Ed West Ed West

Are Remainers brighter than Brexiteers?

Are Leavers thicker than Remainers? The short answer is: yes. At least, on average. That’s according to a paper analysing voters on both sides of the godawful Brexit referendum, which says that: ‘When compared with Remain voters, Leave voters displayed significantly lower levels of numeracy, reasoning and appeared more reliant on impulsive ‘System 1’ thinking.’

Now obviously I voted Leave and I’m super-duper clever, but this is not remotely surprising; June 23 was effectively a vote on globalisation, which favours the more intelligent and educated at the expense of the less gifted. When rising sea levels turn our little ponds into great lakes, the big fish are going to benefit a great deal more. Globalism has also come to be seen as a high-status belief system, something Christopher Lasch foresaw in his prophetic The Revolt of the Elites, writing that the ruling class were escaping from their traditional ties and obligations towards the rest of society and becoming less rooted. Among high-status people – not necessarily on the Left – nationalism began to be seen as vulgar and proletarian.

The aristocracy have always been more international – the occasional French name among English toffs is a remnant of this – and mobility has always correlated with social status. In London in recent years we’ve had the phenomenon of postcode killings – teenage boys murdered by other teenage boys because they come from the wrong area. People at the very lowest social strata are extremely immobile and loyal to their area.

On top of this, it has been shown consistently that intelligence correlates with both economic and social liberalism. It’s why previous studies in America showed about a three to four IQ point advantage among Republicans over Democrats; although I imagine that may have shrunk now, as Trump acquired more working-class voters at the expense of the college educated.

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