A study published earlier this year in the Canadian journal Psychology Today confirmed what many of us have always argued or suspected - conservatives are as thick as two short planks.
It was reported:
The research finds that children with low intelligence are more likely to hold prejudiced attitudes as adults. These findings point to a vicious cycle, according to lead researcher Gordon Hodson, a psychologist at Brock University in Ontario. 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.
There is no other way to say it - people with conservative beliefs are likely to be of a low intelligence. I was reminded of this study this week while listening to Newstalk ZB's Tim Roxborogh on his overnight show.
Somewhere in the small hours someone rang to complain about the United Nations 'imposing its rules' on New Zealand society and he hinted darkly of a vast global conspiracy.
What the caller was specifically agitated about was the flak the owners of a Whangarei bed and breakfast were receiving because they refused to supply accommodation for a lesbian couple.
The caller said he was 'a red blooded male' and he supported the owners of the bed and breakfast and that the United Nations should stop interfering and stop trying to make 'us' pander to 'minorities'.
This was his central argument - I think.
The affable and fairly liberal Roxborogh asked more than once what United Nations laws the caller was referring to but the caller wasn't going to allow facts get in the way of his tirade. Roxborogh eventually terminated the call after the caller threatened to get even more stupid.
This talkback episode was indeed convincing evidence that the Canadian study was absolutely correct. (I might add that The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin by Corey Robin is also worth investigating.)
Of course the study doesn't mean all conservatives are stupid. We might think John Banks or Paula Bennett are morons but you could hardly say the same thing about John Key or Steven Joyce.
What you could say though is that they have demonstrated a readiness to pander to prejudice, bigotry and general stupidity.
So they are, among other things, not above blaming the poor for being poor and blaming the jobless for not looking hard enough for employment. They know they can scapegoat the poor and the vulnerable and not only get away with it but get wide support. After all beneficiary bashing is a popular national past time among those who spend their time ringing talkback radio.
If I was writing for The Standard , The Daily Blog or was Chris Trotter I'd probably end at this point but, as you well know, I'm not one who thinks the Labour or the Green's are our political saviours and nor do I embrace political conservatism and pretend its political realism.
As I survey Parliament I see undeniable evidence of cross-party stupidity.
With the exception of the Mana Party, all the parliamentary parties support the failed and discredited ideology of neoliberalism. And, despite insurmountable evidence that capitalism benefits the few at the expense of the many, all the parliamentary parties think that capitalism is the next best thing to sliced bread and that there is no feasible alternative.
That really is stupid.