Many liberals think that they’re smarter, more compassionate, and more sophisticated than conservatives — and they prance around as if they’re something special.

Many conservatives think that they’re more righteous, more upright, and more educated on economics than liberals — and they prance around as if they’re something special.

As as outsider, let me say, (1) such attitudes might make you feel warm and fuzzy, but they just seem silly and offensive to people outside your in-group and (2) you need to get out more, because political views don’t predict a person’s decency or honesty or intellect or knowledge.

Of course, many libertarians and Objectivists are guilty of the same kinds of offenses, including myself on occasion. Still, I try to avoid being smug just because I hold political beliefs that I regard as right. That way, I hope to actually reach people — to convince them to rethink their assumptions. And in return, I’ll check my own assumptions in face of a good argument or new evidence. The process is — or should be — a two-way street.

Mostly though, *le sigh*

P.S. This message was inspired by Greg Proops. Paul and I attended the live taping of his “Proopscast” last night. (That was accidental: we wanted to hear him do stand-up comedy.) The episode isn’t yet posted, but it will be soon, I imagine. Parts were funny, but the smug liberal shined through a bit too brightly at times.

  • c_andrew

    On the other hand, I had one interlocutor end an argument like this, “You really think you’re RIGHT, Don’t You?!” Baffled, I asked “Are you in the habit of holding to and defending positions you think are wrong?”

  • James

    I’ve had this problem with skeptics and atheists. They think they’re smarter than theists, because they’re atheists. The real problem arises when they try to convince theists of anything. These atheists don’t read anything by the theists, because they’re so much smarter than the theists that they can’t possibly learn anything from them! These atheists also seem to be in the habbit of telling theists what they believe, often in the form of “Well, you’re not REALLY a Christian, because you don’t follow [insert obscure Bible quote here].” Even suggesting that such people read what their opposition has to say on some topic instigates truly awe-inspiring flame wars on some forums. Why do we need to know what the other side says? Obviously we’re smarter, so obviously they have nothing to teach us! We will convince them by our sheer overpowering superiority, never mind the fact that we’ve not bothered to learn what their arguments are, much less address them!

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