Rich Liberals Vs Conservatives w/ Author David Callahan

In this interview, David Callahan’s view intrigues me.

He is arguing that the liberal rich has been smaller in recent decades than the conservative rich. However, supposedly with the growing technology industry and the knowledge economy, there has been a growing liberal rich. These wealthy liberals are highly educated and got their wealth through entrepreneurship. It’s an interesting argument. Entrepreneurs are more likely to be liberal whereas old money and established corporations are likely to be conservative.

Over the last half century or so, the conservative rich created a massive infrastructure of conservative media, think tanks, lobbyist groups, and astro-turf movements. Liberals, on the other hand, have been very lacking in organization. But this apparently has been changing this last decade. I’d probably say it’s the internet that has been a boon for liberals because the internet makes it easier to do grassroots bottom-up organization which is where liberals excel. The argument, however, is that the internet has boomed along with the wealth of the liberals who started businesses in this sector. So, there was the introduction of tools for grassroots organization at the same time new money was funding liberal organizations and media.

It still seems liberals aren’t quite organized in a lock-step way as is seen among conservatives, but definitely a shift has happened.

The shift the author sees is in that the upper class is shifting away from the Republican party. “The upper class is becoming more educated, more secular, more based in urban America (particularly on the coasts). And the Republican party is becoming more religious, more based in small town America, and becoming less educated.” This argument seems supported by the evidence showing the average IQ of Republicans has decreased since a high point during Reagan’s administration.

6 thoughts on “Rich Liberals Vs Conservatives w/ Author David Callahan

  1. Interesting post and an even more interesting ending. Your post was informative and I liked your commentary so I wonder why you chose that ending? Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • I ended with that comment because the author made a point which related to a topic I had researched in the past.

      I think it was quite significant that the Republican party at one point had a higher average IQ than the Democratic party and since then it’s decreased. This is particularly significant considering that the present Democratic party includes both the demographic with the highest IQ and the demographic with the lowest IQ. Of course, IQ is a complex issue, but I think the general shift is meaningful.

      It seems to me that the southern strategy and the culture wars have turned away from the Republican party many high IQ and highly educated people. There is nothing inherent about the Republican party that requires it to have an average IQ lower than Democrats. It’s completely possible that Republicans could change their strategy and start attracting smart people again, but they don’t seem interested in changing strategy.

      This relates to another issue I learned of recently. Supposedly both parties used to each have a right and left wing. The Democratic party remains to this day to be evenly split between liberals and conservatives, but the Republican party has become almost exclusively conservative. Earlier last century, this wasn’t the case. Goldwater was a well intentioned guy, but he ended up pushing out many liberals and moderates from the Republican party.

      I don’t know what it all means, but I find it fascinating that a shift happened in the past and now a new shift seems to be happening.

      • And where did you get that made up data from? Pew Research just came out with a study that shows the opposite. Liberals are really narcissistic I’ve noticed.

        • Hello George – I’d suggest you dig a bit deeper and look more widely. The issue is complex with many factors. There is a lot of research and diverse sources of data.

          I assume you’re referring to to the Pew news IQ quiz. Well, it technically isn’t an IQ test. It merely measures how well informed people are about news factoids from the mainstream news, specifically political news factoids as I recall.

          This survey says a lot less than at first glance.

          It certainly doesn’t measure IQ. It doesn’t even measure how well people understand those factoids nor how capable people are in analyzing and contextualizing those factoids.

          It doesn’t measure how well informed people are about information from alternative news sources (which would be significant since liberals have the highest rates of alternative news sources). It doesn’t measure how well informed people are about other more specific areas of knowledge, from economic theory to international policy.

          I know that other data offers a more nuaced picture.

          There is the actual IQ issue. Democrats include the highest IQ demographic (i.e., liberals); and despite also including the lowest IQ demographic (i.e., the poor), the average Democrat has a higher IQ than the average Republican. In correlation with IQ, liberals are among the most highly educated and most well informed.

          From a different perspective, psychological research offers complicating data. Conservatives are more prone to confirmation bias with political issues, although not necessarily with non-political issues. This might give insight to why the most informed Republicans and conservatives are also the most misinformed (what is known as the smart idiot effect).

          Part of the confusion here is trying to make sense across all this data. Different things are being measured. Also, how people are grouped can be significantly different.

          Not all Democrats are liberal. In fact, minority and working class Democrats tend to be very conservative and religious.

          There is also an important distinction between supporting liberal policies and self-identifying as liberal. The average American doesn’t self-identify as liberal, despite supporting many liberal policies (along with some far left policies).

          I won’t offer you any links here because I’ve already written several lengthy and detailed posts. In those posts, I show the data, I quote experts, I provid links, and I cite sources. Just do a search in my blog using search terms such as ‘IQ’, ‘confirmation bias’, and ‘smart idiot’. You could also do a search looking for the names Jonathan Haidt and Chris Mooney.

    • Wealth and intelligence are generally considered positive traits. Anyone, including Republicans, should be concerned to see certain positive traits decreasing in their favored group.

      I don’t identify as a Democrat, but I do identify as a liberal. Liberals are the demographic with the highest IQ and highest education. If liberals were shown to be decreasing in these areas, I’d be very concerned about either why intelligent people are leaving liberalism or else why less intelligent people are joining liberalism.

      Likewise, if I were a Republican or a conservative, I’d definitely be concerned about the trends in the data. There really is no advantage in turning away highly educated people from your party, especially when those highly educated people are also highly rich. Holding onto the Republican base of social conservatives and Christian fundamentlaists at all costs might in the end turn out to be too high of a cost.

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