Science, especially the soft sciences like psychology and sociology, are sometimes wielded in the service of a political end. In cases like climate science, it is used as a cudgel with which to banish “climate deniers” from the public square. Now, an attempt has been made to use the squishiest of soft sciences, social psychology, to demonstrate that conservatives are stupid.
A study in the American Journal of Political Science was recently the subject of a major and humiliating retraction. The study, co-authored by a trio of scholars, argues that conservatives are more likely to show traits such as psychoticism or aggressiveness, authoritarianism, and tough-mindedness:
In line with our expectations, P [for “Psychoticism”] (positively related to tough-mindedness and authoritarianism) is associated with social conservatism and conservative military attitudes. Intriguingly, the strength of the relationship between P and political ideology differs across sexes. P‘s link with social conservatism is stronger for females while its link with military attitudes is stronger for males.
By contrast, the researchers concluded that liberals are more likely to show traits related to “social diability,” the desire to get along with others, and neuroticism:
We also find individuals higher in Neuroticism are more likely to be economically liberal. Furthermore, Neuroticism is completely unrelated to social ideology, which has been the focus of many in the field. Finally, those higher in Social Desirability [the desire to get along with others] are also more likely to express socially liberal attitudes.
After a review of the research was conducted by Steven Ludek, a scholar at the University of Southern Denmark, it has been found that the researchers’ reported numbers were exactly the opposite of what they really found. Liberals were, in fact, documented to be more authoritarian and psychotic than conservatives, and conservatives were more likely to display social desirability and neuroticism than liberals. The “good” traits, in other words, were held by conservatives, and the “bad” traits by liberals.
This is not the first time that science has been taken hostage in the service of the Left, however.
In 1950, Frankfurt School thinker Theodor Adorno claimed in his book, titled The Authoritarian Personality that some personalities are inherently more authoritarian–that is, more inclined to Nazi-like fascism–than others are. Adorno argued this by fashioning what he called the “F-scale”, or Fascism-scale. The phrase is so powerful that it has been used to attack many of the left’s favorite targets, such as police officers and supporters of Donald Trump.
Liberalism hijacked social science again in a 2010 study by Satoshi Kanazawa, with its statement that “more intelligent individuals are more liberal in the sense that they exhibit genuine concern for the welfare of genetically unrelated others (non-blacks’ concern for the welfare of blacks), and that they are willing to contribute larger proportions of private resources for the welfare of such others (in the forms of higher federal income tax).” The questionable quality of his work led one blogger to call it, “a grand collection of logical fallacies.”
These studies–along with many others that have been published in recent years–haven’t stood up to scrutiny. They actually tend to show that any “scientific” claims that conservatives, or libertarians, are less intelligent than so-called liberals are little more than junk science.
The claim that one man is less intelligent than another because he holds unpopular view “X” is fundamentally flawed. This approach places whatever ideas are currently in vogue as the standard of intelligence. These “standard” ideas, however, are constantly changing. Not so long ago, the forefront of science was the full-frontal lobotomy, then Freudian psychoanalysis, and phrenology just a century before that.
Even though the left pounced on this study to reinforce its own superiority, liberals will soon forget about it now that it has been proven false by its own data. Science is a fig-leaf to the ego of the controllers and would-be despots of the Left. When science can be used to destroy the opposition, they use it as eagerly as a bully would a club. But whenever some scientific “fact” is disproved, they either denounce the disproof as non-science or forget they ever used that fact as a weapon in the first place.
Liberals will not pause and reconsider whether they are truly superior to others, since this belief is not based upon science. Instead, it is based upon a morally self-arrogating Weltanschauung, a self-justifying worldview. Without a sense of superiority, the man of the Left loses his identity.
Unfortunately, this means that science will continue to see this kind of abuse in the name of ideology.