Buddha’s Children

In his interesting post on Robert Mugabe’s intelligence, the blogger calling himself Pumpkin Person notes “One reason for thinking he’s in the upper end of this range is that he was a Marxist, and left-wing politics are positively correlated with IQ (at least if you control for race and income).” This does not imply that all Marxists are highly intelligent. He is simply noting the observation that left-wing politics of the radical sort highly correlate with intelligence. Smart, educated people tend to be radicals.

This is an assertion most people have heard, if they have gone to college, spent time on a college campus or consumed popular culture. The assertion, that intelligence and radicalism are traveling partners, is a part of the cultural bath in which every western man swims. It certainly holds up when you look at the data. Whoever the Democrats nominate for President, no matter how nutty and deranged, that person will win more than 80% of the vote in every college town of America.

Now, normal people chafe at this assertion as the obvious implication is that stupid people oppose radicalism. That’s certainly what the usual suspects have always claimed, until biology became a taboo of late. Anyone over the age of forty probably recalls being told something like this in college. Of course, it was never just a passing observation. The link between radicalism and intelligence was always supposed to put critics on the defensive, as if they are inferiors.

The power of this can be seen in how Bill Buckley adopted the over-the-top WASP intellectual style. The point of it was to inoculate himself against the claim he was too dumb to understand what the Left was claiming. George Will’s silly bowtie or Kevin Williamson’s quill pen act are other recent examples. These affectations are intended to signal the person is smart and therefore cannot be dismissed by the Left. It’s Athena’s shield for the right-wing Perseus of left-wing politics.

It is certainly true that the data supports the claim. The voting patterns of the educated bear this out. There are exceptions from time to time, but generally speaking, the more credentials you have acquired, the more likely you are to be on the Left. Since credentials are a pretty good proxy for IQ, the original assertion holds. The smarter you are, the more inclined you are toward radical politics. Or, if you prefer, the smarter the person, the more open they are to radical politics.

The problem with this observation is that it a logical fallacy. Specifically, it is the fallacy of association. A famous example of this fallacy is the observation that hardcore drug takers usually start with marijuana, so pot is a gateway drug. All hardcore drug takers start life drinking milk, but no rational person would say milk leads to smoking crystal meth in adulthood. In other words, there is no causal link established between IQ and radicalism in politics, no matter how much the Left would wish it so.

Then there is the issue of how one defines left-wing politics. Every single establishment right-winger would have been called a radical a century ago. Two centuries ago the radicals in the West were people advocating liberalism. All of these terms used to describe politics are relative and their definitions shift over time. To pretend that Left and Right are timeless categories is to reveal a total ignorance of history. Even figuring out the relative poles in each era is not always possible, as we see today.

There is another angle here that is more important to the topic. People are social animals and we are a self-segregating species. People of like mind will tend to congregate with one another out of instinct. This is obvious to anyone who has been in a lunchroom of a large public school. This is not just true of mature humans. Even babies are attracted to their kind. This is why the college campus is so intolerant of free inquiry and dissent. Over time, it has boiled off those with contrary opinions.

What this means is smart people are naturally going to end up in areas around other smart people, like the college campus. The ornery and disagreeable will usually be boiled off for all the natural reasons. Most, however, will be as open to peer pressure as everyone else, maybe more so. Most smart people tend to live sheltered lives, insulated from the harsh reality of the human animal. If they are not left-wing when they hit the college campus, they soon adapt to their new friends and new culture.

This is such an obvious thing we have memes for it. The know-it-all coed, back from her first year at college, is a standard type in American culture. It’s a stock character in television and movies. Then you have the modern meme of sweet little Suzy heading off to college and coming back and blue-haired lesbian with a nose ring. This happens less frequently with males, which probably explains why the college campus is looking more like a hormonal coven these days than anything imagined by Aristotle.

Another thing to consider is that 500 years ago, if one were to use modern techniques to measure IQ and politics, the correlation would look much different. Instead of the intelligent tending toward radicalism, they would tend toward monasticism. The smart men of the age, if they were not the first born, often ended up in the Church. That’s where smart, curious men of the age went to be around other smart men. Maybe they would end up in the court of their king, defending the natural order.

Putting it all together, the reason radicalism and intelligence seem to go hand-in-hand in this age is that radicalism is the secular religion of this age. Just as the best and brightest of a prior age would have been great theologians, the smart set of this age seek to advance the secular religion of today. That means coming up with novel ways to justify it in the face of observable reality. Of course, there’s always profit in being the defender of the faith, so the Left attracts the most ambitious too.

The reason we currently observe a correlation between left-wing politics and intelligence is because left-wing politics is the secular religion of this age. In America this has been true since Gettysburg. In Europe, neo-liberalism has been the dominant faith since the end of the last war. To be in the high IQ world means embracing the religion of the high IQ world. If tomorrow, those people become Buddhists, the smart young people of tomorrow will suddenly trend toward Buddhism.

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128 thoughts on “Buddha’s Children

  1. “What is on offer from so-called conservatives is a different type of hell than what is on offer from their partners on the Left.”

    It’s kind of like those who argue about the best pizza: Dominoes or Pizza Hut. Once you’ve had real pizza you realize that both choices suck. The GOP vs Dem choice was like that through the 90s. Today the choices have dwindled to a slab of cardboard with ketchup and imitation cheese vs a slab of cardboard.

    Does anyone else here read the old offerings of Wendell Berry? He’s a hard guy to label with left or right, and that’s what I find intriguing. Not much there for the urban masses but for us rural folk seeking a return to community, he’s got it hardwired.

  2. I would point everyone to a book published years ago titled “The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics: How Conservatism and Liberalism Evolved Within Humans” by Anonymous Conservative. Seems that there is a genetic (or perhaps genomic?) explanation for the differences between what is currently labeled “left and right” politically. There is even evidence of structural differences between the brains of folks on the two sides of the aisle enabling predicting of the politics of the person inhabiting said brain with a high degree of accuracy.

    Occasionally, the author gives it away for free. That’s how I got my copy.

    At this link: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/b6f9/7f5dee01e9718af221659c4cb05680bde309.pdf
    you can download a pdf of a paper which offers a brief summary of the research within the book I mentioned.

    Advance Caveat: “Evolutionary Psychology” is most definitely NOT light reading! I found myself HAVING to stop now and then to digest what I was reading.

  3. ” Since credentials are a pretty good proxy for IQ, the original assertion holds.”

    Stopped reading right here.

  4. What happens with the so-called intelligent college kids … they reach a point in their indoctrination where they now have gleaned a ‘little’ knowledge that they didn’t have before.

    That being the reality that life simply is not fair and never has been. However, these minimally educated narcissists think that they can cure this unfairness by getting rid of conservatism, capitalism and freedom in general. Because their useful idiot profs told them so.

    The actual fact is that during the school years, students get really stupid as they try to process all the new information and social pressure coming at them from the ivory towers. That is when they become communists.

    The truly smart ones abandon it pretty quickly, but the lazy and the stupid run with it for their entire wasted lives …. like Bernie Sanders. There is a man who spent his whole life hating freedom loving people. I don’t think he has had a happy day in his life.

  5. People have bought into crazy constructions planted into their heads, unleavened by any meaningful contact with the real world, which would serve to temper such thoughts and ideas. It is the world we live in, and the people we live with, now.

    • There was a time in my long memory where this behavior did not happen, or perhaps better stated was ignored by one’s elders. The terms “wet behind the ears” and “snot-nosed kid” comes to mind as useful reminders of such a time.

  6. When I was a kid growing up in a staunchly conservative, National Review subscribing household, I used to think Buckley was super smart. As I grew older I realized he was just a pompous ass putting on airs to seem smarter for the rubes.

  7. Thinking is a skill and like all skills it must be developed. A high IQ gives one an advantage similar to a high percentage of fast twitch muscle in strength sports, but in both cases the natural ability must be trained. Our society doesn’t develop thinkers like it develops sprinters.

    • Yep. One can name many programs designed to remedially correct those lagging behind, but few gifted programs. To spend too much time and effort on the gifted would be to admit the lie of egalitarianism, or blank slatism.

  8. I frequent the English news sites from Japan, Korea, Thailand. The comment section is mostly expat white men, very beta, nearly all University graduates and none who do any work with their hands. The threads are just pure anti-Trump vitriol, scolding of conservative governments and bugman blubbering. Any type of rational comment that is not explicitly anti-Trump or pro-feminist is sneered at and down-voted into the double digits. Certainly, there is a bit of Dunning-Kruger effect amongst them but on the whole they seem like intelligent people. The cognitive dissonance for them sets in as they have gone to college to get away from their blue-collar communities and the churches which have abandoned them. They know however they will never be part of the elite and therefore imagine that they fight for the little guy i.e sour grapes. They would have once been good hat makers or legal clerks but now they teach English to Chinese kindergarten children. Smart men – crazy politics.

  9. We are only intelligent as a species relative to the others. However, a great many of the smartest among us are not intelligent enough to discern very important truths, as demonstrated, for example, by the Blank Slate debacle in the behavioral sciences. Sir Arthur Keith noted the importance of human ingroup/outgroup behavior in his “A New Theory of Human Evolution.” Robert Ardrey grasped the importance of this aspect of our behavior, and discussed Keith’s hypothesis at length in the “Amity/Enmity Complex” chapter of “African Genesis.” There was no question about the identity of the outgroup when the behavior in question evolved. It was always just the next group over. Therefore, the defining features of the outgroup could be subtle, and open-ended. You might say that behavioral trait has become pathological now that we are aware of a myriad groups all over the planet.

    As Z-man points out, the intellectual Left has formed an ingroup that has many of the earmarks of a religion. The ingroup happens to be defined by ideology rather than race, nationality, economic class, etc., but the characteristic hatred of the outgroup common to all of us is still there, just as described by Keith. The outgroup have ye always with you. Look for it in any group of humans, and you will always find it. In this case the result is what seems to the rest of us to be a completely unhinged hatred of and disgust with Trump and all his supporters, who are perceived as “deplorables.” Also as Z-man notes, anyone who meddles with one of the ideological planks the box these people live in is made up of can expect to be ostracized and cast into outer darkness. Hence the virtue signaling that is such a pervasive feature of the modern Left, especially in academia.

  10. Counterpoint – all these super smart leftists go into massive debt to learn shit that can easily be read on the Internet. Though I guess the same thing can be said about other things formerly associated with intelligent people – like computer programming. $50 in some textbooks (which I could’ve gotten for free, but I’m a physical book guy) and four Raspbery Pi’s purchased, I taught myself C last summer of last year and C# this last summer.

  11. Based on the thought that credentials and/or being on a college campus on a regular basis equals intelligence. Nope. I know janitors smarter than college profs, and I am no smarter having spent my years on a college campus earning letters after my name in mid-life than I was before that, when I was a college drop-out. (Being smart enough to know that anecdote is not data, I still report this lack of causation with pride.)

  12. The Lefties of today aren’t radical in the least. They are mostly pampered civil service employees and white upper class professionals who promote a variety of suicidal policies while hiding out in their super zip code neighborhoods while their kids attend some posh private school that is vibrant free.

    They’re not smart either. Smart people don’t chain themselves to a house they just torched. Seriously the polices they are pushing are either going to economically collapse the country or set off a bloody civil war.

    What we dp have are clever bullshit artists and parasites who figured out how to game the system for wealth and power. And yeah if you play their game they win every time because they control the system. This is why BREXIT failed and various propositions promoted by the public are overridden by these people.

    In regards to higher ed, Jordan Peterson said it best ‘don’t send your kids to college it will damage them’. He even advises parents not to send their kids to public schools. Think about it, given what higher ed has become, it’s quite clear they will damage your children far worse than most cults will.

    • True.

      They’re the establishment now, but that’s what makes them vulnerable. They can only appeal to the rebelliousness of juveniles and adolescents for so long until the contradiction becomes impossible to ignore or deny.

      The more dictatorial they become the more they lose legitimacy in the eyes of the radicals, whichever form the radicals of the future assume.

      “Power makes stupid.” As Nietzsche wrote.

    • Brexit has not failed yet, albeit it seems to be under attack via typical shenanigans we’ve become used to in the USA. Well need to wait a few more weeks to see how it wraps up.

    • I once remarked to a jewish friend that IMO, one of the reasons why jews tended to be liberal was because they tended to affluent and could escape the consequences of the purported idealism. She agreed with him.

      It’s easy to blubber about the poor and the oppressed when they live far away. While it’s sometimes true that “prejudice is ignorance” it’s also true that “familiarity breeds contempt.”

  13. Thomas Sowell described the problem in his “Conflict of Visions”. The left has a vision of human nature that will allow them to perfect mankind here on earth. They see themselves as Gods who will bring heaven on earth. Those of us who see human nature as it really is are standing in the way of HEAVEN ON EARTH! So we must be destroyed to allow for this progress into earthly paradise.

    The allure of playing God is very powerful. It has destroyed many societies.

    • AKA there are two types of people- those who want to control others and those who want to be left alone. It applies all the way from the workplace to the would-be-globalists. Politics is pretty much some people fighting to control the others while the others are fighting for the right to be left the hell alone.

      • Unfortunately, the “leave me alone” side always loses because it is inherently unable to organize. There is no alternative but to impose control to achieve the outcomes you want.

  14. Intelligence does not equal wisdom. Lenin and Mao almost certainly had IQs above 100. Neither was terribly wise.
    I’ve known leftists who were very book-smart and could use their verbal ability to come up with plausible-sounding casuistry to deny basic reality.

  15. The Booby suspects that radicalism has more to do with being young, rich, and spoiled. These people are more likely to get an education and more likely to get exposed to radical politics, but most of all, they’re more likely to expect to get whatever they demand, be it from mom and dad, or from the nanny state.

    Heck, just last night the Booby watched an interview with an Iranian fella. He was pointing out that under the Shaw the number of kids who had access to education increased tenfold. Twenty years later those kids were leading a revolution against the Shaw. It wasn’t a Marxist revolution; quite the opposite; it was a fundamentalist revolution.

    In the West it just so happened that the Baby Boomers entered their “gimme, gimme, gimme” phase in the post-WWII era. An era when the far left was increasingly the only game in town on campuses, and had completely infected pop culture.

    Kids + wealth + education + lousy parenting = radicalism.

    • It was a let’s-all-unite-and-overthrow-the-evil-Shah revolution, supported by liberal democrats, socialists, communists, and Islamists, all thinking their own ideas evidently correct, broadly popular, and destined to prevail.

      While visiting MIT in the early 70’s, the Shah said, “I want Tehran University to be a Persian MIT, not a Persian Harvard or Princeton.” In other words, I want scientists and engineers thinking up ways to make my nation richer and stronger, not philosophers thinking up reasons I shouldn’t be Shah.

  16. I’m smarter than the entire faculty of Harvard University put together, but any non-brainwashed person with a three-digit IQ can say the same.

    Although some have mastered difficult subjects like calculus or organic chemistry, on any question even tangentially related to race, sex, or climate, a professor’s brain is useless mush that can only parrot the official slogans.

    Orwell called this phenomenon “crimestop”.

  17. only socially insecure people end up in acedemia- the weak NEED group love.
    they make themselves dependent on the group=slaves.

    higher IQ folks know themselves, and do NOT need others as a crutch.

    independent thinkers who reason and have discussions with people they disagree with to further their reasoning= freemen of higher IQ and moral substance.

    • just the weak camp out at uni.
      some recover after uni, with exposure to reality.
      now, more and more thinkers actually avoid uni; to learn reality and philosophy from the world, rather than indoctrination into idiotic suicidal insanity that uni has become.
      trading short term support and ‘feelings’, for certain long term death.

      all marxist societies murder themselves- So, using the “Darwin measurement system”, marxism is clearly a lo-IQ behavior.

  18. Simply put, intelligence doesn’t mean someone has greater affinity for the truth. Intelligent people do however, have a more keen sense of what is high status and seek it out.

  19. My Uncle Vince was one of those guys who could sell ice to Eskimos.His dealership exported more lemons than Portugal, but he prided himself on never even stretching the truth. In fact, he said, he never actually sold a car in his life — the customer sold himself on the car. Uncle Vince’s technique was simple: He let the customer think he knew more about cars than Uncle Vince did. From there, all he had to do was suggest that “surely a smart guy like you can see that”…. Looking back on it, Uncle Vince probably made me a dissident. I’ve heard the Left’s “anyone who disagrees with us is stupid” line a million times… and every time, the radiator blows the minute you drive it off the lot.

    • The best salesman I’ve ever met, was a guy in a kitchen appliance shop. I was in the market for a thermos bottle, and I knew just exactly the model I wanted – this one. I’d been suffering a string of poor thermos bottles, but at work they had a model that’d let you pour a steaming cup of coffee the next morning.

      So this guy doesn’t have my model, and he shows me some piece of crap – I mean, you could SEE how lousy it was, with burrs from the plastic mould and shoddy assemblage.

      To this day I have no idea how he made me do it, but sure enough, I bought the bottle, which turned out to keep my coffee warm only marginally longer than if I’d just poured it into the kitchen sink. I was in such awe of his talent, that I didn’t even get angry with him.

      • My father had retail in his blood. I would swear he had Jew in him somewhere. He sold home furnishings. I’ll never forget walking into his store as a kid, this would have been in the 80’s. He had an entire wall of ceramic carnival masks with the feather sticking up (they were a fad back then if you recall, hideous stuff). I said, dad, this is really bad. Who would buy those ugly things? He said, It’s not about YOU and what you want. It’s what THEY want, pointing out to the street. He then said, do you realize how many of those things I’ve sold? He then gave me the customer is always right lesson and how they’ll always come back, the value of each square foot of floorspace, etc. Now think of an Elizabeth Warren like character trying to please a customer, and how lost they would be. If our country lacks anything, it’s the loss of the mercantile spirit that would sideline these people. And it’s a shame. While the 80’s has their problems, it was really the last era where the American mercantile spirit was alive, and even celebrated. That’s what we need.

        • Greed is not good and a nation made of salemmen is not a nation. It’s a continent sized shopping mall, given our demography necessarily a “gulag mall” as Max Keiser would put it.

        • Trump recognizes Jerusalem as the capital and you think we still have a deficiency of “mercantile spirit”? Some people just can’t be pleased

      • I sometimes wish we could cull these low ethics grifters from our society since those folks and the status whore elite are responsible for most of our misery and chaos.

        It’s possible to curtail some of the effects of both, feudalism tried but even that fails in time. Human nature and all that.

        And note if you had a genetic vaccine and could somehow inoculate an entire society against this kind of conduct, it would cause a very rapid social decline.

        You’d end up with a mouse utopia at best.

        It is of course exactly as I was taught as a lad, mankind never learns anything. Individuals do once in a great long while and patterns just repeat

  20. I’ve always been partial to the argument that one reason smart people are attracted to untrue and unsound ideas is because they’re untrue and unsound.

    It’s just a status gambit. If the hoi polloi generally believe true things based on common sense and obvious facts of human nature, well, the only way to differentiate yourself from the herd and really stand out is with cleverly argued nonsense that contradicts human nature.

    There’s a great quote by Samuel Johnson about how many of the greatest minds “endeavor to grow eminent by singularity, and employ their strength in establishing opinions contrary to nature.” (Rambler No. 32, 1750. One can never get enough S.J.)

    • I’ve always been partial to the argument that one reason smart people are attracted to untrue and unsound ideas is because they’re untrue and unsound.

      It’s just a status gambit.

      Exactly so. In the words of Tom Wolfe:

      “The Charming Aristocracy (Wolfe’s term for Bobos, FK) is an aristocracy of taste. And in order to prove that you are an aristocrat of taste, you have to like things that the great mass of humanity can’t understand”.


    • There’s an Orwell quote along along the same lines, “One must belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that, no ordinary man could be such a fool”

  21. “Radicalism is the secular religion of this age.”—This is true, and even more it’s become “that old time religion.” You know it’s a religion because of the sameness of the graduates. It doesn’t matter where they went, they come out with this intense, Amanda Knox look. College towns are practically monasteries these days, with the little vegan and gluten free checkmarks on the menus in every restaurant. Just like monasteries, the more dietary restrictions the closer to God. Except, in this case “God” is nowhere to be found. It’s not about turning out critical thinkers, it’s about turning out sameness. The interesting thing about these people is that most only fit into bureaucratic labyrinths…like universities, government, etc.

    One of the main tenants of the radical religion is that entrepreneurship is dirty. More specifically selling something to someone is considered déclassé. You can’t be a radical and be in sales. A salesman, even a plumber who has to quote an estimate, by nature, has to live in the real world, of real wants and needs, and understand those wants and needs. This is where radicalism falls apart in the face of practicality. This is why some of the dirtiest hippies actually cleaned themselves up and changed their politics in the 70s. They started selling stereo equipment to be able to afford their Volvos. The radical religion tells YOU what you want and need, and WHY you need it, and why you’re a BAD person unless your opinion precisely aligns with the radical theology. They couldn’t sell a glass of water to man dying of thirst in the desert. Why do we have so many of these people? Because our monetary system is funding it all by keeping this economy that died years ago on life support. It’s a zombie economy.

  22. In your linked post, judging IQ by number of university degrees just doesn’t pass the smell test.

    He says: “However Mugabe was not just any black African leader. He was exceptionally well educated, even by the standards of World leaders. … So with an astonishing seven university degrees Mugabe is 3.55 SD more educated than even a group as elite as African presidents”

    But in the article he links to verify the claim of seven degrees:

    “In total Mr Mugabe has seven degrees, first graduating from South Africa’s University of Fort Hare, where Nelson Mandela studied, with a bachelor of arts. He did his other degrees by distance learning – two of them while he was in prison – in administration, education, science and law.”

    Now, I know distance learning can work, but at the time that he was engaged in this things I have a hard time crediting the quality of his education, any more than I credit the number of medals on a typical African despot’s uniform with his bravery and valor in battle.

    • Well said. When we’re talking about the hodgepodge of degrees in the arts and soft sciences, I’d argue that the inverse is true: the more degrees the weaker the intellect. Those who pursue multiple degrees in pseudo-specialized areas (e.g. administration, education) obviously put a lot of stock in them, but they just end up being what my wise grandfather called well-schooled idiots … the most dangerous kind of idiot.

  23. Black folk, by far the least intelligent group in the US at IQ85, felons who are possibly even dumber, and the refuse streaming over our southern border, all vote monolithically for the radicals……That gives us a very different picture of the situation.

  24. High IQ clustering as religion is seen in physics and astronomy. No real new knowledge of how the universe actually works has been advanced in over 100 years. Physicists know nothing more about how to explain gravity than Newton did. Yet, any new theory of gravity is immediately dismissed in the Academy and most elsewhere.

    • There’s a lot of goofiness and a lot of quasi religious thinking that goes on in research physics…the idea that we don’t understand gravity any better than Newton is nonsense.

  25. This is my standard come-back to “Smart people are liberal/left/democrats”:

    Will Graham: I thought you might enjoy the challenge. See if you’re smarter than the person I’m looking for.
    Hannibal Lecter: Then by implication, you think you’re smarter than I am, since it was you who caught me.
    Will Graham: No. I know I’m not smarter than you.
    Hannibal Lecter: Then how did you catch me?
    Will Graham: You had…disadvantages.
    Hannibal Lecter: What disadvantages?
    Will Graham: You’re insane.

  26. This also explains why apparently “smart” people like Thomas Aquinas or Duns Scotus never realized that their religion was absurd nonsense; no matter how “smart” you are, it’s extremely difficult to just suddenly jump up and say, “Angels on pins? This is ridiculous!”

    This is why “conservatives” (in the sense of those seeking to protect the existing order, including campus PC police or post-Soviet commies) tend to want to damp down even the slightest unorthodoxy: it’s the slow accumulation of such little deviations that suddenly make it possible to imagine life outside the box. It took centuries of “free thinking” until smart people like Shaw and Ibsen could realize that God killing Himself on a cross and still only saving a handful of people was not only absurd but, in fact, immoral, and that the moral response, even if the Christian story was true, was actually “No thank you.”

    That’s also why, try as the Elliots. Lewises and others might with all their “modern orthodoxy” or whatever, we aren’t going back, short of some kind of apocalypse that wipes out even the memory of all that free thinking.

    • What nonsense. Aquinas and other medieval Roman Catholic Scholars were heavy users of logic and reason. Those that followed them in the enlightenment rebelled against such rigor as they were able to deploy. It was a rebellion of no talents versus the gifted, Just as Jackson Pollock and the other modern artists were a no-talent rebellion against the Masters who came before them.

      Concepts such as angels dancing on the head of a pin would be considered a joke. Those who continue to purvey that particular example are ignorant of their intellectual history.

  27. This is another great benefit of the democratic age: not only is the Average Joe expected to be his own moral and political philosopher…but with a cookbook level university education he’s also considered to have a keen intellect.

  28. When I was in college, some of the very dumbest people I knew had very high GPAs. They were the ones who simply absorbed the lectures, labs, and reading assignments without question and parroted them back to the professors. They devoted zero thoughts to the implications, deeper meanings, or possible uses for what they were memorizing and repeating. At least some of them went on to teach and / or earn higher degrees and certifications. I still think of them as stupid people with good memories.

  29. The missing variable in the “high IQs = radicals” equation: high IQs + nonproductive lives = radicals. High IQ productive people are running businesses, inventing useful products or curing diseases. High IQ nonproductive people are smart enough to learn economic systems, but then they gravitate toward the system that rationalizes their uselessness and awards them power.

    • Thomas Sowell wrote “Intellectuals and Society” which was a brutal assessment of your high IQ / non-productive types.

  30. Education is not a proxy for IQ or ability.

    When Stacey goes to college, and comes back as a blue haired lesbian… the polite turn of phrase that I’ve heard is, “Stacey has been educated beyond her intellect.”

    I would argue that kids going to college these days are not educated – they’re indoctrinated which is something else entirely.

    • They parrot leftist ideology without really understanding what they’re saying. Works fine until someone challenges them and then they have a meltdown.

  31. IQ must be combined with Killer Instinct to be truly successful. This will become apparent again once this house-of-cards finally collapses.

  32. The teacher’s pet in grade school disproportionately becomes the leftist of tomorrow. Once out of the school setting, this entitled man-child is full of resentment because his “smarts” didn’t automatically translate into high value in the marketplaces, especially the sexual marketplace. Resentment (and a yearning for unearned rewards) is central to ALL left-wing movements.

    • And he is justified in his resentment. Working hard and doing well in school should result in a fair compensation. Conservatives who ignore the “teacher’s pet” demographic aren’t even trying to win.

      Actually, conservatives ignore everything about the schools, for some reason. They don’t even use them as failure theater stages.

  33. If tomorrow, those people become Buddhists, the smart young people of tomorrow will suddenly trend toward Buddhism.

    Confirmed. I remember washing up at a Pretty Famous University on the Upper West Side of Manhattan as a callow young Midwesterner and being amazed at my classmates. Their brains seemed to be what you might call turbo status engines–they could, at a glance, take in all the relevant information about power relationships in a given situation, and immediately compute a course for maximum advancement.

    But what I noticed is that they took the current status system for granted, and simply and immediately started climbing in that system.

    So Pretentious Frenchman X is the big thing among the English professors? Zoom–off they go to write the best god damn paper sucking up to the ideas of Pretentious Frenchman X, whom they only learned about yesterday, ever written.

    So they’re basically super-conformers, their brainpower put in the service of power worship.

    All you’ve got to do to get the smart people on your side is to get power.

    And truth? Pfft, that doesn’t really enter into it. Truth is a dodgy detour, in fact a positive hazard, on the highway to success. It’s all about status.

    • Education has mostly become operant conditioning to instill deference to authority.

      Students get a metaphorical pat on the head and gold star for repeating back whatever is fed to them. Rinse and repeat for twelve to sixteen years.

    • That’s one reason how Christianity and Islam spread. The King converted and his nobles followed suit. Pressure was often applied to the common people to get with the program, so to speak. Sounds familiar.

  34. Good insight. I might add, if Leftists are so smart, then why were the universities here, pre-WWII so conservative? In those days we sent perhaps 6% of the population and that population was of the elites. Communism was not debunked, but still seen as a viable alternative. There certainly were transformative causes to espouse back then. There were of course exceptions to a conservative faculty and student population, but nothing like today’s typical post secondary diploma mill.

    I’d say it is the opposite today—the University system has more students and faculty of a lower intellectual capacity than before—and that this accounts for the radical, Leftist bent that is all too typical these days. Think about it for a moment. Who are these Leftist radicals that we hear about on a seemingly daily basis. Are they all Noam Chomskys? No. Are they STEM majors? Certainly not.

    Almost without exception, they are now drawn from our ever increasing pools of AA admissions, majoring in minority grievance studies, or sociology, or psychology, or whatever phony/weak degree field the can manage to survive in—assuming it doesn’t take too much time away from their Leftist “activism” virtue signaling. Losers, all.

    Actually, now that I’m working myself up about such matters, I don’t think the run of the mill university student is that “intelligent” at all. Perhaps we need to stop assuming college admission is a good proxy for intelligence?

    • The university student IQ overall has dropped twelve points from 1950. The explosion of student bodies that should not be there is accompanied by an explosion of professors of the type that see a rich opportunity to indoctrinate.

      • Wilson, I believe you. A drop of 12 points could easily have happened if you consider the vast numbers of students now being pushed into college. Not all together dissimilar to our National IQ average dropping with the admittance of so many third worlders. Of course, the “answer” to that embarrassing statistic will be undoubtedly the restandardizing of IQ tests to the new lower baseline average of 100.

  35. Once upon a time, when our species was evolving over thousands of generations, the gauntlet of our natural environment selected for increasing intelligence in places where it was essential for continued survival. As an example, the seasonal variation of the high latitudes of Europe necessitated problem-solving and planning skill in order to survive the deprivations of long winters. Those ancient fitness selection drivers no longer exist in our current world of extreme affluence. We are now evolving in a new direction.

    • At the time Romans abandoned Britain, the locals, relative to now, were likely quite unintelligent (if not at levels of the Dark Continent) since they retained nothing from the Romans, so perhaps below levels required for maintaining civilization. What changed that were eight centuries of feudalism and manoralizm selective pressures, unprecedented out breeding due to Church mandates, and regular execution of young men with impulse control issues (1 or 2% per generation). I would guess the Chinese have perhaps undergone an excess of selective execution while other races might be lacking in this and other pressures.

      But yes, we are stampeding in the other direction currently. Ed Dutton calculates that the Victorians were significantly smarter and that and other measurable changes in the white population over just 150 years are significant.

      • The changes in the society were products of human decision not because of nature so how does a dumb people produce an intelligent system? Influx of new DNA? England has produced more elite mathematicians than Italy or Spain or France. Was the selection pressure stronger in England than Spain?

        I’m not sure that the ancient Britons or northern Europeans in general were that dumb just further away from the Meditterranean without the communication technology to convey the vecessary information over a sustained period of time.

      • I have a hard time relating intelligence to the social networks that develop over time. The Britons were tribal and clannish. Does this mean they were of lower intelligence or simply hadn’t developed the ways of a modern civilization?

  36. Through his master’s, my son remained sane. He would say that he made “A’s” by feeding their own words back to his Socialist profs but while working on his Ph.D. he went astray. I posted this elsewhere a while back and one of the replies was, “There’s a woman in there somewhere.” There certainly was. We finally got rid of her last year. May she rot in Hell.

    • The dissertation committee’s knee-jerk moron socialism is also good for all kinds of yuks, if you’re a certain kind of nerd. For instance, I had great fun larding my diss up with incomprehensible quotes from heavyweight theorists, then carrying on as if they proved all my points in detail. How does, say, Baudrillard prove my contentions about land-usage patterns in medieval Borneo? Beats the hell out of me, but nobody ever called me on it….

      • Today, it is generally accepted that Baudrillard’s models are far more relevant to land usage in the New Guinea highlands.

        • I would urge a re-consideration of Baudrillard. Few have dissected the vacuous sign-as-commodity worship of our icon-saturated world better than he. He foresaw the coming nihilism in which most people dwell — no meaning, no purpose, a never-ending orgy of image consumption until death — decades ago.

          The “death of the Real,” for example, is not a positive normative claim, or pomo joke, but an apt description of the life of 21st century homo economicus. Check out our man sometime — I mean, really think about his lived reality — as he goes about his day swimming in representations of representations — the Instagram account of Kim Kardashian, for example — with no reference to anything Real. By this I mean that “Kim Kardashian” is an image/brand separate and distinct from her physical self, a person we simply won’t ever know. This is like treating the map of Vermont as Vermont rather than its referent, the physical coordinates on the earth’s surface we can dwell in, and that we term “Vermont.” The map is only meant to get us there, and its purpose/telos aligns — as it always should — with human concerns. Apart from our own interests, the map is meaningless.

          Vermont — the Real — is dying, the desert grows. When one contrasts the everyday life of a person in 1919 versus that of 2019, the latter stands out on one crucial score: that person is constantly engaged with physical reality. There are no images around him, or screens in his life as, say, a drugstore clerk in Kansas City, to pick a random occupation out of thin air. Our drugstore clerk leans on the counter, stares out the glass window with the old-fashioned lettering at the streetcar outside, shines his glasses on his apron, goes about his time in the world without any irruption of pseudo-hypostatic images into his field of vision. There are no maps, and he wouldn’t need them, anyway. Man in nature doesn’t need *maps* of it. He’s just *in* it. And that’s the damn point.

          In 2019 we can spend half or more of our day staring at a screen standing between ourselves and the actual environment. Some of us have to make a living playing with those images, in fact, or we will starve to death. Yet this black mirror, as they call it, is not real. Sure, it’s a physical object, but whatever it displays is always a second-order representation of what’s below, behind, above, and beyond it, and the visual experience lasts only as long as our eyes are focused upon the screen, anyway.

          Note that last point well: these images are all for *our eyes* and they’re nothing without human attention and our perceptual capacities. Animals have no use for them and never will. Yet we now serve these images, rather than letting them serve us. We’ve inverted nature, and are burying all evidence of the original in what we prioritize as the natural and supernatural ends of life. What is on sale in our media is toxic, fatally so, to the good of any healthy, just, human community. It destroys it. Why, then, do we chain ourselves to it, as if its absence would kill us? Why do we not change? To what purpose is a life of endless sexual promiscuity and intellectual debauchery — the lives of tens if not hundreds of millions in the West now — meant to lead? To death, of course. The crowning jewel of human achievement was to overcome this atavism, and yet, we are in the process of re-tracing our steps right back to Sodom. Burn Notre Dame, and the Bull of Phalaris is right around the corner. Hell, it’s in the Mexican cartels.

          One sees, then, the end result: a complete evacuation of meaning or purpose to our existence here on earth. The transcendental dies. Nothing has any value in a virtual world, as we all know. Witness what’s happening to the actual world now that we find the virtual one more worthy of our time and labor. Online behavior — which we engage in so viciously at times because it is *not* real — is spilling over into behavior in the off-line world. How did this monster escape? To call this a terrifying development is to understate the threat. In a sense, it is not monstrous, it is demonic.

          After reading most of Baudrillard’s works, from which I have taken most of the above, I can only conclude that between the lines he was screaming at the reader to burn it all to the ground before it destroyed us.

  37. A typical simple working man’s opinion of black people based on observation and common sense: “they’re not as smart as whites.” The college educated person scoffs at this “dumb” opinion. Obviously dumb people don’t understand what hardships and racism black people go through all their lives which leaves them behind in educational and occupational achievement, they say. The more complicated and pretzel-like the reasoning for black dysfunction, the more intelligent it sounds, and the more you can feel good about not being like that dumb simple working guy and his simple opinions.

    • In evolution, struggle and challenge lead to higher IQs. If anything, past racism and discrimination should have boosted black IQs and their ability to adapt.

      • That’s not how selection works. If there’s an an advantage to having characteristic A then you,over time, get more individuals with characteritsic A. A could be high IQ, strength or low ethical standards. Selection doesn’t always make things stronger or smarter.

      • If you judge how the white race is collectively committing suicide by allowing the demographic destruction of their respective countries and promoted by their brightest, one could state with confidence that IQ is vastly overrated and perhaps a detriment given that smart whites are the ones mostly like to betray their own race.

  38. I suppose its semantics but I don’t see the large swath of liberals as “radical.” Radicals believe what they believe with minimal hypocrisy … they live out their ideals no matter the consequences. Think of the northern Ireland IRA members who went to prison in the 80s and pressed their cause with hunger strikes until death – that’s radical. Or the long list of Christian martyrs, or the Founders who had death sentences hanging over their head. Being a radical costs something. Today’s progressive priests of the secular gods? Possibly intelligent, always self-absorbed, but NOT radical. The only thing these people are interested in are cushy jobs and ruling over others. Having spent a lot of time around (what passes for) intelligentsia, I learned that while these people may parrot radical ideas they’re predominately led by sociopathic hypocrites. Quite a few were intelligent … none were wise.

    It’s my belief that the majority of intelligent Americans aren’t in business, academia, church or government. They’re in the hard sciences and engineering. They’re in the shadows.

  39. Marxism is a total denial of human psychology, history, and economics. There’s a correlation with college education only because our public and higher education support it. Teachers and researchers love those big government funded contracts, so they just happen to teach the myth of benevolent big brother to all of their students.

    • Agree. This is why they also love the “collective” … the hive, the herd. It is only here where they can hide the fact that their entire worldview is illogical and unintelligible. Throw in a state-subsidized six-figure income and it’s no wonder some smart people take this path of least resistance.

    • It’s an intellectual game that flies in the face of reality. I suppose it takes some brain capacity to play out in your mind without letting reality shatter the illusion.

    • My favorite troll of conservatives is to tell them that they deny human reality as much as Marxists.

      Marxists deny human reality when they assume that a man will work as hard for the state as he will for his family. Conservatives deny human reality when they assume all races can embrace race-blind small government policies. It is literally impossible for most non-whites to find such policies appealing, at least in a multiracial state.

      • Read alot about the supposed “blexit” – Black exit of the Democratic Party – on Breitbart. I’ll believe it when I see it.

        One idea that I have heard repeatedly is that such-and-such a group shares our conservative principles – faith, family, work. Conservatives just have to reach out to them. In reality, they may adhere to these principles, but understand them in a different way. They also want free stuff, legal privilege and, perhaps, to stick it to Whitey.

        • If all these groups really were “natural conservatives” one has to wonder why they cannot implement those principles in their own countries.

    • The alleged intelligence of these people is dubious as well. Brighter than the average, but probably the most mediocre of the smart. A lot of what they do is convoluted and then there are whole departments of navel gazers.

  40. Very interesting theory. Very interesting observations. The conclusion hangs on one assertion: “left-wing politics is the secular religion of this age.” Is it? In the way that Christianity was the (non-secular) religion of the Middle Ages? Hmmmm…the idea is worth considering at some length. Well-spoken, Zman.

    • A “religion” is nothing more or less than the network of presuppositions that we hold to be true. Presuppositions have to be assumed; they can’t be tested by natural science. There is no such thing as neutrality on this; e.g. most everyone assumes such things as “logic” and “justice.”

      The way I assess one’s religion (or worldview) is to ask, “What is the purpose of man?” Leftist politics has no answer for this other than “fairness.” Press a little further and it’s “fairness on OUR terms, by OUR definition.” To be slightly more precise I’d argue that progressivism is indeed the secular religion of our age.

  41. IQ is a lot less useful to you if you don’t intend to lie, cheat, steal, and exploit honest people. Memory is important for lying too. High IQ tribes are snake peoples, not lion peoples. You know what I mean.

    Neoteny can also explain leftist IQ, in that they are smart in the sense babies are smart, a strange combination of perpetual immaturity and creativity. There’s also the visual spacial IQ problem, which relies heavily on eyes being set perfectly in the skull, a telling sign of both beauty and being a beta male cuck.

    There are pluses and minuses to IQ, you see. Leftist intelligence comes with a lot of baggage and it is largely exclusively useful in technologically advancing eras. No innovation means no use for it.

    Christianity is the truth, so it’s going to have the most honest followers with the least use of con-artist IQ. The opposite of this lies in the Talmud…

  42. I do not observe any significantly high level of intelligence in those who espouse left wing causes, and I don’t see much of it in conservative circles either. Did Plato put IQ before wisdom? Does wisdom come from a high IQ? Moses was most successful as a political leader because God told him that since he didn’t believe in himself to shut up and let Aaron speak for him. But Moses was a faithful son of God, and that faith made Moses more profound than these mere smart people today who are leading us over the cliff today.

    Oh to be smart and of no faith.

    • The Duke of Wellington himself said it well “when you educate men without religion you make clever devils.”

      • Or men who simply don’t believe in supernatural phenomena.Like me. I am no devil, nor am I a liberal … which is worse.

    • They are not smart or intelligent. Just common psychopath,s with bad character helping them make career in “all equal” world. Shameless lies, broken promises, total luck of empathy, high self esteem.

      Of course, manipulating unaware people and talking with straight face unimaginable lies and defamation 24/7 until normal people are exhausted is also skills but their intellect is like small children who screaming on the shopping mall until mom can,t handle the shame and bad looks anymore and buy the bully something. Nothing to do with IQ.

      • How smart can these college bums be if they can’t tell the difference between a male and female, believe in twenty “genders” and ten “races”? They sit around and pontificate about how we “must make sacrifices to save the planet” like Aztecs used to do with the beating hearts of their victims. How’d that work out?

    • Wisdom comes from experience. No on is born wise. However, smart people often choose to learn from the experiences of others. That in itself is wisdom of a sort. A stupid person who has learned a lot of hard lessons will possess a measure of wisdom as well, like don’t dive in the water until you know it’s deep enough so you don’t crack your skull … you know … shit like that.

    • I think that’s a good point. Intelligence and competence are things that you cannot really judge about yourself. It’s an external judgment because everyone thinks that they are both intelligent and competent but that is not and cannot be true. It is in relation to others especially among the youth.
      When I was a little girl in the 70s, my parents told me that anyone that had religious belief was either delusional or stupid. I watched that morph into “atheist are more intelligent than believers”. And today, any Pinhead who wants to seem smart and think of themselves as smart just declares themselves an atheist. It really is quite stunning

      • I don’t think that belief in a deity is necessarily a measure of intelligence or lack thereof, but it does put in question, the gullibility of the believers.

        Beliefs are not facts, they are simply things you choose or are persuaded to believe in with no proof, but rather with faith and a weekly donation. It does look pretty dumb to a non-believer.

        I have no problem with people who believe in their invisible friends from heaven, and in eternal life, but I cannot bring myself to believe such things without evidence.

        • William James talked about the “cash value” of beliefs. Pragmatism. Whether something is true or not is less important than asking, does it work? If believing something has sufficient rewards, then that may be sufficient reason to continue believing. Shared values, good feelings, companionship, moral guidance, tradition all good reasons for some. Pragmatically speaking, believing may be an intelligent choice. You may be happier for it,

        • When you put it that way, sure. But that implies that most believers were convinced to join the church at some point. The reality is that a large portion–probably the majority–were raised in church (or whichever other faith) and so being a believer is part of their culture. Accepting and continuing the culture in which someone is raised does not make him gullible. It makes him a conservative.

        • Ah, Duke, I am unarguably qualified for membership in Mensa (the organization whose only qualification is scoring in the top 1% intellectually) and arguably (based upon a test given to Mensa members a couple of decades back) am in the 75th percentile of THAT group. Nobody would call me gullible either. And yet, from an examination of the reality I see around me, I am forced to conclude that the universe we inhabit was CREATED. Therefor I am equally forced to accept the existence of a CREATOR – i.e. in your words a “Deity”! Please note that I came to this conclusion based solely upon an unbiased (or at least not biased towards belief in a deity) assessment of the facts as I was able to uncover them. To me, it is the non-believers who appear “dumb”. It is they who, on the one hand, accept that everything must have a beginning/cause, while on the other hand insisting that the universe is un-caused and has always been. That or it spontaneously came to being.

          The best and most solid facts that we have discovered to date indicate that information requires intelligence to produce (deduce/educe?) it. Yet people who reject the very idea of a creator are forced to believe that the enormous difference in information between the genome of a paramecium and that of a human being is the result of chance. Excuse me?

          • I invoke WJ again and ask, what difference does it make?


            So there was a creator or there was not, how does that change anything?

        • Wonder why atheists are so quick to use a pre-school level of understanding when it comes to experiencing the Creator. Often it’s “invisible friend,” “fairy tale,” “old man in the sky” — there’s an almost leftist thing about needing to scorn (and particularly, infantilize) those who have differing beliefs.

          Christianity IS taught to toddlers with certain fables just as Jesus himself used parables, but as mystics such as Swedenborg pointed out, there are infinite levels of understanding/experiencing the Creator, with Jesus telling his apostles certain truths that he did not indulge in his public teachings.

          That type of sticking to certain ideas has much to do with the “college towns vote left” thing, as well. People are considerably more conformist in a college town; the “bell curve” of beliefs and ideas is much narrower than in a same-sized sample from the general, non-academic population. That, rather than scores on IQ test, explains the herd style of voting.

          Back to the language we use with those who believe differently: You would think, from conventional wisdom, that Americans living in a country that wrote religious freedom into their founding documents, that if anyone was contemptuous of others, it might be the Christians (or the Buddhists; the two mix well) talking about the “godless heathen.” Instead, it is, for the most part, the opposite, with scorn coming from the non-believers toward the believers.

          We all know so little when it comes right down to it. And think we know so much. (apologies for the wall of text. Paragraphs did not show up when posting this.)

    • smart is as smart does. just passing a test doesn’t make you smart. success in the real world is the only true marker, anything else is just an indirect measure you hope is an accurate predictor.

      • just passing a test doesn’t make you smart.

        No, but being smart allows you to pass the test. Psychology is 95% humbug, but IQ is one of the only areas where quantitative psychological research is even possible.

        IQ is a proxy for what the psychologists call “g factor”, the “g” standing for general intelligence, because if you score high on an IQ test, you are likely to be – with a few exceptions – intellectually capable across the board: good at math, good at languages, good at spatial orientation and so forth. It’s one of the best, if not THE best, correlations in psychology.

        success in the real world is the only true marker

        For success, not for intelligence. While being smart dramatically raises your chance of success in the real world, an average person can succeed on diligence and perseverance, while a smart guy can fail if he’s lazy.

        • “while a smart guy can fail if he’s lazy.”

          Or if his metaphysical beliefs are out-of-sync with fashion and he has the integrity to stand by them.

        • I know a lot of smart guys who think their intelligence means that they don’t have to work as hard as the commoners or that they are immune from the rules that apply to everyone else. They can be lazy, intelligent failures. Bill Clinton was not lazy, but he epitomized the intelligencia who believed that rules and laws were for the little people

      • You are wrong. By your definition someone like Paul Erdos could be considered dumb, or at least “not smart”.

        An IQ test strips noise like nepotism, fraud, “starting on 3rd” situations such as being born rich or to Ivy League alumni, laziness, etc. that are present in any “real world” measure of success, and leaves us looking at what has turned out to be a pretty good and well-replicated proxy measure for raw cognitive horsepower.

      • What a dumb comment.

        Success? Like dying with the most toys rather than being able to tell truth from falsehood?

        Real world? That’s one thing to a peasant or a plumber, another thing entirely to a physicist or a philosopher.

    • Smart is having more than 2 tricks in arsenal. When liberals can`t manipulate your emotions and you used to control their claims, then they are powerless. Third trick is extreme patience, repeat and repeat lie until it becomes common knowledge but this is not even trick, this is psychopath character trait. Like serial killer thinks on his hobby 24/7 Liberals are not smart, they are very primitive when you learn to operate them. Like crocodiles. Crocks have only two attack tricks and when you know then, you can operate them safely.

    • Most of being smart is keeping your mouth shut so that no one will know how stupid you may just be. You learn a lot by listening. You learn nothing when your jaw is flapping.

  43. I think I would prefer the buddhists to the current lot of snow-takes, just for the more honest to the facts self reflection they engage

    • The Dalai Lama seems to be more reality-oriented than 99% of prominent western political “leaders.”

    • Yes, we’d be much better off with the Soros- and CIA-supported Tibetan Buddhist movement. Or maybe the Sri Lankan violent extremist Buddhists. All these fruity visions of the mythical Dalai Lama are all made-for-Western-consumption productions aimed at being a perpetual thorn in China’s side, ideally leading to destabilization (along with similar efforts in Hong Kong and Xinjiang). Everything we’re shown in MSM are lies.

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