Blame it on the genes

Written By: - Date published: 8:56 pm, November 2nd, 2009 - 4 comments
Categories: articles - Tags:

The American asks:

Who are smarter, liberals or conservatives? This is the kind of question that could spark fierce and endless debates between political opponents, but what if we could know, scientifically, that one side has the edge in brainpower? Should that change how we think about political issues?

This interesting article points out that to succeed in US politics today you need to be smart – even if your opponents don’t like to acknowledge the fact. The article goes onto make the following point:

…people who subscribe to non-traditional ideas probably have above-average intellects, but that does not mean other smart people will like those ideas. This is a point often lost on liberals who work in universities or in the news media. They observe, usually correctly, that friends and acquaintances in their social circle are smarter than the average (and likely more conservative) people they encounter on the street. But too many elites see this correlation between smartness and liberalism as somehow a validation of their political views. They seem unaware that the wider world features plenty of intelligent people who are not professors or movie critics or government bureaucrats. Even among the nation’s smartest people, liberal elites could easily be in the minority politically, but different social circles keep them insulated from finding that out. The result is a convenient but damaging political meme that circulates among some people on the Left—the belief that their opponents simply can’t understand what makes for good policy….Rather than focus on the intellectual deficiencies, real or imagined, of certain politicians and their supporters, people should strive to find the best and brightest spokesmen for the opposing side.

So the message seems to be don’t listen to too many people like yourselves or else you will never actually make political progress. And if you can rebut the arguments of your best opponents in such a way as ‘less smart’ can understand, then I suspect your party will thrive.

4 comments on “Blame it on the genes”

  1. Ianmac 1

    Of course there is some research (not sure where I read it) that suggests that certain brain structures seem to suit either Left or Right thinking/beliefs. It does seem that certain brain types would be drawn to Police or to the Army or to Act, while others would be the last to join up.

  2. Tom Semmens 2

    Only the United States could produce as pointless an article on political outlook as that one.

  3. Eoipso 3

    Interesting article, and I agree with your conclusion.
    It doesn’t matter who has bragging rights on calling the other side “idiots”,
    what matters is intelligent debate.

    There may well be a genetic disposition to conservative or liberal approaches,
    but how it’s socially constructed (e.g. Fox News) must be more significant for it’s framing.

  4. Jeremy 4

    I know a few people who vote National and claim to be right-wingers, but seem centre-left when you get them organizing something that isn’t actually a government.

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