Are Conservatives Dumber Than Liberals?

It depends on how you define "conservative." The research shows classical liberals/libertarians are smartest of all.

Dunce in cornerAssociates MindConservatives exhibit less cognitive ability than liberals do. Or that's what it says in the social science literature, anyway. A 2010 study using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, for example, found that the IQs of young adults who described themselves as "very liberal" averaged 106.42, whereas the mean of those who identified as "very conservative" was 94.82. Similarly, when a 2009 study correlated cognitive capacity with political beliefs among 1,254 community college students and 1,600 foreign students seeking entry to U.S. universities, it found that conservatism is "related to low performance on cognitive ability tests." In 2012, a paper reported that people endorse more conservative views when drunk or under cognitive pressure; it concluded that "political conservatism may be a process consequence of low-effort thought."

So have social scientists really proved that conservatives are dumber than liberals? It depends crucially on how you define "conservative."

For an inkling of what some social scientists think conservatives believe, parse a 2008 study by the University of Nevada at Reno sociologist Markus Kemmelmeier. To probe the political and social beliefs of nearly 7,000 undergraduates at an elite university, Kemmelmeier devised a set of six questions asking whether abortion, same-sex marriage, and gay sex should be legal, whether handguns and racist/sexist speech on campus should be banned, and whether higher taxes should be imposed on the wealthy. The first three were supposed to measure the students' views of "conservative gender roles," and the second set was supposed to gauge their "anti-regulation" beliefs. Kemmelmeier clearly thought that "liberals" would tend to be OK with legal abortion, same-sex marriage, and gay sex, and would opt to ban handguns and offensive speech and to tax the rich. Conservatives would supposedly hold the opposite views.

Savvy readers may recognize a problem with using these questions to sort people into just two ideological categories. And sure enough, Kemmelmeier got some results that puzzled him. He found that students who held more traditional views on gender and sex roles averaged lower on their verbal SAT and Achievement Test scores. "Surprisingly," he continued, this was not true of students with anti-regulation attitudes. With them, "all else being equal, more conservative respondents scored higher than more liberal respondents." Kemmelmeier ruefully notes that "this result was not anticipated" and "diametrically contradicts" the hypothesis that conservatism is linked to lower cognitive ability. Kemmelmeier is so evidently lost in the intellectual fog of contemporary progressivism that he does not realize that his questionnaire is impeccably designed to identify classical liberals, a.k.a. libertarians, who endorse liberty in both the social and economic realms.

So how smart are libertarians compared to liberals and conservatives? In a May 2014 study in the journal Intelligence, the Oxford sociologist Noah Carl attempts to answer to that question. Because research has "consistently shown that intelligence is positively correlated with socially liberal beliefs and negatively correlated with religious beliefs," Carl suggests that in the American political context, social scientists would expect Republicans to be less intelligent than Democrats. Instead, Republicans have slightly higher verbal intelligence scores (2–5 IQ points) than Democrats. How could that be?

Carl begins by pointing out that there is data suggesting that a segment of the American population holding classical liberal beliefs tends to vote Republican. Classical liberals, Carl notes, believe that an individual should be free to make his own lifestyle choices and to enjoy the profits derived from voluntary transactions with others. He proposes that intelligence actually correlates with classically liberal beliefs.

To test this hypothesis, Carl uses data on political attitudes and intelligence derived from the General Social Survey, which has been administered to representative samples of American adults every couple of years since 1972. Using GSS data, respondents are classified on a continuum ranging from strong Republican through independent to strong Democrat. Carl then creates a measure of socially liberal beliefs based on respondents' attitudes toward homosexuality, marijuana consumption, abortion, and free speech for communists, racists, and advocates for military dictatorship. He similarly probes liberal economic views, with an assessment of attitudes toward government provision of jobs, industry subsidies, income redistribution, price controls, labor unions, and military spending. Verbal Intelligence is evaluated using the GSS WORDSUM test results.

Comparing strong Republicans with strong Democrats, Carl finds that Republicans have a 5.48 IQ point advantage over Democrats. Broadening party affiliation to include moderate to merely leaning respondents still results in a Republican advantage of 3.47 IQ points and 2.47 IQ points respectively. Carl reconciles his findings with the social science literature that reports that liberals are more intelligent than conservatives by proposing that Americans with classically liberal beliefs are even smarter. Carl further reports that those who endorse both social conservatism and economic statism also have lower verbal IQ scores.

"Overall, my findings suggest that higher intelligence among classically liberal Republicans compensates for lower intelligence among socially conservative Republicans," concludes Carl. If the dumb, I mean socially conservative, Republicans keep disrespecting us classical liberals, we'll take our IQ points and go home.

As gratifying as Carl's research findings are, it is still a deep puzzle to me why it apparently takes high intelligence to understand that the government should stay out of both the bedroom and the boardroom.

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  • grrizzly||

    Republicans have slightly higher verbal intelligence scores (2–5 IQ points) than Democrats. How could that be?

    This is so racist.

  • JW||

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  • lap83||

    Democrats know 50 words for gender, that's got to count for something.

  • OneOut||

    And a large part of the Democrat base can not even conjugate the "be" verb.

  • grylliade||

    And a large part of the Democrat base can not even conjugate the "be" verb.

    Wow. With that one comment, you actually erased the IQ advantage held by classical liberals over progressives. We might even be behind now.

  • OneOut||

    Wow.

    Someone who thinks that a truthful comment relative to the topic at hand ( the comparative intelligence of the two major political groups ) is a bad thing was never ahead in the first place.

    Did you think it was about race or some other PC topic? You must be kinda PC sensitive yourself.

  • DrAwkward||

    Let me axe you something, gnome sane?
    You know you be raciss??

  • Jerryskids||

    I always thought it was obvious which side was which in the Stupid Party vs. the Evil Party debate.

  • Hugh Akston||

    It is. The evil part is the one in power. The stupid party is the opposition.

    Or vice versa.

  • Apatheist||

    This is voters, not pols.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Republicans have slightly higher verbal intelligence scores (2–5 IQ points) than Democrats. How could that be?

    It's a standardized test, everyone knows that white folk do better on standardized tests and that all Repubs are white.

    /derp.

  • DrAwkward||

    You are half right.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Alternate title suggestion: "Need Something to Troll Facebook With?"

  • Bill||

    +1

  • ||

    These moronic TEAM studies again? They have to be the stupidest, most pathetic partisan attempts by the TEAMs to prove that they're smarter than the enemy. The very fact that they put them forward is the most concrete proof you could ask for of how fucking stupid they are. I'd be fucking embarrassed to hold up a paper and go "See? My TEAM is smarter because [insert completely biased unscientific method here]!" But I guess they're not. What do you know, partisans are retarded.

  • ||

    I've actually come to think of them as evidence of what we all know;

    The increased involvement of Gov't in science has led to a bountiful crop of a new(ish) breed of scientific morons.

  • ||

    If you think about it, they're not scientists. They're sort of lobbyists. They give the government the results it wants to hear in exchange for grants being thrown their way. They have absolutely no incentive to use rigorous scientific practices.

  • ||

    I wonder why they didn't go into climate science. Because they're basically doing the same thing as those assholes.

  • Brett L||

    Not smart enough to pass physical chemistry would be my guess.

  • TopherB||

    I would think that would be a plus.

  • Bill||

    +1

  • ||

    They don't hate humanity enough to be climate scientists.

    And PCHEM.

  • ||

    Exactly, Epi. I had a screed ready to go and I just gave up, because anybody that would for a moment lay credence to these studies has exposed him/herself as being on the low IQ range regardless of party affiliation.

  • ||

    Yup. Not only would I be embarrassed to present a study like this, I'd be even more embarrassed to say I believed it. It's like admitting I'm too stupid to feed myself. Which is true, but I have servants for that.

  • ||

    By "servant" you mean the person on the chain in front of you whose anus your mouth is stitched to, right?

    IOW, Warty.

  • ||

    Warty likes to abuse his victims one at a time. It's more intimate that way.

  • Ted S.||

    Exactly, Epi. I had a screed ready to go and I just gave up, because

    Admit it. You really gave up because of the fucking squirrels.

  • SQRLSY One||

    SQRLS 100; Epi 0 !!! ( PS, I may be SQRLSY, but, "fucking"?!?! Not NEARLY enough!!! )

  • Brett L||

    Are people with massive brain damage stupider than the congenitally retarded?

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Certainly more dangerous.

  • ||

    Ask them if they want cake and find out.

  • ||

    This whole thread is stupider than Terry Schiavo.

  • Almanian!||

    THREADWINNER

    *drops mic*

  • cavalier973||

    Everytime I see you drop that mic, I think of this video (fast forward to ~25:20 to see why).

  • Anon E. Mouse||

    Herein lies the rub: Organized TEAMs will win against disorganized individuals every single time, regardless of ideology or IQ.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    Yeah, it's tEh Patriarchy. Whitey has forced everyone else to poor education outcomes.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    And the average IQ of libertarians?

  • ||

    "Where did you get your standardized tests from?"

  • Almanian!||

    They only care about individual scores, not the group...

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    Libertarians refuse to make their answer fit inside, and completely cover, the circle.

  • ||

    You know who's dumber than both liberals and conservatives? Any sucker that was dumb enough to have finished this article.

  • Almanian!||

    *sits back, self-satisfied at not having read shit, but commenting like a dick anyway just based on other people's comments....like always*

  • Zeb||

    Is there another way to do it?

  • Ted S.||

    Does anybody ever read the articles?

  • seguin||

    I wasn't even aware this was a news/opinion site for the first year and a half.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I read the alt-text. That counts, right?

  • Cap'n Krunch||

    I just looked at the picture. This site needs more pictures, because I'm so smart it doesn't take me long to see a thousand words.

  • cavalier973||

    Yeah! *puts hands in pocket and whistles innocently*

  • Aresen||

    Another round of the smugfest.

    It doesn't matter who is "smarter."

    What matters is whether they are right. (In the factual, not the political sense of 'right.')

  • Tevake||

    Anyone who spends anytime worrying about IQ points is a moron. I have a family full of high IQ assholes who can't stay out of other peoples business or balance their own checkbooks. They are good at regurgitating political talking points and little else. Incapable of carrying on a conversation but so fucking smug.

  • trshmnster the terrible||

    All of these stupid studies make me want to continuously post this link to the Converse study that shows that ~85% of voters have no coherent ideology, despite their insistence otherwise.

  • Aresen||

    85% sounds like an underestimate.

  • trshmnster the terrible||

    They were very generous in determining who was an ideologue

  • DC_36||

    "Let's judge ideas based on the ideas themselves and their real world consequences. Not the characteristics of the people that hold them."

    Fully agree.

    I've met some libertarians who struck me as non-genius, and some progressives and so-cons who are more intelligent than everyone else. I like good people, we always get along regardless of intelligence.

  • Sam Grove||

    ~85% of voters have no coherent ideology,

    As opposed to an incoherent ideology.

  • trshmnster the terrible||

    There is no underlying belief structure for most people, just a bunch of random opinions. Even on highly controversial, well-publicized issues, large portions of the electorate do not have coherent opinions. In fact, many simply answer survey questions as though they are flipping a coin.

    Though some political sophisticates do structure their opinions in a larger ideological framework, such structure is rare.

    (that's from the summary, not from the study itself)

  • ||

    The referees tried to fuck Mexico over but it looks like they're gonna fail.

  • KDN||

    That's a shame. I was hoping for more diversity in the WC; damn sport has too many Spanishy types as is.

  • ||

    Then you would have had kittens if you saw how bad the officials were in yesterday's game in favor of Brazil.

    We're talking WWF levels of sketchy.

  • ||

    What's that video set to the Empire theme from Star Wars of all kinds of candy-ass soccer plays taking ridiculous dives? That would be fun to watch right now.

  • Brett L||

    People were trying to tell me that refs were gonna be tough on Brazil's diving like they were in 2010. You think refs don't have survival instincts?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Didn't a soccer ref get decapitated in Brazil not too long ago?

  • ||

    Stoned, quartered and decapitated.

    referee Otavio da Silva expelled Josenir dos Santos Abreu, whose age is listed as either 30 or 31, from a game last weekend, the two men fought. Silva, 20, took out a knife and stabbed Abreu, who died as he was being taken to a hospital.

    Friends and relatives of Abreu, the statement said, “rushed into the field, stoned the referee to death and quartered his body.” Local media reported (via Fox Soccer) that he also had been decapitated, with his head was placed on a stake in the middle of the field. The scene was captured by cellphone photos and video, which haven’t been authenticated.
  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    As my brother says, the Brazilian Mexicans are better at soccer than the Portuguese Mexicans.

  • John||

    A lot of people who were a hell of a lot smarter than Ron Baily were dedicated Nazis and Communists. Intelligence is not wisdom and it has no correlation to morality. Worse, intellectuals have embraced pretty much ever dark and murderous ideology that has ever come down the pike. If anything having a high IQ makes one more likely to embrace such madness.

    Think of it this way, who is more likely to embrace statist, Utopian schemes, a working person of average intelligence who knows they are unlikely ever to be particularly important in the world or some high IQ successful person? It is, was and shall forever be the latter. Intelligent people have egos. And that will always make utopian statist schemes appealing to them because those schemes give the promise of allowing them to change the world and be important. Leave everyone the fuck alone doesn't really appeal to one's self importance very much.

  • sarcasmic||

    I don't think IQ has anything to do with politics.

    “Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”

    ― Robert A. Heinlein

  • DC_36||

    Sounds like he's saying there are libertarians, and then there's everyone else ...

  • sarcasmic||

    Basically.

  • pogi||

    It's a target-rich environment.

  • GregMax||

    The human race divides ... into those who want to control, and those who have no such desire.

    Basically, Controllers - Women 50%, liberal and socially conservative males 30%. Curmudgeons and kids - 20%.

    I'll bet that most conflict comes down to people sticking their noses into other people's business.

  • Tevake||

    Intelligent people have egos. And that will always make utopian statist schemes appealing to them

    And it's the 110ers who take over the bureaucracy and really fuck things up. Smarter than the average bear (but not by much) and not smart enough to know or care the damage they are doing.

  • John||

    No. Bureaucracies after a point work independent of the people in them. It doesn't matter how smart or how dumb the people running them are. Eventually, since they run on rules, the rules propagate to such an extent that insane decisions and results are produced no matter what the intelligence or good intentions of the bureaucrats. This is why big corporate bureaucracies are just as crazy as government ones. You just don't notice it as much since they don't get to use the force of law and the gun.

  • Tevake||

    OK. But I have been parts of teams that have torn up stupid corporate bureaucracies. Mainly because we had customers we were required to satisfy. And in the process I have met plenty of people who thought they were smart but couldn't understand the damage they were doing. These are the people we start referring to as 110ers.

    Government always forgets they serve man and start thinking man serves them.

    And who was dumb enough to come up with zero tolerance? And who is crass enough to carry out such orders? These are truly stoopid people who think they are smart.

  • ||

    ^This^

    IMO, if the NAP is the heart of libertarianism, this idea is the brain.

    No one person or loose collection of individuals can fuck up as badly as a well organized group; and only rarely does the well-organized group outperform.

  • ||

    Er... Eventually, since they run on rules, the rules propagate to such an extent that insane decisions and results are produced no matter what the intelligence or good intentions of the bureaucrats. This is why big corporate bureaucracies are just as crazy as government ones.

    ^This^

  • trshmnster the terrible||

    No one person or loose collection of individuals can fuck up as badly as a well organized group; and only rarely does the well-organized group outperform.

    Evidence can be seen in software companies that switch from "well-organized" Waterfall to "loose collection" Agile. Productivity has a tendency to skyrocket when you don't have a manager breathing down your neck about every little thing, trying to micromanage your every move.

  • Trouser-Pod||

    Intelligence is not wisdom

    QFT. can you tattoo this on the researchers foreheads?

  • steedamike||

    "Intelligence tells you that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom tells you not to put it in a fruit cocktail." --joke I heard

  • Zeb||

    Yup. It's always a mistake to assume that intelligence and "right thinking" or morality have anything to do with each other. Plenty of very smart people believe all kinds of horrible and wrong things. And lots of horrible sociopaths are very intelligent. And no one is as rational and consistent as they like to think they are.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    "There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them."
    -George Orwell

    See Progressivism.

  • John||

    I love that quote.

  • sarcasmic||

    I don't know what all these polls and tests and crap is for! There's a consensus among liberals that liberals are smarter than everyone else! Especially the ones who watch The Daily Show! Consensus I tell you! Stop denying science!

  • ||

    Did you see the HuffPo story about The Daily Show being considered a more reliable source of news than MSNBC? The comments were...delicious.

  • sarcasmic||

    I don't generally subject myself to the HuffPo.

  • Brett L||

    I agree. More accurate, less biased, better researched.

  • Zeb||

    (previously -inca)

    Well, at least now I won't always read it as "Sloopy Inca".

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Let's illustrate our superior intellect by over simplifying human identity into one poorly constructed parameter - IQ.

    Otherwise smart people devolve into mouth foaming, hair pulling, blithering idiots when ideology and politics are the subject. IQ is only one aspect of human identity. Gene expression, personality, character, experience, etc.....

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Let's illustrate our superior intellect by over simplifying human identity into one poorly constructed parameter - IQ.

    Not to mention that construct that IQ is supposed to represent arises probably from multiple g factors as opposed to a singular g factor.

  • David Wall||

    IQ inventories are among the most reliable and valid predictors of a wide range of behavior out there.

    They successfully predict everything from performance in school to performance in any job above basic manual labor.

    IQ test were very successfully used in business for selecting employees for over 100 years. For many years it was by far the most researched construct in psychology. They are less so now because adverse impact of cognitive tests on minorities have led to expensive litigations and bad press for those who use them. Most businesses now shy away from them.

  • LynchPin1477||

    This whole article makes me uncomfortable. Bailey doesn't come out and say it, but it seems like the underlying point is that libertarian ideas are better because libertarians are smarter.

    Let's judge ideas based on the ideas themselves and their real world consequences. Not the characteristics of the people that hold them.

  • Almanian!||

    Outputs, results. Yes - that's what matters. Not *who* comes up with the idea or whether it's *neato and clever* in book form.

    How does it work in real life?

    Of course, in the case or free markets and libertarianism, we have no idea how it works....SINCE IT'S NEVER BEEN TRIED :)

  • pan fried wylie||

    To paraphrase Yoda, it has been tried but hasn't been done.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Yeah, it is just sad to Reason posting something like this. Then again, the name of the magazine sort of has the same thrust as the article...

  • Almanian!||

    Lynch, what you're really saying is:

    FOR A MAGAZINE CALLED REASON.....!

    *drinks*

  • grrizzly||

    Isn't it too early?

  • Almanian!||

    It's drunk o'clock somewhere!

    *drinks MOAR*

  • steedamike||

    The name of the magazine really is an unfortunate and passive-aggressive attempt to discount the views of other publications. It makes it that much harder to take seriously.

  • SForza||

    There must be a reason.

  • OneOut||

    Well the was this period of American history called the Wild Wild West.

    It was Libertarian in many aspects with reference to total individual freedom.

    They didn't pay the NAP very much attention though.

    I wonder why ?

  • Eric Bana||

    I've seen things from the Mises Institute about how the historical "Wild" West was not really wild at all. Can't say I ever actually bothered to read those things though.

  • SForza||

    OneOut, you have confused myth with reality. The American West during the frontier period had very low rates of violence. Even more impressive when you consider the demographics-- young men over-represented and women scarce.

  • Ron Bailey||

    LP: Getting the causality backwards.

  • Rich||

    it is still a deep puzzle to me why it apparently takes high intelligence to understand that the government should stay out of both the bedroom and the boardroom.

    To answer that, Ron, we must invoke *Emotional* Intelligence, the ability to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.

  • sarcasmic||

    Emotional intelligence is an oxymoron, like social justice.

  • Almanian!||

    And "Canadian Culture".

  • Brett L||

    The Shat has been dispatched to deal with you. If that doesn't work, they'll send the Nickelback singer.

  • Almanian!||

    Nickelback

    The prosecution rests.

  • sarcasmic||

    What about Bieber, or Celine Dion, or that chick with all the eye makeup Avril, or that guy who wears his sunglasses at night, or... Forget it.

  • trshmnster the terrible||

  • sarcasmic||

    You mean Strange Brew isn't high culture?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Emotional intelligence is an oxymoron

    Horsepucky.

    Study after study has shown that delayed gratification is strongly correlated to intelligence, as just one example.

  • sarcasmic||

    You lost me.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Many researchers believe it is a form of intelligence to be able to identify one's emotions and how they influence one's decision making. The marshmallow test is basically saying to a kid, you can eat this one marshmallow now, or you can wait for a predetermined amount of time that I may or may not tell you and you'll get two marshmallows. Research has found that the kids who can wait and not give in to their urges tend to have higher IQs.

  • Zeb||

    I think sarcasmic is mistaken about what emotional intelligence is, thinking that it is intelligence derived from emotion rather than intelligence in how one understands and deals with emotion.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I feel you. However, I can see the argument for the former. People with brain damage to the parts of the brain that handle emotion, thus having damped emotional responses are known to be horrible decision makers. They also perform certain tasks at inappropriate times (like brushing one's teeth while visiting an art museum, or something).

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, good point. It is not right to say that emotional intelligence means that one's rational faculties completely overrule emotions. Emotion is necessary for intelligent social interaction and no functional person is ever going to make all of their decisions and judgements based purely on reason.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Indeed. That's why I'm convinced by most of the arguments of Dan Ariely that people are "predictably irrational", as opposed to the standard economics model of a rational homo economicus who always acts in his or her self-interest. I believe libertarians can glean many useful arguments from observations made in behavioral economics. The Temptation of Free, for example explains so much about why people consistently chose these shitty policies that end up biting them in the ass.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • sarcasmic||

    Many researchers believe it is a form of intelligence to be able to identify one's emotions and how they influence one's decision making.

    I do my best to identify my emotions and remove them from my decision making.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I do my best to identify my emotions and remove them from my decision making.

    Then many would describe you as having a high EIQ! However, as noted above, there are times when emotion is critical to making a decision. Assuming they were the same price and same amount, which would you choose, Coke or Pepsi? It would be absolutely appropriate to use your desire for one or the other to make that decision. Again, all things being equal, there is no rational criterion to determine the choice between colas.

  • sarcasmic||

    Again, all things being equal, there is no rational criterion to determine the choice between colas.

    The wife prefers Coke, therefore I purchase Coke. I personally don't care.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Yes, but you obviously care about keep your wife happy.

    That having been said, it is rational to prefer the acidic sweetness of Coke to the horse piss flavor of Pepsi.

  • OneOut||

    That just means you like sex more than Pepsi.

  • ||

    Holy shit, when did that get tacked on to EIQ? I only remember it being referred to as the ability to perceive, interpret and respond to other people's emotional cues.

    I suppose guide thinking and behavior could work if we're talking "Should I kick this puppy to impress the cute vegan chick over there?"

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    only remember it being referred to as the ability to perceive, interpret and respond to other people's emotional cues.

    That's the Ladies' Home Journal version, yes; however, Gardner et al. have always included the ability to monitor and manage one's own emotions within the definition. Especially, when referring to the inhibitory role of the pre-frontal cortex.

  • ||

    That's the Ladies' Home Journal version, yes

    Yay! I've moved up from the USA Today version of the world around me.

    *dances a jig*

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    One day, you too, can live in the world of The Economist.

  • ||

    Are there pictures!?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • ||

    Squee. Reading is fun!

  • gaoxiaen||

    Problem is we're all stuck in The Onion.

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    Slate ran an article on the correlation between voting patterns and income this week. The comments section exploded with self-congratualtory posters claiming that of course there is a correlation - not only are progressives smarter than everyone else, but progressives live with the benefits of progressive policies, which lead to better education and income for everyone!

    It is another example of how people use their progressive beliefs as a self-esteem boost to remind themselves of how superior they are. After all, people who believe that government can engineer us to prosperity are obviously smarter than those who don't even want the government to provide these wonderful benefits.

    Of course, if progressives are richer than the subhumans, and if they benefit from all the government spending in their state, and if, as everyone knows, the rich are not paying their fair shareof taxes ... then progressives are the ones hypocritically getting government benefits without paying for them.

    And by asserting that progressives are smarter than everyone else and that is why they are richer, they contradict one of their core beliefs, which is that nobody gets rich on their own merits, wealth only accrues to those who inherit it. Many of the same people claiming to be richer because they are smarter than Republicans can be found elsewhere chiming in to agree with the frequent "Rich White People Think They Are Smarter - Here's Why that is racist and wrong!" articles.

  • Almanian!||

    Projection. I'm not a rich one percenter, because I think the right things and attend the right KOCHTAIL PARTIEZ!

    But Romneybot 2000, BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH, Kochsuckers, et al? All horrible, evil, and stupid (or brilliant, as in evil genius, as required).

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    The difference between the Slate reaction of "Of course we are smarter, and all my smart friends are progressives, too!" and the reaction here that political beliefs are not correlated to IQ is telling. Progressives cling to their beliefs as a sign of their superiority. Libertarians cling to our beliefs because we want government to stop screwing us.

  • Tevake||

    And yet the "average" millionaire in this country is more likely to be driving an F-150 pickup truck and not putting on airs about who they are or what group they are with.

    Maybe the Proggies are projecting or lack self-esteem or something...

  • Almanian!||

    In addition to everything else everyone's noted about how fucking retarded these "studies" are, I have to note that - in classic fashion - retards continue to focus on inputs, rather than outputs.

    Who went to Harvard, whose IQ is higher, who scored better on standardized tests, the income in your household growing up, your race...these are all inputs.

    The outputs - from my perspective - how much you make, inventions you've created, people you employ, people you've killed/shit you've broken (if you're in the military, or many government agencies), businesses you've built (YOU DIDN'T BUILD THAT!), etc. etc. These are what matters. The rest is all window dressing and plaques on the wall. doesn't do actual work or get shit done that you went to MIT - you designing a kickass robot that eliminates an ergo concern in my plant MATTERS, and is of value.

    I've always cared about outputs - not inputs. If you work for me, I don't give two shits where you went to school, what your GPA was, where you worked before (except as a predictor and demonstration of your ability to do shit I need you to do), race/sex/color/gender - all I care about is "can you and do you do the shit I need you to do." Outputs. Period.

    But I think that's what's different about the [apparently small number of] lone wolf/independent/non-team people and TEAMERS.

    That's just my experience and opinion based thereon - I might be mistaken.

  • John||

    Judging output is hard. Judging credentials is easy. Thus, the temptation to judge credentials is always there.

  • Almanian!||

    Yep. I know. I'm the first to say "only hire you if you're min Bachelors degree" - just to sort out anyone without a degree and reduce the candidate pool.

    But once they're in? Just show me what you can do - I don't care where you went to school. And - more importantly - your PR isn't written based on where you went to school.

  • OneOut||

    Judging outputs is easy.

    Predicting outputs is hard.

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    Very similar to the 'nice guy' syndrome where one feels entitles to sex and wealth and power because they know that, down inside, they are more worthy, even if it never manifests in their behavior.

    It is very easy to make the leap from that Nice Guy Entitlement to believing that compassion isn't measured by what you have done to actually help the less fortunate, but by how loudly you are willing to proclaim that you have an enlightened sense of compassion that leads you to insist that the government take money from others by force in order to help them.

  • Almanian!||

    See also the ritualistic behavior of people who buy "healthy" food and subscribe to health magazines, but...never lose weight or get healthy.

    Cause they don't change any other behavior . The magazine and pea pods sitting in the fridge don't counteract the milkshake and sedentary lifestyle.

    But it makes them feel better, and that they're doing "something". I call it "magical thinking". And "Denial".

  • LynchPin1477||

    Aw man, we have friends like this. They were really legitimately confused why they weren't very healthy when they only ate organic and locally grown food.

  • sarcasmic||

    The less one understands economics, the greater the probability that they are part of the political left. Regardless of IQ.

    http://hotair.com/archives/201.....core-best/

  • Almanian!||

    MULTIPLIER EFFECT!

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    If you just took Econ 101, you will have learned IS-LM and, after graduation, will only take away from the model the truism that "government spending causes economic growth".

    If you went on and took any micro classes, you will have realized that IS-LM is a kiddie model for survey students who can't do the math and that even the Keynsians don't actually believe in it any more.

  • DC_36||

    This sounds like an intelligence bell curve with libertarians in the middle/high point of the "smart" scale, with it trending down on each side to varying degrees the more socially conservative (right) or the more economically liberal (left) you get.

    This is the problem with classifying people as just "liberal" or "conservative" - it's too broad of a term. It's stereotyping out of mental laziness, same basic thing as racism just in a different area of society. It's pretty disappointing that someone in the sociology field wouldn't pick up on that.

    My guess is most of the authors were trying to prove that liberals are smarter, and just looking for evidence to support that foregone conclusion ... and ended up unpleasantly surprised. Thus the harumphing by the study authors about "suprising" results.

    I do think this is spot on though:
    "Overall, my findings suggest that higher intelligence among classically liberal Republicans compensates for lower intelligence among socially conservative Republicans,"

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    "It's pretty disappointing that someone in the sociology field wouldn't pick up on that."

    Have you seen the people that major in sociology? Intellectual rigor is not a priority.

  • Zeb||

    I think there are a lot of people who do good work in sociology. But good work in sociology rarely makes for good sensational headlines.

  • Monkey's Uncle||

    Team Red and Team Blue continue to play The Dozens. Yawn.

  • Almanian!||

    Mama so stupid, bitch got fired from the M&M factory for throwin' away all the W's.

    Mama so stupid, she bought tickets to damned XBox Live....

  • JohnZeus||

    "...it is still a deep puzzle to me why it apparently takes high intelligence to understand that the government should stay out of both the bedroom and the boardroom."

    That's not difficult to figure out. Comes down to being a puppet to your own feelings, to the point that they don't allow your rational mind to intervene. This is perhaps the most common affliction of the modern world. Too many people of all intelligence levels wish to avoid what they consider unusual or perverse sexual notions. Better to make it all go away using a proxy (govt force). Ditto things like economic inequality (or whatever term you prefer). It unsettles a lot of people, regardless of IQ, to have to confront things that don't sit well with what they wish life was really like.

  • Mickey Rat||

    You know, this ties in with the atheism thread below.

    Has Bailey ever triee to not be an asshole?

  • Ron Bailey||

    MR: Yes.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Yes, but did you accomplish the task? ;)

  • Agammamon||

    Frickin' soccer man.

    What other 2-hour game takes four hours to complete and ends 1-0?

    At least Mexico won.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Someone one the radio made the claim that because Brazil is (apparently) good defensively, that their games would be low scoring. To which I though, is there any other kind in soccer?

  • From the Tundra||

    It's Friday. Beautiful out. About to leave for the gym. Agent Orange on the box.

    *Reflects for a moment*

    Huh, as it turns out I don't give a flying fuck about conservatives or liberals.

    Sorry.

  • Rasilio||

    The problem with the previously existing research can be found right here...

    "found that the IQs of young adults who described themselves as "very liberal" averaged 106.42, whereas the mean of those who identified as "very conservative" was 94.82."

    Young adults tend not to really know what their political beliefs are and are far more likely to simply parrot back what their teachers/parents/peer group says.

    Now lets survey a group of 28 - 45 year olds in the same way and see what the split is.

  • WDATPDIM?!||

    Yeah -- I had the same thought. They should look at cross sections at various ages. It's entirely possible that among 20-yr-olds, liberals are smarter on average, while among 50-yr-olds the opposite is the case.

  • JWatts||

    There's a distinct possibility that the researcher very carefully chose his inputs, so that the outputs were 'appropriate'.

  • steedamike||

    “Show me a young Conservative and I'll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I'll show you someone with no brains.”

    ― Winston Churchill

  • ||

    This Carl guy sounds legit.

  • Almanian!||

    Oh, Ronald - nice trolling on a Friday! ;)

  • wareagle||

    I'm going to go with the old Reaganism that stated that the real problem with those on the left is that so much of what they believe to be true simply isn't so. Or as a shade-tree pundit might say, they tend to be too clever by half.

  • Acosmist||

    IQ is a racist construct that isn't real, except liberals are smarter than conservatives so nah nah!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    No psychological construct is "real", they are, by definition, abstractions based on empirical observation. As such, the validity of a construct depends on the legitimacy of the operationalization of the construct purported to be measured.

  • Acosmist||

    In that sense, gravity is not real.

    So that's a stupid thing.

    Also, sarcasm detector is broken.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Yes.

  • Tony||

    I agree with someone above who said the quality of the ideas is what matters. "Get the government out of the bedroom and the boardroom" is not a high-quality idea. It's a slogan. Almost everything libertarians believe are slogans instead of ideas. "Government is bad" is basically religious in its Manichean simplicity. (I know, it's understood that you append "...except for when it's doing stuff I need it for.")

    Libertarians in my experience (and I have a lot) are smarter than average but not nearly as smart as they think they are. They possess massive blind spots that probably come from only having studied things computer science or engineering, yet they all think they're experts about political philosophy. And until you guys stop being science denying tinfoil hat types on certain issues you don't get to claim anything about your superior wisdom (science isn't optional). If you're actually exposed to a wide range of ideas about the stuff we talk about here (not engineering and computer science, generally), then you tend not to come away a libertarian. There is no liberal conspiracy in higher education--educated people just tend to be liberal.

    Sorry to rain on your fucking parade Barbra, especially on a Friday, but dear fuck this is smug.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    They possess massive blind spots that probably come from only having studied things computer science or engineering, yet they all think they're experts about political philosophy.

    Really? How do you explain a B.A. in Humanities, a M.A.T. in English (with a focus on 18-19th cent. Brit Lit) and ESOL, a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics, and soon an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy?

    It must have been all the Calculus classes I accidentally sat in on when I thought I was studying Greek and Latin.

  • Tony||

    The question is how do you explain why you're still a libertarian.

  • Mint Berry Crunch||

    Tony, please help me understand something.

    You say educated people are liberal.

    Palin's Buttplug says, about ten times a day, that affluent people are liberal.

    Yet other progs tell me that America has a major problem with economic inequality, which is only getting more severe.

    What I want to know is, how can all this be true? If the smart, wealthy people are so liberal, and liberals are all about spreading the wealth around, shouldn't the gap between rich and poor be shrinking?

  • Tony||

    The gap will shrink when government starts taxing the rich more and redistributing downward. Why isn't that happening? Because wealthy intelligent liberals don't make up a majority in Congress.

  • Ghetto Slovak Goatherder||

    Why not? If liberals are wealthy, and if wealth buys the vote (the left's view, not mine), why shouldn't they be a majority? Somewhere in this line of logic one of your premises is wrong. Let's find it.

  • Tony||

    Because there's plenty of money on the other side too and they are much better at buying politicians and more willing to do so because they don't care about democracy?

  • JWatts||

    "because they don't care about democracy?"

    Translation: Conservatives and Libertarians are corrupt and don't care about their fellow men. Meanwhile, Liberal's care a lot, but their innate goodness handicaps them.

    That's not really believable by any subjective measure, but if your mood affiliation is high enough, you can selectively read the data to support any conclusion you desire.

  • Tony||

    Conservatives and libertarians are morons who don't know how to care about their fellow humans because they are consumed by quasi-religious political dogmas.

    Smart people tend to be liberals because liberalism is the system that works for people and smart people know things like that.

  • JWW||

    Tony. Put. The. Kool. Aid. Down.

  • ||

    "Conservatives and libertarians are morons who don't know how to care about their fellow humans because they are consumed by quasi-religious political dogmas."

    I once started an autism charity, give blood, have a degree in history, and run a daycare that borders on being a hippie commune we give so many discounts to help struggling families.

    Not only are you a presumptuous, projecting progressive jack ass...you're insulting as well.

  • Tony||

    I've had to defend the concept of democracy countless times against libertarians who think that their superior wisdom should trump the will of the people.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    Because there's plenty of money on the other side too and they are much better at buying politicians and more willing to do so because they don't care about democracy?

    OK, Mr. Evidence. Do we now pull any idea out of our ass that supports our confirmation bias out of convenience? Is that what the question mark is for?

    If not, where's your evidence that democrats really don't like buying politicians or participating in Super PAC-like campaigning tactics?

    I can find some counter evidence. Just google "democrat republican campaign donors", "superpacs", "top donors", etc. It's not like the democrat party machine runs on love and word of mouth.

    So what's your evidence? Can you show that, when democrats spend money influencing politics, they're really pure of heart? They're just so pure that they don't want to buy politicians? Yet, somehow, they find something to do with all that money? What is it, exactly, and what separates it from the other side and the usual "CITIZENS UNITED OMG!!111!" derangement syndrome?

    This, after your lectures about how sciency and evidence based you are?

    The only question left to answer is whether or not you buy your own bullshit.

  • ||

    The gap will shrink when government starts taxing the rich more and redistributing downward.

    Why isn't that working in Argentina and France and Zimbabwe and Venezuela then?

  • Mickey Rat||

    Because liberals won't distribute their wealth without government making them do it?

    They are paralyzed without Authority telling them what to do.

  • Tony||

    Government is a very useful tool when your intention is to achieve society-wide goals.

  • OneOut||

    Yes Tony it is.

    And that's what scares so many Americans.

    We don't want your goals to be achieved because they are not what is best for our society.

    Look goober. I have read before where you stated that you just like to argue. So I know that you have no real convictions about the topics you argue about.

    You must have had a very fucked up childhood.

    Did your father desert you and your Mom when you were young.

    I would make book on it.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    If you're actually exposed to a wide range of ideas about the stuff we talk about here (not engineering and computer science, generally), then you tend not to come away a libertarian. There is no liberal conspiracy in higher education--educated people just tend to be liberal.

    Tony, are you suggesting that computer scientists and engineers typically come out libertarian? They typically come out either democrat or republican, like practically everyone else. That's a symptom of our two party system, not the tendency of the enlightened to pick certain policy preferences, over the unenlightened.

    For example, if your theory is correct, then stupid, uneducated people and/or computer scientists and engineers should be libertarians. Does this hold? Let's look.

    OK, poor, uneducated people come out... more likely democrat than libertarian.
    Crack whores on street corners come out... more likely democrat than libertarian.
    Construction workers come out... more likely democrat than libertarian.

    If you have a problem with trying to estimate the IQ of democrats vs. libertarians, then don't substitute that by silly demographic arguments that show nothing. You can choose any group of people, more or less admirable, look more likely to be democrat than libertarian. So that says even less than IQ arguments, which aren't based on skew due to population size.

  • Tony||

    Did I propose a theory? I thought I was just ranting.

    There is a barrier to entry to what I personally consider intelligence. You have to proportion beliefs to evidence. Most of you don't do this because the evidence doesn't favor you.

  • Brian||

    Where's your evidence that if you're only exposed to engineering, you're likely to come out a libertarian?

  • Tony||

    I don't have it and I'm not sure I said that. I was grossly stereotyping.

  • Brian||

    Then what's the point of this statement:

    If you're actually exposed to a wide range of ideas about the stuff we talk about here (not engineering and computer science, generally), then you tend not to come away a libertarian.

    By the logic of contraposition, if being exposed to a wide range of ideas implies that a person tends to come away not libertarian, than someone who is a libertarian tends to come from a background of a very narrow exposure to ideas, particularly, engineering and computer science.

    So, where is that evidence, that libertarians come from narrow backgrounds?

    I mean, if you're going to make evidence-based claims, present the evidence. And, argument by anecdote/guess doesn't count.

    Because it sounds like you were trying to make a point, realized it wasn't coming together, and then walked it back to just a "rant" of "gross stereotyping".

    Now, go on and tell us like it is, please, since you're the only evidence-based adult in the room.

  • Tony||

    You're misreading. Let me restate: Few of us are experts about any of the things we tend to talk about here. If an engineer wants to post about bridges or whatever, I would be happy to defer to his expertise.

    Since few of us are experts about the things we're bloviating about, the rational way to approach them is to rely on the evidence that exists out there. But you guys are practically defined by your aversion to this practice. You start with the conclusion (e.g., government is bad!) and then accept or ignore evidence depending on what it does to that conclusion.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    You're misreading. Let me restate: Few of us are experts about any of the things we tend to talk about here. If an engineer wants to post about bridges or whatever, I would be happy to defer to his expertise.

    How am I misreading? That is not a restatement of:

    If you're actually exposed to a wide range of ideas about the stuff we talk about here (not engineering and computer science, generally), then you tend not to come away a libertarian.

    So, if by misreading, I'm reading what you actually said, instead of a completely different point that you now want to substitute, then I'm not sure you understand what misreading is. Just because you're communicating in a confusing, haphazard manner that's difficult to understand, doesn't imply that I'm misreading.

    Since few of us are experts about the things we're bloviating about, the rational way to approach them is to rely on the evidence that exists out there. But you guys are practically defined by your aversion to this practice. You start with the conclusion (e.g., government is bad!) and then accept or ignore evidence depending on what it does to that conclusion.

    Clearly, only libertarians ever show confirmation bias. Where's you're evidence of that? You think I can't go find a democrat echo chamber of confirmation bias? Are democrats such better people that they come to it honestly, with much lower confirmation bias?

    Show me the evidence.

  • Tony||

    Clearly, only libertarians ever show confirmation bias.

    Absolutely not. Most people do, I'd suppose.

    The thing about liberalism, at least as I practice it, is that a central point is to be a servant of evidence. There is no room for dogmas. If some 40s-era social scheme proves not to work, I have no problem discarding it. You on the other hand insist things work that have never even been tested.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    You on the other hand insist things work that have never even been tested.

    This is from a person who's stated, ultimate goal is one world communism. Somehow, the experience of the last 100 years hasn't been enough to swear you off communism, yet you're the one who's views are based on history, evidence, and avoidance of dogma?

    As if capitalism hasn't been tried, worked, and superior to communism whenever it was tried?

    It would be easier following your arguments, if you didn't accept as true so many things which are not facts.

  • Tony||

    You're seriously misreading now if you think I've ever endorsed communism.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    You're seriously misreading now if you think I've ever endorsed communism.

    Tony:

    Tony|3.29.12 @ 6:44AM

    Even communists eventually have to make peace with reality.

    No, we really don't.

    Do you know you're full of BS, Tony? Or do you live in a reality distortion field?

  • Tony||

    Wow apparently there was a fake me at some point.

  • Restoras||

    Most of you don't do this because the evidence doesn't favor you

    Can you provide actual evidence of this, instead of just what you wish to believe?

  • Tony||

    I offer you the entire Internet and a sense of what counts as a reliable source.

    You seem to be OK with the former, but if you struggle with the latter, let me help. It's not just sources that confirm what you want to believe.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The question is how do you explain why you're still a libertarian.

    I identify as a voluntaryist, but I'm not sure you would appreciate the nuance.

    This might help you, though I believe her definition of brutalist is incorrect.

  • Tony||

    "The only rules you are obligated to follow are in the contracts you sign voluntarily. Thus all transactions are peaceful."

    Really? You buy this crap? The problem with all of the systems she describes is that they depend on the world being a fantastical childlike place that doesn't resemble the one we actually inhabit at all. "There wouldn't be aggression if only we could get rid of aggression!" Yeah, that's true.

  • Restoras||

    The problem with all of the systems she describes is that they depend on the world being a fantastical childlike place that doesn't resemble the one we actually inhabit at all

    It also describes perfectly the progressivism you subscribe to.

    "There wouldn't be aggression if only we could get rid of aggression!"

    This is what leftist progtards actually believe as well, except they actually pass laws to prove it.

  • Tony||

    Sorry I didn't order a nothing burger.

  • grrizzly||

    And despite all this education you still responded to Tony.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Couldn't resist. It's like my own marshmallow test.

  • JWatts||

    Damn, your right HM. And we both failed the Tony marshmallow test.

  • OneOut||

    How do I explain it ?

    You can't get a job and live on grants and loans ?

    LOL.. OK ?...LOL...I was just joking.

    Congratulations.

    ( see I can't even spell )

  • trshmnster the terrible||

    They possess massive blind spots that probably come from only having studied things computer science or engineering, yet they all think they're experts about political philosophy.

    Minored in political science, 4.0 in my minor. Blew all the political science majors away in some of their hardest classes, and had offers from a professor to sponsor a study that would extend the Converse study I linked above. Also had multiple offers for grad school in political science despite it not being my major.

    Stop the bullshit stereotype that engineers don't know shit outside engineering. I took political science statistics, I know how to read (and generate) crosstabs, not only in SPSS, but by hand, and from scratch (I took engineering statistics the same semester, and learned the calculus behind it all).

    I'm not saying all this to gloat, only to show you how much bullshit it is for you to shit on those "aspie engineers" who "don't know shit about social sciences."

  • trshmnster the terrible||

    And until you guys stop being science denying tinfoil hat types on certain issues you don't get to claim anything about your superior wisdom (science isn't optional).

    This argument is boringly insufficient. Even using a p=.01 requirement (p=.05 is sufficient in many social science contexts), 1% of the studies are finding a false correlation. From there, correlation doesn't imply causation, yet another hangup of many statisticians looking for grant money.

    If you're actually exposed to a wide range of ideas about the stuff we talk about here (not engineering and computer science, generally), then you tend not to come away a libertarian.

    Which is due primarily to emotiveness, and not to some sort of "the truth has a liberal slant" bullshit post-hoc rationalization.

    There is no liberal conspiracy in higher education--educated people just tend to be liberal.

    Academics tend to be liberal. People who are good at what they learned in college actually find real jobs in the real world, and may come back to academia as an adjunct on occasion. Either way, the idea that a gender studies professor knows anything about economics, employment dynamics, or anything else is laughable. According to your theory, every "intelligent" person possesses blind spots in the areas they haven't studied.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Even using a p=.01 requirement (p=.05 is sufficient in many social science contexts), 1% of the studies are finding a false correlation. From there, correlation doesn't imply causation, yet another hangup of many statisticians looking for grant money.

    Not to mention the recent criticism of null hypothesis testing.

  • Tony||

    This argument is boringly insufficient. Even using a p=.01 requirement (p=.05 is sufficient in many social science contexts), 1% of the studies are finding a false correlation. From there, correlation doesn't imply causation, yet another hangup of many statisticians looking for grant money.

    I was talking about how most of you are climate change deniers.

    According to your theory, every "intelligent" person possesses blind spots in the areas they haven't studied.

    Of course they do. Do you think otherwise? The important thing is to be intelligent enough to know precisely what you don't know. Libertarians struggle mightily with this very ancient and very important concept.

  • Ghetto Slovak Goatherder||

    "I was talking about how most of you are climate change deniers."

    "You have to proportion beliefs to evidence."

    I agree. So, why are you such a strong believer of global warming? 30 years ago "evidence" suggested a global cool down. Then it was global warming. Now, the most recent GOVERNMENT BACKED climate change report has no explanation for the past 15 years of climate change stagnation.

    So, are you proportioning your beliefs to evidence or to the left's talking points? If the former, can you please describe the cause and effect relationship between global CO2 emissions and global temperature averages? Because the science world can't seem to do it. And by the way, statistical averages aren't informational; they answer only what, not why.

  • Tony||

    Nothing you typed has any relationship with reality.

  • Restoras||

    The important thing is to be intelligent enough to know precisely what you don't know. Libertarians struggle mightily with this very ancient and very important concept.

    Can you provide any actual evidence of this, instead of what you just wish to beleive?

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    Libertarians struggle mightily with this very ancient and very important concept.

    So do socialists.

    Let's take engineering: do you really think an english major with no exposure to engineering is better prepared to make policy opinions than an engineering major who's spent his life also speaking and reading English?

    Then, said English major proposes that his socialist policies "maximize human well-being." t

    To which the engineer asks, "How do you define your objective function?"

    To which, said English major asks, "What are you talking about?"

    To which, the engineer says, "Maximization implies optimization theory."

    To which, the English major says, "Oh, well, .... HISTORY!""

    To which, the engineer says, "That's presenting an answer, without really having one. What objective function was used to analyze history?"

    TO which, said English major goes on ad hominem rant about silly engineers and their lack of ability to understand good policy.

  • ||

    Man you are all square man like all right angles and no soul or connection to the street man.

  • Tony||

    do you really think an english major with no exposure to engineering is better prepared to make policy opinions than an engineering major who's spent his life also speaking and reading English?

    Because what you do in college English courses is learn to read and speak. Uh huh.

    I suggest that regardless of your major, you are only an expert on political matters if you've studied them. What matters is that at some point you learn to distinguish between what you know and what you don't, and are thus able to navigate thought in an orderly and productive way. If you know something, fine, if you don't, consult reliable authorities who do.

    To your little skit: what an unintentionally perfect illustration of the problem I was avoiding describing. Maybe it's the case that engineers have a bias toward thinking everything works like a designed system. But the question about what is utility for human beings living in the world is the province of philosophy and political science (and I prefer it to be as sciency as possible). And yeah history has provided us with thousands of years of trial and error to produce some number of criteria and optimization means based on them.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    Maybe it's the case that engineers have a bias toward thinking everything works like a designed system. But the question about what is utility for human beings living in the world is the province of philosophy and political science (and I prefer it to be as sciency as possible). And yeah history has provided us with thousands of years of trial and error to produce some number of criteria and optimization means based on them.

    You realize that this is pure contradiction, right?

    If you believe that utility for human beings is addressed by philosophy and political science, and that historical trial and error has provided us with the criteria and means of optimization, then you are already assuming that the world is a measurable, controllable system (designed isn't the right word). Therefore, if anyone in the argument has a bias for seeing the world that way, it's the person proposing that he can measure and optimize human happiness through government policy.

    How does that become my bias just for asking you to show us the utility function that you're presuming to have?

    It seems that you want to say that you can maximize human happiness, right up until someone tells you to show your work. In which case, you pretend that looking at the world like that is too much like an engineer. It was your idea in the first place. Or did you just want to sound sciency, without knowing what you were talking about?

  • Tony||

    I want to maximize human well-being, and to do so my only real option is to consult what has worked historically to do so. What is well-being? Much of this is actually objective. Basic needs that are universal, and some more advanced need that we've discovered are productive (education, access to healthcare). Turns out that the places with the best results on measures of well-being have a stronger "socialist" element than you're willing to tolerate. But you don't come to your conclusion based on human well-being at all. You are there because it's a dogma you read in some book. The only thing I care about is looking at what works best and learning from it. I am not an expert on the biggest question in philosophy, even though I've studied it, because nobody is--all we are entitled to do is determine what we want and observe what works to achieve it. What do you want? Is it anything beyond slogans?

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    Is it anything beyond slogans?

    It's funny how you deem libertarianism equivalent to slogans, and then you drop that generic, pseudo-intellectual buzz word goodness on us. Apparently, stating conclusions is sloganeering when libertarians do it, but when Tony does it, it's sciency awesomeness.

    Let me show you how sloganeering and lame your post is by rephrasing it in support of libertarianism. It's so generic and slogan-like that you could substitute practically any philosophy or idea into it:

    "I want to maximize well-being, and libertarian does just that. Look and learn from science and history. It turns out that freedom is essential to advanced society, more so than socialists tolerated in the 20th century. But, they don't use science. They use dogma. I use evidence, which is all on my side."

    I'm sorry, but a rehash of "The science is settled: is just right" is about as much of a slogan as I've ever heard.

    If that kind of nonsense question begging is what you think passes way beyond slogans, then you have a remarkable over estimation of your own competence.

  • trshmnster the terrible||

    I suggest that regardless of your major, you are only an expert on political matters if you've studied them.

    Doesn't this pretty much blow the entire Social Justice industry out of the water? They can't make any economic proscriptions if they didn't major in economics! They can't tell any businessperson how to run their business unless they have a business degree! They can't claim a rape epidemic unless they have a criminal justice degree! They can't talk about privilege unless they have a Ph.D. in sociology! They can't link gay marriage to black civil rights without a degree in comparative American history! They can't talk about Constitutional matters unless they've become a lawyer specializing in the Constitution!

    Congratulations, you just sank the career of every single journalist, blogger, politician, and bloviator on the planet with your "expert" worship.

    I get that your TOP MEN fantasies make you lean forward into subservience to "experts" and "forecasters" and "leaders", but many of us believe that we don't need "expertise" in the form of a degree in order to become informed on a topic.

  • Tony||

    So how do you determine who's right and who's a charlatan? Without a rigorous system all you're relying on is confirmation bias.

  • OneOut||

    Tony

    "And yeah history has provided us with thousands of years of trial and error to produce some number of criteria and optimization means based on them"

    Yet you conveniently chooses to ignore the last 100 years of History where people who think like you murdered 250 (+/-) million people who didn't think like you wanted them to.

    How old were you when your father abandoned you Tony ?

  • Tony||

    Nobody who thinks like me ever murdered anyone.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    Because what you do in college English courses is learn to read and speak. Uh huh.

    I'm sorry, but whatever you learn in English courses, doesn't approach serious economic study more than engineering or mathematics.

    Take a quick read of the requirements for pursuing economics in graduate school. You find two big requirements or recommendations: mathematics, and statistics. I can't find a single one that requires or recommends a degree in English.

    I'm sorry, but English majors don't have the skill set to pursue economics work. In contrast, there are tons of engineers who regularly use high level mathematics and statistics. Pretty much any real world estimation problem for a complex system requires statistics and differential equations.

    I'm sorry. I know that English majors probably know something that engineers don't, but if you're going to propose that English majors, by default, have such a breadth of experience that they can understand economic policy more than engineers, who could probably swim in the water directly if they wanted to, then you're engaged in a self-indulgent fantasy.

    I thought you said earlier that wisdom was in knowing what you don't know. Perhaps you shouldn't try to pretend you're better than mathematical, technical people at mathematical, technical fields. Just a suggestion, Mr. Evidence.

  • Tony||

    I didn't say English majors were qualified to seriously discuss economics. I might say they are more likely to be aware of what they don't know and thus be more rational in their approach to such things.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    I might say they are more likely to be aware of what they don't know and thus be more rational in their approach to such things.

    The kind of special awareness of what they don't know, that allows you to take an entire class of people (i.e., engineers and CS people) who actually are more likely better prepared than you to digest, understand, and make decisions about serious economics policy, and classify them as too specialized to know how wrong they are?

    If this is your idea of an English major possessing an open-minded humility towards things he doesn't know, then it goes a long way of explaining your over-confidence when you think you're really know what you're talking about.

  • Tony||

    I don't know why English majors tend to be liberals, but whatever the reason, they chose right. Likewise almost all scientists and other people who know how to think. Apparently learning how to think is tricky business.

  • Brian||

    Sorry, but 55% of scientists being democrat does not equal almost all scientists. Perhaps, as an English major, statistics wasn't part of your background? Maybe you should refer to an expert to explain it to you.

    Apparently, learning how to think and interpret data is tricky business.

  • ||

    "Minored in political science, 4.0 in my minor. Blew all the political science majors away in some of their hardest classes"

    Same here. Generally did better than the poli sci majors.

  • Bush League||

    Surely you don't believe that all libertarian ideas are simply slogans. "Get the government out of the bedroom and the boardroom" is obviously a slogan and has never been used in serious argument, but all political parties have worthless slogans that mostly idiots like to throw at others on Facebook or something.

    And I actually agree with you that the non aggression principle is consistent with anarcho-capitalism, not a military-police-courts state, because all of those things require involuntary taxation for their funding just as state funding for healthcare or education would. But not all libertarians base their philosophy on the non aggression principle, some of them are consequentialists. The private sector tends to produce better results than the state (for reasons such as incentives/knowledge/etc.), so get the state out of as many areas as possible. They may cite the free rider problem as the reason that defense can't be privatized.

    And as far as global warming goes, manny libertarians believe it's caused by human action, we just aren't as inclined to believe that the problem is as severe as it's made out to be, or that a state can "fix" it.

  • Tony||

    "But not all libertarians..."

    If I had a nickel... You guys are so slippery. Okay, so we both agree that anyone who says that taxation and government coercion is inherently bad, but police and courts and property are OK, is irreparably inconsistent.

    So as a consequentialist (good for you!) your issue is merely that you have bad evidence. The private sector doesn't "tend" to produce better results than the state, depending on what you're talking about. The claim isn't even really coherent. The state has a function and the market has a function, and they are different and intertwined. Maybe in certain specific cases, laissez-faire is the best approach (I'd cite speech and religion), but if you pay attention to the world, it's really not a great approach to the economy if you care about consequences for all people.

    "many libertarians believe it's caused by human action, we just aren't as inclined to believe that the problem is as severe as it's made out to be, or that a state can 'fix' it."

    Libertarians are not entitled to this belief. "As it's made out to be" is a scientific question. As far as I'm concerned, so is the question of how to address it.

  • ||

    You guys are so slippery.

    I know we are horrible for not fitting into that boxed strawman you have constructed in your head.

    We are monsters.

  • craiginmass||

    Well, "the state" pretty much fixed SMOG. Are you familiar with how Los Angelos was before the big bad government cleaned up cars?

    Reasonable people look at real world examples - not at Fiction Writers - to see what worked in the real world.

    As to slogans, pass the word to your fellows here who constantly state that the solution is "free markets" and "free minds".

    What could be simpler? No need for you to write even a couple paragraphs. Throw out what's been learned in history since the Greeks! Start over with slogans and all will be Peace on Earth....right?

  • Brian||

    You think "Hope and Change" isn't a slogan?

  • Ghetto Slovak Goatherder||

    WHERE DO MY POSTS KEEP GOING?

    I had a nice long response written but the servers ate it. I'm going to retype a briefer message.

    1. Stop being a collectivist moron. Blanket statements like the ones you just made are just as bad as "all homosexuals do x or y or z." It's insulting.
    2. CS and engineering people would be more likely to be science devotees, right? You seem to be contradicting yourself.
    3. I majored in Biochemistry and Political Science, focusing on Political Theory. My last semester I took a "Radical Theory" class full of whiny moochers just like you. My world view is a bit more informed than you might believe.

  • Tony||

    Yes I was stereotyping. But I do it all the time for homosexuals too.

    CS and engineering people would be more likely to be science devotees, right? You seem to be contradicting yourself.

    Apparently not. I can't tell you how many bright CS people I have known who were creationists. These are not hard sciences. My unstated position is this: people should think like scientists, about everything. Nothing in my experience suggests that engineers and CSs are any better at this than anyone else when they haven't learned how.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    Apparently not. I can't tell you how many bright CS people I have known who were creationists.

    OK, so you're the evidence-based adult in the room, but you're stereotyping an entire group of people based on anecdote. You're claiming that educated, scientific people tend to be democrats, except for CS majors. Because, you can't tell us how many I have met who were creationists.

    That's just derptastic.

    Nothing in my experience suggests that engineers and CSs are any better at this than anyone else when they haven't learned how.

    Nothing in my experience suggests that English majors are any better, either. And, trust me: I've met a lot of stupid people who were English majors. It's not really a science, they don't have the training. And they tend to come out democrats.

    Therefore, democrats appeal to people with no scientific training. That's how evidence based reasoning works in the land of the derptastics.

  • Tony||

    Yes I am stereotyping and making sure to let you know it. Do not take my stereotypes as some kind of argument. In fact, we can forget it altogether. I am not a cognitive expert so I don't have much to say on why engineers and CS people are so often religious fundamentalists.

    Democrats also appeal (overwhelmingly) to actual scientists.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    Democrats also appeal (overwhelmingly) to actual scientists.

    And crack whores. What's your point?

  • trshmnster the terrible||

    See, to Tony principals supercede principles. He's on the winning team because "actual scientists" are there too. He's a bandwagon fan of politics. If there was a massive shift, and all the "cool kids" ended up in the Whig Party, he'd become a Whig. If they ended up in Jonestown, he'd book the flight tomorrow. See, around 85% of people have no coherent ideology, and that means that they either cling to parties or to people. Tony clings to people, his identity is built through his associations. If the "actual scientists" were to shun him, he would be nothing. To him, ad hominem seems like such a funny fallacy, because the principals of the issue are much more important than the principles of the issue. If the Right People(tm) are on side A of the issue, Tony aligns to A like a magnet points North.

  • OneOut||

    Tony grew up without a father figure in his life.

    That is why he seeks one like you say and clings to someone who reinforces his personal worth because they agree with Tony because he agrees with them.

  • Tony||

    I lack a father figure? I don't even know what to do with this. At least it's something different from the old envy card, in terms of Internet psychoanalysis.

  • Tony||

    Ummmm my point is scientists, the smartest people around, have chosen this politics. That should tell you something about the politics.

  • JWW||

    Got it. Scientists, who generally specialize in one area of science, are politically brilliant and Engineers, who generally specialize in one aspect of engineering, are politically stupid because of .... specialization.

    You are a fucking moron.

  • Brian||

    It's funny how scientists breaking somewhat to democrats (55% vs 45%) tell you lots about democrat politics, but stupid people breaking to democrats tells you nothing about democrat politics. That's cherry-picking if I ever saw it.

    Earlier, you stated that you support democrats, not because they're so awesome, but because republicans are that much worse. I think most libertarians would agree with the second part, but is that the great convergence of the scientific minds in the US? That republicans are worse than democrats on science issues, mainly, global warming, religion, and evolution?

    If that's the case, then it's hardly true that the scientists are all converging to agree that Tony's subjective political preferences are going to maximize all of our happiness. That would also explain why scientists do not, in fact, stabilize to lock-step convergence on one solution for all of humanity. Not that that will keep a socialist from picking one idea and pretending that all other alternatives can be ignored, and prevent people from having the freedom of choice in the matter.

    So, basically here's the argument:
    "The science is settled. Our policies are great! Look! 55% of scientists are democrats. Oh, you don't like science? Well, here's the fines and punishments you get for not going along. We can't let you go about choosing to be anti-science, now, can we?"

    How enlightened.

  • Tony||

    You're deliberately fudging numbers. Only 6% of scientists are Republicans.

  • Brian||

    When did I say something that contradicts the claim that 6% of scientists are Republicans?

    I think you're misreading.

  • wadair||

    If you knew anything about science and technology, then you'd know that a lot of what gets attributed to "scientists" by the media is actually done by engineers. The media is just as stupid as you. They like the sound of the words "science" and "scientist" so they use them indiscriminately. Scientists study things, but they rarely build them. Engineers do both.

  • Tony||

    So what's with the tendency to be creationists?

  • Brian||

    You have no evidence showing that engineers or CS majors tend to be creationists.

    I suggest you take your own advice and become fact-based.

  • ||

    "Government is bad" is basically religious in its Manichean simplicity

    How is Obama's 5 years of big government intervention in Iraq going Tony?

  • Tony||

    It was 3 years and then all troops left. And I might ask how near-anarchy is treating Iraq.

    "But it's not real anarchy! In real anarchy nobody would fight cuz just cuz!"

  • OneOut||

    HaHaHaHa.

    "Libertarians in my experience (and I have a lot) are smarter than average but not nearly as smart as they think they are. "

    This has to be the most idiotic words ever uttered by the 20 yr old punk who calls himself Tony."

    Tony you ignorant slut.

    You are 20 years old. You don't have a lot of experience about anything.

    The statement that you FEElz that people who think like you are smarter than those who don't think like you proves it.

    You are a pathetic little twit Tony.

  • GregMax||

    Did someone just take a shit in here?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "Comparing strong Republicans with strong Democrats, Carl finds that Republicans have a 5.48 IQ point advantage over Democrats. Broadening party affiliation to include moderate to merely leaning respondents still results in a Republican advantage of 3.47 IQ points and 2.47 IQ points respectively."

    IOW, moderates are so dumb they drag down the averages.

    Though this confirms my prejudices - I tend to think "moderates" are simply people who don't think very much and so they look at what others think and split the difference - I'm not convinced of the scientific rigor of this study, so I'm going to be agnostic (about the study).

    "Carl further reports that those who endorse both social conservatism and economic statism also have lower verbal IQ scores."

    So he isn't going to tell us about the intelligence of non-statist SoCons?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Wait, I may have been too stupid to read that correctly. Maybe moderate Dems are smarter? Help me out.

  • Ron Bailey||

    NGKC: The sample size was not large enough. ;-)

  • Name Withheld||

    You know, for a website called Reason....

    There certainly seem to be a lot of commenters here who have bought the Stephen Jay Gould "IQ is useless" "g is imaginary" line of bull.

    Try reading something published within the last five years for a change, such as this.

  • toolkien||

    All that can be said is the superstitious tend not to be the best and brightest, by and large. And both parties of the two party system have a majority who are superstitious. It doesn't mean that some of the superstitious in either party don't have erudition (in the positive sense), but it certainly means that - when the rubber meets the road - they will turn themselves over to the Magical Super-Ordinate Supermen. Libertarians don't. Even if a specific libertarian believes in ghosts and fairies, they still shy away from corporeal institutions of Supermen. Their belief in a creator(s) is at least reasoned and not borne from fear, at least that's been my experience.

    So how all this dovetails with "studies" of who is smarter? I don't see that these studies take into account when the "rubber meets the road". People can say one thing in a poll, but how will they react when presented with free people acting as they see fit, even when the consequences are sometimes are horrible. Even basically smart people can be blinded into appealing to Supermen even when the horrible outcome is a statistical outlier.

  • craiginmass||

    Obviously these types of studies are gross generalizations....

    Liberals and progressives tend to be more intelligent than the current crop of "conservatives". We do know that, without the deep south, the con movement would barely exist. So take some basics - again, generalizations...

    1. The most liberal state of MA is in the top few states as far as:
    a. Education
    b. Income
    c. Low infant morality, STDs, divorce, etc.
    d. Low use of energy (this is efficiency, a measure of intelligence)

    2. There is almost a direct correlation between the southern "con" states and a vast quantity of social ills, from poverty to obesity to STD's.

    3. Most of the top universities are located in either Liberal or moderate states- or in relatively liberal parts of states

    4. High technology and medical businesses tend to cluster in areas which are very liberal - Bay Area and Boston, as two examples.

    5. Almost no scientists self-ID as Republican (i.e. conservative).

    Since neither conservatives nor GOP types want to accept that they are cave dwellers, they redefine the word "conservative". The problem with that....is that using those types of mixed-up definitions, I'm a staunch "conservative". That is, a family guy married for 35 years whose kids didn't have to rebel, who has saved money for 30 years and who has always been in charge of my own businesses and my life, etc.

    Libertarians think they KNOW the answers. That is an authoritarian outlook as well as one which demonstrates lower IQ.

  • ||

    2. There is almost a direct correlation between the southern "con" states and a vast quantity of social ills, from poverty to obesity to STD's.

    Lots of poor black people in the south therefor you are a racist.

  • Mint Berry Crunch||

    If you go by the electoral college, the Republicans are the party of the poor (red states have lower average incomes than blue states), therefore being the party of the poor is a bad thing.

    If you go by the popular vote, the Democrats are the party of the poor (according to the New York Times, at least), therefore being the party of the poor is a good thing.

  • craiginmass||

    The Dunce hat shown in the head image - is sorta like a KKK hat - which is sorta like the southern cons.

    I rest my case.

  • Mint Berry Crunch||

    Makes me wonder why any black people continue to live in the South, then.

    Why don't they all relocate to blue states, where they'd experience no racism?

  • craiginmass||

    I think many voted with their feet for generations. So they have done exactly that.....exactly as soon as they got a chance (surely you know about the great migrations to the upper midwest, northeast, and california?).....

    As to why they don't do it as much these days, Reaganomics sent any possible decent jobs overseas - remember, they migrated for work.

  • Whahappan?||

    Holy shit you're dumb. It is precisely because libertarians DON'T think they know all the answers, nor does anyone else, that they favor free markets and free minds, to borrow a phrase. TOP MEN dictating to the unwashed masses seems to be what you favor (correct me if I'm wrong), and what libertarians oppose. Libertarianism is the opposite of authoritarian.

  • craiginmass||

    Using catch-all terms like "free market" and "free minds" as the solutions you favor is doing away with any reason.

    No one - given the complexity of the world - can honestly believe 2 or 3 word slogans are anything besides slogans.

    As Forest Gump told us "Stupid is as Stupid does". So-called modern libertarian money and favor goes at least 90% to the GOP. You can BS all you like, but that's the story.

    Talk is cheap. Show me the money...

    Some libertarians, like here in MA, do a lot of good things at the state level - such as helping get decrim on the ballot, etc.

    But money talks and when the Koch's and the Rand Paul's and even the Ted Cruz's are associated with the "libertarian movement".....well, see the Forest Gump statement again. By their fruits you shall know them....

  • Brian||

    Forest Gump told us "Stupid is as Stupid does". Talk is cheap. Show me the money...But money talks...By their fruits you shall know them.

    I think there's some rambling, old, bitter man auto-generator somewhere, and craiginmass and On the Road to Mandalay have found it.

    Here, let me give it a stab:

    Some people just choose to call a spade a spade. But I say, never look a gift horse in the mouth. When I consider the democrats, and especially the republicans, one phrase strikes me: two in the hand is better than two in the bush.

    A stitch in time saves nine, so my mother would say. And boy, would she say it. I mean, look at Clinton, Gore, Soros. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

    Because the truth shall set you free.

    The most fun part, is pretending that I'm saying something, when I'm not really saying anything about anything or anybody. Except, Koch!!!1111!

  • trshmnster the terrible||

    See, when you can make your arguments in vacuous cliches, nobody can argue against you, and you win!!!

    I'm tempted to create a troll account here so that we can get a decent class of troll here. The current ones just aren't cutting it.

  • Mint Berry Crunch||

    If you do make a troll account, don't get careless and admit who you really are. Tulpa / Rollo did that, and they're still crucifying him for it.

  • craiginmass||

    Ah, so you parrot Palin and act like she makes sense??

    That's much easier than explaining why, when pressed, these "free minds" tend to fall on the very authoritarian and warmongering side of the aisle.

    I'd have more respect for y'all if you just pushed for the actual policies. But backing the Elephant means something.

    You can deny that and poke fun all you want, but the current "libertarian" movement is just another perversion of the Grand Old Party.

    Sure, you are a bit more frugal than the mainstream GOP suits, so you'd rather have the money in your pockets than in Cheneys (Haliburton war contracts, etc.).

    But the difference ends right about there.

    Your so-called liberal stands on social issues....only seem to be very belated attempts to mimic us, since it's getting obvious that we were (always) right.

    I say that because I pushed against war and for legalization back about 1970. Welcome to the club.

  • Brian||

    Craiginmass, you make absolutely no sense. I'm not even sure you're reading the same material that we are.

    It's like you're trapped in some anti-republican rant black hole, where not even light can escape.

    I'm pretty sure that you're incapable of a conversation beyond that, so I'm not sure what the point is in communicating with you.

    I look forward to more accusations of being a closet republican, followed by out-of-place anti-republican screeds that have no bearing on any part of the actual conversation going on, or the actual participants involved.

    If you feel like joining the actual conversation going on, come out of the black hole and join us. Otherwise, I look forward to hearing more about the Cheney's and Haliburton, as if we're stuck in a temporary time work back to 2003.

  • craiginmass||

    Again, you are asking me to ignore the Elephant in the room! I'm not a card carrying Dem and I've never attended a political party meeting, etc. etc.

    BUT, I'd have to be nuts to not ask you to carefully explain why 95% plus of the money and political power of the libertarians heroes (Koch's, etc.) go directly to putting Republicans in power.

    We would not need to have such a conversation if billions from these "libertarians" were not paying for this site , cato and vast other media properties and institutions. Also, as I have noted, very little of these billions seems to go to truly anti-war and anti-empire and anti-drugwar issues. Heck, here in MA, we had to use money from Soros to decrim.

    Why? Why does all the money go to just to electing republicans and to legislation which allows more pollution, disenfranchises voters, etc.

    That's the black hole I am trapped in. I was taught to follow the money and that's what I am doing.

  • JPyrate||

    Just to stir the pot a bit. Enjoy craiginmass. =D http://www.christophercantwell.....rent-nice/

  • craiginmass||

    So the Koch's and Rand, etc. are not trying to win elections??

    Wow.....

    BTW, I had a "triple nines" employee. He couldn't maintain a relationship (marriage) and he was my lowest employee in the warehouse.

  • steedamike||

    The election thing...(why do I even bother posting days later). He's referring to when a stance that you believe in and a stance that will get you more votes conflict. If you lean to what will get you more votes, then this conflict of interest has compromised you.

  • AlmightyJB||

    common sense

  • DarrenM||

    Kemmelmeier ruefully notes that "this result was not anticipated" and "diametrically contradicts" the hypothesis that conservatism is linked to lower cognitive ability.

    Sounds like a typical push poll. Decide what results you want and tailor your 'questions' to get those results.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    smartest of all...
    There's just that small matter of 'coming in out of the rain' thing.

  • ||

    "libertarian ideas are simply slogans."

    Yes we can! Forward!

    "Government is bad, m'kay?"

    Better?

  • ||

    No, conservatives are not dumber then liberals. That is a stupid question asked by stupid people.

  • brobbs||

    Anyone who votes with consistent commitment to either of these parties is touched in the head compared to a libertarian.

    I see it every single day, with examples from each side. There is always an excuse for why my party isn't perfect, while the other party's imperfect actions are proof that it is full of tyrants made of pure evil.

    Extrapolate that to the social welfare state for conservatives. Everybody who receives subsidies is a lazy, worthless, teat-sucking piece of crap, except me and people who agree with me (e.g. Medicare & SS). Or tax breaks for liberals. Rich people who receive tax breaks are greedy, self-interested lice, except me and my colleagues and others whose careers I agree with (e.g. Hollywood, organic farmers, etc).

  • ||

    we must keep in mind that intelligence does not confer infallibility. Less intelligent people with better values make better decisions.
    Less intelligent people with more common sense make better decisions.

    I would far prefer decisions made by people who have lived in the real world, raised families, held jobs and belonged to churches, than those who have spent their adult lives in academia and Washingtonia.

  • brobbs||

    How about decisions be made by individuals, rather than government? Then we don't have to quibble over whose lifestyle is superior and thus who is qualified for elitist central planning. That is the path of argument that both Democrats and Republicans take, and that is what makes them both (witting or unwitting) totalitarian statists.

  • OldOllie||

    It doesn't necessarily take a high IQ to get it right; however, it generally takes a low IQ to get it wrong.

  • Great+Grandma||

    This article is absolutely hilarious. The questions shown on the so called "IQ test" are obviously crafted by liberals to make liberal's look smarter. Just like what has happened in school telling kids they are a lot smarter than they really are so they don't have to face reality.

    The facts are that most so called 'experts' who conduct studies at universities are liberal and in the past have shown a lot of bias against conservatives so why wouldn't they want to reveal their bias in a study such as this?

    I would love to see a study that was crafted to show conservatives were smarter. Liberals would go ballistic in their rubber rooms.

    The truth is IQ tests have been proven from past experience to not be very accurate predictors of actual intelligence because scientists don't understand what intelligence actually is.

    For example, a person could have an excellent memory and barely be able to cope in the world. I know a few of those kinds of people. I know an excellent businessman who did so poorly in school that he can't even read and yet, in his way, he is absolutely brilliant. I know a person who was absolutely brilliant at mathematics but who was only an ordinary student in other subjects. I know several professors who are brilliant in their chosen field but are absolute idiots in in the way they behave and make decisions because they lack the ability to reason.

    What a joke.

  • Pa Deuce||

    The research findings in this article are radically distorted by "Liberal" ideology. The distinction between Jeffersonian "classical liberal" beliefs and Democratic Party "progressive Liberalism" is monumental. Progressive Liberalism is in fact a poorly disguised Marxist ideology. Marxist ideology is voluntary ignorance. Every Marxist experiment in history has failed, and Obama's Marxist experiment is now failing.

    Psychopathy is the world's worst mental disorder. Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Putin, and Obama (and all their followers) suffer from psychopathy, and will bring further disaster to the American Republic.

  • T Clark||

    I'm a non-classical liberal and I'm really smart. No... really...I am. I'm really serious. I won't comment further on the self-congratulatory tone of the article.

    I don't believe the results of the studies that claim to show that liberals are smarter than conservatives. Conservatives tend to live in places that are poorer, where schools and public services are worse. Places where the cultural norms built into IQ tests are out of sinc with the culture.

  • shipley130||

    Nancy Pelosi, Guam is going to tip over Johnson (from Georgia), Iraq is being beheaded Obama. That kind of smart gets you killed.

  • RoninX||

    Bailey writes:

    "Kemmelmeier is so evidently lost in the intellectual fog of contemporary progressivism that he does not realize that his questionnaire is impeccably designed to identify classical liberals, a.k.a. libertarians, who endorse liberty in both the social and economic realms."

    After actually reading Kemmelmeier's paper, I don't think Bailey gives him enough credit. He does explicitly mention libertarianism in the conclusions:

    "The present studies paint a somewhat complex picture of the
    relationship between cognitive ability and political orientation.
    There was general support for Adorno et al.’s (1950) notion that
    higher conservatism (lower liberalism) was linked to lower cognitive
    functioning (Hypothesis 1). Yet, the present research also
    documents that more conservative attitudes may be associated
    with greater ability, especially when, as in Study 1, conservative
    attitudes concerned government control (a chief concern in libertarian
    thought), and in Study 2, when levels of political involvement
    were low. As such, these studies simultaneously replicate
    the inconsistencies of prior research (e.g., Bouchard et al., 2003;
    Katz, 2001). While a clear theoretical rationale for a positive relationship between conservatism and cognitive ability may be lacking,
    it appears, however, that the implicit assumption of earlier
    research, that conservative beliefs are inherently less cognitively
    demanding than liberal beliefs, is not tenable in light of the present
    data."

  • Rhino||

    More intelligent people tend to be better at convincing themselves that they are right. The lowest intelligent also have a lot of confirmation bias because they aren't as good at rationalization so they are more apt to go with their gut and dismiss anything that goes against their first instinct. Whether you're smart or dumb, it takes a great deal of intellectual honesty and self reflection to break free of confirmation bias. This is why i don't put much stock in studies that prove liberals are smarter than conservatives or vice versa.

  • triclops||

    This is a very important point.

    There is a lot of research that shows that smart people are better at getting correct answers on questions of knowledge or analysis, except when it comes to issues that are emotionally charged.

    Then they become at least as bad as the less smart. The difference is that the smart ones remain highly confident in their own knowledge and continue to be good at arguing convincingly.

    To a certain extent, liberals suffer, and libertarians benefit from being in the respective majority/minority. Majorities rarely have their assumptions questioned, and confirmation bias is harder to maintain. Harder, but not impossible, though.

  • triclops||

    harder to maintain *for the minority

  • Giulio Prisco||

    I think the traditional definitions of "conservative" and "liberal" are not really applicable anymore, which makes massaging social sciences data easier. The liberal spirit of the 60s was libertarian at heart, but today's politically correct, thought-policing liberal spirit isn't.

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