“Proof” that Liberals are Smart, Conservatives are Dumb

In the past, having a college education tended to be associated with voting for Republicans; in recent years, however, this correlation has become weaker; in particular, individuals with a postgraduate education — more than a bachlor’s degree — have become increasingly Democratic — as well as liberal. Also, a higher percentage of voters with only a high school education voted Republican in 2000 and in 2004. In essence, as I have told many of my students, the more education one attains — the more liberal one tends to be.

Liberals are generally convinced that they are smarter than conservatives. Indeed, conservatives treat the term “intellectual” with contempt. But, is there any basis to believe that Liberals are right?

A study published in Nature Neuroscience measured brain activity on Liberals and Conservatives and “found” that “the anterior cingulate cortex (AAC) was twice as active in liberals than in conservatives.” AKA, Liberals were more mentally pliable than Conservatives.

I’d be wary of extrapolating this out too far. But, it certainly raises interesting questions about how brains develop, and what effects certain kinds of stimuli (of a Liberal bent?) have on ones cognitive abilities.

h/t: saij


47 thoughts on ““Proof” that Liberals are Smart, Conservatives are Dumb

    • well dont because liberals believe in killing babies and snapping there necks if sombody doesnt want them at a point were they have already been born. liberals are a group of nothing but antichrist. i hope that liberals burn in hell.

      • Seriously? yes, liberals just believe in killing babies?

        this is the kind of unintelligent psychobabble you would expect.

        “Pro-choice” isn’t saying anyone should get an abortion, it is just believing women have the right to do so….god forbid a group actually look out for women’s rights.

      • ok thats enough. do you recall something called THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STAE? anyways conservatives beleive that everything with the environments fine and that “god” will fix it all. liberals are smart ones who no we need to save the environment. and if conservatives dont believe in abortion or gay marraige then dont get an abortion and dont marry a gay person! why does it matter what we do? if “god” does exist then of course your going to “heaven”? well id be proud to burn in “hell” to be away from you and your conservative friends.

      • good job demonstrating the key point of this article. demonstrative! sarcasm! brilliant.

  1. Is this a joke?

    If your original point holds true, then the people tested in the study must have been Liberals with doctorate, and Republicans who dropped out of high school… of course their brain levels will be different.

  2. I do not know who was used in the study. My description of education a’ la Dems and Republicans are based on recent reserach by political scientists. I was not trying to conflate the stats based on political socilization and the study. I like your point. Dems are not that smart. After all, it was them who introduced do not ask do not tell as well as killing HRC’s health care plane in the 90s. I hope they are smarter this time.

  3. That explains why I am far smarter than my co-workers. I am bringing an IQ test to work tomorrow. No seriously, do you believe this study has any merit? It seems difficult to measure.

  4. I have a theory on this one,

    The Baby boomer generation was a very conservative one, and the average age of a student graduating from college probably has parents from said generation.

    That would mean that most children were raised very conservatively, which goes along with you saying the lesser educated our conservative; they just listen to what their parents say.

    Therefore, any student who continues their education will continue to broaden their mind and eventually question the ideal of their parents, which obviously would lead to a more liberal outlook.

    If our country continues the pattern of conservative to liberal and back and forth, then I’m guessing the next generation will have you higher level learners be more conservative.

    Just a theory…

  5. I’ll bet they just measured the left side of the brain, and there is where the flaw is in the whole study. Measure the right side, and you will find more conservatives. Measure the spine, and you get Patton, and so on…..

  6. “…and you get Patton…”



    I wonder what effect herding our young through the classes of left-leaning professors would have on the liberal/conservative balance of the country?

    There is also a difference between “book smarts” and wisdom.

    • Couldn’t agree more. On average, most professors (well over 50%) recognize as left-leaning. When liberal indoctrination is the imminent future of our youth, it’s hard to imagine individuals who will question the status-quo. Rather, I find that individuals able to transcend what their professors shove down their throats during lectures to be the more intelligent. They question theories such as the one provided above and seek to reveal another side to issues and perceptions generally and conventionally deemed one sided by liberal academia. It’s just frustrating, I suppose, to walk into a Borders or Barnes and Noble and find most of our American History books and presidential evaluations written by editors of Newsweek and the New York Times. There needs to be some sort of conservative enlightenment which yields an increased amount of conservtive thinkers within politics and college faculties. Until then, bullshit theories (see aforementioned) will continue to “prove” that liberals are “right” because they’re “scientifically smarter”; they know best for conservative’s are dumb, uneducated individuals, genetically incapable of eloquently expressing a point. Therefore, the educated entrenched in government bureaucracies need to tell everyone (specifically those stupid God subscribers) how to live their lives; these individuals, they claim, are standing in their way of implementing within society a utopia where anything goes; where there are absolutely no morals and no principles. It’s happening now with the current administration. I say, and I’m sure the vast majority will scoff, that it’s truly time for an intelligible revolution on the right.

  7. Thats funny, we never studied liberal stimuli when I was studying cognitive studies in grad school. You learn something new everyday.


  8. Carson.. this may be true at Houston christian. If you look at a school like ours, the democrats and liberals have to be able to prove themselves. The majority of conservatives here believe what they’re ignorantly told to believe. Not to leave out certain people.. (will) who can back his beliefs with facts because he is well read and up to date.
    This argument just makes me think of how more freely (at our school) liberals express their OWN views.
    Ex. Look at our Class and who displays their own views over the programmed response.

  9. I know that this study cannot really be used in this way and it makes several questionable assumptions but how about this for some Carson political dissection.

    In your piece about the Duke rape case you state,

    “Because inequality in education exists, many minorities do not receive the proper education needed to attend a Duke. Think about the number of elite private schools in the country that have a very small number of black students. Often enough, blacks are victims of educational slavery in that many live in low property tax communities. Thus, minority public schools are faced with the challenge of hiring elite faculty members as well as providing each student with adequate resources for learning. This type of class division creates resentment and hate towards those who are privileged.”

    You suggested this much better somewhere else but I can’t find it.

    Your suggestion that people from less economically advantaged families are less likely to be able to afford higher education that there wealthier peers can afford can be summarized with:

    Poorer people tend to less educated than their wealthier counterparts.

    “In the past, having a college education tended to be associated with voting for Republicans; in recent years, however, this correlation has become weaker; in particular, individuals with a postgraduate education — more than a bachlor’s degree — have become increasingly Democratic — as well as liberal. Also, a higher percentage of voters with only a high school education voted Republican in 2000 and in 2004.”

    Here we can combine the two statements to come to the conclusion that:

    Poorer people are less likely to attend college and receive formal 4 year university degrees. People with college degrees are more likely (when compared with the past) to vote democratic than their peers with out degrees who increasingly vote Republican.

    From this we can conclude that the Democratic party are becoming relatively wealthier and elitist while the Republicans are becoming less elite and shifting more towards the middle class.

  10. Will,

    I like your conclusion based on what I said. You would think your conclusion is right, but it is not for this reason:

    Although blacks are working their way up the class ladder, many see themselves as fighters against social injustice. Why? Because a number of minorities still struggle to make social and economic progress. Thus, you still have a number of minorites at the bottom of the ranks. You are right in that there are a number of elites in the Democratic party. Just look at John Kerry. It is the message of dems in that they (for the most part) fight for racial minorities, gays, women, and the poor.

    I am sure I contradict myself in various places on this blog.

  11. wow its been awhile since I last wrote on here 🙂

    well being the democrat I am, I’ve grown to be tolerant and let evidence speak for itself. Like so:

    “As people do better, they start voting like Republicans, unless they have too much education. Then they vote Democratic, which proves that there can be too much of a good thing. After all, it is easier to govern sheep because they don’t have to think.”

    –As quoted by George W. Bush, at the National Oil and Power Company Convention, Dallas, TX., 1999.

    Well even President Bush agrees Democrats are smarter…I mean he himself is a prime example of how the Left can back up its claims.

  12. A study published in Nature Neuroscience measured brain activity on Liberals and Conservatives and “found” that “the anterior cingulate cortex (AAC) was twice as active in liberals than in conservatives.” AKA, Liberals were more mentally pliable than Conservatives.

    I’d be wary of extrapolating this out too far.

    You mean as far as making a statement like “Liberals are Smart, Conservatives are Dumb”?

    Since when is being “mentally pliable” a desirable trait? It does explain a lot, though. I’m recalling the phrase, “he’s so open-minded that his brain fell out.”

  13. Although blacks are working their way up the class ladder, many see themselves as fighters against social injustice…

    Do my liberal intellectual betters still learn grammar in the course of their superior educational upbringing?

    Sorry, cheap shot. Almost as cheap a shot as the intent of this original post.

  14. Therefore, any student who continues their education will continue to broaden their mind and eventually question the ideal of their parents, which obviously would lead to a more liberal outlook.

    That’s a non-sequitur argument. One might just as reasonably question the ideal[s] of his parents and conclude that they were correct. But liberal thinkers have always been elitists.

  15. Beo — attacking me does not advance the purpose of this blog. So, I deleted your last comment; I guess that is typical of a liberal. But, I have enjoyed reading your comments. I would love to hear from you in the future – whoever you are.

    You sound bitter and frustrated; I hope I did not create this. My academic experience was both good and bad; it was good in that I earned excellent marks, wrote a great graduate thesis, won a few awards, and have used that to do some great research and develop top notch courses. It was bad in that I did not have a diverse experience; still, like I teach my students, take what you are taught and what you read to formulate your own ideas. That is what the smart good students do…right?

    I admit a “comment” mistake; I admit that my accomplishments have created a very large ego that must be tamed at times. If I can help you figure “it” out, let me know. Yes there is indoctrination…but that is true of TV, music, ministers, etc.

    I guess teaching and writing conference papers are the only things a liberal such as I can do. That is good news to me.

  16. wat the hell!>!? dat ain’t true. wat does this even mean????????????
    U stupid liberals, makin up wordz!! wat the hell is a doctorate?? ur all dumm.

  17. There is a new book out by Joe Fried called “Democrats and Republicans – Rhetoric and Reality” (Algora Publishing 2008). In it, he notes that interviewers for the National Election Studies rate the “apparent intelligence” of each person they interview, and have done so for decades. Dems are only about 75% as likely to be rated as having fairly or very high apparent intelligence. Enough said.

  18. Everybody’s a dumbass… If they weren’t then people wouldn’t argue with other people over ideals. It’s like an christian arguing with an atheist. They aren’t going to listen to each other so they should just walk away… As polarized as the political scene is right now the united states should just split in half… West coast for liberals east coast for conservatives…

  19. As a graduate student (Engineering Physics) who also happens to be a centrists disgusted with the current and previous administrations, I can tell you that the political affiliation of most college students is based on what department they graduate from. The graduates of the most “difficult” degrees tend to be centrists or right leaning. I have spent considerable time in the departments of mathematics, hard sciences (chemistry, physics, astronomy, etc), and engineering. I took a wide variety of other courses from other departments (english lit, psychology, sociology, humanities, philosophy, economics, geology, etc), and anything that was not a general education requirement was at a 3000-4000 level. They were extremely easy, and did not even compare to such courses as: special relativity for gravitational fields, electro-magnetic fields, fluid dynamics, and partial differential equations. That the people in the easy courses tended to be left wing liberals, while nearly everyone in the courses that require logic, critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical skills (I’m sure majors of the fluff degrees will argue their degree incorporates these things. It doesn’t, as I have probably taken 6 hours of your upper level courses, I can attest that it doesn’t. Take just one 3000/4000 level engineering/physics course, if you even meet the prerequisite, and then you can talk), tend to be right leaning. The fact that the people that are trained in logic (math is merely the application of logic to solve a problem, and all hard sciences are based in advanced mathematics) are close to center or slightly right leaning gives them credibility for objectivity (also what science is rooted in). The fact that those who b.s. through their degree, or have it handed to them, tend to be far left leaning says a lot about them.

    This is based on experience, and on numerous studies on the topic (I did the research for some sociology classes on this very topic. It was not well-received by the left-wing professor, but the sources were high profile institutions, so she had no choice but to give me an A. It really, really hurt her.). Because liberals are so educated, and have such high (apparent) intelligence, I’ll let you research those articles for yourself. 😉

    Those with degrees that have a high enrollment tend to be the most left leaning, and the high enrollment is by design. This brings in $$$ to the university and they oblige the “students” by offering a major that can be easily passed, with little effort. Think philosophy, humanities (the most smug, arrogant, self-entitled students on campus), communications, any of the social “sciences”, fine arts, et al. These type of courses are usually taught by professors who have only been in academia (very much a socialist institution – tenure, salary vs private industry, bureaucracy, etc.), and never really grown up and shed the shell of school. This all occurred when the liberals took over the higher learning institutions in the 1960’s, and they have never been thrown out of power, because the people likely to make a career of academia are from a department with no marketability, and these departments only hire liberals. Basically, the more worthless and easy the degree, the more liberal the graduate will tend to be. This is also why liberals tend to want to redistribute wealth, or at the very least tax those with much higher incomes than themselves; they either have no ambition and want everything handed to them, or they do not have the ability (intelligence) to achieve anything.

    So, there is no doubt that most college grads are left leaning, but in my experience, they are no more intelligent than high school drop-outs. In fact, they are even worse to be around, because their limited knowledge gives them an inflated opinion of their academic and intellectual prowess, not to mention an entitlement complex. They tend to “know just enough to be dangerous”. Therefore, you cannot make the argument that liberals are smarter than conservatives based on the beliefs of college graduates, because you make the assumption that just because someone graduated college, they are smarter than some one who did not. The truth is, if grade inflation (a whole other topic worthy of examination), which is rampant in departments that are run by liberals (because it generates money if you can drive enrollment up) and low in math and the hard sciences because we deal with matters of public safety (READ: relevant),was eliminated, then the percentage of high school graduates who could make it through college would return to that of the 1960’s, and the remaining graduates would likely have real majors (most of which are NOT liberal – especially business).

    For all their talk of “tolerance”, liberals only seem to tolerate those who think exactly like they do. Just as many liberals are misinformed as conservatives of equal intelligence and education (especially regarding “global warming”, and the “causes” thereof). For all their preaching of having an “open view”, how many liberals have been to other continents, let alone third world countries? Just because some one is not a liberal (or, gasp, a republican), they are not inherently an evil, ignorant, bible thumping, gun toting, country music listener. Just because some one is not a conservative, they are not inherently intelligent, open minded, righteous, or non-violent.

    There are hundreds of other points that can be made, but I’ll let all of you digest this first. My advice is do some research on liberalism in academia. To call a philosopher, liberal arts major, or a Shakespearian major an “intellectual” is a travesty to the academic world. Not to knock these type of majors, but they epitomize the definition of “apparent intelligence”. Their arrogance and condescension is rivaled only by their lack of logic.

    • Joe your the arrogant one and you are also a liar….Engineering Physics? I am sorry to inform you but most people I know who study Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics ARE LIBERAL – NOT CONSERVATIVE! Conservatives tend to study more Business and finance in college.

      When you put out garbage like:
      “To call a philosopher, liberal arts major, or a Shakespearian major an “intellectual” is a travesty to the academic world. Not to knock these type of majors, but they epitomize the definition of “apparent intelligence”. Their arrogance and condescension is rivaled only by their lack of logic”

      An intellectual according to Webster’s – is a person who places a high value on or pursues things of interest to the intellect or the more complex forms of arts and sciences and fields of knowledge, as aesthetic or philosophical matters, especially on an abstract and general level.

      Joe you are obviously bogus and probably are getting a degree at Technical college in Air conditioning and heating – trying to pawn yourself off as an intellectual. What constitutes a “complex” is it really means to advance into higher levels of learning regardless of whether it’s science, music or art. I am a liberal and I am working on my Masters in Chemistry at Michigan. Many of my fellow classmates are also Liberals.

      What really pisses me off are these phoney right-wing goofballs who lie and act intellectual – like Ann Coulter, Rush and Joe. Using smoke and mirrors like Ann Coulter’s and Rush Limabaugh’s overuse of fancy words to make them sound sophistcated and intellectual. When unpeel the phoney facade of conservatives you get their hollow – an empty intellect at the core – devoid of any brains at all.

      I love it when right-wingers get onto web pages like this and scrub these forums with lies and falsehoods. This is so typical of gutless and cowardly right wing trash. Joe get a life and get a real job.

    • Oh really? What are their unsound decisions?

      I can name many unsound decisions of Conservatives:
      1. Starting illegal wars for oil profits and not for our national security. Starting wars based on false intelligence.
      2. Bush’s faliure to kill Bin Laden – said he ” he didn’t know where he was and it was not his list priority”.
      3. Reagan’s failure to enforce the Sherman Anti-Trust Act – which has led to less competition, corporate buyouts lessening the choice for consumers – because the major corporations are trying to monopolize.
      4. Reagan turning health insurance companies into for-profit corporations which has caused huge increases in insurance cost with less services Doctors can provide. Pay more and you get less – thanks Reagan!
      5. Reagan, Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. running up the national debt with increasing spending while giving the rich huge tax breaks. Actually this all based on a strategy laid out by Jude Wanniski – look it up. Wanniski proposed to “starve the beast of government” – really it was an attack getting rid of Social Security and Medicaid. Wanniski proposed in a Wall Street Journal Article in 1976 to lower taxes on the wealthy – increase spending 2-3 fold and rack up a huge debt – then to get the debt down – cut etitlements aka Social Security, Food Stamps and Medicaid. We could fix the national debt – RAISE TAXES ON THE RICH! Not cutting entitlements totally. This is the root cause of why the Middle Class has shrunk.
      6 The Tea Party jack-asses who screw themselves and want to be beholden to the wealthy and corporations. These clueless morons who run around with misspelled signs thats say “Tell the Gubiment to keep their damn socialist hands off my Medicare”.

      This is just the small tip of their unsound decisions and hypocrisy. But, I think Conservatives are just as always – dumbed down, misinformed, greedy, selfish, racist and brainless.

  20. And making any general statements about the intelligence of an entire group of people based on a fairly small study of only 41 participants on something as trivial as “M or W?” is especially ridiculous when the page publishing the study continues on to say that “This does not mean, however, that differences in ACC activity are directly correlated to political orientation. Although the brain mechanisms underlying conflict monitoring are already in place at a very early age, the environment is also likely to have a major influence political views.”

  21. I keep coming back to see any liberals had commented….this might be little overwhelming for them.

    FYI, I’m Texan Hispanic
    Earn a degree in petroleum engineer, 2 weeks later, I obtain a job.

  22. Tex-Mex Conservative:

    How do you figure this might be overwhelming for liberals? Explain the relationship between your ideology, field, and getting a job in two weeks with that of the study. I am curious.

  23. Figure of Speech,
    I’ll elaborate since i didn’t make it clear (not being sarcastic, explaining little of my history)

    I’m nothing special nor a genius, I’m just an hardworking individual that expects nothing from no one and learn that only I’m the architect of my future.

    I was born into single mother middle class family. I had early unfortunate outcomes with dyslexia, speech impediment, and lack of social skills. (sounds like Asperger syndrome but it wasn’t really familiar to many pathologists and till this day I believe I grew out of it)

    As I grew up, I hated the fact I was always dependent on others for help and that was ignited my spark to become ambiguous. It took me up to 8th grade to get out of special education and by the end of high school I was in MST program and all honor classes. My mother had more then enough money to send me to college and during that time i was curious why she wont help support me as I go to college * I believe i can safetly assume y’all can figure that out*. After HS i went to military and learn my social, discipline, and leadership skills there. (I always believe with greater the risk, greater the reward.) After my 4 years of service and one year of deployment, all the money I saved up, I used to go to college. I spent 2 years at community college then transfer to Texas Tech. I feel greater satisfaction that i have done all this hard work on my own. (financially)

    Back to my original statement “why I think it might be overwhelming”, only projects my views that many left wing choose certain occupation that makes them happy vs what is really needed for this technology age. Yes there are individuals with master degrees in Psychology in wall street protest but personally with my own opinion is a waste of time and money. I’m not in debt and I made sure in every way I have no financial binding with no one. Stop complaining how hard life is and just do it because life isn’t fair and never will be. That’s my main point for that.

    For my ideology that coincides between my field, isn’t really relative because in reality I rather be in the military but that changes when you have a family. I did pick the job because of the money and not many can succeed in that field and since I’m Hispanic, I have more opportunity compare to other ethnic groups.

    As for my field, all I’m required to do is punch numbers for the amount of oil that’s needed to be extracted. Nothing special and any monkey can do it if they study and learn in my field. Here is a link that explains different engineering fields for anyone to check out. http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos027.htm Every friend of mine who received an college degree in engineering didn’t find any difficulties finding a job. When I hear people complaining why they don’t have a job nor find any work baffles me. Yes I work the hard labor life as construction worker and I did during the scorching summers in Dallas to collect more money for college.

    I wont speak which firm I belong because I was never pointed out as their spokesman. What I can say is that it took just great effort and work.

    I don’t feel any empathy for those who complain and not try. I have done everything it takes to succeed and some r-tard like me is capable of obtaining my American dream, so can everyone else.

    If you want to state argument how poor people aren’t able to receive the same opportunity is only because they choose not to stride for it. Plus I can use my mother as example on how she gain her American dream, as becoming a CEO or her own insurance agency, and she used to be a pig farmer in Mexico.

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