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ARE 'LIBERALS' SMARTER - ???-(Put simply, conservatives are smarter.)

JoeBtfsplk 2012/02/14 13:10:20
Every teacher knows that one can make any group of kids look smart just by altering the content of the test. That is what's behind several studies purporting to show that liberals are smarter than conservatives.

Using data from previous studies in Britain, researchers at Brock University in Canada claim to have discovered a relationship between IQ scores and political orientation. The study suggests that persons of lower IQ choose to be conservatives because conservatism opposes change and is thus "safer" for those who are slow to adapt. Not only that, the researchers find that conservatives, being persons of low intelligence, are less tolerant, less original, and less open-minded than others.

In a separate study, Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics purports to have found that highly intelligent people tend to identify themselves as liberals and atheists. Researchers suggest that the link may reflect "evolutionary forces," as smarter humans advance the species with "new thinking," or it may result from smarter individuals competing for status by embracing unconventional and "advanced" ideas.

There are several fallacies, I believe, behind both of these studies. Intentionally or not, the "questions asked" -- in this case, IQ tests from as long as forty years ago that measure a subset abstract intelligence but nothing else -- were selected to arrive at the result that libs are smarter.

In fact, on all measures of practical intelligence and performance, conservatives would seem to be brainier.

Standard IQ tests have never been a very good predictor of success because they fail to measure a broad range of mental aptitudes -- everything from mechanical ability to social skills and emotional stability. Many of these alternative mental aptitudes contribute to one's ability to function in the real world. They comprise a set of skills that philosophers have traditionally referred to as "good sense," the sort of intelligence that liberals appear to lack entirely if we are to judge from their recent "investments" in green energy and their mishandling of health care reform.

In contrast to the abstract reasoning measured by standard IQ testing, this deeper intelligence plays a crucial role in making essential life choices. It involves more than solving problems on paper; it makes possible prudent choices, careful planning, and responsible behavior over the course of an entire lifetime. The evidence suggests that liberals don't score too well on these benchmarks. It is a fact, for instance, that those stodgy conservative sorts who marry and stay married over the period of a lifetime live longer. They also raise children who are less likely to commit crimes, take drugs, or commit suicide. And they end up donating more to charity and participating more in volunteer activities. All of these measurements reflect a more profound order of intelligence that exists among conservatives and not among liberals.

Perhaps the best overall proxy for intelligence is happiness. One would expect that those who are truly intelligent would find a way to obtain happiness. And yet every objective study of happiness, conducted by unbiased polling, reveals that as a group, conservatives are happier than liberals. If conservatives are such idiots, why are they so happy?

According to Jaime Napier, a researcher at Yale University, conservatives are happier because they believe in meritocracy. That is, they believe that in America, with its free-market system, they will be rewarded for their efforts. When people believe in the system in which they work and live, they have a sense of purpose and fulfillment. They can work toward a goal, and they have a positive orientation toward life. This is certainly part of what it means to be happy. But not all.

The more important reason why conservatives are happier than liberals is because they possess a moral intelligence that liberals lack. While they may disagree on the details, conservatives believe in the existence of fixed ideas and strict moral accountability. This deeper level of intelligence involves more than just multiplying numbers or solving word games; it involves making decisions based on crucial assessments of the broader purposes of life. In other words, it involves the possession of a moral and religious sensibility.

Conservatives display this sort of moral intelligence; liberals, whose moral orientation is based on relativism if not nihilism, don't. Not only that, liberals spend their lives mocking and sneering at the very sorts of intelligence that would otherwise make them happy.

The most powerful novelistic treatment of this paradox can be found in Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Devils. In this magnificent novel, the "devils" are those who, out of pride and spite, turn their faces away from those simple truths that would actually save them. Like liberals today, Dostoevsky's devils imagine themselves to be more intelligent than their more conservative-minded neighbors. They believe that they constitute the intelligentsia, and that, as such, they have the right to decide the future direction of their country. Unfortunately, their "intelligence," and their penchant for social transformation whatever the cost, leads to violence, anarchy, and ruin. Dostoevsky understood that the intellectual class, so full of confidence in its own powers to transform life for others (and in its absolute right to do so, based on superior "intelligence"), is the greatest threat to human happiness.

For one thing, liberal intellectuals pay little if any attention to the cost of their reforms. Yet fiscal responsibility, which is integrally related to happiness if not survival, is one of the aspects of life that is controlled by this deeper level of intelligence. The ability to conceptualize the long-term effects of debt, and to restrain one's impulses so as to manage debt responsibly, is a form of intelligence that conservatives possess and liberals lack. One need look no farther than Obama's 2013 budget proposal, with its endless future of trillion-dollar deficits, for proof.

In reality, the abstract intelligence measured by academic testing -- the testing that "proves" that liberals are smarter than conservatives -- is precisely the sort of impractical, detached mental functioning that leads to failure in the real world.

Among those who actually produce actual goods and services -- those who are not government bureaucrats, teachers, or community organizers -- a very different kind of intelligence holds sway. This practical intelligence involves the ability to focus on outcomes, to display resolve, and to make difficult decisions within an imperfect world. It involves mental qualities that are not measured on academic tests.

Put simply, conservatives are smarter.
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  • AD 2013/07/11 13:25:14 (edited)
    AD
    +2
    The studies that your lambasting are based on various scientific data and there is more than one study that points to a link between low intelligence and Conservatism. Of course, you come to the defense of Conservatism and manage to make some plausible assumptions, however none of it is based on fact or acquired data. You don't even have a study to point to. The fact that you use "expense" to justify the lack of Conservative initiative on social issues is just astoundingly unbelievable. Stop drinking the Conservative cool aid and give your head a shake.
  • American☆Atheist 2012/05/05 04:34:10
    American☆Atheist
    +1
    liberals are smarter, get over it.
  • NavyMan America... 2012/05/05 14:01:06 (edited)
    NavyMan
    +1
    As is evident by your smug and entirely predictable response.
  • AD NavyMan 2013/07/11 13:26:47
    AD
    +1
    you sound typically Conservative! Don't get mad at us because studies are proving what people with a social conscience have known all along! :)
  • NavyMan 2012/04/21 14:24:52
    NavyMan
    Interesting article, interesting research, and interesting comments. I probably could have done without the political opinions and personal attacks, however.

    I am currently debating one of my daughter's college friends on this topic. He is an extremely smart kid, and is also extremely liberal. His position is that liberals are exceptionally "More intelligent" than conservatives. In his view, liberal thought is a virtue of only the most educated people in the world. This is based on the "Undeniable evidence" of the overwhelming number of liberal professors at institutions of higher learning, which basically suggests that conservatives are too dimwitted to teach at universities. Good article on that subject:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/0...

    I am more than twice his age, and with that comes a degree of wisdom he does not possess - despite his high intellect. I have to admit it's pretty difficult to convey your ideas to someone who firmly believes their intelligence stems directly from their political ideology. You've lost the war before the first shot, because in their eyes, your opinion is intellectually flawed by the political ideals YOU possess.

    I don't really know how factual this type of research is. Honestly, I think it raises more questions that answers them. ...

    Interesting article, interesting research, and interesting comments. I probably could have done without the political opinions and personal attacks, however.

    I am currently debating one of my daughter's college friends on this topic. He is an extremely smart kid, and is also extremely liberal. His position is that liberals are exceptionally "More intelligent" than conservatives. In his view, liberal thought is a virtue of only the most educated people in the world. This is based on the "Undeniable evidence" of the overwhelming number of liberal professors at institutions of higher learning, which basically suggests that conservatives are too dimwitted to teach at universities. Good article on that subject:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/0...

    I am more than twice his age, and with that comes a degree of wisdom he does not possess - despite his high intellect. I have to admit it's pretty difficult to convey your ideas to someone who firmly believes their intelligence stems directly from their political ideology. You've lost the war before the first shot, because in their eyes, your opinion is intellectually flawed by the political ideals YOU possess.

    I don't really know how factual this type of research is. Honestly, I think it raises more questions that answers them. I also question the motives of people that conduct this type of research. If the purpose is to strengthen the convictions of left-thinking people like my daughter's friend, then it has obviously succeeded. Unfortunately, it also purveys an air of narrow-mindedness among a group of people who claim to have cornered the market on open and objective thought. I wouldn't necessarily say it's hypocritical, but it is somewhat of a contradiction.

    While I am still discussing this with my daughter's friend, I endeavor to debate any topic on its own merits, absent of regurgitated talking points and statistics which none of us can truly say we understand or can verify unquestionably, In the words of Nietzsche, "There are no facts, only interpretations."
    (more)
  • JoeBtfsplk NavyMan 2012/04/21 14:33:31
    JoeBtfsplk
    common sense and wisdom are often over-looked by someone like your daughter's 'friend', and each and every would be 'intellectual'

    The 'propaganda' they trust and spew forth makes them a product of - 'what' - they have been taught.

    Liberals will have a handy come-back for that - of that you can rest assured.
  • AD JoeBtfsplk 2013/07/11 13:29:11
    AD
    At least with a handy Liberal comeback you'll get well thought out arguments that are based on collected data and well known truths. Unlike the Cons which just make stuff up and lie in order to manipulate!
  • JoeBtfsplk NavyMan 2012/04/21 14:35:11
    JoeBtfsplk
    Welcome to SH Navy Man!
  • SW 2012/04/11 16:44:22
    SW
    +1
    So some studies based on quantifiable evidence show higher IQ scores associated with being Liberal... BUT BASED ON NOTHING you think conservatives are smarter. You say "by all measures..." Then fail to offer any. I understand why you would think tachers "dont provide actual goods or services" because in your case clearly they didn't.
    With their "superior decision making skills" that "liberals lack" (based on what..I sippose its your little secret), conservitaves have given us every stock market crash and bank bailout since their Great Depression and have been on the wrong side of every issue from not getting involved in wwii to getting involved in Terri Schaivo.
    Ask any kkk member or neo nazi at a rally if hes liberal or conservative...what will he say 100% of the time?
    Its been proven there are differences between liberal and conservative brains.. Maybe someday liberals (the ones into science) will find a cure for their afflicted conservative brothers and sisters.. Until then well just try to keep them from bombing people and destroying the country.
  • casey.kuhn 2012/03/06 14:40:08
    casey.kuhn
    +1
    I came upon this article and my first thought was, "Yikes. This guy had nothing better to do on Valentine's Day than write about how people with whom he disagrees are idiots?" My second thought was "Don't waste your time responding; someone this vitriolic is beyond the reach of reasoned argument." Unfortunately for you, I happened to have more than two thoughts, and here are a few of them:

    Your assertion that teachers don't provide 'actual services' is laughable. Your grammar and spelling, unlike many anti-liberal screeds I often read, is solid. Apparently you picked up the mechanics of the English language all by yourself.

    "In fact, on all measures of practical intelligence and performance, conservatives would seem to be brainier." Feel free to back this up with evidence.

    "prudent choices, careful planning, and responsible behavior over the course of an entire lifetime. The evidence suggests that liberals don't score too well on these benchmarks." Please provide 'the evidence' and we'll see what it suggests.

    "Perhaps the best overall proxy for intelligence is happiness... And yet every objective study of happiness, conducted by unbiased polling, reveals that as a group, conservatives are happier than liberals." While I accept your assertion that happiness equals intellige...



















    I came upon this article and my first thought was, "Yikes. This guy had nothing better to do on Valentine's Day than write about how people with whom he disagrees are idiots?" My second thought was "Don't waste your time responding; someone this vitriolic is beyond the reach of reasoned argument." Unfortunately for you, I happened to have more than two thoughts, and here are a few of them:

    Your assertion that teachers don't provide 'actual services' is laughable. Your grammar and spelling, unlike many anti-liberal screeds I often read, is solid. Apparently you picked up the mechanics of the English language all by yourself.

    "In fact, on all measures of practical intelligence and performance, conservatives would seem to be brainier." Feel free to back this up with evidence.

    "prudent choices, careful planning, and responsible behavior over the course of an entire lifetime. The evidence suggests that liberals don't score too well on these benchmarks." Please provide 'the evidence' and we'll see what it suggests.

    "Perhaps the best overall proxy for intelligence is happiness... And yet every objective study of happiness, conducted by unbiased polling, reveals that as a group, conservatives are happier than liberals." While I accept your assertion that happiness equals intelligence (because who is smarter than a giggling three-year-old?), I'd be interested in seeing some data from "every [any] objective study."

    "In contrast to the abstract reasoning measured by standard IQ testing," I'm going to stop you right there. You're using the word 'abstract' quite wrongly. {Dictionary.com: Abstract: 1. thought of apart from concrete realities, specific objects, or actual instances.} Calling IQ testing a test of abstract reasoning shows either a fundamental misunderstanding of what the word means (see above definition) or an intention to obfuscate and use academic words to sound smarter (see therapist).

    "The ability to conceptualize the long-term effects of debt, and to restrain one's impulses so as to manage debt responsibly, is a form of intelligence that conservatives possess and liberals lack." It must simply be a horrible coincidence that three of the four conservative Republican candidates have put forth proposals that would increase the public debt in this country by anywhere from a few trillion to seven trillion dollars in the next decade*.

    "The more important reason why conservatives are happier than liberals is because they possess a moral intelligence that liberals lack." Is this the same moral intelligence that allows them to applaud for Rick Perry's record of killing more American citizens than any other governor, and for the notion that a sick person who can't afford insurance should be allowed to die?

    "If conservatives are such idiots, why are they so happy?" You've evidently never encountered the phrase: Ignorance is bliss.

    "In other words, it involves the possession of a moral and religious sensibility." By 'religious sensibility,' I assume you mean 'Christian sensibility.' I doubt you're a believer of Greek or Aztec myths, so unless you mean to assert that unswerving belief in unprovable and unknowable things makes one a moral person, please learn to say what you mean.

    What a shame that your "deeper intelligence" can't be measured. In related news, I may not appear to be the healthiest of men, but I happen to have a deeper health, one that can't be measured by looking at my blood pressure, my cholesterol, or my weight. It doesn't matter to me that doctors tell me I may have eaten my way to Type II Diabetes, because my deeper, moral health is in great shape. I do half a dozen Bible-curls every evening (or... every evening that I feel like doing them, anyway).

    "In reality, the abstract intelligence measured by academic testing -- the testing that "proves" that liberals are smarter than conservatives -- is precisely the sort of impractical, detached mental functioning that leads to failure in the real world."

    Your redundant bookending of this assertion and repeated misuse of the word 'abstract' are hardly the most troubling things about it; the fact that you never found an application for chemistry or calculus in your particular job doesn't make knowledge impractical. You seem to be asserting that people who score well on academic tests are destined for failure. Please float this hypothesis to the nearest breathing human and let me know how that discussion goes.



    *I have edited this only because the link to the LA Times story was truncated. The article with the figures in question is called "3 GOP candidates' plans would increase debt, study says"
    (more)
  • JoeBtfsplk casey.kuhn 2012/03/06 15:12:36
    JoeBtfsplk
    First off; what would you suggest I do having just had surgery and am scheduled again this Friday?
    Secondly; I tend toward conservative principles and am extremely happy having already lived 3 lifetimes within the parameters of what is usually deemed one, compared to those who trudge through life locked in to a job they are unhappy with.

    Thirdly; nowhere within the article I copied did I state a personal opinion. That you assume the opinion you conclude with just displays the shallowness and lack of the education you attempt to portray.

    Enjoy your 'life' that I'm guessing is not very satisfying?
  • JoeBtfsplk 2012/02/14 13:12:43
  • Tedster JoeBtfsplk 2012/04/11 18:57:20 (edited)
    Tedster
    Since you brought it up here's something else you won't like knowing. When you're a president and you inherit an economy decreasing by -3.9% and and then heading off a cliff at a -8.9% over the last 2 qtrs in 08 and job "growth" at a -750,000 per month and the housing mkt in collapse, you've got every right to blame the person who did nothing except the TARP to fix it. And being sick of hearing it does nothing to make it untrue, only unpopular. That may explain why the polls all indicate that the American public also blames W for the current mess we're in.

    And speaking of trying to debunk studies you wish weren't true and therefore won't like, you might want to do another blog about the University of Maryland's study showing that the least informed people were those who got their "news" from Fox "News".

    Or, for more fun, you could try to debunk the two studies demonstrating how Republicans are much more easily frightened than Democrats are? One of them was done at UCLA about 3 years ago. Hey, look on the bright side. Your party finished second! Of course, it's important to note that it WAS in a field of two. Sorry but you did have a 50/50 shot at it.
  • AD JoeBtfsplk 2013/07/11 13:35:02
    AD
    Better Obama than a Bush who allowed 911 to happen. I don't believe for one moment that the US could not stop or defend the Pentagon from having a plane hit it ... I don't buy it one moment! The Bush gov knew 911 was going to happen and they did nothing! With the Democrats you might loose dollars, but with the republicans you always loose lives! That speaks volumes!

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