Liberals, conservatives, IQs, and conspiracies
VANCOUVER ISLAND, CANADA – I just ran across a recent study that confirmed what many of my readers (and certainly I) always believed at some pre-conscious level. The study, conducted through Brock University and published in Psychological Science, was led by Dr. Gordon Hudson; the upshot was that people of lower intelligence tend to gravitate to socially conservative viewpoints.
The correlation between conservatism and lower intelligence was very strong, and, that conservative political propositions appeal to persons of considerably lower intelligence, irrefutable. Hudson conjectures that because the politically and socially conservative stance is simplistic, it is attractive to those with limited analytical skills; the less black and white, more nuanced liberal or progressive worldview tends to attract those who are prepared to examine complex propositions in greater detail. Bluntly put, liberals and progressives are more capable than conservatives are of understanding the subtleties that exist in the real world.
Is anybody truly surprised by these results? Certainly not liberals. As for conservatives, one can’t really say that they are surprised because, insofar as they acknowledge the existence of the study at all, they deny its validity, the credentials of the researchers, the honesty of the reporting, the protocols employed, the statistical analysis, the interpretation of the numbers, the reputation of the university, and probably the validity Dr. Hudson’s birth certificate.
All that notwithstanding, the results and the conclusions seem intuitively obvious; the study serves as empirical confirmation of the obvious which, one suspects, even conservatives believe deep down inside.
Forget for the time being the anti-human celebration of greed and indifference to fellow human beings that is a significant component of today’s conservative worldview. Look quickly instead at the painfully self-evident stupidity that is espoused as conservative common sense.
Try economics for an obvious example. Take a period of economic downturn; the economy is shrinking, jobs are being lost. Conservative answer? Slash the government budget and lay off thousands of federal and local government employees, reduce services to those in need and lower taxes on the top 1% while increasing the tax burden on the middle class and working poor by increasing sales tax. Cut the social safety net but continue to subsidize the most profitable corporations in the history of the world.
The economic ignorance is so stupifyingly idiotic that one wonders how these people even remember to breathe periodically.
But of course that’s only the fiscal conservative viewpoint. One of the strange things about conservatism is that when one adopts a fiscal conservative stance, for some reason social conservatism seems to be part of the package. Along with some neo-Ayn Rand-screw-the- less-fortunate economic policy seems to come all the other crackpot notions that typify the conservative worldview. Something that also came out in the study cited at the top of this piece was that the less intelligent among us – the conservatives – also are more likely to subscribe to conspiracy theories.
Those that genuinely espouse the position that the moon landings were faked, that Obama is really a Muslim born in Kenya, that even the Sandy Hook massacre was a government hoax intended to drum up support for a government move to confiscate firearms from American citizens, and that climate change is a fraud, tend to be conservatives. Lower IQ citizens, along with their conservative politics have a tendency to racism, to abhor immigration, to be inclined to believe that race is the root of crime, and significantly, that their own IQs are, on the whole, about 10% higher than they actually are.
Over 90% of people who describe themselves as “conservative” or “right leaning” believe that they are of above average intelligence. The facts are that, on average, those same people are of lower intelligence than those who describe themselves as liberal or left leaning.
And least surprising of all, the lower the IQ, the more likely right leaning or conservative respondents were to describe themselves as religious. The less likely they were to believe in evolution, the more likely to believe in the literal truth of the Bible. (Or the Koran.) Moreover, they are more likely to believe that abortion under any circumstance ought to be outlawed and even that contraception is wrong. As well the lower IQ (conservative) segment of the population is more likely to oppose sex education in schools and believe that only abstinence ought to be taught. The natural outgrowth of all of this is that these people are far more likely to have children.
Since the lower IQ conservatives don’t believe in evolution, this obvious fact will escape them, but nevertheless it will work in their favour. More intelligent (liberal leaning or progressive) people tend to limit the size of their families and are more likely to adopt, while the conservative leaning, lower intelligence people tend to have more children. There is only one way this trend can possibly go; the average intelligence of a society that is bifurcated in this way will decrease. The conservatives cannot win by the power of their reasoning or the strength of their ideas, as both are, frankly, inferior. But because we are a democratic society, they will win by sheer numbers. We are witnessing the devolution of society; for the first time in history the trend has become toward stupidity and away from intelligence.
It’s important to realise that we are speaking here of overall trends. Just as there are not very bright liberals, there are intelligent conservatives; overall, however, the opposite tendency is clear. And that is the way evolution works. As the less intelligent demographic reproduces at a greater rate than the more intelligent, the lower IQs will outnumber and dominate their intellectual superiors. Despite the excesses of the radical modern right having offended even the not too bright conservatives, causing a liberal backlash that is just now beginning to be felt, the increasing population of the less intelligent will have a profound negative effect upon western society in generations to come.
The dumbing of the West is profoundly disturbing and leaves me with great concern about the world my four-year-old son will inherit. While I hope that he will be able to cope with a world in which more and more people are generally stupider than they are today, and therefore more likely to lean conservative even than today, I am grateful that I won’t be around to see the bar lowered so that the truly stupid are the new paradigm.
Yes, the future holds great promise…promise of dull, thick, slow, obtuse, and plodding intellectual degeneration. That ought to be a great source of pride for the conservatives and right wing true believers who are leading the charge into the trailer parks of the future.