If they were, they wouldn’t instinctively give the most self-serving answer (read the comments):

hzwerling Somerville, MA 20 hours ago

Maybe it is because the “highly educated” accept scientific facts as facts, and objective data as reality, and that this information rational leads them to conclude that an inclusive, diverse and liberal society is the best way to build a functional and stable society for the long run.

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D. DeMarco Baltimore, MD 20 hours ago

Why are the highly educated so liberal?

BECAUSE they are highly educated.

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Socrates is a trusted commenter Downtown Verona, NJ 23 hours ago

“Some of the draw of Donald Trump for white working-class male voters, for example, is that he does not speak in a ‘culture of critical discourse’. Indeed, he mocks that culture, tapping into class resentments.”

Actually, what Trump is tapping into is old-fashioned, traditional ‘conservative’ stupidity and the proud badges of ignorance that have made the Republican political world go round and round for 50 years.

“I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any honorable Gentleman will question it.”

– John Stuart Mill, in a Parliamentary debate with the Conservative MP, John Pakington, May 31, 1866.”

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/76179-i-did-not-mean-that-conservatives-…

Even Bobby Jindal said the Republicans have to stop being the ‘Party of Stupid’.

Nothing offends Republistan like an educated and intelligent voter.

Dumb It Down, Democrats…and America will be your political oyster !

Reply 480Recommend

W.A. Spitzer is a trusted commenter Faywood 23 hours ago

Steeped in science and expert knowledge, it embraced a “culture of critical discourse.” Evidence and logic were valued;…..And what happens when evidence and logic are not valued? Trump.

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Deborah Ithaca ny 20 hours ago

I followed this essay through its twists and turns, and wondered where it would finally land.

Was glad when it acknowledged the feminist revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, which was grounded in the availability of effective birth control. That social and medical revolution changed the country and introduced a lot of vocal, liberated gals into the political arena.

I was then amused to read that the author, Mr. Gross, recommended Liberals be much more patient with males who don’t like these crews of uppity women. He suggested that it would be best to compromise, to be nicer and more understanding, in order to win future general elections.

Here is my message for Mr. Gross.

Yes. The country has changed. Yes, Republicans don’t like it. Yes, well-educated women expect to speak and be heard. OK, your criticism is fair … we can be self-righteous and preachy and condescending. And one of us (you know her name) often wears pantsuits when speaking to crowds. Eek!

I love those pantsuits. They’re practical. They look comfortable.

I do hope we old girls and our daughters and sisters and liberal allies will fight. And fight. And fight. Resist institutionalized misogyny (have you listened to Donald Trump? Hey, he loves women … even after they’ve been in car accidents, so long as they’ve still got really good breasts). And then fight some more.

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SomebodyThinking USA 19 hours ago

It’s pretty obvious “Why Are the Highly Educated So Liberal”, and the answer is in the question. A high level of education requires the ability to take in information from all sources, and form opinions based vetted facts not anecdotes and prejudices.

There is a reason why the right has developed it’s own own media and news organizations – the ideas of the hard right don’t hold up under the reasoned questioning of the “mainstream media”.

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Look Ahead is a trusted commenter WA 21 hours ago

There are reasons that higher education is a political differentiator.

One is that the exposure to different times and ideas reduces the reliance on direct observation to understand the world. Many ideas, from the Marshall Plan to climate science to vaccination, rely on social and science concepts that do not flow readily from immediate experience. The idea of helping an enemy responsible for killing tens of millions to rebuild and reorder their society required a sophisticated view of human social, economic and political behavior.

Another related reason is that education tends to moderate tribalism and orientation toward authority. The political rhetoric on the Right today is uniformly about “us vs them”. Trump supporters really don’t care about the practical impact of his ideas, only that he can hammer the despised opposition.

It takes only a modest knowledge of history to understand that this kind of mob behavior leads to very bad outcomes in the long run.

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Josh Hill is a trusted commenter New London 21 hours ago

You get to the meat of the matter when you point to the Republican Party’s shift to the right. Not only has it moved far to the right, it has adopted an irrational, anti-intellectual philosophy that is anathema to anyone with an education and a brain, and rejected even the pretense of rationality, collegiality, and adherence to the truth.

Only the uneducated or the hopelessly ideological believe that global warming is a hoax, that the Affordable Care Act has been a disaster, that President Obama is incompetent or has dramatically increased the size of government. Only the uneducated or the hopelessly ideological believe that the gay marriage will harm society, that we should ban Muslims from the country, or that at at a time of widening income gaps we need more tax cuts for the rich.

In its lust for power, the GOP long ago gave up the pretense of principle or objectivity. Rather than standing for rational small government or social conservatism, it raced to the bottom of the gutter in an attempt to convince the working class to vote against its own interests. Not only do few educated people now support it, but most look upon it with horror and contempt.

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Christine McMorrow is a trusted commenter Waltham, MA 17 hours ago

” the perception that conservatives are anti-science, anti-intellectual etc……”

Perception? I really think at this point we can find a better word than that. How about replacing it with “reality”?

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Vesuviano Los Angeles, CA 20 hours ago

The “perception” that conservatives are anti-intellectual, hostile to science and at war with the university?

Perception my eye! Conservatives have been that way going back to the Renaissance. It was a conservative organization, the Catholic Church, that burned Giordano Bruno at the stake for daring to say that the earth went around the sun. And today it is conservatives that deny man-made climate change.

It’s conservatives again who want to maintain the fairy-tale version of American History, with God-given Manifest Destiny guiding the courageous (and white) settlers to take their land from the savage Indians.

This is not perception, and it’s silly to say it is.

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Voiceofamerica United States 19 hours ago

While liberals totally dominate every single intellectual and creative field on earth, they will always be at a massive political disadvantage in the US, where stupid people outnumber smart people at about 1000 to 1.

Reply 183Recommend

mancuroc is a trusted commenter Rochester, NY 21 hours ago

“…..he thought the intelligentsia might be tempted to put its own interests ahead of the marginalized groups for whom it often claimed to speak.”

I think this is precisely the trap the Democratic Party has fallen into. It mirrors the attitudes of this constituency while neglecting, if not totally abandoning, the interests of the less fortunate. This group grew up socially and economically liberal. It stayed that way socially, which costs it nothing, but the wealth it accumulated made it more economically conservative and less empathetic, more individualistic and less community minded.

So, surprise surprise, the Dems’ opinion leaders embrace Third Way nonsense, seeing compromise with the Republicans on just how much to cut Social Security and Medicare, safety net programs and even infrastructure spending. They had no compunction in neglecting the interests of those jobs are put at risk by technology, offshoring and outsourcing, or those who earn less than a living wage, because they aren’t the ones who make campaign contributions. Enter Bernie Sanders to remind the Democratic Party of its New Deal, egalitarian roots. Even if he is not nominated, the party will ignore what he says at its peril.

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R. Teixeira Palo Alto, CA 19 hours ago

Citizens with graduate degrees are trained to think critically and analytically. They are resourceful researchers and can draw upon a vast amount of knowledge to create a baseline, a model, if you will, upon which to weight the issues and draw solid conclusions. They are not easily swayed by facile arguments or political slogans. They are skeptical and can patiently wait on the sidelines collecting information until they take a stance.

Ergo, they are liberals.

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Capt. Penny Silicon Valley 9 hours ago

Interesting perspective, but I suggest it happened differently.

Starting with Nixon, social wedge issues were used by the GOP to separate the Democratic working class voters from the Democratic Party. Kevin Phillips literally wrote the book on how this could work. Lee Atwater and Karl Rove perfected it.

Over time these wedges were locked in place and reinforced with AM talk radio. The GOP was able to use the economic power of the 1/100th of 1% to persuade working stiffs to not trust Democrats.

As a result, the GOP could easily put in place restrictions business interests wanted. These affected unions, work benefits, factory closings, elimination of import duties, class action lawsuits, workplace safety, pollution, equal pay, and myriad other business advantages that were completely unrelated to the social issues that drew the working class voters.

For most of the period the entire GOP was united in opposition and a few of the Democrats in swing districts followed long as “Blue Dog Democrats.”

I’m not saying I like it, but even today the white, male, blue-collar worker is mad as hell but blaming minorities, women, immigrants, undocumented – everyone but the guys at the top who create the rules that steal from them.

In Reply to mancuroc Reply 153Recommend

SPQR Michigan 20 hours ago

The highly educated are usually the least religious, and yet–counter-intuitively–they seem to have much more empathy for the poor and powerless. Just compare the Democrats and Republicans in terms of support for wealth redistribution and for legislation to provide and protect the weakest and poorest of our society. The more educated favor trying to analyse societal problems and fix them, while the less educated tend to write off all manner of inequalities as “God’s Will” and devote themselves to selfish materialism.

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pulsation CT 20 hours ago

Education broadens the mind. Isn’t that the definition of being a liberal?

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marieizm Mount Vernon, NY 19 hours ago

There’s no need to label people liberal or conservative–people are either honest, informed critical thinkers, compassionate or they are not.

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Alan Poitiers, France 20 hours ago

Pretty obvious that being intelligent and educated – that is being able to think for yourself – does not lead you to become a republican.

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Upstater Binghamton NY 20 hours ago

Dr. Gross, you did not answer the question posed by the title of your article. I can only speak from my own experience (from a working class family, and with a Ph.D. in American History). From what I’ve observed from friends and mentors, highly educated people are taught not simply critical discourses. They are taught how to seek answers. They are taught how to dig, how to do research, and how to constantly question every source of information and every opinion. Mostly they are taught that objective answers are not possible, as every source of information is a selection of what that author thinks their audience needs to know. When I read the news and I want to verify the “truth,” I dig.

I also think that my education and training in history has shown me patterns: the powerful will always try to undermine anything that curtails their constant thirst for more power, more money. just MORE. At the very brink of the collapse of the planet, they will still be demanding more. Where has that gotten us as a species, and throughout the various civilizations that have come and gone? It’s gotten us where we are right now. That’s why I’m a liberal.

Reply 113Recommend

NYT Pick
A. Stanton Dallas, TX 20 hours ago

“Why Are the Highly Educated So Liberal?”
They are not. They merely pretend to be. They harbor many of the same class, racial and religious prejudices that lesser-educated conservatives do. They merely hid their prejudices better. They live in their own neighborhoods, work in the same places, send their children to the same schools and read the same newspapers. Show me 100 highly-educated liberals, and I will you show you 95 who possess deeply conservative attitudes about many things and are no slouches when it comes to harboring prejudices against blacks, Jews, gays, etc.

Reply 100Recommend

sfdphd is a trusted commenter San Francisco 17 hours ago

I remember being a child and wondering why the smart people were not in charge of everything. I asked a smart person I knew and she said “There’s not enough smart people in the world and not enough education for the ignorant. The world has mostly stupid uneducated people and smart educated people have to accept that they are in the minority. You will always be frustrated by this situation.”

I am an adult now and I’m still frustrated by being in this minority group. HELP!

Reply 90Recommend

Mark Thomason is a trusted commenter Clawson, Mich 22 hours ago

There is more explanation to be found in a closer look at the professions with those advanced degrees.

Lawyers are much as they always were, defined by their clientele, the side they are generally on, and their political connections and aspirations. Public defenders will be one way, and the banks’ foreclosure attorneys another.

MD’s are predictable where it touches on their professional skill, like public health issues, but they are as vicious and back stabbing to each other on money matters as anybody could be. Just see how they treat each other in a Medical Clinic practice. Many are like that about money in politics too.

Engineers tend to take an engineer’s view of problem solving. They approach governing problems the same way, and that can often seem liberal. However, they also tend to be linked in politics and money to whomever signs their paychecks.

The pattern is professionals apply their professional skill to problems, but then get as selfish as anyone about their own money and position.

I’m one of them, so are many of my friends with whom I talk politics, and I have no illusions of enlightenment from among them, but a doctor will think better than most about public health, and an engineer about highways.

They also don’t especially get along. They like to be leaders. Again, check how doctors behave running a clinic or hospital, or lawyers of any side running their own lawfirm.

Reply 90Recommend

NYT Pick
Elizabeth Seattle 8 hours ago

Not everyone who is highly educated has different interests from the poor. Many of us were once poor and want to help those like ourselves–even if it means our own children won’t have an advantage. We are not rich but we are doing well. We are educated but started in community colleges, and how have several degrees and work in tech, education, and science.

Perhaps the missing link here is that when social programs work for people (as they did for me in childhood), those helped want to help others.

It’s not so hard to imagine that.

Reply 84Recommend

Menenius Agrippa Colorado Springs 20 hours ago

“Evidence and logic were valued; appeals to traditional sources of authority were not”: There it is in a nutshell.

“Some of the draw of Donald Trump for white working-class male voters… is that he does not speak in a culture of critical discourse. Indeed, he mocks that culture, tapping into class resentments”: Stating the obvious?

Put it another way: Many, MANY conservative Americans simply don’t trust that new-fangled book-larnin’. They prefer a good con artist to a smartypants. And that is Trump’s edge.

Reply 84Recommend

Pinehills Albany, NY 20 hours ago

For their part, the Republicans have fetishized ignorance, and this might be comprehensible if it were solely realpolitik: but, no, it is almost an aesthetic–ignorance for the sake of ignorance.

Reply 80Recommend

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