opinion | The moral gulf that has opened between left and right is widening
Richard HananiaD., head of the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology and a former research fellow at the Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies in Columbia, says that
Women play a larger role in intellectual life, so we are leaning toward feminine norms regarding things like trade-offs between feelings and the search for truth. If these trends begin to reverse, we can call it the “masculinity” of the culture I suppose. The male-female divide is not synonymous with right/left, because the left in the previous generation was more masculine, I think gender relations in communist countries or the organized labor movement in the United States is at its peak.
The role of gender has been further complicated by the controversial and counter-intuitive findings set forth in “The gender paradox in STEM education” by Gigspert Stewit And David C. JerryProfessors of Psychology at the University of Essex and the University of Missouri.
The authors suggest the following:
Ironically, countries with low levels of gender equality have relatively more women among STEM graduates than countries with gender equality. This is a paradox, because the countries with gender equality are the ones that give girls and women more opportunities for education and empowerment, and generally encourage the participation of girls and women in STEM fields.
Assuming for the time being that this gender paradox is real, how does it affect politics and polarization in the United States?
in an email, Mohammad AtariHe is a graduate student in psychology at the University of Southern California and lead author of “Gender differences in moral judgments across 67 countriesHe noted that “some would argue that in more gender-equal societies men and women are more free to express their values regardless of external pressures to fit a pre-defined gender role,” suggesting a easing of tensions.
Shifting from gender to race, the nonpartisan Democracy Fund Voter Study Group this month released “racing apart: partisan shifts in racist attitudes over the past decade.” The study showed that
Democrats and independents’ positions on issues of identity differed significantly from Republicans between 2011 and 2020—including their positions on racial inequality, the police, the Black Lives Matter movement, immigration, and Muslims. Much of this difference stems from shifts among Democrats, who became more liberal during this period.
The murder of George Floyd produced a wave of racial sympathy, Robert Griffin Misha QassemAnd John Sides And Michael Tesler booksBut, they noted, survey data indicated that “this shift in attitudes was largely temporary. Weekly surveys from the UCLA Democracy Fund + Nationscape Project show that any combined changes have mostly evaporated by January 2021.”
Additional evidence suggests that partisan animosity between Democrats and Republicans is steadily worsening. In their August 2021 paper, “Cross-country trends in emotional polarization, ” Levi Boxell And Matthew Gentzko, both of which are economists at Stanford University, and Jesse M ShapiroProfessor of Political Economy at Brown University wrote:
In 1978, according to our calculations, the average rating of party members was 27.4 points higher than non-party members on the “feeling thermometer” ranging from 0 to 100. In 2020 the difference was 56.3, which means an increase of 1.08 standard deviations.
Their conclusion is that over the past four decades, “the United States has experienced the fastest growth in emotional polarization among the 12 OECD countries that we consider” — the other 11 countries being France, Sweden, Germany, Britain, Norway, Denmark, Australia, Japan, Canada, New Zealand and Switzerland.
In other words, whether we assess the current conflict-ridden political climate in terms of moral foundations theory, feminism, or the political group conflict hypothesis, the trends are not favorable, especially if the outcome of the 2024 presidential election is close.
If persistent anger, resentment, and denial among Republicans in the wake of the 2020 presidential contest are the precursors to the upcoming election, current trends, along with the politicization of election management by Republican state legislatures, suggest that the loser in 2024, Republican or Democrat, will not be defeated. .
It is clear that the forces that tear apart the political system are stronger than the forces that push for consensus.
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