Conservatives Read, Liberals Watch TV

Two posts ago I said conservatives are generally smarter than liberals. I don't say this to be mean-spirited; I say it because of experience. I can't tell you how many conversations I've had, or people I know have had, in which people who claim to be liberal (or, if they don't use that term, deny being in any way conservative) cannot explain their reasons for thinking the way they do. Go ahead: Ask someone who claims to "not be conservative" why he believes what he believes -- or, better yet, ask him to answer a basic question about something in the news. Nine out of ten times you'll stump him.

Take, for example, the issue of abortion. When pressed, most people will tell you they're pro-choice (even if they're not) because, naturally, that's the normal and proper response. They may personally have a problem with abortion (think John Kerry) but a good person, a "tolerant" person, doesn't place such demands on others. So they proudly say they're pro-choice. Okay, that's fine. Now ask her to explain her reasons. Ask her what she thinks of FOCA. Chances are, she''ll have no idea what you're talking about. She just knows that being pro-choice is what she's supposed to be.

Occasionally I'll run into a well-read liberal, someone who really thinks about the issues and can articulate his or her reasons in a calm and logical way. I love it when that happens! Automatically I have great respect for the person. But this is rarely the case. In my almost 41 years of life, I can probably count on one hand the number of times this has happened. Run into your average conservative (if you can get him to talk in mixed company) and chances are he knows exactly what he's talking about. He knows the issues; he gets his material from non-biased sources; and he calmly explains his reasons for why he thinks the way he thinks. This isn't always the case -- occasionally you'll run into an uneducated conservative, or someone who says something should be a certain way because "God" said so. But that's rare. What's the conclusion? Hang out with conservatives; you'll learn a heckuva lot more about the world.

2 Responses to “Conservatives Read, Liberals Watch TV”:

  1. Suzanne, I agree with your observations about liberals, but rather than framing the discussion in terms of intelligence or even current events awareness, I would suggest it has to do with depth/shallowness of thought. I think many liberals have the same capacity for intelligent thought as conservatives, they just choose not to tap into it.

    Liberals (in my experience) are willing and eager to have information spoon-fed to them, pre-chewed for easy digestion. That's why we have so many people who rely on Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to clue them in to what's going on in the world. It's also why the left, in general, is such a sound bite-dependent populace. They absorb and regurgitate smears and falsehoods and abridged versions of stories because it requires no active, analytical thought on their part and they're comfortable with that. Putting in the effort to see past media stereotypes of conservatism requires intellectual maturity and willingness to think deeply in ways that can't be consolidated into platitudes and bumper stickers, and that's not the liberal way.

  2. Well put. Perhaps "lazy" is the better term.