Axis of Right

Three Native Rhode Islanders Commenting From the Right on Politics and Anything Else

Who’s Smarter–Liberals or Conservatives?

Posted by Ryan on September 17, 2007

I think these kinds of studies are always spearheaded by people with an insecurity who want to make a broad political judgment to make their point.  Slate.com‘s article debunks a much cited MSM study that says liberals are inherently smarter than conservatives because of the speed at which they discriminate between “Ms” and “Ws” on a computer during a fifteen-minute quiz, by taking each one of its findings and seriously questioning the results.  I think this study woefully tries to reinforce existing stereotypes: that the stoic conservatives are resistant to change and that the open-minded liberals are smarter for embracing so many different points of view.  I think conservative stoicism on some issues is just being too cautious sometimes for whatever reason and I think a broad acceptance of everything is just indecisiveness sometimes. 

I don’t know who’s smarter and I don’t care:  whose ideas are better for the future of America is a more important point.  Why does a movement or an ideal have to be so complicated that only our best and brightest can understand it?  Isn’t that anti-populist, hence elitist?  This study tries to discriminate for a cheap political swipe at conservatives.  I think the case can be made that both sides, in fact, do very stupid things:  not being able to punch through a chad or knowing which day is election day while thinking that running a campaign like 1972 is going to win in any year versus thinking for about three full years that Saddam’s Iraq attacked the Towers while being a party in power who won an historic election in 2004 and blowing nearly all of their momentum in about six months.  Liberals can’t seem to figure out that America likes winning (it’s actually not that complicated), and conservatives can’t make the much needed social security reform or tax reform simple and easy enough for more than 5% of the population to fully understand.  I know these are broad generalizations and that both sides have brilliant and dimwitted people in them.  Yet, I’d much rather clarity and being real over complex and shifty– at least you know what you’re getting.

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