness), they’re not tolerant. They’re a racist. If you reject a friend solely on account of their political beliefs, you’re intolerant.
Just as “anti-racism” is the foundational belief of the modern left, tolerance is supposedly their cardinal virtue. “Bigot”, the antonym of tolerant, is one of the deadliest insults in the leftist lexicon.
But the fact is that the left are anything but tolerant.
Anyone of a conservative (or less-than fervently leftist) bent who uses social media has experienced it: leave a dissenting comment on a left-wing site and you’re immediately bombarded with abuse – and the outraged demand to know why a conservative is even on a left-wing site.
Then you’re blocked.
Engage in what you think is a friendly discussion with left-wing friends and you’re greeted with, not just disagreement, but legitimate fury. Disbelief. Indignation that you would dare even hold a different opinion to them.
Then you’re un-friended and blocked.
You might be inclined to think that these are just anecdotes, but the evidence from a raft of surveys bears out your experiences.
The left don’t just disagree with you, they hate you for disagreeing with them.
Survey after survey after survey shows that left-wing social media users are almost completely averse to hearing opposite opinions, while right-wingers have a marked tendency to seek out (though certainly not necessarily agree with) difference.
Analytics company Statsocial analysed Twitter users and found that conservative Twitter users were far more likely to follow well-known liberals (indeed, the fact that conservatives even use Twitter, a platform dominated by and actively curated for the left, shows their relative open-mindedness). CNN’s Jake Tapper’s Twitter following is weighted 60-40 to the right. On the other hand, Fox’s Bret Baier, who is renowned even among journalists as a non-partisan, good, old-fashioned straight-shooting hard news reporter, has only a 25% left-leaning following.
Michael Hussey of Statsocial puts it bluntly: “People on the Left are more insular. They’re less interested in others’ opinions.”
Not just uninterested, but violently opposed. During Australia’s same-sex marriage plebiscite, some of my Yes-voting friends on social media were openly demanding to know how everyone voted, so they could un-friend and block No-voters. Rebecca Roache, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, proudly declared, after the 2015 UK election, that she was actively trawling her friends list and ditching everyone she suspected of voting Conservative.
Once again, Pew Research, YouGov and others bear out the anecdotes with hard data, finding that left-wingers were far more likely to block and unfriend someone they disagreed with.
As a result of their intolerant insularity, left-wingers are less likely to even have friends who hold different opinions than theirs’.
But left-wingers’ intolerance goes much further even than that. As conservative YouTuber Sydney Watson found, when she moved to Washington DC, right-wingers in left-leaning cities will find it hard to even rent an apartment. “No Irish, no blacks, no dogs” has been replaced by “No conservatives”.
In fact, a commonly-used indicator of racism is a stated reluctance for ones family to marry a member of other racial groups. Widening this definition to bigotry in general, several surveys have found that leftists are more likely to be dismayed if their children married a conservative. Left-wingers are also markedly more inclined to not even want conservatives as neighbours, friends or co-workers.
If tolerance is a moral virtue, then the evidence is undeniable: the left fail that test. Their towering sense of their own unimpeachable goodness is a lie.
Let’s be clear, here: I don’t actually think the left are morally deficient. I’m interested in what they have to say, if only because, as J. S. Mill said, “the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth [is] produced by its collision with error”. As Mill also argued, if the left are right about something, then I’ve learned something I otherwise would not. Leftists are in no such danger.
But the evidence is clear: the left are not tolerant in the least.