One of the beliefs held most consistently about conservatives by liberals is that they are simply smarter than us. Despite abundant evidence to the contrary, such as John Kerry’s grades at Yale being inferior to George W. Bush’s, and Obama’s refusal to release any evidence of his academic work at all, this meme has taken its place in the leftist political and cultural narrative. Why?
One of the main reasons is the way in which the two groups make decisions. Conservatives tend to believe in God, have a moral code based on the concept of absolute truth, and live based on tradition (tradition being expressed as the “best practices” of a culture). These beliefs have stood the test of time and tend to result in decisions that are consistent and based on principle. The intellectual legwork has already been done prior to the moment of decision, with only the facts of the situation required in order to come to a conclusion. Discomfort is not something to be avoided at all costs, but is most of the time a component of a bad decision, and if not, is used to inform future decisions. This is seen by the left as lazy and mean, when it is actually quite the opposite.
Now think about what it is like to be a liberal. The only true and fast principle is one that cannot be openly spoken of in America – equality through income redistribution. Any decision on an issue that falls outside of this anchor of liberal thought requires something far different than conservatives are accustomed to.
Imagine being untethered by any beliefs whatever, your only guide a vague, undefinable situational morality. Every event, every decision requires you to engage in the false intellectualism of playing defense and prosecutor, going through incredible mental gyrations as you sort through the evidence and factor in variables unrelated to the facts – Is this person my enemy? Is this person oppressed? Is this person a victim? What decision will benefit my political stance? There is a desperate attempt to make a decision requiring some sort of worldview, while simultaneously believing that any firm worldview or set of principles is intellectually lazy and any result that would result in discomfort for anyone but your enemies must be discarded.
Of course, what should be truly uncomfortable are the mental back flips required to justify someone who is a global warming alarmist leaving a carbon footprint twenty-three times that of an average individual, or to support someone who is regarded as a champion of women’s rights when he fondles an intern under his supervision. Then the wasteland of principle is laid bare for all to see, but the excuse is that conservatives are simply too dense to see the nuances involved in coming to two different conclusions with two very similar sets of facts.
Ironically, the requirement to ignore evidence, the enormous struggle required to operate without any legitimate set of principles, and the ability to support two completely different decisions based on two sets of nearly identical facts is seen as proof of intellectual superiority as opposed to a lack of it. Mental gymnastics are more valued than reason, and lack of defined or expressed principles release liberals from the anchor of consistency.
A blur of activity does not equal progress, and the whir of wheels spinning in a liberal’s mind does not equal intellectual superiority.