Does Stupidity Cause Conservatism?

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You need an explanation?

A new study in the journal Psychological Science by two Canadian researchers suggests that the answer is yes. And worse yet it causes racism and homophobia too. The abstract from the article, "Bright Minds and Dark Attitudes: Lower Cognitive Ability Predicts Greater Prejudice Through Right-Wing Ideology and Low Intergroup Contact." reports:

Despite their important implications for interpersonal behaviors and relations, cognitive abilities have been largely ignored as explanations of prejudice. We proposed and tested mediation models in which lower cognitive ability predicts greater prejudice, an effect mediated through the endorsement of right-wing ideologies (social conservatism, right-wing authoritarianism) and low levels of contact with out-groups. In an analysis of two large-scale, nationally representative United Kingdom data sets (N = 15,874), we found that lower general intelligence (g) in childhood predicts greater racism in adulthood, and this effect was largely mediated via conservative ideology. A secondary analysis of a U.S. data set confirmed a predictive effect of poor abstract-reasoning skills on antihomosexual prejudice, a relation partially mediated by both authoritarianism and low levels of intergroup contact. All analyses controlled for education and socioeconomic status. Our results suggest that cognitive abilities play a critical, albeit underappreciated, role in prejudice. Consequently, we recommend a heightened focus on cognitive ability in research on prejudice and a better integration of cognitive ability into prejudice models.

IQ actually exists? I thought IQ was a fiction imposed by the patriarchy as yet another way to exclude women and minorities. Who knew?

That being said, it is probably true that less intelligent people are more fearful people which likely inclines them toward sticking with what they know and avoiding social, economic, and technological novelty. Interestingly, the Huffington Post does note:

"Reality is complicated and messy," [University of Virginia psychologist Brian Nosek] told The Huffington Post in an email. "Ideologies get rid of the messiness and impose a simpler solution. So, it may not be surprising that people with less cognitive capacity will be attracted to simplifying ideologies."

But Nosek said less intelligent types might be attracted to liberal "simplifying ideologies" as well as conservative ones.

Simplifying liberal ideologies? You think? Maybe something along the lines of a simplistic ideology based on the belief that "fairness" is the same as "equality"?

In any case, my fellow libertarians need not fret. Research shows that libertarians—out of the major socio-political groups—score highest on "need for cognition" and "openness to new experiences." However, it must be said that many of my fellow libertarians do tend exhibit just a bit of "prejudice" against rigid liberals and conservatives.

For further background, see my 2004 column, Pathologizing Conservatism: Is it an unfortunate evolutionary holdover, or the product of a bad upbringing.

Thanks to Mark Sletten for the tip.

NEXT: The Supreme Court Has Been Getting Along Nicely. What's that Mean for ObamaCare?

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  1. Holy fucking shit, this shit again?!?

    Nothing–nothing–is more pathetic than these retarded TEAM-based attempts to use “science” to prove that the other TEAM is stupid, or hateful, or whatever.

    It is stunning how base and disgusting partisans are. And when it comes to stupid, they fucking take the cake. Fucking sheep.

    1. Observe the anger and the lack of social consciousness. Clearly mentally retarded.

      1. Well, obviously. I’m also racist, homophobic, and I love Michael Bay movies.

        1. I have an idea. Let’s do an experiment to prove that right-wingers are morons. It can’t go wrong, as we know the result already.

          1. Why bother doing it, then? We already know the results. Let’s just publish them. No one I know will bother to look into them anyway because they’ll already agree. God, I love being a scientist!

            1. Reality-based community!

              1. You need to shut up and let the adults talk, ProL.

                1. Yes, you’re right. I’m going go sit in my corner and await judgment.

                  1. Here is what you should ponder while sitting: does stupidity cause partisanship, or just a pathetic need to be part of a group?

                    1. It’s stupid all the way down.

                    2. or just a pathetic need to be part of a group?

                      HOW DOES I GETZ ON TEH SEAKRET EMIAL LIST??????

        2. I’m also racist, homophobic, and I love Michael Bay movies.

          Because all three of those things AUTOMATICALLY go hand in hand, right? Did you actually SEE Armageddon? It had blacks AND gays as heroes.

          1. Yes, I have seen Armageddon. I have also seen Transformers.

            PWN’D

            1. I haven’t seen either. And I never will.

              1. I already bawt tickets to see Untitled Michael Bay/Taylor Lautner Project. All of the tickets.

                1. You are the cause of all the evils in this world.

                  1. Does Stupidity Cause Conservatism?

                    NO, IT CAUSES CHAT ROOMS!

                  2. Fine. You can have some of the tickets.

                    1. Sweet. I’m going to need one for me, one for your mom, and one for the set of steak knives I’m going to put next to me so that I can gouge out my eyes and ears. Depending on who he casts as the female lead, maybe just my ears.

                    2. YOU’RE A TOWEL!

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          1. Oh, the irony of this post on a thread about homophobes …

          2. Oh, the irony of this post on a thread about homophobes …

    2. Oh, but Epi, you’re gooder!

    3. You know who else used science to prove other people were inferior…

      1. Mr. Wizard?

    4. It is stunning how base and disgusting partisans are.

      It is human nature. Base and disgusting describe much of it. Knowing that it IS human nature, and that we are human, we should be especially careful to avoid partisanship ourselves.

    5. Holy fucking shit, this shit again?!?

      Yes! And you respond…again!

      Broken record-Broken record-Broken record-Broken record-Broken record-Broken record-Broken record-Broken record-Broken record-Broken record-Broken record-Broken record-

  2. I am prejudiced against everyone. Does that make me unprejudiced?

    1. I think it makes you omniprejudiced.

  3. So an inherently racist test is used to determine who is inherently racist.

    Makes sense.

    1. right-wing ideologies (social conservatism, right-wing authoritarianism)

      So left-wing authoritarianism is cool, then? Whew!

      1. We smart people have to tell you stupid ones how to live. It’s our burden to carry.

        1. We smart people have to tell you stupid ones how to live. It’s our burden to carry.

          You know who else relished this burden?

        2. And we drunk people have to tell you sober ones you’re boring. It’s our Bourbon to carry.

  4. IQ actually exists? I thought IQ was a fiction imposed by the patriarchy as yet another way to exclude women and minorities. Who knew?

    It’s only used to exclude stupid, racist women and minorities.

  5. So, it may not be surprising that people with less cognitive capacity will be attracted to simplifying ideologies.

    Anyone gonna try to explain how libertarianism is a complex set of empirically-based beliefs, and not a simplifying ideology? Because it sure seems like a simplifying ideology.

    1. Shut the hell up.

    2. Citations, links, please…

    3. Awwww. Someone sounds cranky they’ve been outed as having low cognitive ability. Look who’s anti-science now!

    4. Our entire philosophy is consistent with rampant empirical evidence that in the best case government manipulations result in unintended consequences that are often worse than the original problem, or in the worst case result in evil, corruption, brutality and war.

      And honestly, libertarianism is the most complex ideology if only because we do not presume to know what’s best for each individual, who is practicing self-government. We believe that values are personal, not political, and we seek a system that best maximizes everyone pursuing their own values peacefully.

      Government ideologies impose a simplistic value upon all of society, be it security, morality, equality or racial/religious purity, that overrides individual value systems. Liberty is a value that can’t be imposed because it requires no action by others and allows one to determine their own set of values. Moreover, when it comes to technocratic and democratic systems, these values are completely arbitrary and based upon who is administering government power. When the power swings the other direction, the same apparatus you were using to do what you want will be used against you and everything you value. I laugh every time a Leftist complains about corporate influence in politics, because they set up all the mechanisms that resulted in this outcome.

      In a libertarian society, these values come as a result of voluntary arrangements with others who share your values. If equality is your primary value, go start a commune or cooperative with other likeminded people, share your wealth and the property and live in peace unmolested by business or government influences. If you like gamboling, go buy some large undeveloped forest areas, get a permanent conservation easement, and live freely hunting and gathering. And if you want to live in a big city and start a business, or be a hermit secluded from the world, or a farmer, or a priest (or cult leader), or a non-violent drug addict bum, or an ignorant racist, or a PC activist – no one will tell you what you can or can’t say or believe or how you should live. That’s the beauty of a libertarian society.

      There does need to be a minimal government to work out conflicts of liberty and to punish those who use force or fraud to harm the liberty of others. Rational self-governance and responsibility for one’s own actions is enough to keep society from chaos.

      Oh, and Tony: I wonder if your prejudice that most individuals are too stupid to control their own lives and need wise overlords to tell them what to do is a result of your lower cognitive ability, or your deficiency of intergroup contact? While I can’t say all libertarians are openminded libertines individually, the fact that they can grasp the need for political openmindedness puts them far ahead of just about any other ideology when it comes to intellectual basis. As much as it must hurt for you to hear, “guide me, overlords” is not a very intellectual philosophy, and those who wish to be overlords are usually intent on gaming the system for their own self-interest, or potentially just reprehensible brutes.

      1. That was a lot of words to say, “no, libertarianism is no more of a complex set of empirically-based beliefs than any other political ideology.”

        All of the political ideologies contain enough complexity to allow for a nuanced analysis of the world. However, all are also easily boiled down into simplistic mental short-cuts that simplify the world. Libertarianism is no different in this sense. Internet comments are a great way to see these mental short-cuts on display.

        So, you can get the simplistic liberal analysis of a simplistic liberal (pick your favorite), the simplistic analysis of a simplistic conservative (hello John), the simplistic analysis of a simplistic libertarian (pick your favorite), the simplistic analysis of a simplistic anarcho-capitalist (hello Old Mexican, hello Rothbard), the simplistic analysis of a simplistic anti-partisan (hello Epi), and not have any sense of what the intellectual tradition they are a parody of allows for in terms of nuance.

        On the internet, I’ll stick with my own centrist mental short cuts and pretend that they are more nuanced than the simplistic presentations that surround them. But I know that many of those presentations are not representative of the ideologies they claim to represent,nor even the true nuanced opinions of those that wrote them.

        1. That was a lot of words to say, “no, libertarianism is no more of a complex set of empirically-based beliefs than any other political ideology.

          Libertarianism is a consistently simple structure – for government – yet in full the penultimate recognition of the complexity of the human experience.

          The motivations that drive people to libertarianism are often directly related to empirical evidence that government ruins or destroys outright just about everything it touches and reduces the freedoms to live peacefully as we desire.

          Libertarianism reflects real world economics, history, game theory, psychology and science – as well as the ability to observe the actions of politicians, bureaucrats and the special interests that flock to them with intense skepticism. That belief that government is at best inefficient, at worst abominably evil can be well reinforced simply from experience alone.

          Meanwhile all the other ideologies that claim that government can solve our problems and do it well and efficiently based upon some empirical evidence are forced to explain away all the stark majority of experiences to the contrary (even when those may have been in good faith) with “the right people weren’t in charge that time” and “it was compromised by special interests/the opposition”. Which is exactly what we predicted every time because we know it’s virtually impossible to wield power without corruption or unintended consequences to shape society towards a limited value system, or in favor of a specific (usually politically connected) group and still be “fair” “free” and “just”. Those that think otherwise are utopians and/or ignorant of history and economics, and thus their ideologies are inherently non-empirical.

          1. That was a lot of words to say, “no, libertarianism is no more of a complex set of empirically-based beliefs than any other political ideology.”

  6. IQ actually exists? I thought IQ was a fiction imposed by the patriarchy as yet another way to exclude women and minorities. Who knew?

    Larry Summers and James Watson

  7. Tony: Some of the nuances and subtleties characteristic of libertarian thinking would become more apparent were you to bother to read the research on libertarian psychology to which I so thoughtfully link in my article.

    1. Consensus!!!

    2. Sponsored by Koch Industries.

      1. I’m liking it more every day.

      2. Brought to you by Carl’s Jr.

    3. Ron, do you really think sockpuppets read supporting research?

      1. Epi: My optimism knows no bounds. Or at least my optimism has relatively extensive bounds.

    4. I read it the first time it showed up, then again just now. Fascinating, truly. One thing that bothers me is the scoring of economic liberty. Believing that “everyone should do as he sees fit as long as he doesn’t infringe on others’ rights to do the same” is not, actually, an attitude arrived at via an empirical appreciation of the complexities of the world, but a “simplifying ideology” that treats human beings as atomistic agents. Indeed, libertarianism seems to require itself to strip away complexities, since as soon as you start adding caveats it tends to break down and start resembling plain old liberalism or conservatism. I, a liberal, believe in maximum individual liberty too. I just think it’s a much, much more complex proposition than libertarianism admits, since, and I believe this to be obvious, freedom is not in a zero-sum relationship with government. That would seem to be a highly simplified outlook and the definition of ideological.

      1. Believing that “everyone should do as he sees fit as long as he doesn’t infringe on others’ rights to do the same” is not, actually, an attitude arrived at via an empirical appreciation of the complexities of the world,

        Au contraire, my suddenly and unexpectedly literate little sockpuppet.

        It is the only approach to governance that recognizes the complexities of the world, and most especially the complexities of people.

        Every other approach to governance boils down to the imposition of top-down solutions that are, inherently and unavoidably, simplistic. Libertarianism recognizes that these top-down solutions are always inadequate to the complexities of reality.

        1. Except when it comes to national defense and property rights enforcement.

          The simplicity you’re trying to pretend is complexity is believing emergent complexity to be a panacea. Some human endeavors are best served by top-down management, as you agree with respect to the things I mentioned. Saying it’s always inadequate (thus something else–i.e., emergent complexity–is always superior) is the simplification. Reality requires a complex, even messy and eternally imperfect, mixture of means.

        2. The Soviets biggest problem — not enough planning because they were ahead of their time. If only they didn’t stop at the micro level of planning, but were made of the nano level of planning than it would have all worked out fine.

          1. Most businesses operate as autocracies and often make five-year plans.

            Aren’t they operating from a monumentally bad model?

            1. Usually, that is the case and they tend to fold before their plans are fully realized. Only the ones that make successful predictions concerning consumer demand succeed, unless they get an advantage through subsidy or regulatory capture.

            2. There are a lot of businesses working in parallel and providing the same things and I can choose to work with the one currently best serving my needs, and can readjust my relationships every time I make another transaction.

              That’s a pretty fucking important difference.

            3. Its a question of scale, Tony. People are capable of doing successful planning and execution on a relatively small (business-level) scale with a relatively limited scope.

              On the level of an entire society of millions? Not so much.

              And, yeah, that exception for a minarchy that provides protection against force and fraud – that’s one of those nuances that apparently libertarians can comprehend, but you can’t.

              1. Protection against force and fraud… using top down management and planning. Surely there’s a better way?

                If not, maybe other things can be accomplished with top-down planning. Maybe even putting humans on the moon or building a national transportation infrastructure. Crazy things like that. Maybe even universal healthcare.

                What you’re saying is not nuance, it is simplistic and makes no sense.

                1. “What you’re saying is not nuance, it is simplistic and makes no sense”

                  Your inability to comprehend the subtleties is not an indictment of them, but of your own lack of cognitive ability.

                  It’s very common for underdeveloped intellects to lash out with anger at things which exceed their intellectual grasp, as you have today.

                  You’re not special or enlightened, you’re the functional equivalent of a 5 year old, and engaging in exactly the same tantrum like behavior.

                  1. +1 standard deviation

                2. … or building a national transportation infrastructure.

                  Although not national in scope, an excellent counterpoint can be found in many small transportation projects that began in the late 1800’s. At the time, most transportation projects were undertaken by private investors, looking to sell a service such as roads, trains, busses, and ferries. However, it was politicians, and those connected to politicians, that put an end to this progress. Example: Boss Tweed shutting down the Beach Pneumatic Transit line, because it interfered with the money he extorted from ferry and bus lines. If politicians had not used the force of government to control (and rent-seek) how transportation projects were developed in this country, we may well have had a national transportation infrastructure in place; fifty years earlier, at lower costs, and without the strings attached to DC.

                3. Protection against force and fraud… using top down management and planning. Surely there’s a better way?

                  If not, maybe other things can be accomplished with top-down planning.

                  You’re assuming that the only way to protect against force and fraud is through a top-down command and control mode.

                  This is a simplistic assumption that ignores the possibility that competitive market forces can and do supply these desired services when not coerced by a government monopoly.

                  Or are you, for example, denying the existence of private security guards, or private firearms, etc.?

            4. “Most businesses operate as autocracies and often make five-year plans.”

              And most businesses fail within the first 5 years.

            5. Your premise is false. Most corporations do not do 5-year plans. Those are saved for the large, bureaucratic organizations making work for the executives…just like govt. Most corporations are small businesses who have no time except to serve their customers..now.

            6. Most businesses operate as autocracies and often make five-year plans.

              I know this is twelve hours late, but how the hell do you people let the crowdsourced kospuppet get away with this shit? I literally (proper usage) facepalmed upon reading it. That is exactly the sort of statement that can only be made by somebody that has absolutely no experience in business; small, medium, or large.

  8. French models in lingerie stunt…

    http://www.myfoxdc.com/gallery…..unt-011212

    1. Those poor girls need a steak.

      1. Yeah, a tubesteak. Specifically mine.

  9. Razib’s take

    The libertarian bit:
    A substantial number of Americans shake out as social conservatives and fiscal moderates/liberals. And yet this faction is totally unrepresented in modern politics. In contrast, their inverse, libertarians, do have some representation, albeit a marginalized one. Why? Because the latter position has modest high I.Q./elite support, while the former position has far less. If you changed the question to attitudes toward global free trade there would be a correlation between lower I.Q. and the ‘more liberal’ (at last in American politics) position.

    1. A substantial number of Americans shake out as social conservatives and fiscal moderates/liberals. And yet this faction is totally unrepresented in modern politics.

      Well, only if you don’t count the Republican Party, of course.

      1. Name me a Republican in Congress that votes on economic issues like the median Democrat.

    2. Yeah, ask me where these people live based on left/right and liberal/conservative and I would answer as follows:

      Right liberal: Beltway
      Left liberal: New York
      Right conservative: Dallas
      Left conservative: Appalachia

  10. Wait a minute… how many of these your-political-views-are-pathology studies are we going to have to be subjected to?

    And how many sentences must we end in prepositions?

    1. This would be better.
      “Wait a minute… how many of these your-political-views-are-pathology studies are we going to have to be subjected to, bitch?”

  11. First off, Bailey, this is quite possibly the steamiest pile of shit you have ever attempted to pass off as fact:

    That being said, it is probably true that less intelligent people are more fearful people which likely inclines them toward sticking with what they know and avoiding social, economic, and technological novelty.

    Personal tastes for consistency and predictability cannot reliably be associated with any intelligence level. The same statement could be made about quite brilliant people who, for whatever reason, outside of their most brilliant and productive niche (writing, scientific advancement, music, etc.), prefer relative stability.

    Secondly, there’s a niiiice, big, gaping hole in this study, and that is the definitions of “prejudice” and “racism” are entirely subjective, defined by the smug lefty bias of the researchers.

    For example, they might have claimed, for all we know, that someone who believes that Affirmative Action policies are unjust is a racist. They might have labeled any of the study participants “anti-gay” if those participants questioned whether it was the government’s job to allow gays to marry. We don’t know. The examples of “prejudice measuring” questions the study results give are fairly vague. That allows the study architects to basically label anyone an anencephalic potted plant who disagrees with their politics. Beautiful! And completely useless.

    1. For example, they might have claimed, for all we know, that someone who believes that Affirmative Action policies are unjust is a racist. They might have labeled any of the study participants “anti-gay” if those participants questioned whether it was the government’s job to allow gays to marry.

      Did he touch you?

      [ ] Yes
      [ ] No

      If yes, subject was raped.

      1. Koch Industries has not nor will we ever finance Mr. Bailey’s rape-related activities.

    2. Personal tastes for consistency and predictability cannot reliably be associated with any intelligence level.

      It seems to me that a game in which the results are constantly changing would favor the intelligent more than one with rigid rules where successful strategies could be copied. IOW stupid people are probably right to prefer a world where their parents advice will be most useful.

      1. It seems to me that a game in which the results are constantly changing would favor the intelligent more than one with rigid rules where successful strategies could be copied.

        That game, by constantly invalidating “intelligent” strategies, and (randomly) rewarding some previously stupid strategies, would take down the intelligent and randomly reward the stupid.

        The only way to win that game consistently is to be the one who writes the rules. Which, as we have seen, is a strategy that favors the ruthless, not the intelligent.

        1. It favors Captain Kirk.

          1. Which is why Kirk is the CO and the more intelligent Spock is the XO.

        2. Er, RC, that’s not a hypothetical game at all — 7 billion plus are playing it every day.

      2. My kids are smart but they’d still be right to prefer a world in which my advice is most useful.

      3. Your hypothetical game has fuck-all to do with anything. And you don’t know that stupid people prefer that. Essentially what you’ve done is beg the conclusion and flatter yourself.

        I know many people who are into “old” tech, music, etc. A co-worker of mine is very into “steampunk”-era engineering, and he plays a period instrument in a medieval band in SCA. I’m surrounded by engineers, and a good portion of them are strictly meat-and-potatoes, American-food-only people, and the clothes are also fairly traditional and homogeneous (golf polos/T-shirts/jeans/Dockers).

        The more people you actually know, the more you know that the assertion “they shun novelty = they’re stupid” is full of shit. People can prefer a very staid existence in most areas of their lives, they can even enjoy a retro existence, and yet constantly be pursuing knowledge or improvement in a niche area (and that niche can be something very dated, such as antique cars or 1920’s bluegrass or Ming dynasty weaponry or whatever). And they can be fiercely intelligent without the slightest interest in taking risks in areas that Bailey and you might flatter yourselves that you’re riding the “bleeding edge” of.

        1. I know many people who are into “old” tech, music, etc.

          This is the point at which you quit responding to anything other than the voices in your head.

      4. “results” should be “rules”

    3. You can trifle over the details but the important thing to take from this is that conservativism is a curable disorder if we concentrate our intentions on improving early cognitive development.

    4. You’re reversing Bailey’s implication.

      He says

      low intelligence => simplifying ideology

      You criticize

      simplifying ideology => low intelligence

  12. In any case, my fellow libertarians need not fret. Research shows that libertarians – out of the major socio-political groups – score highest on “need for cognition” and “openness to new experiences.”

    Libertarians? One of the major socio-political groups? Look who’s letting Ron Paul’s delegate count go to his head.

  13. First off, Bailey, this is quite possibly the steamiest pile of shit you have ever attempted to pass off as fact:

    That being said, it is probably true that less intelligent people are more fearful people which likely inclines them toward sticking with what they know and avoiding social, economic, and technological novelty.

    Where’s the attempted fact?

    1. Where’s the attempted fact?

      The bit after “that,” unless you believe “probably true” absolves the writer of having actually made a statement in much the way people claim “I’m just asking the question” does.

      1. I wouldn’t say that probably true utterly absolves the writer, but it does create a distinction between a statement of fact and what otherwise may be understood as the presentation of, at best, an educated guess.

    2. ^^THIS^^

      I would think that “probably true” is a pretty clear indicator that it is an opinion and not something that is fact.

  14. Does Stupidity Cause Conservatism? A new study … suggests that the answer is yes. And worse yet it causes racism and homophobia too.

    Fuck! I’ll bet it causes profanity as well!

  15. Stupidity

    “I was never, um…taught that knowledge.”

    1. I hit the wrong pre-set and tuned to Glenn Beck this morning. He was playing this, too. It was brutal. But high school kids were never that bright, anyway. Of course Beck wanted to tie this together with the Progressive’s plot to systematic dumbing down of the citizenry in conjunction with the teacher’s unions.

    2. The girl that answered ‘Utopia’ confounds me. Sure, it’s not a real country, but somewhere somehow, the word Utopia is in her brain in a not totally inaccurate schema.

  16. That line, “IQ really exists” is pretty stupid.

    1. Whether IQ is a measure of what it purports to be is different from whether it exists.

      1. What does it purport to measure?

        1. the scalar of the principle component of the covariance matrix

          1. That’s what I thought. And these guys are pretending its not important!

  17. and this effect was largely mediated via conservative ideology

    How do they disentangle and then re-entangle those things? Delicate operation, I’d think.

    So I’m looking through the paper (it’s written too poorly to read), and what I can’t find is this:

    What do they judge (before testing for it) “racist,” what’s judged “right-wing” (before testing), and how is the direction (it says “via”) of “mediation” between these entirely separable phenomena (must be, right? or none of this means anything?) determined?

    I see a bunch self-congratulation for “disentangl[ing] conservative ideology from prejudice,” and abstracted descriptions of what they say they tested for, and nothing they actually tested for?except conformity to learned (by “high IQ” people) strictures against, e.g., agreeing that Mexicans are lazy, when the people saying Mexicans are lazy are running a test-con on you.

    And the “supplemental data” is a goddamn Powerpoint presentation of fucking rainbow graphs of nothing.

    WTF AM I READING

    1. THIS. I’m used to reading scientific research, and I know psychology isn’t a real science, but I at least expected a half-way well designed study. There are so many undefined criteria and possible confounding variables that any data are thoroughly meaningless, and a coherent conclusion is unobtainable.

  18. I always suspected that Woodrow Wilson had a low IQ. Now that I know that racists are dumb, my views are confirmed.

    And liberal intelligence averages have gone up enormously now that Edward Kennedy has died.

    To be fair, Kennedy may have been very smart before he started poisoning his brain cells with drink. So if they had given him an intelligence test during the first 6 months of his life, his g score would have been really up there.

    1. He wasn’t stupid, he was just a horrible person.

    2. Bush the Lesser set the record for dumbass presidents.

      1. PLEASE CHECK ONE:

        [X] YES BUSH IS DUMB

        [ ] NO HE’S NOT

      2. Bush the Lesser has a higher IQ than Kerry.

        1. That messes up the narrative, but bluntly it’s a low bar to clear.

        2. To be fair to shrike, Kerry has never been president, but on the other hand, shrike described Obama as a quant once, so it’s like asking the president of the Scott Baio fan club if he thinks David Cassidy is cute.

          1. shrike described Obama as a quant once

            Stuff like this is why I like shrike. His comments are like a peek into the bizarro universe.

        3. citation, please.

          tapping foot. waiting.

          1. The New York Times: “George W. Bush probably had a higher I.Q. than did the young John Kerry.”

          2. Settle down, Beavis.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10…..ssuserland

            The SAT was re-centered in the mid 90’s. A 1206 (math+reading) today would be at most a 116 IQ.

            1. sumumabitch

            2. What would a 1540 in the late 90’s be? Um, out of curiosity.

              1. Well this would be easy if those fuckers didn’t irrationally hate decimals. Steve Hsu is the U.S. point man for a Chinese GWAS of people with 145+ IQ. One of the automatic qualifiers is a post ’95 1560 SAT. I don’t know if that’s rarer than 0.01% (145 IQ) or spot on.

  19. Proper usage of your/you’re, to/too/two and they’re/there/their is my primary gauge of measuring an individual’s intelligence. Nothing else matters.

    1. Especially then/than, and leaving words out altogether. Those guys are just no nothing assholes.

      1. Oops! Left out the proper usage of no/know as well. Thanks for the reminder, Killasontherun.

        1. So, the lack of a sarcasm meter doesn’t compute in your intelligence gauge?

          1. What words did I leave out? I conform to the modern, minimalist writing style a la Hemingway. Didn’t you get the memo?

            1. Sorry. That was my lack of cognition that I did not realize what should have been the obvious.

      2. The leaving words altogether comment really hurts feeling. I do all the time.

        1. Don’t feel bad, I did it above too, and look at me! The epitome of something or another!

  20. It’s totally plausible that simplifying ideologies would be more common among people with lower intelligence, because they can’t handle complexity as well. Where the researchers steal a base is with their argument of prejudice being mediated through “conservative ideology” and “authoritarianism”, which he provides no evidence for beyond his own cognition (I’d LOVE to see what this guy’s definition of that is, btw — many leftists identify free markets as ‘authoritarian’ because they deny rights to health care, education ,etc).

    1. I’d LOVE to see what this guy’s definition

      Social conservatism. In both the NCDS and the BCS, socially
      conservative ideology was assessed in terms of respect for and
      submission to authority (7 items in the NCDS and 10 items in
      the BCS; e.g., “Give law breakers stiffer sentences” and
      “Schools should teach children to obey authority”) and support
      for conventional (i.e., unequal) sex roles (6 items in both
      studies; e.g., “Family life suffers if mum is working fulltime”);
      scale reliabilities ranged from .63 to .68 (Deary et al.,
      2008; Schoon et al., 2010). These measures tap socially conservative
      values, including desire for law and order, punitive
      reactions toward wrongdoers, adherence to social conventions
      or traditions, and social control. Without reference to racial
      out-groups, these items reflect ideological orientations rooted
      in resistance to change and a desire to maintain existing social
      stratifications, making them ideal for our purposes.

      1. socially
        conservative ideology was assessed in terms of respect for and
        submission to authority (7 items in the NCDS and 10 items in
        the BCS; e.g., “Give law breakers stiffer sentences” and
        “Schools should teach children to obey authority”

        Wow. Just wow. So the government indoctrination camps (aka public schools) inculcating blind faith in uber-government and submission to that authority, taught by overwhelmingly left-wing faculties, is teaching “socially conservative ideology”?

        Talk about groupthink and blindness to other POVs …

        1. Herp derp evil gubmit teachin ma kids we’re munnkeys. Of course, if you think about it, encouraging children to obey authority is socially conservative – but some people’s inability to “think about it” is the whole point of this study, isn’t it?

    2. Not a great model. Their measures are probably adequate for their purposes, but…the underlying conceptualization seems a bit, well, simplistic.

  21. There has to be a relationship study proving why the high incidence of Creationism among Conservatives exists.

    1. Duh. God said it. It’s in the Bible!

    2. You never said how you felt about Obama christfagging away at it the other day.

      1. I have to admit that I love the “ChristFag” term! I use it at home and it never fails to make my family laugh.

    3. It’s probably related to the high incidence of neo-Malthusian, anti-human environmentalism on the left.

      1. Right. Because resource limits in a fixed carbon world and some Fucked-up shitty superstition are just alike.

        You are truly proof of the study in the OP, Hannity.

  22. Just wondering if anyone ranting above has actually bothered to read the study, which is available for free at:
    http://pss.sagepub.com/content…..l.pdf+html

    I don’t think it is a great study, and it has lots of serious methodological problems, but it is rather more sophisticated, and considerably more transparent, than the comments above would imply. It’d be nice if the people wanting to attack it actually read it before doing so. Who knows? You might find something to object to that is actually in the article, rather than something you’ve just made up.

    1. Nah. Writing the whole thing off as just liberals justifying their own lofty importance is a lot easier and just as accurate. We have pretty much seen this whole thing before.

    2. Given studies have proven conclusively that 97.771% (you can tell that it is a real statistic because it is a prime number) of all psychology studies are written by people who could not hack it in a real science, is the study really worth our time? Really? Come on, really?

      1. Given studies have proven conclusively that 97.771% (you can tell that it is a real statistic because it is a prime number)

        That’s not a prime number. Prime numbers are whole numbers.

        But, you can tell it is a “real statistic” because it shows a great deal of precision despite not specifying whether any part of the “.771%” is a significant digit.

        1. It is not only a prime number but a prime number plus a much smaller number that is less than one. That makes it more than a prime number. It is actually better than a prime number!

          1. So 98 is not only a prime number but a prime number plus a much smaller number that is exactly equal to one?

            1. Fuck 98. What has 98 ever done for you?

            2. Besides, rejecting the prime value of non whole numbers only means that you are wedded insensibly to the decimal system. If you are looking for pattern, you are only tying your own hands. Convert to any other system, the pattern remains but the intervals change. Convert back to decimal and things start to get really interesting.

    3. First there’s the problem of definition, or lack thereof. Second, they ONLY associate authoritarianism and prejudicial attitudes with right-wing ideology.

    4. “Just wondering if anyone ranting above has actually bothered to read the study…I don’t think it is a great study, and it has lots of serious methodological problems…”

      And we’re the stupid ones.

  23. Republicans are stupid.

    1. I agree, they is! Every time you ax them a question, they just go all private sector on yo az.

  24. Have any conservative psychologist done a study “proving that liberal ideology is stupid”?

    Nah, just a big waste of time.

    1. Why would they even bother? Liberals already spend enough time proving how stupid liberal ideology is.

  25. I personally think libertarianism may appear more “simplistic” than both liberalism AND conservatism, but I don’t necessarily see why that’s a bad thing. Given the track record of genocide and abuses from government throughout history, I can see why someone would go from a view of “government is good, except on THESE issues” to “government is almost always bad.” Thus, although the principles of libertarianism may appear simplistic, the effort to arrive at those principles is absolutely not. It takes a lot of thinking to arrive at libertarian principles, because the common instinct of humans is to say, “freedom for me, but not for thee.”

    Besides, liberalism can be pretty simplistic as well. A lot of the popular opinions of progressives are supported by majorities of Americans in polls, most of whom don’t even pay attention to politics.

    For example, majorities of americans often agree with the statement, “We should spend more money on education.” I don’t see how this kind of statement requires much nuance or cognitive thinking skills at all. It doesn’t say where the money to be spent will come from, whether we have the money or even how much money we ALREADY spend on education. It is simply purely an emotional reaction. Given that most people who say this are your ‘average’ americans who don’t pay any attention to politics, they’re probably just thinking, “well, education is nice. Why Shouldn’t we spend more money on it?”

    1. Our vision of government is simplistic. But we are the most complex ideology when it comes to everything else beyond government – that one size does not and can not ever fit all.

      The other ideologies have complex visions for government, yet are, boiled to their essence simplistic ideologies that brute force individuals into simplistic, conformist utopian or dystopian schemes that reflect the values of the powerful, are profitable for the favored, and crush the disfavored and those pariahs with contrary value systems. One size may not fit all, but you can certainly make all fit the size with a rusty hacksaw and a straightjacket.

  26. Declaration of Conflicting Interests
    The authors declared that they had no conflicts of interest with respect to their authorship or the publication of this article.

    Perhaps their definition of “conflicts of interest” is simplistic and excludes their leftist ideological groupthink as such a conflict.

  27. I think academics need a shot in the arm every once in a while to remind them how awesome they are for being progressives, and how devoid of ideology and authoritarianism their weltanschauung is.

    Out here in the real world of course, we understand that they’re sorry dipshits who can’t get real jobs, so they study glorified sociology and pretend that calling something “X” and “Y” makes it empirical.

  28. This thrrad confuses me. I thought Libertarianism was about girl-shellfish love.

  29. Oh, and I wish progressives would stop labeling conservatives as ‘authoritarian’ as though liberals are the polar opposite of that. Just because your model of “authoritah” is a whiny nagging mother and not an overbearing daddy doesn’t make you any less authoritarian.

    1. We need MORE authoritarianism, and it should start with rounding up every single fucking capitalist pig in this country, and just dump the bodies in an active volcano.

      1. You’re a good minion, Agent M. Your check is in the mail.

        If you continue to serve Me well, I may let you live, come the Revolution.

  30. For example, they might have claimed, for all we know, that someone who believes that Affirmative Action policies are unjust is a racist. They might have labeled any of the study participants “anti-gay” if those participants questioned whether it was the government’s job to allow gays to marry. We don’t know.

    The research content is free:

    Social conservatism. In both the NCDS and the BCS, socially conservative ideology was assessed in terms of respect for and submission to authority (7 items in the NCDS and 10 items in the BCS; e.g., “Give law breakers stiffer sentences” and “Schools should teach children to obey authority”) and support for conventional (i.e., unequal) sex roles (6 items in both studies; e.g., “Family life suffers if mum is working fulltime”); scale reliabilities ranged from .63 to .68 (Deary et al., 2008; Schoon et al., 2010). These measures tap socially conservative values, including desire for law and order, punitive reactions toward wrongdoers, adherence to social conventions or traditions, and social control. Without reference to racial out-groups, these items reflect ideological orientations rooted in resistance to change and a desire to maintain existing social stratifications, making them ideal for our purposes.

    Racism. Attitudes toward racial out-groups were assessed in the NCDS and the BCS with the same five items (e.g., “I wouldn’t mind working with people from other races” and “I wouldn’t mind if a family of a different race moved next door”; ?s = .82; Deary et al., 2008; Schoon et al., 2010). Items were reverse-scored; higher scores indicate a generalized antipathy toward racial out-groups, rather than antipathy toward a specific racial group.

    I haven’t checked all the items, but those do sound like social conservative positions (with a significant authoritarian bent) and racist attitudes.

    1. So I’m a social conservative because I think kids raised by a full-time parent are better off? I had no idea.

      1. No, remember this is a British longitudinal study. You are a social conservative because you think it is better for Mum to be on the dole than it is for Mum to work.

      2. No, the social conservative part is support for unequal gender roles (“mum” as opposed to “both parents”).

        1. And how do you know that any affirmative answer was because they supported unequal gender rules, rather than because they had experience of family life being better when a parent was not working?

          1. Because I’m a mind reader.

            Obviously survey data isn’t going to give a perfect reflection of someone’s beliefs. But it’s plainly false to say that the question declares you a social conservative for saying life is better off with one parent at home. It says “mum” for a reason. And there are six other questions, including one I found that was “Dad’s job is to earn money; mum’s to stay home.”

            Yes, sure, you’re not going to pigeonhole everyone perfectly. That much is obvious to everyone. But you’re going to see trends that will eliminate a lot of that noise. The real question is correlation vs causation.

    2. Yes. answers to 5 questions that were common to two longitudinal studies were scored to quantify how racist people were. We get two of the questions, but for the other three we must guess which ones from the pool of all questions that were common to both BCS and NCDS. (Or else pull out the credit card for two more SSRN articles, Deary and Schoon, hoping that one or both might clarify). And for conservitive values we have an even wider pool, not even knowing how our 15 mystery questions are divided between the BCS and NCDS question pools.

      1. The other three for racism were

        – Mixed race marriage is not okay
        – I would mind kids going to school with a different race
        – I would not want a person of another race as my boss

        These are pretty plainly racist beliefs. It has nothing to do with, say, opposition to affirmative action or welfare.

        For authority, we also have

        -The death penalty is necessary for some crimes
        – Censorship is needed to uphold morals
        – Young people don’t have respect for traditional values

        That relationship seems more tenuous than the one for racism.

        I can find anything else on unequal gender roles.

  31. Honestly, to imitate the way the free-market crowd talks about liberals for a minute – you people have collected absolutely the biggest pile of bullshit to have ever walked the earth, to dress up your autism-level sociopathic urge to systematically eliminate all possible assistance to the stupidity and ground-into-the-gears hell of anyone who doesn’t have a college degree, and then cloak it under the self-righteous, hypocritical bullshit of ‘dependency’.

    Killing off food stamps to “free” working poor people from “dependency” is a lot like Joseph Stalin’s forced collectivization / confiscation of kulak small farms in order to “liberate” them from the chains of “capitalist hell”.

    In both cases, the point is to go out there and reduce the absolute standards of living of the people you claim to be championing so you can keep slightly more of your pig surplus.

    Goverment food stamps are “dependency” like your dad paying for your college education is “dependency”, or like winning the lottery is “dependency”. It’s one hundred percent doublespeak. It’s just free shit for people who could sorely use a little more free shit, and if they had gotten all the free shit shoveled at you dependent motherfuckers, sucking at the tits of your throughly privileged and subsidized upbringing, then they too would no longer need the miserable third-tier free shit offered by the government.

      1. Fuck you, M.

        1. No, really, M… fuck you.

          It just needed to be said again.

    1. “M”, here, figured out our secrets:

      1. We’re all filthy rich.
      2. We’re all spoiled.
      3. We all get “free shit” from the government.
      4. He praised Stalin while bitching about “doublespeak”, while conveniently forgetting how his very own party engages in both of those activities.

      Very clever, that lad. He should take Axelrod’s place.

      1. Fuck that, I want him on MY staff.

        1. I’d like him on my staff, too.

          1. I’d also like to impale him upon my huge, throbbing cock.

    2. It’s not all that great, M. Don’t get too excited.

      1. You should see all the paperwork WE have to fill out.

        1. We don’t really exist. But we still have to fill out tons of paperwork.

    3. Er, some of us college educated people didn’t have parents paying for it.

      Some of us paid for it on student loans because our parents are too poor/dead to pay for it. Some of us got scholarships and grants. Some of us worked part time to pay for it.

  32. So my search for the Unified Field Theory is simplifying?

  33. I’m quite the expert in bullshit, being a liberal. And every single one of you fucking retarded free-marketers should be shot, along with everyone else even a smidgen to the right-of-center.

    And Obama should be President-for-life. Then, when his kids grow up, THEY can be Presidents, too.

    Shit, at this rate, I may have to shoot myself, as even I am insufficiently socialist compared to the best President in human history.

    1. Don’t shoot yourself, Agent M… I am not done with you yet.

  34. “anyone who doesn’t have a college degree”

    Usually, liberals sneer at people who *don’t* have college degrees.

    1. That’s because they haven’t gone through the brainwashing program with them. They all have been taught to think alike so they feel the need to “other” those who think differently ie for themselves.

      1. I went to college when I was older so I was not as inclined to buy into every piece of BS they threw out there.

  35. M would make a great fellow employee.

  36. Well the leftist propaganda machine goes out of it’s way to portray non-Liberals as ignorant, bible-thumping fascist bigots.

    Far from being ignorant my home has a small library of hundreds of books on a wide range of subjects.

    Far from thumping bibles I’m a self-described Deist who considers organized religion a barrier between God a humanity.

    Far from being a fascist I’m a rugged individualist.

    Far from being a bigot I believe the government has no place telling two consenting adults of any gender they can’t marry or certain religious groups they can’t build a house of worship.

    1. You are hostile to government so therefore you are not quite to speed on what being a modern human is about, caveman.

    2. Well there is no party for rugged individual unless you form your tribe and establish your colony…good luck
      Rugged used to mean self supportive in the woods, well let me see if you can live in the woods with no food and electricity or library or a car and cell phone and lap top.
      reality is we are uncivilized as yet pretending to be this and that…we are like babes , naked in our ignorance and arrogant enough to cry for help.

      Human are social beings, a tribe, to survive we have to do what is best for everyone and too many based on the crooked system created are living off their cunning and unethical behavior preying on those who are not…ok we have a jungle, survival of the fittest.
      That is not a country or civilization or even possible in today;s world…try to go hunting with out a permit.

    3. Yes, liberals love to conflate social considertives with free market capitalists. As if there was some direct logical connection between racism and opposition to ecoomic regulation.

      It makes it much easier for them, sicne they can spend all their time making fun of Sarah Palin or Rick Santorum instead of making serious economic arguments.

  37. I’ve read the study. I have a strong suspicion that all of the questions used to qualify someone as a “social conservative” were the same questions from the BCS and NCDS that other previous researchers have used to qualify people as “authoritarian”. It strikes me that readers of this blog in particular will know that these are not the same. Also, “right wing” in that sort of study is a term of art for followers of Altemeyer (cited in the article). It does not necessarily mean “right wing” as we understand the term.
    Also be aware that the survey questions were asked in two British longitudinal studies.

  38. Some of the most closed-minded, simplistic, prejudiced people I know are “liberals”.

    They just happen to be prejudiced about different things: Southerners, rednecks, Americans, Republicans, “suits”, venture capitalists, FOX news.

    Take one of these people on a drive through (say) Alabama, and they’ll spend the entire time talking about their culture shock and how bigoted the rednecks there are, even though the only time they’ve left the car is to buy some gum at a gas station.

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