The great disconnect
The Globe and Mail of Canada presents a lot of polling data showing how the people of the United States have grown more progressive in nearly every area of public policy, and on most measures of cultural significance as well.
And, as we have noted, conservatives have worked hard for decades to impose conservative policies on the nation even as this liberal greening has continued. This is a recipe for disaster.
Americans are more liberal and tolerant than ever. Too bad about their institutions
…Those aren’t cherry-picked figures: It is hard to find any area of values or beliefs where Americans haven’t become sharply more liberal. The New York University sociologist Michael Hout recently examined 50 years of surveyed attitudes and beliefs around 283 issues, and found that on only 5 per cent of issues had Americans become more conservative. They became more liberal on the big ones: racial tolerance, the rights of homosexuals, women, religious minorities and atheists…
Here we see the problem Americans face: As a big majority of them have become more tolerant, their governing and legal institutions have been captured by a fringe minority who are very much not so. It’s as if the overall climate has improved, but today’s weather is terrible….
That’s led to the catastrophic recent decisions that have contradicted not only conventional readings of the Constitution but the beliefs of most Americans. The decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The decision to strike down New York’s restrictions on the outdoor carrying of firearms. The decision to allow required prayer in school settings, in spite of a Constitution that explicitly forbids a state role in religion…