The obvious problem with this so-called study is the axiomatic association of bigotry with conservatives without proving that assertion. It's based on an stereotype that wasn't proven. The fact that a bigoted liberal did the study and had it published in a journal edited and published by those who share his political prejudices in no way lends it credibility.
In fact, the nasty political practice of eugenics is firmly based in progressive politics- if you've never heard of the case of Buck vs Bell, you should read up on it. Carrie Buck was in foster care with an aunt. Her cousin raped her and got her pregnant, so her foster family had her institutionalized as incorrigible. Her case was used by progressives as a test case for a law allowing the forcible sterilization of 'undesireables.' Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the majority opinion allowing her force sterilization, stating that 'three generations of imbeciles is enough.'
But there weren't three generations of imbeciles. Carrie's mother was something of a ne'er do well, but there's no reason to supposed she was an 'imbecile.' Carrie herself was quite normal, and her illegitimate daughter made the honor roll in school before she died of complications from measles.
That Progressive law, and the eugenics societies popular with Progressives here in the states, were used by Hitler later in creating his programs to eliminate 'undesirables.' The tight connections between Progressives and eugenics indicates that bigotry does not confine itself to only one political point of view- as does the unquestioning, uncritical acceptance of this obviously flawed work.
It's really pretty laughable that people accepted this study without question and think it proves that they
are the smart ones.
Naturally, faced with such a delicious affirmation of one of their most cherished stereotypes, progressives have been credulous. To protect and buttress their hateful attitudes, progressives have ignored the problems in Hodson's study while overgeneralizing its dubious results.
In so doing, the left has somehow missed the irony.
But Hodson's research is riddled with flaws. Dr. William M. Briggs, Adjunct Professor of Statistical Science at Cornell University, takes note:
[The study] is a textbook example of confused data, unrecognized bias, and ignorance of statistics...Dr. Briggspoints to a host of other problems.
What makes the study ludicrous, even ignoring the biases, manipulations, and qualifications just outlined, by the authors’ own admission the direct effect size for [intelligence] on “racism” is only -0.01 for men and 0.02 for women. Utterly trivial; close enough to no effect to be no effect...
In fact, several important points have been conspicuously ignored during left-wing jubilation over Hodson’s research:
1. Some ideas that are strongly associated with the progressive point of view are firmly rooted in ignorance. For example:
If you changed the question to attitudes toward global free trade there would be a correlation between lower I.Q. and the ‘more liberal’ (at last in American politics) position.Why do I feel it’s safe to bet that Hodson and his fans will not hasten to investigate these links?
As Jonathan Haidt has articulated most recently, most academic political scientists and psychologists have strongly social liberal views, and so they consciously or unconsciously tend to caricature and misrepresent the views of half their study population…2. "As LiveScience's Stephanie Pappas mentions, the questionnaire didn't test for secretly racist thoughts, and thus the more intelligent subjects may still have been prejudiced, but just better at lying about it." (social desirability bias, à la the Bradley effect).
Hodson et al. are utterly disappointing in their lazy attempt to address this concern.
3. The study looked at IQ at ages 10-11, and social attitudes 20 years later. "[T]rying to measure a person's 'cognitive ability' at such a tender age is fraught with difficulty. According toa recent paper in Nature, IQ fluctuates dramatically during adolescence, with some people's scores improving and others' deteriorating, and only becomes relatively static once the brain has stopped growing." A direct link between childhood IQ and adult attitudes would be expected to be tenuous, at best.
4. Conservative prejudice (real or imagined) does not justify prejudice against conservatives. This is especially true if we are to believe that conservative prejudice is truly due to intrinsic cognitive deficiencies.
One of the most pernicious ideas to emerge from this discussion is the notion that conservative ideology is a poison that turns feeble-minded folk into monsters.
If we get the the point where we’ve legitimized the idea that stupid people should be sheilded from our opponents’ political ideas, we’ll be well on our way to a panoply of problems that are at least as dangerous as Hodson’s “dark attitudes.”