A daily blog on the thrills, spills, and frequent absurdities of the world's one and only 'non-imperial empire' - as Barroso himself called it - the European Union.

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Friday, 3 February 2012

Report Claims Conservatives Are Less Intelligent Than Liberals

Does not having to read that sign make me a liberal? Picture by Peter Facey.

It’s the oldest trick in the book: to claim that your side is, by definition, more intelligent than the other side. Since time immemorial humans have been lambasting their critics and conquerors as being of somewhat less-than-average intelligence. Now, a group of Canadian academics from Brock University in Ontario have gone one stage further: they’ve had it published in a journal.

A ‘controversial’ report, published in Psychology Science, claims (with a fair few mealy-mouthed caveats) that conservative people tend to have lower IQs than their more liberal counterparts, and then went on to offer an explanation – that people who have an ‘innate’ lack of intelligence gravitate towards authority and order, as they are less capable of managing their own affairs and their own morality. If you approach conservatives from the classic (false) belief that they think all change to be bad, it makes a token degree of sense. But surely there’s enough empirical evidence to prove that all such studies are bunk?

Not only does their claim that left-wingers are more tolerant ring hollow when coupled with insinuatinfg that everyone else is innately thicker - a contradiction wonderfully exemplified by the unintentional self-satire from triumphant left-wingers in the comments section of the Daily Mail - but it fails to take into account some self-evident truths. There are ready wits and gross ignoramuses on both sides of the spectrum. Einstein, one of the greatest minds of all time, exhibited great fondness for socialism, yet some of his most worthy predecessors - virtually all the leading thinkers before 1800 - would have been ultraconservative, by today’s standards. The levels of racism and xenophobia expressed by some of our more esteemed Enlightenment thinkers and early philosophers would land then a hefty fine and a prison sentence, yet they were not stupid - not by any stretch of the imagination. Much of their work frames the modern world. And, if it is determined by innate intelligence, as the report specifically states, how and why can a person’s viewpoint can change over time?

That’s just on an individual scale - on a grand scale such a study makes even less sense. There are five hundred million people in the European Union, two thirds of whom (according to election results and European Parliament blocs) are right-wing. Are two-thirds of the European population mentally stunted? Or, as several of the aforementioned triumphant lefties in the comments stated, ‘tards?’ No. They’re perfectly functioning human beings, thank you very much, and aren’t any less so because their cross on the ballot paper doesn’t square up to that of someone else. Take a look through the comments of the Daily Mail article for the ultimate proof of how the study is wrong: watch, as the people who - it claims - are more tolerant and open-minded turn condescending, spiteful, and bigoted when someone dares voice an alternate opinion.

1 comment:

  1. Ah the old paradigm all over again. Since the left has deprived us of the enjoyment of being prejudiced against other peoples, religions, races etc. they vent their human desire to be prejudiced and "racist" against their political enemies, which is absolutely fine by them. How is this any different from the racist studies from earlier in the century claiming that blacks and Asians and other coloureds are biologically inferior and innately less intelligent than white Europeans...?