I've suggested before that conservatives tend to have a very poorly developed theory of mind when it comes to liberals -- that is, they seem to be very bad at understanding how liberals actually think. It's something I ponder because as a liberal who purports to write about how conservatives think, it's good to stay pretty humble about my capacity to genuinely understand the psychology of the other side.
We know from looking back over the decades that Kennedy’s sudden death cast a long shadow over American life, which I have tried to describe. Many of us thought that the terrorist attacks of 9/11 would also have great consequences for the way Americans looked at politics, the parties, and national security. In particular, some felt that the attacks might drive out of our politics the tone of anti-Americanism that had been a key feature of the American Left from the 1960s forward. That did not really happen. The liberal movement today remains far more the product of the 1960s than of the terrorist attacks and their aftermath. Indeed, the terrorist attacks now seem to have had very little effect on the thinking of American liberals who view the war on terror and the war in Iraq through the lenses of the Vietnam War. That is not true of conservatives. In that sense, the terrorist attacks have simply deepened the divide between liberals and conservatives. What is surprising, then, is what little enduring effect the terrorist attacks have had, particularly for liberals.Honestly, for the longest time I thought that conservatives were smarter than this, that they didn't actually believe this garbage but merely used it for their own political gain. But I'm starting to think that they really do believe it. These are ostensibly intelligent people, getting paid to write books about this stuff. And they really have no idea.