Liberals regularly pat themselves on the back for being “open-minded” and “tolerant.” They also regularly call conservatives narrow-minded, bigoted, and inflexible. Well, there’s a new Pew Research study that flatly contradicts both of these characterizations. And this study draws from a most unexpected source: Facebook statistics.
It turns out that self-labeled “consistent liberals” are more likely than “consistent conservatives” to unfriend someone who disagrees with them. As The Daily Signal reports:
A new Pew Research study concludes that “consistent liberals” are the most likely ideological group in America to block or defriend someone else because they disagree with that person’s politics.
“Roughly four-in-10 consistent liberals on Facebook have blocked or defriended someone because they disagreed with something that person posted about politics,” write the authors of the study, titled “Political Polarization and Media Habits.”
In other words, even though liberals say they are more open-minded and tolerant, they are more likely than conservatives to cut off any voice that disagrees with them on politics.
Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t. The myth of liberal tolerance, like so many other urban legends, has been very hard to kill. Mostly because it is based on a complete misunderstanding of what tolerance actually is.
To be clear, tolerance is not the ability to love very many different things. That’s the liberal version of tolerance, to be sure, but it is false where it counts the most. Tolerance, according to the dictionary, is “the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.” Tolerance’s Middle English lingual roots indicate bearing or enduring pain. To be tolerant is to be long-suffering.
So you don’t show tolerance by the quantity or number of different things that you love. You show tolerance by your ability to put up with things you hate. If you can’t even bear to have the opposing views of your friends show up on your Facebook feed, you do not deserve to call yourself tolerant.
In an odd twist, the one with the greatest potential for showing tolerance is the person who opposes the most things. The Greatest Opposer who still shows courtesy and charity to the people he opposes is, by definition, the most tolerant person in the world.
Liberals may be a great many things. But tolerant isn’t one of them. May we retire this tiresome lie now?