Now we get to a finding that sounds more tendentious than it is: smarter people are more liberal. […]

[…] But the key qualification is that the escalator of reason predicts only that intelligence should be correlated with classical liberalism, which values the autonomy and well-being of individuals over the constraints of tribe, authority, and tradition. Intelligence is expected to correlate with classical liberalism because classical liberalism is itself a consequence of the interchangeability of perspectives that is inherent to reason itself. Intelligence need not correlate with other ideologies that get lumped into contemporary left-of-center political coalitions, such as populism, socialism, political correctness, identity politics, and the Green movement.

This excerpt is from The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker (page 662 in the hardcover, if you’re curious). I still have quite a lot left to read, but so far I’m finding it pretty interesting.

This passage also demonstrates why I try to be careful about specifying classical liberal and refer to the modern conception of the term as “left.” Even Pinker is careful to specify what he means the few times it’s mentioned.

Nicholas Lindley