“…there is reason to believe that strict right-wing ideology might appeal to those who have trouble grasping the complexity of the world”

Ugh.  Here we go again – “Low IQ and Conservative Beliefs Linked To Prejudice.”  I kid you not:

Low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, the study found. Those ideologies, in turn, stress hierarchy and resistance to change, attitudes that can contribute to prejudice, [researcher Gordon Hodson] wrote in an email to LiveScience.

… Social conservatives were defined as people who agreed with a laundry list of statements such as “Family life suffers if mum is working full-time,” and “Schools should teach children to obey authority.” Attitudes toward other races were captured by measuring agreement with statements such as “I wouldn’t mind working with people from other races.” (These questions measured overt prejudiced attitudes, but most people, no matter how egalitarian, do hold unconscious racial biases; Hodson’s work can’t speak to this “underground” racism.)

As suspected, low intelligence in childhood corresponded with racism in adulthood. But the factor that explained the relationship between these two variables was political: When researchers included social conservatism in the analysis, those ideologies accounted for much of the link between brains and bias.

People with lower cognitive abilities also had less contact with people of other races.

Unsurprisingly, these are thoroughly meaningless conclusions.  How meaningless? Well, obviously Yahoo! News is spinning this research to apply to lower middle class, Southern, white, blue collar evangelical Republicans.  But their conclusions could also just as easily apply to perhaps the most opposite culture in America  – poor African Americans.

Don’t believe me?  Think about it: African-Americans from low income neighborhoods make up the majority of students in America’s poorest performing schools.  I haven’t done specific research, but I’d be willing to bet dollars for donuts that there is a correlation between the performance of these students and their measured IQ; in other words, it is probably below average.

Poor African-Americans tend to live in tightly knit, closed communities and have little real world contact with whites outside of white incursions into their community, generally in the form of law enforcement.  They also tend to hold very deep religious beliefs and tend to strongly reject non-traditional lifestyles, particularly same sex relationships.  And have I mentioned the predominance of very close, interdependent (though highly matriarchal) family structures?

Yet anyone who would argue that these traits are “likely” to be the cause of the deeply ingrained, racially motivated animosity between Blacks, Asians and Hispanics would immediately be lambasted as a “RAAAACIST!”

Of course if you are looking for evidence to justify “poorly educated and easily led” or “bitterly clinging to guns and religion” stereotypes of Conservative whites, this study has it in spades.  I suppose that’s much easier than actually taking the time to understand why others have differing value systems or opposite political points of view.

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