Profound Giftedness, Conservatism, and “Crank Magnetism”

Cover for Profoundly Gifted Survival Guide

I had several realizations after a friend mentioned that profoundly gifted individuals are often very, very conservative. (Not to mention suddenly being much more at peace with my three failed attempts at a Ph.D.) What I did not understand was that my being profoundly gifted and being very, very conservative are not two unrelated things in my case; there’s a connection.

It might be going too far to adapt Churchill to say, “Anybody who has an IQ of 140 and is not a liberal has no heart; anybody who has an IQ of 180 and is not a conservative has no stem.” It is possible to be profoundly gifted and be liberal or radical, although here I would suggest that we are not talking about people drinking the Kool-Aid; we are talking about people doing pioneering, radical work on tomorrow’s formula.

There are a range of standard recruiting techniques to make liberals in television and in education, in journalism presenting Hillary Clinton at her most photogenic and in portraying bad, unphotogenic still images for Donald Trump, for making Dan Quayle, George W. Bush, and Sarah Palin consistently dismissively stereotyped as stupid, and so on and so forth. They work for those not moderately gifted, but profoundly gifted see right through them, at least after enough growth.

This much explains to me why profoundly gifted might not be sucked into even very little liberalism. Why profoundly gifted in general (as opposed to me personally) might be highly conservative is not entirely clear, as the distinction is valid. In my own case, I have homed in to a conservative position in general.

There is a concept of “crank magnetism” that says that people who acquire crank beliefs tend to acquire more of them. Some of them I don’t understand why people would want to associate with them. The “moon hoax” assertion has one objection I’ve never heard anyone answer: the U.S.S.R. had every vested interest, and competency, in exposing a U.S. hoax landing on the moon. I also, having stepped in white nationalism in my Facebook feed (I wondered why there were fantasies that a black felon who brutally assaulted an elderly white woman would have been lynched—sorry, under U.S. jurisprudence, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin themselves are entitled to fair, speedy, and judicial trials; my Facebook feed also sprouted pictures with Nazi flags and a boy about to be hanged), found the presentation of white nationalism as a new thing that deserves new consideration to be a standard liberal-style “Try it again for the first time!” But the flipside of crank magnetism is what might be called “standard model magnetism,” and profoundly gifted are set free from standard model magnetism.

Perhaps looking for more of an explanation is looking for an explanation that does not exist.

Author: C.J.S. Hayward

C.J.S. Hayward is an Orthodox author and Renaissance man with master's degrees bridging math and computers (UIUC) and theology and philosophy (Cambridge). His most prized work is what he writes in Eastern Orthodox, Christian theology and apologetics. Readers of apologists like C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton and Peter Kreeft, contemporary Orthodox authors such as Met. KALLISTOS Ware, and classic authors like St. John Chrysostom will find much food for spiritual reflection.