Wednesday, September 4, 2013

NDP Support, Low-Effort Thinking Linked in New Study

So, stop me if you've heard this one: left-wingers are smarter than conservatives. There are even studies that prove it.

Right? Right?

Well, not so much, really. Pretty much none of those studies show what their authors say they do. Each of these studies is crippled by incredibly flawed methodology.In some cases, the authors have even had to refer to political conservatism as a "latent" variable -- which means that it is actually unobserved.

But in particular, perhaps the most flawed study was one that linked conservative political beliefs to "low-effort thinking." It's a favourite among left-wingers. To start with, the study conflated casual, distracted, or even disinterested thinking as "low-effort thinking," and seemed to preclude the idea that whatever beliefs expressed by study participants -- whether in the bar or in the laboratory -- had been decided, through careful deliberation, before the study was ever conducted. After all, Arkansas -- where the study was conducted -- is a so-called red state.

For just a moment, let's set aside the flaws in the study and consider merely its conclusion: low-effort thinking leads to conservative political beliefs. If this were true, shouldn't it be said that left-wing political beliefs don't result from low-effort thinking?

Well, a readership poll conducted by Poletical might give cause to think about that.

The poll zeroed in on the ultimate form of low-effort thinking: prejudice. The poll examined reader beliefs about conservatism and homosexuality, and they found some remarkable things:

Only 7 percent of NDP-supporting Poletical readers thought being gay and conservative is not a contradiction. 88 percent of Conservative-supporting Poletical readers thought that being gay and conservative is not a contradiction.

So the prejudicial thinking in the study essentially shaped up like this: if you're gay, NDP supporters think you shouldn't be conservative. Apparently to be so is to be a hypocrite. Conversely, Conservative supporters think that if you're gay you can be conservative if that's what you believe in. Or to put it another way, if you're conservative you can still be gay. It's OK, you were born that way.

I would say that it takes a good deal more thought to be a member of a party and movement perceived by some (NDP supporters mostly) to be oppressive to homosexuals and instead open your party and your movement up to homosexuals and welcome them into it than to tell someone they should hold your political beliefs based on that particular detail. I'd say we can extrapolate from this poll that NDP supporters are low-effort thinkers.

For bonus giggles, 73 percent of NDP supporters told Poletical that conservatives "lack intelligence."

There's some irony in this as well. If conservatives really lacked intelligence, and left-wingers were really more intelligent, they certainly wouldn't feel so much pressure to trump up junk science in order to "prove" it. They would have better ideas and arguments, and would be content to allow their intelligence to be self-evident according to the hypothetical superiority of those ideas and arguments.

That instead they rely on the aforementioned trumped-up junk science is very much a sign of the hollowing out of the left-wing intellect. But really, what else can be expected from such low-effort thinkers?

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