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Presented By: Department of Political Science

The Ronald F. Inglehart Honorary Lecture 2022

Lecture by Professor Russell J. Dalton

In 2022 the WVSA introduced The Ronald F. Inglehart Honorary Lecture to commemorate the memory and scientific legacy of the Founder of the World Values Survey Prof. Ronald F. Inglehart. The 2022 lecture will be read by Prof. Russell J. Dalton.

Lecture Summary:

Social Modernization and Political Tolerance in America: The Untold Story

According to pundits and some scholars, the American public is deeply split into rival camps that intensely dislike each other and their political views. Many liberals don’t understand conservatives and project their worst images on them; many conservatives act similarly. Social media can sometimes seem like a war zone. Political intolerance and extremism seem rife among Americans.

However, much of this reporting misses the larger reality that most Americans do not live at the political extremes. Analyzing support for political tolerance over time, public opinion trends point to what some will view as a surprising finding. In line with Inglehart’s social modernization theory, political tolerance has steadily increased over the past forty years, including during the early years of the Trump administration. This untold story suggests a reassessment of the American public and the potential for democratic renewal.

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