Mailvox: the static average

Septeus wonders:

Do you think that more intelligent folks are more likely or less likely to change their opinions on politics or various disputed topics than us regular folk?

I would say that more intelligent individuals tend to have a more dynamic approach to ideology and therefore politics. For example, I have gone from a Reagan Youth Republican to a nonpartisan libertarian as has one of my college roommates, while another has gone from conventional Democrat to skeptical Republican. Both of them are three standard deviations above normal. I’ve also seen smart people go the other way, like Hillary Clinton for example, moving from Goldwater Republican to socialist Democrat. And while the Lizard Queen is evil, she’s also smarter than the norm.

I haven’t seen much similar ideological mutation among my normal friends and acquaintances. Most of them don’t seem to think about such things very often, they simply vote (R) or (D) without wasting any time contemplating the issues and there’s no quicker way to bore them than to bring up politics. I have a number of friends who have no idea that I write a political column and it would never occur to many of those who do know about it to ever read it.

This is because politics ultimately boils down to abstract issues, and an ability to think in the abstract is one of the hallmarks of intelligence. Just as one wouldn’t expect an individual with Down’s Syndrome and an IQ of 50 to concern himself much with the question of whether Republicans are more fitted for office than Democrats, one wouldn’t expect a normal individual with an IQ of 100 to spend much time contemplating whether voting is properly a right, a responsibility or a reward, much less the counterintuitively adverse relationship between universal suffrage and universal liberty.

This is one reason I despise limited democracy. It’s a fraud that relies entirely on the manipulation of the easily manipulated. Even the mob rule of true democracy would be a massive improvement on this.