The Occidental Observer Newsletter - Alex Kurtagic: Are Leftists Cleverer?
Are Leftists Cleverer?
March 29, 2010
One common tactic used by Leftists is the characterizing of their opponents on the Right — particularly those who self-consciously identify themselves as White and who maintain that Whites have unique ethnic interests of their own — as, among other things, intellectually inferior. We are all familiar with the stereotype, perpetuated with impunity in the mass media of news and entertainment, of traditionalist, racially-conscious Whites as either tattooed neo-Nazi knuckleheads and Hitler fetishists or inbred, defective, periodontitic, Bible-thumping, Klan-supporting hillbillies from the American South. Those who are interested in White-specific political issues will be familiar also with the common Leftist attitude towards debating said issues: the White advocates' positions are regarded as being beneath contempt — not only morally repugnant, but also so idiotic, so preposterous, so based on fear and prejudice, as to not be worth the dignity of a discussion (unless it is, of course, for the purposes of condemnation)
There is no denying that the Right — as supporters of this website would likely understand it — attracts, besides normal people, a variety of marginal types, particularly via the more peripheral currents and subcultures. There is also no denying that most contemporary academics are Leftists, that most contemporary intellectuals are Leftists, that most contemporary journalists and commentators of note are Leftists, that most contemporary holders of postgraduate humanities degrees from elite universities are Leftists, or identify with Leftist ideas. But does this mean that Leftism represents the intellectually superior position? Are Leftists Leftists because they are cleverer? Or did they become Leftists because of some other reason?
Social Identity Theory (SIT) maintains that there are behaviors among humans that occur only in group situations. In such situations, humans will tend to identify themselves and others as either part of a given group (in which case they are said to have an ingroup identification) or as not part of that group (in which case they are said to have an outgroup identification)
The evolutionist reading of SIT sees human groups as engaging in resource competition in order to maximize life chances and reproductive success. (Here I use these latter terms in the broadest possible sense, which encompasses not only organisms but also ideas.) The same way that individuals attempt to increase their social status in an effort to gain access to more and better resources, groups often do the same. Similarly, individuals seeking to increase their social status may do so via membership of a group, which, in turn, may also seek to increase its own status by attracting high-status and/or high-quality individuals. Ideally, this is a situation where the individual and the group both gain, as their mutually reinforcing status relationship would tend to increase access to resources for both: the group gains the resources brought in by the new high status/high quality member, and the aforementioned member gains the resources offered by the group.
I must make clear at this point that resources do not always and necessary take the form of material wealth: prestige, expertise, contacts, knowledge, access to desirable mates, prestigious jobs, or positions of power are all also sought-after resources, which can — although not exclusively — both derive and confer social status.
Seen from this perspective, it makes sense that a high-IQ individual who seeks to increase his status will tend to be drawn to group identifications and group memberships popularly associated with intelligence. In the contemporary West, where the Left presently enjoys cultural hegemony (dominating politics, education, media, and publishing), and where, therefore, the Left shapes the discourse, the Left's ideas enjoy high status while the Right's ideas enjoy low status. (I define the Right broadly as traditionalist and inegalitarian.
Put more simply: Because the Left is in control, they are able to represent their ideas as clever and those of their opponents as stupid, among other things; and clever people, wanting to be seen as clever, go where they think the clever people are and make sure to avoid embarrassing dummies. Thus, the Leftist claim to (among other things) intellectual superiority becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We can also see it as a form of peer pressure.
This is not to say that this is the only factor influencing people's choice of political ideological affiliation. I believe temperament, personal history, and marginality status are powerful factors too (some people are attracted to marginal ideas; others identify with them because they themselves are marginal). However, even where these factors cause individuals to be drawn to Right wing ideas, status remains operative as a motivator: said individuals may find their social status lowered within contemporary mainstream society because of their ideological affiliation, but they compensate for this by tapping into alternative or analogous, ingroup-managed sources of status.
This is not to say also that Leftism does not attract its fair share of idiots. We only need to look at the membership lists of "anti-racist" organizations like the ARA in the United States and the UAF in the United Kingdom to find a profusion of examples.
Leftism, on its own, appears to say very little about its supporters' general intelligence: When considered relative to its status, however, it does seem to tell us something about many of its supporters' capacity for thinking independently and for courageously resisting pressure to conform or to at least keep quiet. This is true, in fact, for any political or ideological affiliation. Yet, for the reasons mentioned above, in the culture war between Right and Left in the West, each side will claim and seek to demonstrate intellectual superiority as they compete for status. And, unsurprisingly, even where one side finds the other side has arrived at useful insights, the one side will prefer to find autochthonous sources for those insights rather than credit the political enemy.
What about Satoshi Kanazawa's findings, regarding the apparent tendency of intelligent individuals to adopt liberal views? His basic argument is that intelligence correlates with openness to experience (or openness to novelty), and that, since liberalism is evolutionarily novel, intelligent individuals are more likely to be drawn to it than less intelligent individuals — or, at least, they are less 'likely . . . to conform to others in the society'.
Kanazawa's Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis might appear partlyto refute the arguments I have made here. But note that the hypothesis' explanation for more intelligent individuals' tendency to be drawn to liberalism is not that it takes intelligence to see liberalism's "superior" intellectual merit, but that liberalism is evolutionarily novel. In other words: Leftism is attractive because it is new, not because it is cleverer.
There is also another angle to consider. Kanazawa proposes that a possible explanation for less intelligent individuals' preferring conservative ideas is that it might be adaptive for them to mimic those around them, as the majority is mathematically more likely to be correct than the average individual. If this is so, then, in a context where the surrounding culture is politically liberal and intolerant of dissidence, it might be evolutionarily novel not to go with the flow, so to speak, and maintain, as a matter of principle, political positions that risk ostracism and economic sanctions. If this is the case, then Kanazawa's hypothesis can be used to predict both liberal and anti-liberal attitudes among highly intelligent individuals.
Those familiar with the serious side of White advocacy know that, as a movement, it counts with the efforts of highly intelligent, independently-
Evidently, because publicly maintaining a "heretical" position requires unusual courage and strength of personality (the penalties of being a heretic are great), White advocates are outnumbered by their opponents on the Left. The Left routinely cites its numerical advantage — or, perhaps rather, its apparent numerical advantage — as proof of their intellectual superiority and normality, and the (apparent) numerical disadvantage of its opponents as proof of their intellectual inferiority and abnormality. Peter Victor, a Black man writing for the Independent and providing an account there of his meeting with Nick Griffin did so in June last year:
I point out that the vast majority of people in this countryare either highly antipathetic towards him [Nick Griffin] or just apathetic. A minority may support him, but they are out of touch with reality. Most sensible people ignore the BNP or think they're a bunch of crazy folk.
The oligophrenic baboons from the UAF deployed a similar argument a month later:
Unite Against Fascism is calling on anti-fascists across the country to converge on Codnor, Derbyshire, at 9am on Saturday 15 August to protest against the British National Party rally taking place in the village that weekend. UAF supporters intend to "kettle" the rally by surrounding it with protesters. This action will demonstrate that the vast majority of people in this country reject the Nazi politics of the BNP.
And another anti-racist activist, writing in 2007, shows this is a stock phrase:
There should be a two-pronged attack on the fascists: dealing with their lies on the ground, and dealing with the social problems that lead to resentment and move people to vote for the BNP in a protest vote. We know the vast majority of people in this country abhor the racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic ideas of the party.
This is of course, a fallacious argument, known as argumentum ad populum. The fact that a view is in the majority does not prove that it is correct anymore than the fact that the opposing view is in the minority proves that it is wrong.
We must remember also that the Left did not always enjoy ascendancy. There was a time when theirs constituted a fringe minority view, which "the vast majority of people" dismissed as foolish, evil, and crazy. I believe that as the Left becomes discredited through their ever-growing record of failure, so will their ideas, and so will their appeal among the less independently-
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