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George Monbiot | Right's Stupidity Spreads, Enabled by Too-Polite Left

Conservativism may be the refuge of the dim. But the room for rightwing ideas is made by those too timid to properly object.
How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington
Bright Minds and Dark Attitudes


George Monbiot, Guardian UK

A billboard put up by a ‘birther' campaigner convinced that President Obama was not born in the United States. Photograph: Bob Daemmrich/Alamy

Self-deprecating, too liberal for their own good, today's progressives stand back and watch, hands over their mouths, as the social vivisectionists of the right slice up a living society to see if its component parts can survive in isolation. Tied up in knots of reticence and self-doubt, they will not shout stop. Doing so requires an act of interruption, of presumption, for which they no longer possess a vocabulary.

Perhaps it is in the same spirit of liberal constipation that, with the exception of Charlie Brooker, we have been too polite to mention the Canadian study published last month in the journal Psychological Science, which revealed that people with conservative beliefs are likely to be of low intelligence. Paradoxically it was the Daily Mail that brought it to the attention of British readers last week (Jan 29-Feb 4). It feels crude, illiberal to point out that the other side is, on average, more stupid than our own. But this, the study suggests, is not unfounded generalisation but empirical fact.

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Related:

How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington, George Monbiot,
Guardian UK
The degradation of intelligence and learning in American politics results from a series of interlocking tragedies

Bright Minds and Dark Attitudes, Gordon Hodson and Michael A. Busseri, Psychological Science

  • Lower Cognitive Ability Predicts Greater Prejudice Through Right-Wing Ideology and Low Intergroup Contact
  • People with conservative beliefs are likely to be of low intelligence.