Open-minded or Just Outnumbered?

August 3, 2011
Posted by Jay Livingston

Tyler Cowen links to a Financial Times article about and gives the money quote, which quotes the engineer:
“Conservatives are far more open to reaching out to someone with a different point of view than a liberal is.” That is, when it comes to looking for love, conservatives are more open-minded than liberals.
The article provides no data or details, but I wonder whether the Match brains take into account the numbers of liberals and conservatives in the pool. If conservatives are in the minority, it may be simple math that makes them appear more open minded. If they remain closed-minded, compared to their liberal counterparts, they will have less chance of success.

In addition, if the liberal-conservative ratio is way out of balance, even a random matching will make the conservatives seem more open minded. By analogy, suppose that a population is 90% orange and 10% purple. No matter how many orange-purple matches occur, the rate of linking up with someone of a different color will be much higher for the purples. Unless all matches are same-color, the purple minority will seem more “open-minded.”

The president herself says something that supports this idea that those with fewer kindred spirits wind up becoming more open-minded.
I might come in and say I’m looking for a nice Catholic guy between 30 and 40 who is non-married. But after weeks of looking at people, I might get an e-mail from a guy who has kids, and I might accept that.


brandsinger said...

So - with your explanation of pragmatism - you accept the finding that conservatives are more open-minded than liberals. For once we agree.

Bob S. said...

Is it ironic that the liberal doesn't seem to be very open to the idea that conservatives may be more open minded then liberals?

brandsinger said...

Liberals are famous for trying to squelch opposition speech (e.g. political correctness, speech codes on campus, campaign finance laws that restrict free speech, the so-called fairness doctrine in media, etc.).

Personal experience: When I was a leftist, I found conservatives eager to engage in robust political discourse. Now that I've moved to the right, liberals just get livid and call me names!