Political disagreements between couples

Someone recently sent me a copy of a book titled "I love you but I hate your politics", by psychiatrist Jeanne Safer.  90% Of the book is a series of stories about conflicted couples:  What they did and why. And for many of the couples there were some improvements in their attitudes towards one-another after discussions with Safer.

The stories were almost all about very liberal women who suddenly found that their men liked Donald Trump.  That caused the ladies to dissolve in fury while the men mostly remained calm. Both partners usually made an effort to convert the other to their POV but none of them succeeded.

So the challenge was cohabitation. How could the lady find a way to live with a man whose political preferences were to her the embodiment of evil?  In the final pages of the book a number of sensible strategies were suggested but the conclusion was overall a sad one. Both sides had to put out of their minds thoughts that were important to them.

And in some instances no hope was possible.  A person with certain strong conservative opinions was simply a flawed character who must simply be deserted and avoided.  Some conservative opinions placed the person as a fundamentally bad person whom nothing could save

I imagine that liberal women reading the book will be comforted to see that that there are many other women like themselves and that, with effort, a conservative spouse can be lived with in moderate peace if he has other good characteristics.

My own experience has been nothing like anything in the book.  I have been married four times with lots of "try before you buy" in between the marriages.  And almost all of the women concerned have at the outset had some degree of feminist convictions.

I had the advantage however of being a libertarian/conservative  so I was almost always able to explain my views by reference to generally agreed values -- the importance of individual liberty, for instance.  And I have yet to find a woman who can answer "Yes" to the question: "Is it fair to take money off someone who has earned it and give it to someone who has not earned it?" That question strikes at the whole heart of liberalism and makes it clear that a conservative viewpoint has some point and some merit and some morality

So just by putting forward clear arguments in a peaceful and non-aggressive way, I was almost always able to get the lady to be at peace with my political views.  Mostly in fact they moved their views distinctly in my direction.  None of the women concerned were however ferociously political -- like the angry ladies described in the book.  That may be in part due to the fact that Australia is a much more relaxed country than the USA.

I would however like to meet one of those fierce American ladies.  I think that by calmly and with good humor getting them to consider the basis of their beliefs I could get them to  arrive at a much milder and more tolerant version of them. It worked for Socrates and it works for me. All you need really is to use common conservative talking points and ask the lady why they are wrong.  Because conservatives have reality on their side while Leftism is just emotionalism, there is some hope that reality may eventually intrude on the lady's mind. You just have to know your facts

Where the need for their liberal beliefs is strong, however, not much change can be expected.  They need to hang on to those beliefs. And the ladies who consulted with a psychiatrist about the evil in their husbands are surely a self-selected sample of women who badly need their political beliefs.  It is not uncommon for friends and partners to have different political views but in most cases it is tolerated as a minor quirk in the other.

So why were the ladies in Safer's sample so rage-filled?  It was almost certainly an inborn disposition.  Leftism generally is anger-fueled.  As all the surveys show, conservatives are the happy people, which leaves most Leftists as unhappy people.  And there is a large body of evidence showing that your level of happiness/unhappiness is pre-set and varies from that pre-set level only rarely and is not much influenced by events.

So liberal beliefs perform an important function.  They validate the anger that the person feels.  So when someone comes along and strikes powerfully at liberal beliefs -- as Donald Trump does -- that is very upsetting.  It challenges you whole rationale for understanding yourself.  No wonder he evokes such widespread rage.

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