Monday, July 25, 2016

Are Conservatives Stupid?


Progressives, especially those in academia, often accuse conservatives of being stupid. (See, for example, this compilation of studies as a case in point.)

These studies and statistics ostensibly offer proof that, merely because conservatives reject progressive policies, they are mentally inferior to liberals. Some, like the statistics about the spread of information in the news, assume that because conservatives haven't heard about the latest in progressive dogma, that somehow proves a lack of intelligence.

An interesting alternative case was this study asking the question: "Are conservatives really simple-minded?" Anyone can immediately see that the "scientific" question is imbued with two logical fallacies: the fallacy of a loaded question and an ad hominem fallacy. The study, however, does evaluate the question whether progressives are more capable with complexity than conservatives.

The study starts off by noting that the concept of complexity is domain-specific, meaning that minds can think complexly in one area while thinking simply in others. This is an obvious limitation of the human brain. Our brains are finite and we must pick and choose those things that we want to spend our time thinking about.

In every study where progressives purportedly prove complexity, the questions asked, and the data collected, have focused on issues that are of particular importance to progressives. In the study I've cited, however, the researchers found, much to their surprise, that conservatives have no substantial differences from progressives in processing complex thoughts.

Surprise of surprises! The study does note that conservatives aren't as complex in progressive areas of thought - which simply means that conservatives don't spend time thinking of the same things progressives think about. For example, progressives will think about the complexity of civil rights, including all sorts of groups as protected classes. Conservatives, on the other hand, are "simple" thinkers on civil rights, rejecting the inclusion of so many groups as silly or unnecessary.

The study goes on to admit that out of all those researchers who worked on this particular complexity study, not a single one of them "was conservative by any measure." This comes as no surprise to me, or to anyone familiar with the left-leaning university system. What does surprise me is that the author admitted that all the complexity study research that came from his group was biased. That is a huge admission.

So what do we know about left-leaning research? That it is left leaning. Such research says more about the biases of the left than it will ever do in identifying complexity, or in its ability to correctly assess conservatives' brains.

One explanation about why progressives tend toward complex thought in many situations may stem from the fact that those on the left have no moral foundation by which to judge the complexity of an issue. For example, if a child first attempts to pour water into a cup, it may take the child a great deal of complex thought and time to get the water into the cup. An adult, who has performed this action thousands of times needs no such complexity to get the water into the cup.

Is the child superior because it uses more of its brain at the time to fill the cup? Of course not. Do we judge the adult to be inferior for simplifying the process, where filling a cup is accomplished without thought? Not at all.

Such an analogy is akin to why progressives find conservative thought simplistic, and why they misjudge conservative thought time and again. To every moral question (and there are a lot of them) progressives must approach the problem anew, every time.

As an example, a conservative may look at a moral issue such as same sex marriage and dismiss it as a trivial concern, since the moral base is vastly different from the progressive moral base. Any new group classification related to same sex marriage is automatically invalid: trans-marriage, plural marriage, and so on.

A progressive, on the other hand, must take each case of class identification as a new, complex thing, and then classify it accordingly. Hence the questions: "Do we consider transgender on par with homosexuality? Yes? Then it is a protected class and the 'system' against trans-marriage is wrong."

Yet is that complexity morally superior? Not at all. In fact, complexity for its own sake is often wrong. There is no room in it for moral absolutes. There is no room for inductive learning.

There is no basis to condemn conservatism based on such biased intellectual models. Since they come from the academic left, they show nothing more than their own bias and wishful thinking about those on the right.