02.03.2012 02:42 PM

Not all conservatives are stupid

…just most of them. To wit:

Lead researcher Gordon Hodson told LiveScience that the results of the study indicate a vicious cycle, in which people with low intelligence are drawn to socially conservative ideologies. In turn, those ideologies can contribute to prejudices.

“Socially conservative ideologies tend to offer structure and order,” he said, explaining why those with lower intelligence may gravitate toward the right. “Unfortunately, many of these features can contribute to prejudice.”

The researchers found that people with lower intelligence also tended to have less contact with other races and groups, which, Dr. Hodson said, supports previous research that determined interacting with other groups is mentally challenging and cognitively draining.“*

My book Fight the Right – which is coming out in the Fall from Random House – is chockful of useful (and irrefutable) information-bits like this.

If I do it, er, right, I will be making tiny conservative heads go pop all over North America!

* H/T


  1. Kevin T. says:

    Looking forward to the inevitable “But the Liberals are stupid too! We’re just better at it!”

  2. Joey Rapaport says:

    Couldn’t agree more on the SoCon stuff… why people care about what other people do so much is beyond me…..

  3. Joseph Couture says:

    Unfortunetly there is no cure for stupid.

  4. Brian says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Warren. I obviously appreciate it.

  5. Ted H says:

    “Today’s so-called ‘conservatives’ don’t even know what the word means. They think I’ve turned liberal because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That’s a decision that’s up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the Religious Right. It’s not a conservative issue at all.”
    ~Barry Goldwater

  6. Skinny Dipper says:

    Star Trek: The Next Generation

    Geordi La Forge is working on a disabled Pakled spaceship.

    Pakled Commander Reginod: We are strong.
    Lieutenant Geordi La Forge: You’re armed to the teeth.
    Pakled Captain Grebnedlog: Teeth are for chewing.

  7. allegra fortissima says:

    I often ask myself what exactly conservatives are conserving. Or pretending to conserve.

  8. Mark McLaughlin says:

    And progressives wonder how conservatives could possibly find them elitist and pretentious.

    Telling those who do not agree with you they are stupid sounds like a great way of change their mind. Keep spouting it and you’ll only harden their beliefs. Enjoy your time in the wilderness. Good luck on that renewal stuff.

    No political ideology has a monopoly on idiocy.

    • Jason King says:

      How is that wonderfully charming tone working for you/ Being a dick tends to turn off just as many people in the long run. Its just that people are too polite to tell you that you come off like a miserable windbag.

      • Bill says:

        Mark has a great point. Jason, you sound like a elitist and pretentious windbag. Calling Mark a dick is pretty immature, so maybe your not a elitist after all, thinking maybe your over compensating for your shortcomings (have seen use the word “dick”alot on warrens site).

        • Jason King says:

          Bill, I didnt call Mark anything. You came to the conclusion yourself that I called him that. I said that being a dick doesnt work its charms either. Decrying maturity on a political blog? Give me a break Bill. A quick search of your comments on the site could probably find many examples of immaturity. Im not exactly sure what you are getting at with your bracketed comment.

        • Bill says:

          Don’t need to see you. I’m not sure you understand what I was getting at.

    • Skinny Dipper says:

      I understand your points. It doesn’t make progressive people look good if we call our rural simpletons “stupid hicks.” I’m hyper-exaggerating (as opposed to plain exaggerating). We need to engage in a dialogue with Canadians from all parts of the country. Note: I have lived near downtown Toronto, suburban Toronto, and in small-town northern Ontario where the NDP holds a majority of the federal seats (I believe).

      Conservative voters tend to have slightly lower than education levels than the Canadian average. Like other party supporters, there is a wide spread of education and income levels. There are some very smart Conservative organizers who are able to sell simple messages to the “stupid” Conservative supporters. For example, Joe Oliver talked about environmentalists being financed by foreign radicals. These people oppose the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal which is supported by “Canadian” job creating oil companies. Progressives will understand the nuances of those who represent the environmentalists vs. those who represent Canadian or foreign oil companies. Conservative supporters just hear “foreign radicals” vs. “Canadian oil companies.” Joe Oliver is a smart man. He knows that his comments were unlikely to pursuade progressives like me. His message was directed at the current Conservative supporters and people currenly working in the oil industry.

      Any opposition party that wants to get Conservative supporters in the next election will need to keep the messaging straight forward and simple. Leave the message complexities to the current loyal supporters.

      • Bill says:

        Wow, that’s alot of derogatory comments towards rural people. That type of language will keep you guys in 3rd place irrelevance forever.

        One should be cautious when determining what type of intelligence is important. I’ve met city slicker that rock at every board game we play, if the electricity and gas supply shut down for a week they would be screwed. They have not a clue how to survive. I’ve met rural people that could live off the grid for years with out concern or issue.

        By your definition all the smart people will die when they require knowledge and resources during a nature disater or crisis (history shows us these events occour about every 10000 years). “our rural simpletons” , nice, what a asshole comment that was.

  9. Jon Powers says:

    Trust “Progressives” to fight prejudice with prejudice.

  10. Michael S says:

    1. People with low intelligence are drawn to socially conservative ideologies. In turn, those ideologies can contribute to prejudices.
    2. By definition, half of people have below average intelligence.
    3. A prejudicial, social-conservative ideology will hence be attractive to at least half the population, once you include smart bigots.
    4. In Canada, you need 40% of the vote to win.
    5. Fuck.

  11. Voters opinions based on beliefs, not facts

    This bodes ill for a democracy, because most voters — the people making decisions about how the country runs — aren’t blank slates. They already have beliefs, and a set of facts lodged in their minds. The problem is sometimes the things they think they know are objectively, provably false. And in the presence of the correct information, such people react very, very differently than the merely uninformed.

    Instead of changing their minds to reflect the correct information, they can entrench themselves even deeper.

    “The general idea is that it’s absolutely threatening to admit you’re wrong,” says political scientist Brendan Nyhan, the lead researcher on the Michigan study. The phenomenon — known as “backfire” — is “a natural defense mechanism to avoid that cognitive dissonance.”

    These findings open a long-running argument about the political ignorance of American citizens to broader questions about the interplay between the nature of human intelligence and our democratic ideals. Most of us like to believe that our opinions have been formed over time by careful, rational consideration of facts and ideas, and that the decisions based on those opinions, therefore, have the ring of soundness and intelligence.

    In reality, we often base our opinions on our beliefs, which can have an uneasy relationship with facts. And rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions. Worst of all, they can lead us to uncritically accept bad information just because it reinforces our beliefs. This reinforcement makes us more confident we’re right, and even less likely to listen to any new information.

    And then we vote.


  12. RWA: Right-Wing Authoritarian Followers

    snip snip So a right-wing authoritarian follower doesn’t necessarily have conservative political views. Instead he’s someone who readily submits to the established authorities in society, attacks others in their name, and is highly conventional.

    Which suggests authoritarian followers have a little volcano of hostility bubbling away inside them looking for a (safe, approved) way to erupt.


    …those who have a tendency towards “conservative” opinions, will only listen to you if you are saying something that sounds like something they already believe

  13. fred says:

    “4. In Canada, you need 40% of the vote to win.”

    40% of the 61% that show up to vote

    Which means that 76% of the eligible voters didn’t vote for Harper.

  14. Brad Young says:

    Its ironic then that it is the disadvantaged people who are most affected by conservative policies like tough on crime and fiscal policies that eliminate lower paying jobs support the very party that hurts them. You get what you vote for.

  15. Justin says:

    Guns, gold and god. Yee haw!

    • que sera sera says:

      The jets jails & jesus freaks may not be the brightest bulbs in the conservative marquee, but they sure hog the spotlight.

  16. allegra fortissima says:

    From Vancouver with Love 🙂


    • frmr disgruntled Con now happy Lib says:

      Thank god Vancouverites had the good sense to draw the line at “Tom Terrific’s” vision for the city……He had a vision, but as former Mayor Harcourt said….it was one from the past…..

      From wiki……As mayor, “Tom Terrific” (as he was both affectionately and derisively called) proved to be brash, confrontational, and controversial. During his term, the City held a referendum which authorized the then-controversial development of an underground shopping mall and office towers, now known as Pacific Centre, Vancouver’s largest development. As Greater Vancouver’spopulation topped one million, Campbell took an assertively pro-development stance, advocating a freeway that would cut through a large part of the downtown east side, the demolition of the historic Carnegie Centre, and the construction of a luxury hotel at the entrance of Stanley Park (the Bayshore Inn) and another at the north foot of Burrard in which it turned out the mayor had invested (it is now an apartment building and never became a hotel).

      Had the freeway gone through, it would have decimated Chinatown, and the wonderful Carnegie Centre that is a place of refuge for many disadvantaged and poor of the Downtown Eastside……
      We would have lost any character that the Downtown Eastside but esp Chinatown, and Gastown, possess…..

  17. Justin says:

    Oh Gord, “it’s a smug ad hominem ploy by liberals and progressives to distract from the fact that their ideologies have been on the decline since the late sixties”

    Historical revisionism is so easy isn’t it?

    • WesternGrit says:

      As societies mature they become more “liberal” (in the true sense of the word). It has been like that since the Stone Ages. Remember, back when allowing women to vote (or minorities) was a “crazy liberal idea”? How we’ve changed, and matured as a society. Who would have thought we’d allow stores to open on the “Lord’s Day”, or that people would be sitting in public movie houses watching nude people.

      Our future isn’t gun-toting nutbars from the right-wing (a’ la Mad Max), but cerebral populations eating mostly vegetarian diets (we’ll soon realize that we cannot sustain the human race if we all need to eat meat), drive alternative fuel vehicles, and respect the environment. Either that, or our race is doomed (by the stupid).

  18. kre8tv says:

    I’m already sold on it. I sure hope it’s available as an ebook. I don’t do paper anymore.

  19. BLUEworld says:

    Sorry.. how may of your people needed corporate bailouts- I forgot- Please do remind us. What a Dufus… Gord look around… conservatives in gov’t have always and will always just do the bidding for their superiors… they always look after their cronies first. Their entire ideology is in conflict with the entire concept of government for people and by people. The conservative ideology should be and must become simply a special interest group- and nothing more. They are far too dangerous and too much out of depth to become thoughtful governments able to lead people.

    • BLUEworld says:

      yO gorDO

      YAH I’m sure you opposed the bailouts but I’m sure you’re crony buddies had no issue accepting them and your leader Harper and BUSH had no problem offering them up. SEE to these ideologues, support to bailout their cronies is different than support to bailout the common man. Shareholders… you say.. have you ever looked at who is on the average board of any shareholders? they are all re-treads and dimwits. Lackies doing other people’s bidding. Capital must always respect the workers who do their labour. Failure do do so will not be wise. I own a small business, and my principal # 1 is to respect the workers that help my business succeed. I lead the business but it could not succeed without the support and swat of my workers. I reward them and thank them as much as I can. I also am not greedy and share with them the success of the company. In the end I have a happy balance, loyalty, productivity, and profits.

      If every company and country operated in this manner- the world would be a better place

    • Philip says:

      i thought this quote from a piece on community reaction to the EMD (GM Locomotive) plant closure in London, ON can say more about Capitalism than I could.

      “Lynda Brand

      “This is only my side as a spouse of a 23-year devoted employee who I am very proud of and very worried about. I am only speaking from my side. I cannot speak for Paul.

      What this has done to us:

      1. House is for sale.
      2. Not house hunting. Looking for an apartment or mobile home, if we can even afford that. When you have nothing, where do you live?
      3. Cutting out all spending except for immediate needs.
      4. Appointment with bank to seek advice if we cannot sell house and run out of money.
      5. Thoughts of perhaps bankruptcy.
      6. Stress on relationship.
      7. Health problems cropping up.
      8. Inability to sleep properly.
      9. Irritability.
      10. Confusion.
      11. Loss of faith in the future.
      12. Loss of any plans for retirement.
      13. Loss of faith in our government for what they allowed to happen in Canada and London, Ont.
      14. Feeling of worthlessness because of inability to pay bills.
      15. Constant worry, worry, worry.
      16. We have discussed the food bank.
      17. Worry that Paul will not be able to find another job that will pay our bills
      18. Now the worry that we will have no health coverage.
      19. The worry that we will have no future.

      I’m sorry. I can’t go on anymore with this. My head hurts and it is difficult to see right now. I’m going to try to lie down and sleep for a little while if I can.”

      I’m sure Caterpillar will use that $5,000,000,000 in profit (yes, profit, not sales) they made last year will help them forget all about this small unpleasantness in London. This is what exactly what Capitalism does transfer wealth from everyone else to the very rich.

      Please don’t worry about the poor CEO of Caterpillar, his $10,500,000 (salary only) take home should help him past any rough spots.

  20. dave says:

    I figured Reform, and now Conservative, ideas are mainly recycled Ernest Manning stuff about federalism, and repackaging of 1920’s corporatism for economics.

    For me, capitalism is a system to artificially redistribute wealth from the commons into private parasitical pockets, -the essence of corporatism.

    • Jon Adams says:

      Do I need a Gold’s Gym membership to practice parasitism or is it something I can do out of my apartment in between working two jobs? Help me out here; I’m a parasite dependent on your creation of wealth.

    • Philip says:

      I’m not sure that any firm on Wall St. has risked their own capital in quite some time. If it all goes pear shaped again, they will line up once more at the public purse waiting for their handout. Capitalism has learned a very valuable lesson about privatizing profits and socializing losses. All capitalism does now is strip mine value out of everything and send all the profit up to the very rich. Compared to what we have now, even the barter system is starting to look good.

  21. Cam says:

    It’s not about the redistribution of wealth nor the fall of the Berlin Wall and implying compassionate people are communists. It’s about fairness and some semblance of equity. Why is the investor in the investment more worthy then the worker who toils to make the investment worthy? Are not both needed equally for the investment to succeed?

    • dave says:

      Where I live and work risk takers are in the oil/gas patch, – loggers, cabbies, farmers,…I simply do not have the imagination to appreciate the risks taken by guys in suits in towers.

      ( – although, not having that imagination has not yet turned me conservative…)

  22. patrick deberg says:


    Nice to see you over here after posting on the NP boards for a while.

    Are you paid?

    I ask cause you seem way too focused for average commentary from the right wing blogosphere.

    Do tell?

    I think the next book WK is espousing is a tribute to rising above the common mindset that runs deep in all humankind. It’s not that cons are dumb. It’s rather a point that given mob mentality cons go for the common denominator every time. No shades of grey. Only black and white. That’s simply an inherent laziness built into con mentality. It’s institutionalized in the mindset.


    Here in Ottawa you can get every paper under the sun. I can and do read many periodicals constantly and here’s what you see. The Ottawa sun prints the same stories that Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg, Edmonton, will print. The same opinion writers, the same stuff regurgitated over and over. So one or two guys write the narrative for the sun chain hence the nation.
    If that’s not bad enough, Sun TV takes the lead from stories printed by same guys so the sun narrows it’s perspective even more. The government takes it’s talking points from these mediums and then thinks they can control the message that is poorly represented to begin with. Thus you get the Kenney cock up where a million stooges are poking each other in the eye. So you go to the MSM next. The Ottawa Citizen is cutting the National Post with bi located finance articles and doubled commentaries. So the EVIL MSM is actually a constant flow of puked up right wing laziness. Compounding this scenario is talk radio that goes for the stories positioned by the ” NEWS ” organizations of the country. And talk radio are the laziest in the business when it comes to research. They just wait for the geriatrics to phone it in. And every day you can hear them say in their own voice

    ” Well I didn’t know that! I’ll get back to you! Billy told me ! I heard from a friend, or the surefire methodology of proof, My mother ,brother, in law, or the eternal proof;

    I was in the hospital my self!

    This trumps all fact, statistics. But we know what you think of statistics don’t we Gord?

    So a few ideologues control the flow of information to the consumers of this style of information. And you know something Gord? They’re way too lazy to actually do research beyond Google. At one time there were thousands of reporters researching everything and now you have 50 researching nothing.

    This is not an ad hominem attack. It is what you are. You scare old people and play to the basest emotion you can find. You divide and conquer new communities and old commonalities with your: they are coming to steal your:

    and let me get this straight,
    They, Them, are coming to steal your,


    Or they are going to

    Smoke Marijuana
    commit unreported crimes
    commit homosexual acts
    have abortions
    wear hijabs
    Occupy Wall Street
    settle land claims

    and commit various crimes too heinous to mention here.

    These are your people Gord and this is where you are leading them.
    I’m not betting on the rapture but I know the game you are coaxing out bit by bit.
    The good news Gord is waiting among the pearls offered up in the last month.
    Say what you will but you are destroying yourselves because Tories eat their young and the process has already begun.

    As Napoleon Bonaparte said and I quote,

    ” Never Interfere With an Enemy While He’s in the Process of Destroying Himself ”

    See you in a few years.
    Good luck.

    • dave says:

      Upton Sinclair is credited with having said something like: ‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.’

  23. Rotterdam says:

    Head to the inner cities of Detroit, St.Louis, Los Angeles. We have high crime. High rate of one parent households. Low test scores.
    Guess what! The are all liberals Democrat’s! We have a link!

  24. Bil Huk says:

    as a conservative i still like this site, even if i have to tolerate the occasional post like this and its commentary.

    so far (paraphrasing):

    “clearly conservatives are dumb, research shows people who don’t agree with me are”

    “hey harper only one with 40% of 60% of decided voters…what?….Chretien?…..that’s different because Bloc and NDP voters are eventual Liberals voters who just didn’t vote Liberal, so that doesn’t count”

    “the world is doomed if conservatism lives, and if you eat red meat”

    “conservatives thrive off of the mob mentality, and the mob mentality is only ever present during conservative majorities”

    i’ll wait for the channel to change on this one.

  25. dave says:

    To me, Libs are more conservative than I am.

  26. Cam says:

    Hey Gord. I have asked this question twice already. Maybe three times is the charm. What entitlements have your declined?

  27. Cam says:

    Hey Gord. I have asked this question twice before. Maybe three times is the charm. What entitlements have you declined?

  28. JH says:

    Well, I live in a rural area and because of the age I grew up in and family circumstances, I am not nearly as well educated probably as the many intellectuals posting on this topic. So would presume from what I am reading, that neither my opinion nor my vote is of importance to them and that I am automatically relegated to supporting a party other than the LPC because of my deficiencies. Oh well.
    Quite an interesting way to win new supporters though, I must say.

  29. dave says:

    Hah! This kind of stuff – we believe in what we believe in because we are smarter- reminds me of the good old days when I actually worked each day toiling in the fields of the public ed biz. We would often get into beefs with various of the partners in our enterprise, and when we did, an important part of the beef was to establish who cared for the kids more:
    Teacher Union – We want the class size clause because we care for the kids
    School Baord and Admin – We don’t want the restrictive class size clause because we care for the kids more than you do
    Ministry – We are expanding our office because we care about the kids more than anyone.
    Parent Group – We want to decide because we care about the kids way more than…
    Anarchist Teacher – I’ll take the dental, but I really hate belonging to the union because I care about the kids…

    When the Canucks play the Sharks, the games involve real struggle of the teams against each other, but there is an underlying integrity to the combined efforts of the teams to create some great hockey. Diving, high sticking, and such are penalized so that we get that great hockey.

    There are benefits to a conservative stance that individual merit and effort has a ‘noblesse oblige’ side to it. There are benefits to a liberal emphasis on individual human rights. Left wing emphasis on cooperation in the group has its place.
    I guess what we expect from each is integrity. Too often, it isn’t dumbness and meanness that disappoints us or enrages us, it is lack of integrity.

  30. Philippe says:

    If the shoe fits…

  31. Philippe says:

    It’s not like anyone should act surprised… Conservatives are intolerant of different points of view, and to a degree, different _people_. That intolerance is a clear symptom of reduced logic & intellect. It’s also a very dangerous thing for society.

    Looking forward to that book Warren.

    • Bill says:

      Phillipe, I posted this observation in a earlier post but no one responded. How can any of this be true if we continually see governments change? Do the less intelligent switch sides periodically? (see earlier post below)

      To say one party has a more intelligent voter makes no sense. In most cases the same voter has been liberal or conservative at different times in ones life. Trudeau majority, Mulroney majority, Chretien majority, Harper majority. Does this mean the less intelligent voters switch side periodically so these governments could achieve a majority?

  32. patrick deberg says:


    What you see here and now is money crowding out the good in people. Business funds everything now so they own the message. It’s now dog eat dog and this is not the way this country was built.
    I had to dumb it down in case Gord was reading.

    • Bill says:

      You didn’t really answer my question. My question totally busts the concept of a voters intelligence being linked to a particular party.
      Hardcores supporters never switch, but the majority of people do switch and pick the government of the day.

      Also, if this had any truth to it Liberals better be horrified. All the intelligent voters just up and left your party during the last election.

  33. Clit Beastwood says:

    That’s really special coming from you Kinsella considering that there is absolutely no evidence to indicate that you have any smarts beyond that of something I might scrape off of my shoe. I’d love to see some shining examples of how smart you seem to think you are. Before I posted this i went looking for something that I had perhaps missed over the years but nope, nothing to indicate that you are any smarter than say your average, Tim Hortons employee. I completely understand though what you are up to. With that new book coming out you need to drum up a little interest so you manage to sell more copies than you have close relatives.

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