Study: Are Liberals Smarter Than Conservatives?

I write tonight in complete disgust.

What I’m disgusted in is either a huge blunder or a blatant bias in reporting by Time Magazine. To be honest, I am not sure what worries me more — that no one in 1500 comments and 5000 Facebook ‘likes’ caught on or that it can slip (or be guided) through the cracks of editing in such a trusted publication.

Take a look below to see if you can spot the egregious error or read below to let me explain:

The notion that liberals are smarter than conservatives is familiar to anyone who has spent time on a college campus. The College Democrats are said to be ugly, smug and intellectual; the College Republicans, pretty, belligerent and dumb. There’s enough truth in both stereotypes that the vast majority of college students opt not to join either club.

But are liberals actually smarter? A libertarian (and, as such, nonpartisan) researcher, Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics and Political Science, has just written a paper that is set to be published in March by the journal Social Psychology Quarterly. The paper investigates not only whether conservatives are dumber than liberals but also why that might be so.

Read more by clicking here.

At face value the article seems pretty simple. Are liberals smarter than conservatives? The author indicates this by referencing College Republicans and College Democrats to frame the argument in a purely American dichotomy of political thinking in the beginning of the article.

However, what caught my eye as out of place was that the author of the paper being sourced was said to be a “libertarian (and, as such, nonpartisan)” researcher at The London School of Economics and Political Science. So I thought to myself:  Wouldn’t one assume a publication would use a non-partisan source when making such a bold statement?

But I simply attributed it to being thorough and moved on. It didn’t really hit me until further in the reading when the author wrote this:  “a British team found that kids with higher intelligence scores were more likely to grow into adults who vote for Liberal Democrats.”  It was here that it hit me like a ton of bricks:  the “Liberal Democrats” doesn’t refer to the American political ideolgy, it refers to the party far closest to libertarianism in the British parliament, which largely espouses classically liberal ideas!  Do you see the error yet?

The author incorrectly attributes the word “liberal” in a British study to mean the Social Liberalism most here in the US attribute to the belief that government should address economic and social issues such as unemployment, health care, and education. You know, the classic progressive and leftist ideology we all know is so patently naive.

While in actuality the study refers to Classical Liberalism, which is understood by the British and rest of the world as the philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government and the liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets.

Can you believe that?! Personally, I am more inclined to believe it to be a blatant play on the public’s ignorance than mere a misunderstanding of terminology.

The article then continues to go over research findings showing that “liberals” are more likely to be open to new experiences and are on average 10 IQ points higher than their conservative counterparts. But here is the best part, the author then goes to skew the findings in order to fit his story!

But self-identification is often misleading; do kids really know what it means to be liberal? The GSS data are instructive here: Kanazawa found that more-intelligent GSS respondents (as measured by a quick but highly reliable synonym test) were less likely to agree that the government has a responsibility to reduce income and wealth differences. In other words, intelligent people might like to portray themselves as liberal. But in the end, they know that it’s good to be the king.”

No Mr. Cloud, it’s not that “they know it’s good to be king;” it’s simply that you’re either a partisan hack or a moron.

In the end, folks, this is the type of uphill battle we have to face to influence real change. We as true “liberals” are indeed smarter than our conservative counterparts and, by the looks of it, a lot smarter than our leftist opponents as well. I just wish there were some ethics or intelligence left in journalism.

Thanks for reading,

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