Conservative ideology linked to ‘low brainpower’

Tom Jacobs:

A research team led by University of Arkansas psychologist Scott Eidelman argues that conservatism — which the researchers identify as “an emphasis on personal responsibility, acceptance of hierarchy, and a preference for the status quo” — may be our default ideology. If we don’t have the time or energy to give a matter sufficient thought, we tend to accept the conservative argument.

“When effortful, deliberate responding is disrupted or disengaged, thought processes become quick and efficient,” the researchers write in thePersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin. “These conditions promote conservative ideology.”

Eidelman and his colleagues’ paper will surely outrage many on the left (who will resist the notion of conservatism as somehow natural) and the right (who will take offense to the idea that their ideology is linked to low brainpower). The researchers do their best to preemptively answer such criticism.

“We do not assert that conservatives fail to engage in effortful, deliberate thought,” they insist. “We find that when effortful thought is disengaged, the first step people take tends to be in a conservative direction.”


I was just reading a news article about Franklin Township’s proposed new busing plan for the next academic year. Franklin Township, in Marion County, had charged parents a fee to bus their kids to school, which pissed everyone off, especially parents. Now, under a new state law signed by Gov. Daniels last week, school districts can’t charge for transportation to and from school. It also gives schools a way to pay for it: by extending existing loan debt out longer, like you could extend a 15 year mortgage to a 30 year. You’ll pay more in interest, and lose money in the long term, but hey, you have more now.

And in the comments, there it was:

The best way to reduce property taxes is to eliminate public education altogether. Let people keep their money and provide for their own children. Vouchers are no good either. That’s like begging a thief to give back some of the money he just stole from you. Government has no business being involved in education at all with the exception of the prison system.

I don’t know why I ever read comments on news articles. They really do make one lost faith in humanity. This guy, going by “FreedomRinger”, flies against the one thing this country has willingly provided almost since our creation.

It comes from far-right conservative types, like Rick Santorum, vilifying education, even higher education, as “snobbish”, and instead making people think that home schooling is the only way to go. There are so many complete and obvious problems with that I won’t even bother mentioning them, only to say that homeschooling is often done by two types of people: paranoid anti-government types that are afraid of “indoctrination” (of what, no one knows) and religious people angry that little Jimmy can’t pray at school, despite the fact that he could if he wanted. Students pray in school all the time, just not at the direction of an adult faculty or staff member.

All of this is really great marketing from the far right. They do it so remarkably: taking something big and complicated and scary, like educating the public, and boiling it down to “important people you don’t know can decide to tell your kids things that run contrary to the other scary things we’ve been telling you. You’re not going to let that happen, are you?”

Other factions of political persuasions really should try some marketing. I suggest Democrats “claim Rick Santorum’s mom is so fat, she Googled “Santorum” and was still hungry.”