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  • Norman Young

We Could All Use a Little Less Tolerance


Are Liberals more tolerant than Conservatives? Or is it the other way around? Are rural Trump-supporters more tolerant than Democratic urban elites? Or does tolerance positively correlate with metropolitanism? An article in the Atlantic purports to give a scientific breakdown of political partisanship across America. At least one mainstream conservative pundit latched onto the results of the study in order to assert that "educated white Liberals" are the least tolerant people in America. But does the data really support that conclusion?

I'm afraid I must burst my fellow conservative’s bubble, here. It is not possible to determine which groups or political parties are more tolerant by using studies like this. The word “tolerance” is simply too fuzzy. According to different definitions and usages of the term, both sides of the aisle are tolerant and intolerant to varying degrees.

Democrats—especially progressives—pride themselves on tolerance, and their pride is not misplaced. For them, “tolerance