Monday, April 04, 2005


I was just having a nice walk & talk with Johan, and we started talking about differences between the two political poles in America. Johan brought up the oft-cited statistic that the higher their education level, the more likely people are to vote liberal.

I have to say, as a liberal, it's quite an alluring argument, and it would be nice to be able to just accept it out of hand. But I've heard this statistic thrown around a lot, and I have always felt a little uneasy about it for a number of reasons. I don't think, for one thing, that education level and graduate degrees correlate necessarily to intelligence. I met idiots at Lafayette. Seriously, full-blown idiots. And I've met much smarter people who never went to college. But barring my own personal experience, I wasn't able to figure out exactly where the logical gap in the argument lay.

But tonight I found it. The argument assumes a causality that it cannot prove. No matter how alluring the argument may be, you can't prove that greater intelligence objectively makes one lean more toward a liberal worldview. It could be the other way around; in other words, the world of higher education has more appeal and draw to people with liberal mindsets, and as such people with higher degrees are predominantly liberal.

I'm not saying that either one is true; I'm saying that neither one has convincing evidence to back it up, and as such, I can't use it as an argument anymore, much as I'd like to be able to.

Conservatives, feel free to use that one to discredit that argument. I'm just here trying to be an object lesson in my call to everyone out there to examine and test their own beliefs and arguments, to see how they hold up.