Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

The odd claim about the intelligent Leftist / Follow-up: Vaccines, myself, and defamatory politicians

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Last week, I wrote (concerning e.g. COVID-vaccine skeptics):

Politicians seem to have an image of mouth-breathers who have never made it further than the cartoons or the sports section in the news-paper, […]

This naturally leads me to one of my main suspicions about the paradox of allegedly educated and intelligent people voting Left—that (too) many believe that you are sufficiently politically educated and aware when you read the daily paper.

This, however, is unlikely to have been the case even in the days before journalism collapsed and even in those days when papers were the main or only source of information available on “current events”. Today? When journalists tend to be uninformed, unintelligent, and more driven by ideology than an investigative spirit? To be frank, chances are that those who bet on the papers are worse off than even those who do not pay attention at all. Compared to those who actually dig down in various matters, consult* non-MSM viewpoints, etc., they will trail horribly. BILD: Dir deine Meinung.**

*An interesting issue is that many on the Left seem to assume that anyone who reads source X also agrees with source X, whether it be because only someone who agrees would read it or because anyone who reads it would be bound to be uncritically adopt the same opinions. The latter could be a telling sign of weak critical thinking among the Leftists and forms an interesting parallel to the naive reader above.

**One of the two possible readings of the slogan of the German Bild-Zeitung: BILD: Gives you your opinion.

Certainly, looking at COVID, the original context of the quote, I have a very strong impression that the better informed someone is, the more likely he is to be skeptical of this-and-that “official truth” on COVID. These are the people who read up and think critically—not the “I have a bachelor in gender studies and read the paper!” crowd.

More generally, I find the whole “Left = intelligent and educated, Right = dumb and uneducated” narrative puzzling, as it does not at all match what I have seen in real life—and was indisputably incorrect in Sweden during the early days of my political awareness. The Leftist parties were for those easily manipulated or driven mostly by their own special interests,* while the intelligent and educated went for non-Left parties.

*Indeed, the Left pushed a very strong Marxist “us vs. them” angle and had an attitude that “if you are a worker, you have to vote for us, because only we look out for you” (or even “[…] the other parties just want to exploit us workers”). Interestingly, the current U.S. Democrats do the same, except that they replace “worker” with e.g. “Black”, “woman”, “homosexual”, …

Some speculation on the why follows below, but let it firstly be said that someone who votes Left today will, in almost all cases, show a horrifying lack of judgment. Indeed, as noted, I have much greater sympathies for the Left of, say, 1921 than of 2021. A Leftist today basically has to be ignorant of:

  1. History, especially 20th-century history and economic history. (No wonder that the Left tries to destroy history education.)
  2. Economics. (A near-absent topic in high school; even the 101-level is not attempted by most college students.)
  3. Human nature, including psychology, biology, evolutionary influences. Indeed, a belief in a strict “nurture only” view of humans, which was outdated even in the 1970s, still seems to be very common. (And large swaths of the social sciences teach the opposite of what the harder sciences say on the topic.)
  4. At least in the case of the U.S.,* the background of and ideas behind the U.S. constitution, checks and balances, division of power, etc. (And fields like civics are also often attacked by the Left.)

    *This ignorance is naturally even greater in most other countries, but is less damaging there, because corresponding whatnots tend to be far less developed to begin with. For instance, if there is less constitutional protection of the citizens, the damage that can be done by judicial-activist judges to such protections is smaller, and the understanding that such judicial activists are almost always a bad thing is of less practical relevance.

To this can be added a weak ability to see through Leftist rhetoric and pseudo-argumentation, which often has very little to do with reality, even by the standards of politicians, and very often fall into categories like “lies” and “defamation”. (Cf. e.g. any number of earlier posts on Feminism.)

As to potential reasons:*

*Note that some of these point to an incorrect perception, i.e. that “Left = intelligent [etc.]” is faulty, while others could be a partial explanation if and when the perception is correct. The discussion is partially U.S. centric. The list is likely incomplete.

  1. Being above average in intelligence does not make someone intelligent in absolute terms. The vast majority of all humans are too stupid to vote, and a majority support from e.g. those with an I.Q. of 110 resp. 90 tells us very little.
  2. There might be a critical span of intelligence, where someone is, e.g., intelligent and interested enough to read the papers, but not sufficiently so to move beyond the papers or to properly apply critical thinking to claims made in the papers. (To continue the earlier theme. The same idea can apply elsewhere, e.g. when it comes to going to college below.) The effect, then, is that someone with an I.Q. of a 110 is more likely to be exposed to a certain type of deliberate propaganda and/or set of unconscious biases and prejudices than someone with an I.Q. of 90—and, unlike someone with an I.Q. of a 130, will lack the intelligence to see through the propaganda.
  3. Having a college education, be it as a measure per se or as a proxy for intelligence, tells us comparatively little today, with the great intake of students who are not true college material and the corresponding drop in academic standards. The non-STEM fields are extremely weak filters for intelligence, and fields like “gender studies” might actually be negative filters. Moreover, many intelligent men, who could have earned a college degree, chose another road to a career, in light of the extreme costs (in the U.S.) and the great prevalence of anti-scientific Leftist ideologies in the college environment—often including anti-man and anti-White propaganda.
  4. A divide can in part be caused by women, who, at any range of intelligence and education, on average, appear to be weaker critical thinkers and more guided by emotions than men in the same range, but who currently tend to seek a college education at higher rates than men.
  5. Women are also, I suspect, more likely to fall into the brav sein trap, e.g. through having (or merely professing to have) the opinions that they are “supposed” to have in order to be enlightened (intelligent, upstanding citizens, whatnot). Of course, here we can have a vicious circle of the type “intelligent people belong to the Left; I wish to be brav; ergo, I must belong to the Left”. Similarly, the common use of “Liberal” to describe Democrats might play in: “Liberal” once held a justifiable position as a term of enlightenment, but the U.S. Liberals have very little to do with the word’s original intent—in fact, they are often outright anti-Liberal, while “true” Liberals go by terms like “Libertarian” in the U.S.

    In current colleges, and some other settings, not conforming to the right set of opinions might result in visible disapproval or, even, harassment and violence, giving additional incentives to be brav.

  6. What is considered the political Left/Center/Right varies from country to country and from time to time. If we look e.g. at Sweden and the U.S. in the 1980s,* the U.S. Democrats might have had more in common with the Swedish Right than with the Left; and certainly more with the Center than the Left. Correspondingly, a comparison (of e.g. intelligence) that might have held in the 1980s might not hold today or might have had very different implications. (To this, note e.g. factors like the previous item combined with a possible stereotype of the Democrats as the “smart party”; and note that there might be many who still consider themselves Democrats out of habit or who are unable to realize that the Democrat party has left them and fail to draw the conclusion that it is time for them to return the favor.**)

    *The U.S. Democrats have shifted in a truly extreme manner since then.

    **Note Reagan’s claim “I didn’t leave the Democratic party, the Democratic Party left me.”. (Also an indication that a tendency to change is very old and/or unusually strong with said party.)

  7. The use of a two-party system might make one or both parties the home of groups that are not necessarily that close to each other, are only temporary fellow travelers, or see each other as a lesser evil compared to what is found in the other party. For instance, Libertarians and Conservatives are not truly natural bed-mates, but they are better off with each other than with the pseudo-Liberals of the Democrat party, let alone the increasingly more extremist Leftist factions that have lately grown strong. I have not kept book, but I have the subjective impression that the truly intelligent are Libertarians disproportionately often and that Libertarians tend to be intelligent disproportionately often. If so, this fact could be hidden by e.g. a survey of X among those who vote for party A and party B, without a more fine-grained grouping.
  8. The U.S. is far more religious than e.g. Sweden. We might then have a situation where weak critical thinkers tend to go Left in Sweden, but tend to be split between the Left and various religious groups in the U.S. In a second step, if the strongly Christian tend to vote Republican, this could distort the “natural” distribution of weak critical thinkers.

    (Of course, Leftist parties have long been keen on exterminating religion—likely, because they know that they compete for similar groups.)

  9. In at least the U.S., issues like LGBT-rights can distort impressions. (Also note the previous item and the often Bible-rooted resistance.) For instance, maybe it is more enlightened, and a position more likely to be held by the intelligent and educated, that a gay couple should be allowed to marry.* However, if we look at the big picture, how important an issue is that? It affects comparatively few people and to a comparatively small degree, while, in contrast and for example, an overlarge government, too high taxes, large scale illegal immigration, and similar affect virtually everyone and to a very high degree. It is easy to make a noble cause out of a small issue with a sob angle, especially when it can be narrated (whether fairly or not) as an unfairness or as unequal treatment, but that does not make it the most important issue of the day, nor even a top-10 issue.

    *See an earlier text for a different take, with the implicit conclusion that the question is largely misposed.

    (Somewhat similarly, “civic rights” issues that are more important, e.g. the preservation of free speech, often carry very little weight on the Left. Indeed, the Left is often the reason that there is a problem, e.g. through an attitude that free speech only applies to those who say the right (i.e. Left) thing, which is fundamentally contradictory to the point of free speech.)

In the overlap between the last few items, note that the overall party politics in a two-party system might contain items that do not reflect the majority (let alone consensus) opinion, but which have been added to keep this-or-that sub-group happy. Vice versa, some items might be absent to prevent a sub-group from being upset. Judging the individual or the overall group based on such items is dangerous.

As an aside, some of the mentioned issues might be affected by Leftist distortions and propaganda. Consider e.g. someone who opposes “gay marriage” based on the opinion that the point of marriage is procreation. Will his opinion be respected and discussed on its merits—or will he be condemned for “hating gays”, “wanting to oppress gays”, or similar? (And how will those who only encounter the Leftist distortion think of this someone? As someone with a valid perspective or as a hateful, prejudiced, and ignorant redneck?)

Written by michaeleriksson

December 10, 2021 at 12:04 am

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