This article is a tad old, but someone linked it on Sarah Hoyt’s blog, and I think it belongs here:
From spirituality to environmentalism to financial economics, we hear, conservatives’ insufficient educations leave them unable to see past shadow and superstition. The right buys blissful ignorance by disengaging from reality.
But liberals’ intellects deprive them of this luxury. Cursed with vision keen enough to see in shades of grey, progressives cannot help but examine all the evidence and see what makes sense. Building a messy worldview out of complicated facts may be less viscerally satisfying than dictating from dogma, we’re informed, but it is infinitely more honest. So when you’re looking for leaders who will actually improve people’s lives, the talented technocrats beat the Manichean moralists eight days a week.
Policy should belong to pragmatists, the story concludes. And thus politics should belong to progressives.
This narrative serves America well save for two minor flaws: It’s a lie and it hurts people. Confirmation bias and ex post rationalization are human universals, not the exclusive province of the political right. Every day, the best interests of vulnerable people are sacrificed on the altar of leftist faiths as ironclad any conservative presuppositions.
I still remember the time a left-wing college professor tried to convince me that “Right to Work” states were at the bottom of the rankings in educational attainment by comparing the SAT and ACT scores of several northern states with a strong union presence to the SAT and ACT scores of said “Right to Work” states. He conveniently forgot, of course, that his favored states are lilly white and pretty affluent, whereas Texas, Virginia, et. al., are poorer on average and more diverse. Gee — you think Virginia’s SAT scores might be lower because we have more English language learners than, say, Wisconsin? Sure enough, when I looked at recent NAEP scores and controlled for obvious confounding variables like race and income, Virginia did better, not worse, when it came to educating disadvantaged populations and shrinking achievement gaps (though, let’s be frank, Virginia’s NAEP scores were still horrid by any reasonable objective standard, so hobbling union power is certainly no more a panacea than school choice).
As the author of the article above notes, the left can be pretty damned illiterate scientifically (and innumerate too!) when it suits their interests. They also love to ignore the science that challenges their treasured “sexual revolution,” including the very strong case for traditional marriage as the best context for child-raising and the evidence that gender differences go beyond our naughty bits. And let’s not forget the “progressives” who overstate the dangers of fracking, nuclear power, and childhood vaccinations!
There’s nothing that annoys me more than a leftist who boasts that he is smarter and more educated than “those idiot conservatives.” That arrogance is completely unearned.