Liberals aren’t as unique as they think

A new study explains why liberals have more trouble with each other.

Research has shown that liberals tend to think of themselves as more unique from their peers than they really are. Conservatives tend to think of themselves as more similar to their peers than they really are.

It’s a tantalizing explanation for the apparent difficulty in left-wing movements coalescing, while conservatives clump together disturbingly easily.

It matches with my observation of the easy “oppositionality” of left-wing people. They seem to readily find or create differences between them and their peers, as well as anyone else.

It has been noted that the New Zealand Labour Party is regularly riven with factions. In contrast, while differences of opinion exist within the National Party, they hold together.

The researchers think the findings explain the difficulty of the “Occupy” movement in finding common ground. The Tea Party, in contrast, has held together remarkably well despite a disparate and self-selected membership.

What is most fascinating is the suggestion that ideology is actually based on ego. The liberal ego is wants to be different from others. The conservative ego wants to be more like others.

So is politics, and difference, all in the mind?

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