Science has already established that people with right leaning political ideology are more apt to be prejudiced and that people with low education tend to be prejudiced, but now they’ve also shown that low IQs and conservative beliefs are linked to prejudice.
Cue the screaming poutrage of the Right.
Stephanie Pappas reported for Yahoo:
There’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.
“Prejudice is extremely complex and multifaceted, making it critical that any factors contributing to bias are uncovered and understood,” he said.
And you wondered why conservatives don’t believe in science. If science told you that your beliefs were ignorant and a sign of a low IQ, you would (assuming you had a low IQ) do what any low IQ animal would do. You’d react with anger and perhaps verbal violence to stop the inevitable pain that results from cognitive dissonance among those who can’t handle it. Who can’t handle cognitive dissonance? People with lower IQs.
Now before we get all puffed up and start gloating toward our racist acquaintances, we of the superior intellect need to realize that gloating in the face of an angry, confused person with a low IQ will do nothing but give short term satisfaction.
As other scientists note later in the article, the challenge is how to get through to people whose intellect can’t handle being challenged with alternative realities. We can’t argue our way through to them; we have to find a way to appeal to their feelings. And yet, it seems compassion is lacking so we can’t put any stake in using compassion or empathy to appeal.
The ability to appeal to base emotions is exemplified in many of the has-been Republican candidates from Cain to Perry, but nobody does it like Newt. After all, it takes an unfathomable loss of ethics and integrity to knowingly and with malice exploit racism and fear for personal gain. It takes someone with no soul to be willing to destroy the unity of this country for their personal gain.
We see how well Newt Gingrich is using the Palin technique of exploiting the confusion and fear of lower IQ individuals by appealing to their racism, their fear of the “other” and their religious beliefs. Their alleged religious beliefs are based in the same fears – these are not New Testament love your neighbor type of Christians; these are the Christians who pray for President Obama to die and leave his wife a widow and his children fatherless (see Psalm 109).
These prayers of vengeance are called “imprecatory prayers” and they’ve been political public knowledge since the Palin prayer warriors engaged in them during 2008. In 2011, a sergeant was suspended for leaving imprecatory prayers against the President in a stack of bibles meant for inmates of the prison where he worked (inciting violence much?) and Alan Colmes got a pastor to admit on the radio that he was indeed praying for President Obama to die:
“Are you praying for his death?” Colmes asked.
“Yes,” Drake replied.
“So you’re praying for the death of the president of the United States?”
“If he does not turn to God and does not turn his life around, I am asking God to enforce imprecatory prayers that are throughout the Scripture that would cause him death, that’s correct…..”
These folks are the result of cruel, ugly machines of hate for political gain and deception. These are dangerous forces, and sadly, the lower the IQ the more dangerous they are. Imagine them as a wounded animal in the wild who’s been misled to believe that everyone who is not the same color as he is a vulture come to prey upon him.
They see everyone else as their enemy. This is typical in a simplistic mindset. And then the real vultures come to prey upon these folks, pointing the finger outward at Democrats, liberals and President Obama as “the problem,” sometimes using language meant to imply that the danger we pose is imminent.
If we are to have any hope of overcoming this ugly ploy, we must stop trying to use intellectual arguments to get through to these voters because that isn’t working.
We must find a way to appeal emotionally to people whose world views offend us. Perhaps we can start by realizing that even though they sound mean and low, they know not what they do. They are being used and manipulated by a master right now, but certainly the modern day Republican Party is no slouch at their Southern Strategy.
Newt Gingrich is a lot of things but dumb he isn’t, unlike the cunning but rather ignorant Palin to whom he is wrongly compared. Sarah Palin is as much a victim of her own ignorance as her followers are, though she is an obvious exploiter of others – the alpha ignorant, if you will. But Newt knows better and still chooses this path.
In response to the study, a scientist observed that perhaps simple and extreme ideologies attract dumb people. They gave the example of far left ideology believing that everyone is wonderful, though there was no data to prove this hypothesis. I consider myself pretty far left if the Republican Party represents the new middle Right, but I have seen evil on this earth and I know it exists and must be fought by any means necessary (Hitler, as an example).
However, I disagree that assuming the best in human nature is dumb or a sign of low IQ (I would hypothesize the opposite, actually, that anti-war ideology might be found in more evolved people, for example, so long as that ideal was an acknowledged impracticality and not a dogma) but I would agree that overly extreme ideology tends to attract people who don’t like complexities inherent in balancing human nature as it is versus human nature as we would like it to be. Extremes generate emotional responses that too often overwhelm intellectual engagement.
What we do know right now is that far right ideals attract people who are racist and have low IQs. The whys are up for grabs. We also know that the Republican Party is exploiting this in a dangerous, destructive manner that is bad for our country, and that they are being aided and abetted in this mission by too many religious leaders and corporations (including our mainstream media) for the purpose of enacting policies that benefit the 1%.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.