Political disagreements are infamous for being a huge waste of time, frustrating and a great way to lose friends.
In your head you have the most airtight logical-emotional case for your political position, you even do a little (or a lot) of Googling to collect some statistics and hard data to support your position.
But all of this just falls on dead ears. Despite all your facts, your statistics and relevant anecdotes they just will not move an inch from their position. They are so willfully ignorant, so downright, dogmatic!
Professor Robb Willer of Stanford University suggests that the reason we are so ineffective at communicating across the political divide is the liberals and conservatives have different fundamental moral values, that break down kind of like this…
Protection from harm
Loyalty & Patriotism
Respect for Authority
Purity & Morality
We almost always argue based upon the these underlying values. For example, liberals almost always argue for gay marriage based upon equality and conservatives argue for decreasing the welfare state because they want people to have strong work ethic. People are willing to fight for, die for or even kill for their fundamental values. Argueing against the fundamental values of someone you will always run into a psychological brick wall. If the fundamental value underlying your argument is meaningless to the person you are trying to convince you’re not going to accomplish much. It’s like a Spanish speaker trying to convince someone who only speaks Russian of something.
Next time you find yourself in a political debate with someone who’s on the other side of the fence, try to make your argument appeal to their underlying values. For example; take this question…
Should all citizens of our country be required to speak English?
How would you formulate an argument supporting your position on this issue in terms that appeal to the underlying values of people on the opposite side of the ideological divide? Let me know in the comments below!
Try this next time you get drawn into a political debate!