Shock-horror: Right-wingers are less intelligent than left wingers, says study

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Say it isn’t so

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.

…main points of the study are…

-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

…it gets better…

The study, published in Psychological Science, claims that right-wing ideology forms a ‘pathway’ for people with low reasoning ability to become prejudiced against groups such as other races and gay people.

…no wonder the right love degrading public education so much.

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52 COMMENTS

  1. I concur with this I know a lot of right wingers and they are not that sharp but through inheritance and having a smarter spouse they do well for themselves tend to be white middle aged males anti maori,asian,unions and obsessed with dodging tax and getting away with as much as possible and not feeling I once of shame in the process

  2. Hence the right-wingers sense of entitlement and superiority over other ethnic races and other socio-economic groups.

    Also their lack of compassion and understanding towards people less fortunate than themselves.

    • “Hence the right-wingers sense of entitlement and superiority over other ethnic races and other socio-economic groups”

      So right wingers think they are superior to other ethnic groups. If we extend that logic further then they would stick with their own, distaining all other groups?

      How does Rodney Hide, Don Brash and Judith Collins who all married someone of a different race fit within that paradigm?

          • This is not necessarily a comment about Judith C, Don B etc. I don’t know them or anything about their marriages. But it is well known and well documented (refer Macmillan and contact me if you want the reference), that men who seek to control woman ( Macmillan has studied and writes about male who control and psychological abuse women), usually chose women with with a vulnerability as it makes them easier to control. For example the woman may be a lot younger than them or be from an ethnic minority.
            So this fits with the theory very well

  3. Does make sense. Less intelligence would mean less ability to put yourself in another’s shoes, and the intellectually lazy tendency of generalizing about entire groups of people. Then again, that itself is a generalization about right-wingers… But then, acknowledging this fact and refraining from such crude generalizations is a sign of being a more intelligent left-winger… And yet that is also a generalization… My brain just exploded.

  4. Research obviously so soundly based it couldn’t have been conducted by a right wing tory shit.
    I guess it’s something we all knew deep down. Any discussion with anyone slightly right of Cunliffe would prove the point. Probably the reason we have such a stupid opposition in the main!
    Have you also noticed how they lack any sense of humour and can only find laughter at someone else’s expense. I guess that is the reason there is no such thing a right wing satire.

    • You have obviously never read any P.J. O’Rourke.

      BTW how does it make you feel that all these stupid people seem to be able to beat all the clever people when it comes to choosing who to run a country? Must rip your undies.

  5. Sorry your correct I meant decent satire. It’s not always the case some very bright people have won elections, not here for a while granted, but if you were able to look over your fence you might understand. By the way I go commando.

  6. The problem is us left wingers tend to be able to see things from many points of view, which is probably not helpful in the construct of things as they are, however, that is not to say we should not keep battling on.
    I think we all knew this to be he case anyway, didn’t we

  7. Any man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart.
    Any man who is still a socialist at age 40 has no head.

    • IV, it’s a shame you can’t do any original, critical thinking instead of your mass cutting and pasting of other people’s material.

      Your reliance on other’s material leads you to an intellectual dead-end.

      Hardly surprising for right-wingers.

      By the way; in my 20s, I used to hold right wing views that would make Gosman blush.

      But those views soon changed as I learned more and realised that other right-wingers were spouting rubbish that could not be sustained with evidence or rational thought.

      You may revel in your right wing ignorance, but I find it amusing. That’s where I was x-years ago. Then I grew up.

      • That is pretty rich coming from you Frank, most of your pieces on here rely on articles from the main stream media, how about you do some of your own research? You seem to have the cut and paste option down to a pat.

        • *sigh*

          As I’ve pointed out to Gosman on numerous ocassions, I use multiple sources for my research, including Statistics NZ, Treasury, Reserve Bank, IMF, OECD, World Bank, CIA Fact Book,Wikipedia, Trading Economics (one of my favourites for simplicity of use), etc, etc, etc, etc.

          What you’re really implying in your criticism, Stephen, is that you don’t like what I find in my research.

          And by the way, unlike users such as Intrinsic value, I always source my references. It allows the reader to go back to the source; read the material in it’s entirety, and come to their own conclusions.

          I trust that’s helpful to you?

      • I had political cognitive dissonance as a teenager, holding my parents right-wing views while holding my developing views around environmentalism and caring for my fellow persons.

        As a 15 year old I was captivated by the Green Party 2005 manifesto I’ve voted for them in every election since I was old enough to vote so 2008 and 2011, so former melted away for the latter and I’m so glad it did.

  8. Oh great, here’s goes another round of self congratulations from the smug intellects of the left.

    If we could all keep our egos in check for a moment and remember that’s exactly this sort of attitude that built support for George W Bush on the right in the US. There’s nothing like it for entrenching opposition to the left.

    The most sensible thing the we could do at this point is take this article down and never admit it existed, especially the comments section.

    The thing we all need to remember is that emotion also has a lot to do with who people vote for – and it clearly has a lot to do with the round of self congratulation going on here right now because if we stopped to think for a moment we’d realise how incredibly off putting it is.

    • Finally a leftist with a bit of political nous. You have identified a major issue with people on the left. The intellectual superiority displayed by many on the left just gets up a lot of people’s noses. The right laps the backlash right up.

      • Thumbs up to both Aaron and Gosman.

        By the way, what is the house definition of “right wing’ around here?

        It seems to cover all bases from Christian Social Conservative to classical liberal

        Or maybe it is just anyone with disagrees with the leftist dogma du jour?

        • Right wing – individualist
          Left wing – collective
          Applies only to economics
          Most of us are a bit of both
          Got it?

          • I don’t agree with that collectivist/individualist characterisation.

            Most of us (apart from the extreme sociopaths) agree that we need to act collectively on many aspects of our life.

            The question (for me) is how much of that collectivism should be outsourced to this entity that we refer to as “The State”

            For example, I live in a small town where there is a great deal of social cohesion and community support without state intervention

            • So what, that is still what right and left mean, whether you like it or not. What you are worried about is when authority is applied, and contrary to popular belief that can be applied regardless of whether you are thinking right or left economically. Stalin left, Hitler somewhere in the middle, Augusto Pinochet right, all off the scale authoritarian.
              The problem you have is with big, not left or right. Right has problems with big govt, left has problems with big business, if you want to try and nutshell it.
              It really does pay to identify your target before you pull the trigger, as any hunter worth his salt knows.

              • So left are pro big government and the right are pro big business

                Since I am a fan of neither, that explains why I and many people like me are completely disenfranchised with the self serving political lobby and have no one to vote for.

                • No Andy it does NOT mean that, it means right are anti big govt and left are anti big business. The trouble with those who identify as right wing is they seem to be only able to see things in black and white.
                  Your avatar seems entirely appropriate

                  • Your comment adds no more value than mine, which was intended as parody of the simplistic left-right view that is presented as some kind of choice to the public

                    We can hold many differing views on social and fiscal issues and mix them up depending on multiple factors. The views of Jamie Whyte of Act are a million miles from Colin Craig, yet they get all lumped into the right wing basket.

                    I don’t find the modern left very appealing because it seems to have abandoned its working class roots and is more focussed on identity politics, “diversity”, pop environmental science and other modish dogma, much of which is in conflict with each other.

                    • Well yes they are actually both right wing, however Jamie Whyte would probably like to think his views are more libertarian, but they aren’t absolutely, Craig is more authoritarian. It’s really, really easy if you just stop thinking of it as a linear thing and look at it more like a square of graph paper, divided into four quarters, you can have as many little graph paper squares as you like for the purposes of working out where various philosophies might sit or if you need to do this in big print 🙂
                      Okay so you go left and right, then you got up and down, authoritarian and libertarian. You will find what Jamie Whyte espouses is far right in terms of economic ideas but as he has certain things he wants controls on and rules around he’s not going to make it all the way to the bottom and libertarianism. True libertarianism is an absolute ideal, no rules whatsoever (anarchy, actually which simply means without rule), and no govt and as you can imagine will work only as long as people adopt and live by the old “do unto others” thing, otherwise it soon deteriorates into something more akin to Somalia. So that’s the ideal what a shame we stuff it up with self serving human nature. It may be easier to see that true libertarianism is most probably a leftist (collective) thing, if you really, really think aobut it. Whytes thing is property rights are sacrosanct, go read a bit of Adam Smith and you might understand, but keep an open mind about it. He claimed Libertarianism, but really it was only liberty for those that held the purse strings. Liberty? I think not.
                      Colin Craig represents the older scared of change regime, no surprise that this sentiment has found some followers, seeing as we have an aging population. And yes, Craig and Whyte are not on the same page in authoritarian/libertarian terms, but they are in the right hand side in economic terms. I would put Whyte far right but about halfway down the in the right/libertarian quarter. Craig I would about midway between centre and right, so centre-right in economic terms but about halfway up from centre toward authoritarian, so really about smack dab in the middle of the authoritarian-right quarter.
                      You can have conservatives in “communist” govt as in China.
                      So you see your libertarian manner that you operate in you community is only workable because it is small, same thing for communism, works just fine, in communes.
                      I think we should all aspire to be libertarians, but we have to reasonable and understand that we aren’t all equal so we do indeed have to look out for each other.
                      Won’t happen, there is always someone with an eye out for the main chance stuffs it up, so we will always need rules and laws

  9. There was a study which Kiwiblog and Whaleoil were promoting a year or so ago which claimed that the men in the study sample with right wing beliefs were more likely to have larger chest and bicep muscles, while men with left wing beliefs tended to have smaller chest and bicep muscles. They were like ‘Omgz it’s science that we’re tougher than lefties’ when those results came in, so I’m guessing that means they won’t be disputing this study either.

    • LOL and how odd that your remark should come after the one about right wingers’ physicality, especially seeing what a fine example Paul Henry is

  10. My favorite joke springs to mind. “Did you tell my neighbour that I am an idiot?” “Yes, but he knew that already” .

  11. This is a ridiculous article. Intelligence is something we are born with, although we can choose what we do with it and in which directions we develop it. Saying we are brighter than right wingers seems like a particularly socially inept thing to do. It reminds me of one stupid study I saw which said geeky intellectual men were better in bed. One academic I knew used to carry the article around with him and show it to every woman he came across. How good he was in bed remained totally irrelevant to all of them, he still spent all his bed time alone. Whoever uses the results of the present study reminds me of him, and will probably have about as much success. Stupid, self defeating, and sad.

    • Ovicula, the research links cognitive ability to prejudice, and then those people are more likely to be attracted to right-wing ideologies.
      I’ve always thought of empathy as being a key factor in a person’s intelligence, because I think it shows an individual’s ability to think laterally and consider many issues simultaneously, so I do agree with this study.
      But it can be debated depending on what we consider intelligence to be. Some would say intelligence is learning ‘facts’ and sorting figures.
      It all depends. However, the study does not claim that right wing people are stupid and they get fooled by the politicians (eg lazy sheeples meme). Unsurprisingly the Daily Mail’s reporting on it doesn’t really do it justice.
      Its worth a read, the article’s reference is:
      Hodson, G & Busseri, M. 2012. Psychological Science. 23(2) pp. 187-195

  12. Could this just be a case of bright people being able to think for themselves and not simply accept the prejudices of their culture. At the moment the prejudices of our culture are right wing. But in cultures that are predominantly left wing, we may find the opposite conclusion.

  13. Too funny. Any Lefties I know are barely capable of repeating the jpeg slogans they worship on facebook & most are filled with an unbridled hate for anyone who has more material wealth than themselves. Go figure

  14. Yip, 100 000 unionised dock workers across the world cant be stupid. And those left-wing intellectuals in power in north korea, venezuela, cuba and zimbabwe surely prove the point. Do not forget the left-wing geniuses that created those giants of civilisation such as east-germany, the ussr, albany, communist china, etc. It is true, left-wingers have superior intellects!!!

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