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back to article Study links dimwits to conservative ideology

British and American children who are less intelligent are more likely to grow up to be conservative and/or bigots, according to new research published in Physiological Science. The research study, "Bright minds and dark attitudes", used data from two British studies that tested the intelligence of children born in 1958 and 1970 …

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George W Bush

Nothing more to say.

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Holmes

oblig quote

I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.

- John Stuart Mill

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John Stuart Mill

...was a Liberal MP, so trashing the Conservative party was part of his job. Go John.

In seeking to hit the headlines, the authors of this study have used partisan language and thereby left themselves open to accusations of political bias. A truly scientific study would not reveal so clearly the voting patterns of its authors.

Prof. Hodson concludes his report with some disturbing talk. I think he wants to make us all model citizens, preferably by using high voltage electrodes. Oh dear. Extreme ideologies might thrive on housing estates, but they are usually born in ivory towers.

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Biased much?

So, homophobia is a right-wing trend? Strange, someone obviously forgot to tell Marx and Engels, who were both homophobic, and that news definately didn't reach Joe Stalin (he re-introduced anti-gay laws in Soviet Russia in the '30s). And don't even think of telling it to left-leaning Robert Mugabe (introduced laws criminalising homosexuality in Zimbabwe in 1995).

All the study shows is thick people are more likely to fall for the bogus arguements put forward by racists and homophobes. Adding the label "conservative" is simply displaying a political bias on the scientists' part.

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Facepalm

Not biased at all. You won't find anyone who identifies them self as left wing now. It's not the 30's anymore. And Mugabe is left wing in the same way Germanys National Socialist party were socialist. ie, only for a very restricted part of society.

Your statement is up there with yanks who claim that democrats are fascist because the democratic party supported slavery in the 1800's. Things move on and conservatives are stupid.

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Unhappy

You carried the crowd up until the unfortunate sweeping generalisation at the end.

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Coat

Biased much

only against racist homophobic rightwing morons.

ah i guess that's what got you so upset :-)

i guess yours is the one where the shoe fits

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just noticed...

it's matt bryant

nuff said

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Hi, Matt

I just wanted to point out the fact that the article is about *tendencies*, not absolute guarantees of behavior. But you keep whacking that straw man until he falls over.

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Anonymous Coward

Poor reading comprehension I see. You wouldn't happen to be conservative, would you?

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Devil

Hey, Matt Bryant is okay.

He's just a bad cop in search of a good one.

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@ Matt about Marx and Engels

You uneducated clown should go and learn to read.

You are right about Stalin though. The guy was definitely an ass. Oh, and guess who he got rid of first? Marx, Engels and their friends.

Your post(s) would seem to correlate nicely with the study...

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Happy

There there... It's all a bit too complicated for you isn't it?.. Why don't you go and shout at the telly or read he Sun or something..

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Devil

Why do you think of Stalin as "left wing"?

Stalin is right wing. As right as any other bloody dictator. He was a racist too. Ever heard of Jewish Soviet republic?

I have a 1953 world Atlas printed in one of the Soviet satellite states which I keep as a relic to show to the kids when they spew bullshit along those lines of Stalin being "left". There the Soviet union has 16 republics, not 15. Well, I am not surprised we do not get to hear a lot about republic no 16 - there are not that many survivors. That is kind-a expected when you put a ghetto straight in the middle of the Syberian encefalitis highest prevalence area, put the deported "population" to mine Uranium and rare earths and call it a Jewish Soviet republic (the Atlas has the list of industries for that ghetto too).

He did not just introduce anti-gay laws. He also introduced per-nationality quotas in universities which resulted in a system where as Russian you could get into uni on somewhere between 4 and 5 GPA (between B and A english/american equivalent). As a jew quite often a straight A academic record and A on all of your exams was not enough.

All of that was of course applied to the jews he did not shoot. Prior to 1937 the Bolshevik party in Russia had a considerable demographic skew - nationalities which had higher than the USSR average education level had disproportionally higher representation. After 1937 that was no longer the case.

Another interesting detail - Stalin was also thick as a brick. Cunning. Calculating. No value of human life. Well, that one is expected from someone who started his career as an enforcer killing suspected "traitors" and "liberating" money from banks. And most importantly - thick as a brick.

People should really take him for what he was - a Hitler mirror image and not assign any "left" values to him. Whatever "left" was left in USSR after the initial revocation of the NEP in the early 30-es was terminated in 1937. After that it was a dictatorship - as "right" as it gets.

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@Bad cop/good cop

I never heard that before. I think thats actually profound!

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Anonymous Coward

That's the first time I've seen Robert Mugabe used to support an argument

and, unsurprisingly, it's one that fails. I'd be more inclined to look at Bob's religious upbringing than his political leanings to understand his views on homosexuality.

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Wrong.

I know at least ten people who consider themselves to be Left Wing, all of them at work; several of them are strong labour Party members, with one of the remainder considering himself to be a Tory. Go figure. I'm somewhere in the middle of the road, politically - I have both Left and Right leanings on a variety of topics, and for the rest, I'm a centrist.

Your opinion therefore, is invalid.

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Anonymous Coward

Given that...

...the Soviet Union was a socially intolerant police state dominated by its military and security services and most people hardly owned anything, it is hard to see anything left wing about it in practice. Sounds more like a rightists wet dream, in fact!

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Stop

Whatever else they were, Marx and Engels were Victorians. It is unsurprising that they reflected that era's general prejudices. While I personally do *not* agree with their politico-economic views, I feel it's inappropriate to mix the general attitudes of their era with their leftist principles. Further reading: http://goo.gl/jiWkc

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RE: Naughtyhorse

"only against racist homophobic rightwing morons...." A typical and illustrative example of the attempts of the left to try and attach the "racist and homophobic" labels to anything even slightly to the right, neatly ignoring the many glaring examples both of anit-homophobic and anti-racist actions by "conservatives" and the history of homophobic and racist actions of those on the left (for example, try reading up on American trade unions and their involvement in the Asiatic Exclusion League). Homophobia and racism are usually induced before a child reaches the age of ten, usually by family and peer groups, and long before they understand the differences between capitalism and communism. Children aren't born racist or homophobic, they are taught to be. It is an unfortunate fact that children of "thick" parents will usually pick up their parents' idiocies, like racism and homophobia, and thick parents exist on both the right and the left, though it seems you are presenting a good example for them being mor prevalent on the left.

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RE: "Poor reading comprehension I see"

Yes, I would class myself as a Conservative, thought there are many and different views amongst Conservatives, so the "one-size-fits-all" label you are obviously trying to apply is not going to work. For example, my IQ score is over 140, so you can skip any attempts to label me a knuckle-dragging Nazi.

The article seems to say "thick kids more likely to be homophobic and racist", which would seem to be a direct (and obvious) correllation between poor education and low IQ with silliness like racism and homophobia. It then states that such thinking is "conservative", neatly sidelining the fact that such views have been common amongst illeducated lefties for years too. It also avoids the point that socialism and other leftist ideas are more common amongst the poor, the same people that are often the least educated and have a demostrateably lower IQ, and therefore are more prone to copy the racist behaviour they see around them. The point is not discussed in polite society as it often edges into comparrisons of underachievement in poor, coloured children compared to wealthier, white children (Yahoogle Arthur Jensen for the kind of PC shrieking that results). But the simple fact is homphobia and racism are learnt by peer/parent examples long before political values are adopted.

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RE: @ Matt about Marx and Engels

"You uneducated clown...." Both Marx and Engels used homophobic language in their private correspondence. Engels described homosexuals as "extremely against nature" and "pederasts" - I know it's the trend amongst socilaists to sweep such historical facts under the carpet, but are you telling me that sounds like a warm welcoming of homosexuality?

Stalin got rid of anyone that he thought posed a threat to his rule, including the likes of Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev. Marx was dead long before Stalin came to power, so I would suggest it is you that needs to do a lot more reading.

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RE: John Bailey

".....It's all a bit too complicated for you isn't it?...." Your calm acceptance of spoonfed ideas would seem alot more worrying, or didn't anyone teach you to question, querstion, question? Probably not. After all, it's so much easier to just take the spoonfeeding rather than do some thinking for yourself, right? Just keep trotting out those stereotypes and leave the thinking to those with a tad more capability.

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RE: Why do you think of Stalin as "left wing"?

Ah, yet more of that "you can only call a figure a leftie if us lefties say so"! Stalin may have been a dictator but he was a left-wing, communist one, just like Mao, Pol Pot and Robert Mugabe (to name just a few). Please do give up on trying to airbrush that bit of history. Interestingly, one of the practices Stalin was a leader in was "airbrushing" others out of history (some hilarious examples at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_of_images_in_the_Soviet_Union), so I'm not surprised the practice is so common amongst today's lefties. Stalin's treatment of the Jews is also interesting given the trend for many of Jews to liberal, left-leaning politics. Indeed, the US was fearful in 1948 that Israel was destined to fall into the Soviet sphere due to the well-known leftist views of the new Israeli leaders.

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RE: That's the first time I've seen Robert Mugabe used to support an argument

"....I'd be more inclined to look at Bob's religious upbringing...." Mugabe became a Communist along with all ther trappings, including the main plank of "all religion is evil". Mugabe is also known to have backed ZANU-PF attacks on Christian groups in Zimbabwe, so you're really barking up the wrong tree if you want to try blaming his homophobia on his Catholic upbringing. Interestingly, just like Stalin, Mugabe was quite happy to turn on other Marxist allies (like Joshua Nkomo) when he thought they posed a threat to his rule.

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Mushroom

"The question is, who is to be the master?"

(Herein I speak to Darren Barratt as well.)

If you control the definitions, you can obviously control the outcome of the argument. That, however, can mean you are speaking truth in a different language than the rest of us speak. But I get the sneaking suspicion that you think *all* dictators *must* by their very nature, be right-wing. Does this apply also to Mao, Pol Pot, Mugabe, or the various Ayatollahs of the world? (I'm not so sure of those Ayatollahs myself. Nor am I sure of North Korea. But I digress.)

Stalin called himself a Communist. Hitler called himself a National Socialist. Both 'Communist' and 'Socialist' are considered brand names of the Left. Since these two men and they systems they created are featured members of the parade, it might well argue they applied their taint to the terms.

I think the defining characteristic of Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Mugabe, Kim-Jong-whoever, and the Ayatollahs is that they are control freaks of the highest degree. And among both the left and the right, the worst kind are the ones that need to be in charge and will do bad things to those who don't agree.

Both the extreme left and the extreme right are characterized by there extremeness. The 'right' and 'left' parts merely add taste to the extremeness.

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I think you may be conservative with Conservative. The former isn't a political ideology, it is a mindset more than usually fearful of change or the unknown. As far as I can see the study doesn't frame things in terms of left wing or right wing.

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Dictators

are authoritarians. Authoritarians use whatever rhetoric is around to gain power, and then hold onto it.

Here's everything anyone needs to know about authoritarian personalities and how they worK:

http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

However - you only have to look at the clown show in the US that's the current Republican Primary, or our own home grown chinless wonders, to understand that there's something very broken about conservatives as people, and especially in their ability to empathise with others who aren't part of their tribe.

Progressives - not necessarily old-fashioned left wingers - reliably score higher on tolerance, empathy, ability to deal with complexity, and IQ.

See e.g.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/201003/why-liberals-are-more-intelligent-conservatives

The conservative mind is an evolutionary throw-back. It reduces complexity to slogans, morality to I-win-you-lose, and ethics to I'm-right-because-I-have-more-money.

It's not hard (for most of us) to understand why these aren't a good basis for a civilisation with prospects.

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@Matt Bryant

Ah, I see your problem. You're conflating the two most commonly used political dimensions: Fiscal philosophy and social philosophy. There are other dimensions as well (for example, in the US we have centralized vs decentralized (i.e, federal vs state.)), but fiscal and social are almost universal in their applicability to analysis of government figures.

For example, Stalin was indeed a leftist, fiscally speaking, as Communism is an extreme leftist economic philosophy. But socially, he was a conservative. Given the nature of this research, it seems logical to me that that the researchers are referring to social philosophy, and not economic philosophy. But if you have a convincing argument to the contrary, I'd love to hear it.

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small-c conservative

The article is about "a conservative ideology", not "the Conservative ideology".

Homophobia is by nature a "conservative" trait. In Stalin's time, antisemitism was a "conservative" trait. In Mugabe's case, we have a loosely Christian-based ideology -- conservative.

The only non-conservative trait either of them showed was for self-betterment. The conservative fallacy of blacks as inferior to the white man would never get Bob anywhere. The conservative view of kings, peers and bourgeoisie would never have got Stalin anywhere. But both are pretty much defined by small-c conservatism: keep things the way they've always been.

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Anonymous Coward

Fascinating book, thanks!

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Re: RE: "Poor reading comprehension I see"

>For example, my IQ score is over 140

I generally try to understand a persons point of view but as soon as they mention their IQ as if it's evidence of anything I switch off. Anybody who has ever felt the need to take an IQ test or has agreed to take one as part of some selection process loses all credibility.

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'After that it was a dictatorship - as "right" as it gets'

Unfortunately, your apparent knowledge on Stalinist Russia doesn't disguise your lack of understanding of even basic political philosophy.

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RE: 'After that it was a dictatorship - as "right" as it gets'

"Unfortunately, your apparent knowledge on Stalinist Russia doesn't disguise your lack of understanding of even basic political philosophy." Ah, philosophy. That would be more "social science" as compared to factual matters such as history, which has plenty of evidence of Stalin's communism and homophobia. Try again, that was simply pathetic.

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Happy

RE: Re: RE: "Poor reading comprehension I see"

"....or has agreed to take one as part of some selection process loses all credibility." I had to take several, but I assume you simply don't get a look at roles where it might be an issue.

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Happy

@Matt

>I assume you simply don't get a look at roles where it might be an issue.

You are correct, for whatever I've done my perceived intelligence has bever been an issue. Now if they start using attitude tests...

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We don't claim Dems are fascists because they supported slavery in the 1800s,

we say they are fascists because like Mussolini and Hitler they treat people as groups rather than individuals and promote a political ideology that says the state should dictate how they live their private lives, although they occasionally make specious arguments about supporting individual freedom.

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Yes the meme is that racism is taught not learned,

but if you are a conservative, you ought to know to dig more deeply than that. My observation is that children cover the full spectrum of behaviors and learn social mores as they are taught to them. Yes, they are more apt to follow parents than teachers, and parents usually have more influence. I further observe that all children exhibit some form of prejudice, it's just that in current society some of these prejudices pass for being educated.

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A typical leftist remark.

The alleged scientific study purports to equate intelligence (or lack thereof) with particular ideologies (a particularly gauling tactic, but one for which the left is well known). The most commonly used measure of intelligence (whether correctly or not) is IQ. It therefore follows that someone with a high IQ and is not racist or a knuckle-dragging throwback as the study purports, is a data point against the study. Perhaps the study filtered its data the same way certain alleged scientists at CRU did?

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Happy

RE: @Matt

"....for whatever I've done my perceived intelligence has bever been an issue...." Well, Chris, as my old man used to say, "a bin man may be a nice guy, but there's a reason he ended up as bin man".

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One word.

Duh!

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Left wing, right wing, conservative, liberal, progressive etc

All so much bollocks.

Phrases used to conveniently group people who may have very little in common (see, US political parties).

To my mind, we should stop (mis) using these cliches become much more refined in our political outlook.

Pigeon holing people on a single political axis (and even 2 axes a la the political compass) is totally insufficient and makes the debate tribal and verging on useless.

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Anonymous Coward

@Left wing, right wing

Mostly I think said people choose the labels themselves. But whatever, anyone who thinks being a 'liberal' is to be an extremist is not really all there, whether an upper or lower case 'L'.

But my take on political polarisation has long been that said people are slaves to emotion and don't calmly think things through. That's the human race without a proper education for you.

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At last

I would not call ANY dictatorship rightwing unless it was a capitalist place.

Usually dictatorships are left wing and authoritarian.

But that still is not enough to describe them

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Anonymous Coward

@David

100% agree with you.

most of us are hypocrites and only look out for negatives in opposing schools of thought to make ours seem superior.

here's a surprise, people with higher IQ's are also more likely to be selfish, judgemental and egocentric pricks.

it's natures way, and it's all just a sham anyway. few thousand years from now, no one will even be around to give a shit about which school of thought was more intelligent. our existence is nothing more than a glitch in the time-line of the universe.

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Fear

Well biggottry is a way to shield oneself from anything new or foreign; mostly by fear, due to the inability to understand. So...

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Anonymous Coward

Any word on moderate conservatives?

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Moderation...

Moderate conservatives are moderately retarded*. See, that's the beauty of statistics (when applied properly): it's not about extremes, it's about tendencies.

*according to that study and provided the stats are OK.

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It's quite simple

Facts have a well-known liberal bias.

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Facts have a well-known liberal bias.

So that explains why there aren't any on Fox News.

I new there was a reason for it.

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