"Renaissance Thinking About the Issues of Our Day"
April 5, 2010
Conservatives Aren't Idiots, But ...
This is sort of an education post, although that may be a bit of a stretch.
A couple of weeks ago, I was driving our new Honda Fit (rated as the least expensive car to own over 5 years, according to Consumer Reports, in keeping with our cheapskate Reagan pee-on lifestyle), and switching to various radio stations, since it was a relief to actually have a car with a good radio. I was hearing a number of stations and programs I have never heard before, including a progressive FM station from Los Angeles, an FM NPR station, and this local conservative talk station. (I had heard the conservative talk station before, but never so clearly, and had not heard this particular program before.) The conservative station had a host named Hugh Hewlett (or something like that on), holding the conservative line about how the health care bill would be a disaster. (He forgot to mention that the people it would be a disaster for were the Republicans.) Then he had a caller from Hawaii, who sounded like an island dude, reminding me of my college roomate, but this guy was suggesting that conservatives start a website called "We are not idiots." That gave me the idea for this blog post.
I concede that conservatives are not idiots, by and large, but it seems to me that they have less than their share of smarts and education, on the whole. There may have been a time when they did have their share of intelligence and education, possibly, although I doubt it. My study of the progressive nature of education has revealed that most college graduates with bachelor's degrees used to be politically conservative, while those with advanced degrees have always tended to be progressive. Now, however, even those with bachelor's degrees tend to be progressive. Most conservatives are well-intentioned, I believe, but have been thoroughly duped by their leaders into believing a false world view.
With this in mind, consider that...
Conservatives aren't idiots, but progressive high school students have an average IQ of 106, while conservative high school students have an average IQ of 95;
Conservatives aren't idiots, but except for those few who count themselves among America's wealthiest, they consistently vote against their own economic interests;
Conservatives aren't idiots, but they seem especially susceptible to believing propaganda. Anything that is repeated often enough, that appeals to their own self-interest, greed, world view, religious training and sense of patriotism, they have no trouble accepting as true even when it is certifiably false;
Conservatives aren't idiots, but they believe that our representative government which is the people's greatest hope, is bad, and big business, which has only its own financial interests in mind, is good;
Conservatives aren't idiots, but they cling to the false belief that the rugged individual represents freedom, and that the natural oppnent of the individual is government, with its odious government intervention, while failing to realize that the real dichotomy is between corporatism and government, rather than between individualism and government;
Conservatives aren't idiots, but they identify with people such as Sarah Palin;
Conservatives aren't idiots, but as soon as a Black person becomes President, these predominantly blue-collar, white people are ready to revolt, and of course, they don't think it has anything to do with race;
Conservatives aren't idiots, but they seem willing to defend our broken health care system to the death (literally, since our health care system may kill them), against any reform;
Conseravtives aren't idiots, but they somehow manage to believe that sending our young people overseas to militarily occupy other nations is actually defending our freedom;
Conservatives aren't idiots, but when Republican Presidents ruin our economy with their coporate friendly policies, and spend fortunes on their military misadventures for their own edification and to help out their big business buddies, turning America into the world's bully and increasing terrorism activity around the world, they think that is good policy. However, when a Democratic President tries to start undoing the economic, military, and international relations damage done by the Republican Presidents, they think his policies represent profligate, needless liberal spending, and they suspect that the he is probably a treasonous, foreign Muslim in disguise with a nefarious plan to obliterate what they consider to be the world's greatest nation.
Perhaps you can think of other examples of conservative gullibility and stupidity. It is true that conservatives aren't idiots, but their lack of intelligence definitely does not point the way to progress. Personally, I feel blessed to have a relatively progressive, highly intelligent, former Professor of Constitutional Law as President, and a Congress which has been moving in a progressive direction over time. We must continue to show all people that progressive policies work better than conservative ones. Eventually, even conservatives will grow wise to the duplicities of conservative politicians and media. I think most of us already have.