Are Smarter People More Liberal?

Sculpture of man emerging from ape

Emergent Man

Ah, yes, another article proclaiming that smart people are liberal. Elizabeth Landau of CNN reports on a soon-to-be-published article by evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa that claims higher IQ is associated liberal politics and religion, as well as “sexual exclusivity” (a.k.a. monogamy).

I haven’t seen the article (it’s not available yet), but there are a couple of problems with the simple equation “smart = liberal.” First, notice how “liberal” is defined:

The study takes the American view of liberal vs. conservative. It defines “liberal” in terms of concern for genetically nonrelated people and support for private resources that help those people. It does not look at other factors that play into American political beliefs, such as abortion, gun control and gay rights.

Strange definition. In America, conservatives favor the use of private resources to help people. As far as the “genetically nonrelated” issue, I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean. Part of the problem here – as with most discussions of liberalism and conservatism – is that the terms can mean many different things. Continue reading