It’s no Longer Right vs. Left. It’s Closed vs Open Society

I’ve been puzzled by conservative backing for Donald Trump. Donald Trump is a lot of things, but a conservative he is not. Then I read an article in The Economist that opened my eyes to the new political divide. It is no longer between conservatives and liberals. Today’s political divide is between those who want a closed society and those who want society to be open. This change in the political divide has not only occurred in the United States but across much of Europe as well.

If you want a closed society, you will be anti-immigrant, anti-globalization, against religions other than your own, oppose economic change, and have a sense that your racial group has been wronged. You want to build a fence (or a wall) around your society to keep out outside influences. These are views preached by Donald Trump.

If you are in favor of an open society, you will thrive in a diverse environment, welcome the views and customs of other groups, believe that immigration is a good thing, and be open to religious and political views that differ from yours.

It is no wonder, then, that the less education a person has, the more likely that person is to favor a closed society. If you have worked 20 years in a coal mine or on a factory assembly line and your job disappears due to change, you are ill-equipped to cope with the new circumstances. It does no good for someone to tell you that you should learn to write computer code. You have no background to do that. If you have no more than a high school education and are stuck in a low-paying service job, you have little chance of advancing. The less education a person has, the less able that person is equipped to cope with change.

On the other hand, the better educated are used to jumping from job to job and changing careers multiple times in their careers. They have the intellectual tools to quickly learn new skills. Today’s financial adviser may be part of a management team in a high-tech company next year. The more educated a person is, the more likely that person is to favor an open society, because the person is not only equipped to handle change, the person thrives on it.

I’ve just skimmed the surface in this post. If you’d like to read a long article on the concept, here’s a link to the Economist article:…nst-closed-new.

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