2009 February 05 Thursday
Dumber People Want More Government

Audacious Epigone takes a look at the General Social Surveys data to find that dimmer bulbs are more likely to favor more government intervention and ownership of industry.

In each of the three response pools, the percentage of people saying the government should control the respective industry is small, on the order of 3% to 5%. When it comes to financial services, the intelligence gap is minor. For manufacturing industries, it is more distinct. But the trend is consistent--duller people are more likely to favor government intervention into private industry than more intelligent people are.

Libertarians who support open borders need to come to grips with the fact that they are stoking the fires of government intervention into the economy.

This is bad news for libertarians and free marketeers since AudEpig also finds that dumber people are breeding like rabbits. This brings to mind the Harvey Danger Flagpole Sitter lyrics "That only stupid people are breeding. The cretins cloning and feeding".

He also finds that skinny conservative religious girls are less likely to cheat on their spouses. Why does skinniness help? Less sex drive?

Get a girl you're interested in to tell you all her thoughts on God and the President. Other things equal, find a conservative girl who loves Jesus (and probably her mom and daddy, too). The same advice applies to women seeking husbands. The firmer his theism is, the less likely he is to run around on you.

His GSS posts all make for enlightening reading.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 February 05 11:38 PM  Economics Human Weakness


Comments
Some wordy bastard said at February 6, 2009 7:45 AM:

During good times dumb people proliferate. During bad times there are cutbacks.

We are in bad times now,

kurt9 said at February 6, 2009 9:51 AM:

Obviously libertarianism can work IF AND ONLY IF you have a populace composed of self-reliant, self-starter types. If you do not have these kind of people in your society, then you have to use another system.

Some people use this as an argument against libertarianism. These people have it the wrong way around. This is a libertarian argument against open immigration.


Audacious Epigone said at February 6, 2009 5:30 PM:

Kurt9,

Some people use this as an argument against libertarianism. These people have it the wrong way around. This is a libertarian argument against open immigration.

Very well put. Intelligence does not appear to positively correlate with any undesirable social attribute so far as I am able to tell, with the exception of low fertility, to the extent that it is considered undesirable. Yet as Randall has pointed out, many libertarians downplay the importance of IQ (and nature differences generally) or even that increasing the ranks of those with lower intelligence is good for a society's quality of life.

My perception is that intelligent people tend to make socially desirable choices without prodding or incentive more often than less intelligent people do, so that a high IQ society does not have to trade much away for high levels of personal liberty, while lower IQ societies must. Packaging it your way looks like a nice approach to take.

Randall Parker said at February 6, 2009 7:01 PM:

Some wordy bastard,

Where's your evidence that the number of dummies has stopped growing now? I doubt their fertility rate varies all that much between recessions and boom times. But I haven't read any good evidence on this question.

DMV Sucks! said at February 7, 2009 9:54 AM:

Some Wordy Bastard and Randall Parker,
The fertility rate of dummies remains unchanged during hard times. Welfare keeps flowing no matter what the economic times are. There are less contributors and more takers each and every day. Eventually, it will destroy the country. It is probably too late already. Believe me, I was just at the DMV.

Some wordy bastard said at February 7, 2009 10:08 AM:

Seemingly I was not wordy enough.

In the long run! After all, Rome is no longer with us, is it.

RKU said at February 7, 2009 1:11 PM:

Actually, I think the relationship between intelligence levels and support for more government intervention is much more complex than presented, and also confused by other partially-correlated personality traits.

For example, consider Northern Europe and Scandinavia in particular. By any reasonable measure, it's one of the highest-intelligence zones of the world, second only to East Asia. But it's also one of the regions with the highest traditions of large governmental involvement in everything, including the economy. (And very high intelligence East Asia (Japan+China) is even more that way.

I'd guess that one important factor is the very high degree of cultural (and genetic?) altruism in those Northernmost parts of Europe. That tends to ensure that the local Big Governments are competently and honestly run and not just filled with thieves and criminals (as seems largely the case with our own "Big Government"). For example, I'd have enormously more confidence in our own ongoing multi-trillion-dollar bailout of the American financial system if we imported a few thousand Swedes to actually design and implement it!

Audacious Epigone said at February 7, 2009 5:27 PM:

RKU,

Ceteris paribus, members of ethnically homogenuous societies are more likely to support government assistance to the poor. That's part of the reason whites in Vermont are more supportive of wealth transfers than whites in Mississippi or Alabama are. I highly doubt any Swede would be able to model a governmental structure for New Orleans that works half as well as it does in Vasteras. Also, keep in mind the differences, both in average estimated IQ and the level of economic freedom, between the US and Denmark or Finland are pretty small. Those northern European countries are still more market-oriented than most of the rest of the world. I suspect the trend in support is similar in those countries, too, with the more intelligent tending to favor less government intervention. Russia is a historically special case, but there are people far more qualified than myself who've detailed that.

The Undiscovered Jew said at February 7, 2009 6:46 PM:

I doubt their fertility rate varies all that much between recessions and boom times. But I haven't read any good evidence on this question.

According to the CDC final birth data for 2006, the white TFR rose from 1.77 in the mid 90's to 1.865 in 2006 - but the absolute number of white births has fallen. Since the mid 90's black TFR has fallen from about 2.5 to 2.1 in 2006 in addition to a decline in the absolute number of black American births during this time period.

So it looks like low IQ populations can see big decreases in TFR provided that immigration is shut off to prevent new problem cases from immigrating in.

Steve Sailer notes that second generation Hispanics in the US have a TFR of 2.4 babies and 2.1 by the third generation.

Kudzu Bob said at February 7, 2009 6:52 PM:

Perhaps Some wordy bastard has it right. When the number of smart people drops below a certain critical threshold then technical society perforce breaks down, like in some dystopian science fiction novel, and the dummies starve in the ruins. With survival now much more problematic, will the numbers of smart people begin to increase again, as perhaps happened during other population bottlenecks, and the cycle begin anew? What a dreary thought.


Randall Parker said at February 7, 2009 8:04 PM:

RKU,

I suspect that we minimize government somewhere on a continuum between high and low ethnic homogeneity. At very high homogeneity we get more government due to genetic impulses toward altruism. But if we decrease homogeneity somewhat we curb that tendency. However, if we keep going along toward higher and higher heterogeneity eventually the lower performing ethnic groups become big enough voting blocs that Robin Hood government kicks in with a vengeance.

Obviously, what happens at either extreme depends on the ethnic groups in question. Not all ethnic groups in homogeneous societies support a welfare state. The Swedes must have something else going on. Maybe the cold weather selects for stronger cooperation?

HellKaiserRyo said at February 7, 2009 10:02 PM:

Randall,

I also suppose that countries such as Hong Kong do not have democracy. That is one reason why they do not have a large welfare state and have a high gini coefficient.

Well... Randall... you know this as well as I do: the United States is a plutocracy. (And as far as I am concerned, Obama did not promote any anti-plutocracy policies recently.) Good luck trying to successfully promote your anti-immigration agenda in a plutocracy as this helps the elite arbitrage wages. I am not a right-winger, but I rather pick my enemies, and you and Tom Tancredo are good enemies who would promote policies that would be beneficial to a welfare state. The plutocracy does not have such proposals which benefit the welfare state in any realistic way.

Regarding plutocracy:

http://www.princeton.edu/~bartels/economic.pdf

Bob Badour said at February 8, 2009 12:35 PM:

"Dumber People Want More Government"

Perhaps not surprisingly, the sentiment appears mutual.

JANET said at March 26, 2009 6:14 PM:

HEY STUPID, WHEN YOUR BANK FAILS WHO WILL COME TO YOUR STUPID AID, THE TOOTH FAIRY. YOU BETTER HOPE YOUR GOVERNMENT IS THERE TO RESCUE YOUR DUMB ASS. OH MAYBE YOU HAVE A RICH UNCLE THAT JUST LOVES YOU TO DEATH, WELL HOORAY FOR YOU. WATCH OUT WHAT YOU WISH FOR, YOU MAY GET IT. ALSO REMEMBER THAT 17% FOR YOUR FAIR TAX IS A JOKE. IT WILL EVENTUALLY EAT YOU UP, AND YOU WILL NEED TO FIND JOB 2 AND 3 AND 4 JUST TO PAY YOUR FAIR TAX. COM'ON GET REAL. THE FAIR TAX WILL START TAXING YOU ON YOUR RENT AND A 100,000 DOLLAR HOSPITAL BILL WILL CAUSE YOU TO PAY A 23,000 DOLLAR COPAY. STOP LISTENING TO THESE DUMM BASTARDS.


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