For most people, discussion is an acceptable way to exchange ideas and evolve their personal worldview. Discussion is great when it comes to friends sitting down to booze and politics, or if it’s between politically polar opposites coming together in good faith. Even if there is a propensity to hold onto our pet ideologies, entering the ring of discussion (not necessarily debate) means you respect your opponent enough to listen and they respect you enough to do the same, to a degree, in theory. Even some liberals want to discuss things with impartiality. Conversely, some conservatives do not.
In my opinion, it has little to do with particular leaning, but psychological personality.
To someone with narcissism, there is no such thing as a political discussion in good faith. A narcissist chooses political affiliation as a matter of identifying with the right demographic and less about planning the structure of society. So, when they are thrown rebuttals or contrary opinions, it causes narcissistic injury followed by narcissistic rage. Liberals tend to feel this rage by an injury to their personal image as societal savior, while conservatives tend to feel this rage at the injury to a secondary source, their narcissistic supply, i.e. their national identity.
And while I just tried to appeal to the middle ground by bringing both liberals and conservatives into the battle, there is just no beating around the bush that today’s politically correct left (not necessarily the Marxist revolutionaries of the past) embody the concept of identity politics and narcissism more so than your average conservative. When these leftists plead for a nation-wide “discussion” after a crisis, they aren’t doing it in good faith for three main reasons:
1: Their views are driven by personal ego rather than any intellectual foundation. Advocating for social justice is less about actual fairness and more about how to appear more not racist then other leftists (yes, the awkward wording is intentional). The whole charade is a status display – political peacocking. Thus, they take any disagreement personally as an attack on their ego. Ask yourself this: would a leftist really go into an honest discussion knowing that they might have to undergo an existential crisis in the process? Newp.
2: Because of their university education, they have a hyper-inflated confidence that their worldview is the correct one. Every teacher told them so, and all their friends from the university agree. I mean, they wouldn’t teach it if it wasn’t rigorously studied, right? They believe that if your arguments aren’t supported by academia, then your views are part of the ignorant, unwashed masses. So what would the leftist with a degree in useless have to learn from you? Nothing. Their “discussion” can only be one-sided, with them thinking they hold the torch of knowledge.
3: They have access to your ejection seat. Say something they don’t like and they’ll terminate the conversation with ad hominems of racism/sexism/privilege. The “discussion” is entirely under their control; it is not two parties coming together in ideological synthesis and mutual respect, but someone coming to convert the unbelievers.
Taken together, these leftists don’t come into a discussion with the assumption that their worldviews will be changed. Every Elliot Rodger equivalent that goes on a shooting spree sparks another “discussion” about gun control, or misogyny, or masculinity, but it’s telling that leftists aren’t content with the discussion not going their way.
Looking at it from a psychological standpoint, the fortress of solitude that defends their ego is marvelously effective. The way their neurological programming forwards political and social causes, entwining them with a broken self’s twisted desires, is almost a work of art. A super villain could not have orchestrated a better mind-control scheme.
And yet, I don’t think it’s a problem with the left per se. In some alternate dimension, I’m sure the religious right’s narcissism could be just as destructive. The root of the social messiah complex is the inability for these people to find solace with their inner selves. They cannot be content with the world because they aren’t content with their person, and so the distorted ideologies conform to their broken psychologies. Take away the narcissism and the left reverts to old liberalism and the right to traditionalism, and, without psychopathology, the political spectrum would be far easier to work with.
For that to happen, however, people of all ages would need to grow up.