August 25, 2012

Stupid people become conservatives, racists

Low IQ & Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejudice

By Stephanie PappasThere's no gentle way to put it: People who give in to racism and prejudice may simply be dumb, according to a new study that is bound to stir public controversy.

The research finds that children with low intelligence are more likely to hold prejudiced attitudes as adults. These findings point to a vicious cycle, according to lead researcher Gordon Hodson, a psychologist at Brock University in Ontario. Low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, the study found. Those ideologies, in turn, stress hierarchy and resistance to change, attitudes that can contribute to prejudice, Hodson wrote in an email to LiveScience.
Right-wingers are less intelligent than left wingers, says study

Children with low intelligence grow up to be prejudiced
Right-wing views make the less intelligent feel 'safe'
Analysis of more than 15,000 people

By Rob Waugh
Right-wingers tend to be less intelligent than left-wingers, and people with low childhood intelligence tend to grow up to have racist and anti-gay views, says a controversial new study.

Conservative politics work almost as a 'gateway' into prejudice against others, say the Canadian academics.

The paper analysed large UK studies which compared childhood intelligence with political views in adulthood across more than 15,000 people.

The authors claim that people with low intelligence gravitate towards right-wing views because they make them feel safe.
Inside the pea-brains

Here's a hint of why conservatives keep braying about "freedom" while voting for more government authority and police power:

The Right-Wing Id Unzipped

By Mike LofgrenAccording to the author, the inner life of fundamentalist true believers is the farthest thing from that of a stuffily proper Goody Two Shoes. They seem tormented by demons that those in the reality-based community scarcely experience. That may explain their extraordinary latitude in absolving their political and ecclesiastical heroes of their sins: while most of us might regard George W. Bush as a dry drunk resentful of his father, Newt Gingrich as a sociopathic serial adulterer and Ted Haggard as a pathetic specimen in terminal denial, their followers on the right apparently believe that the greater the sin, the more impressive the salvation--so long as the magic words are uttered and the penitent sinner is washed in the Blood of the Lamb. This explains why people like Gingrich can attend "values voter" forums and both he and the audience manage to keep straight faces. Far from being a purpose-driven life, the existence of many true believers is a crisis-driven life that seeks release, as Blumenthal asserts, in an "escape from freedom."

An observer of the right-wing phenomenon must explain the paradox of followers who would escape from freedom even as they incessantly invoke the word freedom as if it were a mantra. But freedom so defined does not mean ordinary civil liberties like the prohibition of illegal government search and seizure, the right of due process, or the right not to be tortured. The hard right has never protested the de facto abrogation of much of the Bill of Rights during the last decade. In the right-wing id, freedom is the emotional release that a hostile and psychologically repressed person feels when he is finally able to lash out at the objects of his resentment. Freedom is his prerogative to rid himself of people who are different, or who unsettle him. Freedom is merging into a like-minded herd. Right-wing alchemy transforms freedom into authoritarianism.

Robert Altemeyer, a Canadian psychologist, has done extensive testing to isolate and describe the traits of the authoritarian personality. His results are distilled in his book "The Authoritarians." He describes religious fundamentalists, the core of the right-wing Republican base, as follows:They are highly submissive to established authority, aggressive in the name of that authority and conventional to the point of insisting everyone should behave as their authorities decide. They are fearful and self-righteous and have a lot of hostility in them that they readily direct toward various out-groups. They are easily incited, easily led, rather un-inclined to think for themselves, largely impervious to facts and reason and rely instead on social support to maintain their beliefs. They bring strong loyalty to their in-groups, have thick-walled, highly compartmentalized minds, use a lot of double standards in their judgments, are surprisingly unprincipled at times and are often hypocrites.
Stupid people attracted to GOP

And a bit on how this stupidity translates into political views:

Right-Wing Racism: Past, Present—and Future

By Eric Alterman[R]ecent research appears to confirm what would strike many of us as obvious: with an African-American in the White House, the stoking of racist sentiments is good politics for Republican candidates. Harvard doctoral student Seth Stephens-Davidowitz employed Google searches to measure racial prejudice in American media markets and found that such animus in the United States may have cost Obama three to five percentage points in the 2008 popular vote. His findings were reinforced by a second study of the topic, published in the journal Political Psychology by University of Massachusetts political scientist Brian Schaffner. One may or may not be surprised to learn from yet another recent study—this one published in Psychological Science—of an apparently direct correlation between low scores on childhood IQ tests and prejudiced beliefs and socially conservative views later in life. Such beliefs, as the theory goes, offer “structure and order” that wash away the complexity of the real world into simple and identifiable rules, according to Dr. Gordon Hodson, a psychology professor at Brock University in Ontario. “So, it may not be surprising that people with less cognitive capacity will be attracted to simplifying ideologies,” according to Brian Nosek, a University of Virginia psychologist quoted in the Huffington Post.Comment:  For more on the subject, see White Americans Fear a Black President and Republican Official Prefers Custer to Indians.


Anonymous said...

This is no secret, but finally, there are studies showing it. Thanks for the confirmation of what I have known all my life!

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:

Is Racism Just a Form of Stupidity?

The short answer is yes—there is a clear, predictable and causal link between low intelligence and prejudice, including racism.