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Mon Feb 27, 2012, 01:25 PM

Krugman: Conservatives become less willing to look at the facts ... as they become better-educated

Digby sends us to Chris Mooney on how conservatives become less willing to look at the facts, more committed to the views of their tribe, as they become better-educated:

For Republicans, having a college degree didnít appear to make one any more open to what scientists have to say. On the contrary, better-educated Republicans were more skeptical of modern climate science than their less educated brethren. Only 19 percent of college-educated Republicans agreed that the planet is warming due to human actions, versus 31 percent of non-college-educated Republicans.

But itís not just global warming where the ďsmart idiotĒ effect occurs. It also emerges on nonscientific but factually contested issues, like the claim that President Obama is a Muslim. Belief in this falsehood actually increased more among better-educated Republicans from 2009 to 2010 than it did among less-educated Republicans, according to research by George Washington University political scientist John Sides.


What Chris Mooney is telling us is that this is a vain hope. Highly educated political conservatives ó and this includes conservative economists ó are going to be less persuadable by empirical evidence than the man or woman in the street. The more holes you poke in doctrines like expansionary austerity or supply-side economics, the more committed they will get to those doctrines.

This debate isnít going to be won by rational argument.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/27/this-tribal-nation/

It's been obvious that republicans have been bound by ideology over real world evidence of what works and what has failed, but I had not seen the evidence of the inverse link with the level of republicans' education and openness to looking at the facts.

43 replies, 3543 views

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Reply Krugman: Conservatives become less willing to look at the facts ... as they become better-educated (Original post)
pampango Feb 2012 OP
unblock Feb 2012 #1
JHB Feb 2012 #40
Romulox Feb 2012 #2
Vincardog Feb 2012 #4
fascisthunter Feb 2012 #7
elleng Feb 2012 #3
HopeHoops Feb 2012 #5
JDPriestly Feb 2012 #11
HopeHoops Feb 2012 #12
TheKentuckian Feb 2012 #22
unc70 Feb 2012 #43
fascisthunter Feb 2012 #6
hfojvt Feb 2012 #8
Vincardog Feb 2012 #10
gratuitous Feb 2012 #13
hfojvt Feb 2012 #17
gratuitous Feb 2012 #19
hfojvt Feb 2012 #16
pampango Feb 2012 #18
sinkingfeeling Feb 2012 #9
BanTheGOP Feb 2012 #14
Lydia Leftcoast Feb 2012 #15
ThoughtCriminal Feb 2012 #36
Spike89 Feb 2012 #20
Faryn Balyncd Feb 2012 #28
BootinUp Feb 2012 #42
JI7 Feb 2012 #21
notadmblnd Feb 2012 #23
Keystone Writer Feb 2012 #24
tanyev Feb 2012 #25
jwirr Feb 2012 #26
ProSense Feb 2012 #27
Fumesucker Feb 2012 #29
ProSense Feb 2012 #30
Fumesucker Feb 2012 #31
LineLineLineLineLineReply I
ProSense Feb 2012 #33
Fumesucker Feb 2012 #37
lumberjack_jeff Feb 2012 #32
ThoughtCriminal Feb 2012 #34
libodem Feb 2012 #35
0rganism Feb 2012 #38
raouldukelives Feb 2012 #39
JoePhilly Feb 2012 #41

Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 01:33 PM

1. yup; better-educated right-wingers have read books and bought into theories -- they're locked in.

and better able to argue their points and develop alternative justifications/rationales for their right-wing views.

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Response to unblock (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 08:06 AM

40. It helps that they have a "respectable" apparatus to reinforce themselves

Spin tanks to generate papers, "house" book publishers (e.g., Regnery) to put out books by their favored authors/propagandists, "insider" newsletters, FOX being actively propagandist and MSM with its own insider/centrist biases marking everything outside that as "radical left", etc.

It's tribalism, but it's also easy to be in that tribe. Getting constant "hits" makes it easy for them to never have to sober up.

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 01:39 PM

2. Conservative economics, e.g. "free trade", deregulation, tax cuts for the rich, are prime examples

of this dynamic.

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Response to Romulox (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 01:44 PM

4. "being 'Conservative'" has become a religion. It is a violation of the 1'st amendment to allow a

State sanctioned religion. Is it not?

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Response to Vincardog (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 02:01 PM

7. a religion of bigotry and greed

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 01:42 PM

3. The principle discussed here:

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 01:53 PM

5. Educated people vote for Democrats. Republicans with money buy a degree.

 

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Response to HopeHoops (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 02:38 PM

11. Yes. In what fields do these Republicans have their degrees?

Accounting? Business management? Marketing? Personnel management?

That makes a big difference.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #11)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 02:40 PM

12. You forgot lawyers. Money can buy anything.

 

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #11)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 05:52 PM

22. and engineers and IT leans libertarian

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Response to TheKentuckian (Reply #22)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 11:15 AM

43. Yes, but those "libertarians" vote Republican

I am a 60's liberal who finds it frustrating dealing with mostly white male engineers and IT techies who buy into the Ayn Rand and market economics BS.

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 01:57 PM

6. because their weak to their own temptations

...reality does not suit them well, so they make shit up in their own heads to justify their opinions on things they can't handle. These are ideological fanatics.

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 02:03 PM

8. I think that misses the mark

the conservative economist at, say the Heritage Foundation, does not push supply-side economics because they believe it (at least not necessarily). They push supply side economics because they are paid to do so by the people who reap great benefits from supply side economics. They could probably care less about the truth, or the facts. They have a job to do, and are probably making good money doing it.

As for educated conservatives. They are more likely to read and study than those without education, but WHAT are they reading and studying? I get regular updates from the CBPP. They get regular updates from the Heritage Foundation, the Tax Foundation, the Cato Institute, etc., etc. They read books by Arthur Laffer, not by Paul Krugman. They take classes taught by conservative economists.

So knowledge, such as it is, is going to be stubborn, because there are layers to it. First, the pre-suppositions, which are almost never examined, or questioned, and then layers of verification. Every book, every article read is like another brick in the wall. Well, you cannot knock over a wall with a snowball.

But rational argument, insofar as it is even used by the left, which often prefers to just insult and call names, can chip, chip away at the wall. Some walls will stand like the rock of Gibralter, and not trouble their beautful minds with any nonsense from the left, but some may crumble and fall before a factual assault.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #8)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 02:16 PM

10. rational argument, insofar as it is even used by the left, which often prefers to just insult and

call names" This meme in a thread about how Conservatives are resistant to having their beliefs challenged by FACTS?
you so funny

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Response to Vincardog (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 02:48 PM

13. Almost looks like performance art after a while, doesn't it?

Some folks just shouldn't be taken seriously.

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Response to gratuitous (Reply #13)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 05:06 PM

19. Oopsie; my bad

Apparently not taking some people seriously is a grave sin. It's a lovely set of clothes, Emperor!

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Response to Vincardog (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 03:24 PM

16. what is the thread though?

the thread is about insulting the other tribe. Calling them deluded, fact challenged. Unlike our glorious selves.

I also cannot help but fall before the relentless logic of your argument

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #16)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 05:02 PM

18. This thread is not about republicans being deluded and fact-challenged. Those are givens.



It's about the fact the more educated they are the more deluded and fact-challenged they are.

"Unlike our glorious selves." While Democrats are far from perfect, if anyone thinks that Democrats are more "deluded and fact-challenged than republicans, they should consider a change of party affiliation.

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 02:09 PM

9. I agree. All one has to do is be unfortunate enough to have a Tea Party

U.S. Rep. Every response I get to one of my letters proves the point that education had no effect on him.

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 03:17 PM

14. This is why the GOP is NOT a political party

 

This explains why the republican party is NOT a political entity by ANY means of human decency, and we must take it out completely....any way possible. I'm getting THISCLOSE to not even caring how it's done, even if it is "illegal". How can taking out murderous, racist, brutal thugs any way possible be ILLEGAL? Seriously...destroy the mofos...NOW!!!

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 03:23 PM

15. I just discovered that someone I knew at Yale and who didn't seem crazy at the time

lists Michelle Bachmann for President, Newsbusters, and Liberty Today--a national conservative newspaper, as her "likes."

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #15)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 12:19 AM

36. I yust got out!

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 05:44 PM

20. Belief and what you say aren't the same

I don't believe for a second that the more educated they become the more stupid they become. It makes so much more sense to say the more educated they become, the more likely they will answer questions in a manner that they believe will benefit themselves. In many cases, they simply like to tweak the system. A very few Republicans believe Obama is a Muslim, but a majority might like the idea of polls showing that people "believe" he is.
Here's an example that illustrates this...ask a random sample of 7-year old children if they believe in Santa, then ask a random sample of parents the same question after telling them that the children are likely to see the results. The kids will tell the truth, most don't truly believe by that age--the adults will fudge the survey.
Repugs know that if global warming is perceived as true, they will have to bend their ideology to deal with it. They know it exists, but if they lie, they hope a big portion of the uneducated repugs will believe. The repugs fudge the surveys.

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Response to Spike89 (Reply #20)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 11:31 PM

28. You've nailed it. Educated Republicans aren't more stupid (than less educated), but more are LIARS..



(like the rich candy stealers.)

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Response to Spike89 (Reply #20)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 08:30 AM

42. that was my initial take as well...nt

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 05:51 PM

21. What is their Education ? it could be like those Madrassas where they are "educated"

but only in certain things.

are these people going to religious type schools that don't teach science ?

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 06:18 PM

23. of course they do. They think they've learned and know everything

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 06:53 PM

24. Sometimes if feels like the better educated ones among the right-wing

 

feel it's their right to demonstrate that intelligence by taking advantage of others. In fact, it's their ability to "pull a fast one" that validates just how smart they really are.

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 07:35 PM

25. If they seek education, it is for the purpose of creating a mythology that will refute the facts.

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 07:57 PM

26. It could have a lot to do with goals. For the left wing economist trickedown did not work because

it is the cause of our inequality. But for the rw economist who is looking for a method to get rich regardless of what happens to anyone else it is working. And both ideas can be shown in statistics.

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 08:40 PM

27. That's

because the Republican/conservative goal is to prey. They use knowledge as a weapon against the least among us. By that I mean, instead of informing people, they set out to intentionally mislead. They look at the facts from every angle to devise distortions in a way that's not easily detectable.

They do it with every issue from the environment to the safety net.

A perfect example of this is the Koch Brothers and the teabaggers. They prey on the ignorant and perpetuate every lie to get a bunch of clueless people to do their dirty work.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #27)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 11:40 PM

29. I read sometime back that teabaggers are more educated than the general population..

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #29)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 11:58 PM

30. Those would

be the people who do the exploiting.

Poll Finds Tea Party Backers Wealthier and More Educated
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/15/us/politics/15poll.html?src=mv

These people have a vested interest in promoting ignorance.

The typical teabagger can't spell!

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Response to ProSense (Reply #30)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 12:07 AM

31. I know lots of college graduates that can't spell as well as I can..

I barely escaped got out of HS..

And yet..

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002357072

For Republicans, having a college degree didnít appear to make one any more open to what scientists have to say. On the contrary, better-educated Republicans were more skeptical of modern climate science than their less educated brethren. Only 19 percent of college-educated Republicans agreed that the planet is warming due to human actions, versus 31 percent of non-college-educated Republicans.

But itís not just global warming where the ďsmart idiotĒ effect occurs. It also emerges on nonscientific but factually contested issues, like the claim that President Obama is a Muslim. Belief in this falsehood actually increased more among better-educated Republicans from 2009 to 2010 than it did among less-educated Republicans, according to research by George Washington University political scientist John Sides.


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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #31)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 12:14 AM

33. I

agree with the point you cited from the OP. In my original comment, I offered what I think is behind their rejection of facts.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=358513

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Response to ProSense (Reply #33)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 12:23 AM

37. Practically everyone I know is a conservative..

And that's not the vibe I get from them, they actually believe what they say for the most part.

I was in the home of a neighbor recently, smart and educated guy who has two kids in Ivy league colleges and yet he had Sarah Palin's book on his bookshelf, not blatantly so but I always look at people's books as a way of understanding where they're coming from.

What I see more than anything is fundamentalist religion keeps them on the right, not every single conservative I know is a Bible Banger but it's the rare one who isn't.



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Response to pampango (Original post)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 12:11 AM

32. "debate isnít going to be won by rational argument"

In that case, it's necessary to win power and shove the consequences of their self-deception up their asses.

A person you can't argue with is a person whose opinion is irrelevant.

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 12:16 AM

34. That "Diploma" from "The University of Close Cover before Striking"

is worth less than the matches that came with the application form.

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 12:18 AM

35. It must be emotional

It is neither logical nor rational.

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 12:41 AM

38. you can't reason a person out of a position...

...not arrived at by reason in the first place.

"Winning the debate" against these neo-Calvinists was never about rational argument, it was always about the messaging, the money, and the appearance of power and the willingness to (ab)use it. Pity it's taken Democrats, especially academics, 4 decades to lock horns with this.

Bottom line: they were never interested in the facts to begin with, and the more they learn about rationality the more they despise it.

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 07:55 AM

39. I've known a few conservatives over the years

Who have changed positions on climate change after seeing first hand the effect on rainfall totals, unpredictable season changes, early blooming etc. These are for the majority not college educated people. Just people who know the land and the truth when they look at the trees dying off at an ever increasing rate.
On the other hand I could see how more educated conservatives who probably inhabit cities and metro areas wouldn't see or even be able to see the existing damage and can nowhere comprehend the writing on the wall which so many people connected with the earth can plainly see and dread. The only concern they have is for better returns, better investments, better drivers of growth that are swiftly leading us over the precipice and leaving our children with bitter memories of what could have been.

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 08:26 AM

41. I know one of those guys.

He voted for Bush twice, and regretted it once it became totally and completely clear that the Iraq war was a giant distraction. His guilt caused him to start calling himself independent (libertarian leaning), and in 2008, he voted for Obama, reluctantly.

Now, he looks at the GOP candidates and its clear her really wants to go back to Republican, but his choices suck. He recently said that he'd probably vote for Romney. When asked why, he can't explain it.

He tried to take various attacks against Obama, some framed from the right, some framed from the left to claim that Obama isn't doing enough. When I challenge him on his attacks that come from the left, asking him how Romney would be further to the left than Obama on that topic, he can't indicate how, but he continues to say Obama is "ineffective".

He says "Obama is bad for business" ... I remind him the DOW is up 5000 point under Obama. He moves on.

He says "Stimulus was too small" ... I point out that we've had 23 months of job growth under Obama and we were hemeraging jobs before. He moves on.

He says "Not tough enough on Iran" ... I point out that war with Iran would be worse than Iraq. He moves on.

He says "Gas prices" ... I point out that Obama's being tough on Iran, which is causing gas prices to go up via speculation. And then I indicate that war with Iran would cause gas prices to really go up. He moves on.

He says "Auto bailout not the government's job" ... I point out that it saved the UA auto industry. Which is good for America. Bottom line, it worked. He moves on.

He's smart enough to know every attack which works when he talks to the uninformed. But with me, he fails.

Finally, I said this ... "Osama Bin Laden is Dead, GM and Chrysler are Alive". At which point his wife (a Democrat) laughed and said to him "give it up".

I said "but wait ... we haven't gotten to trans vaginal ultra sounds" ... And then she really laughed at him.

He's smart, and he is so tied to the ideology that all he needs is ONE reason to vote GOP, even if its weak ... and he will.

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