Do Conservatives Lack Critical Thinking Skills?

Posted by on October 8, 2011

In my opinion, yes. In an unscientific study (conducted by yours truly), it has been theorized that the farther right one leans, the more one loses their critical thinking abilities. On numerous occasions I have attempted to have a debate with a conservative. The following is the most recent example of an attempted debate with a tea party member from my home town, Rockford, IL. I should have realized it was very unfair of me to have a battle of wits with an unarmed individual.

While on a social network site, a friend of mine posted a comment made by her Rockford Tea group. The comment, in it's entirety read:

90,000 Residents of Winnebago County are on Food stamps. We only have 250,000 residents of the county.

Then, perhaps thinking that wasn't invoking enough fear, he updated the status to this:

Folks I think we may just be on the verge of a depression. I found out today that there are 90,000 people in Winnebago County on food stamps. We only have 250,000 people in Winnebego County.

[--YIKES!!! I'm really glad I live in Winnebago county instead of this Winnebego County! OK. OK. Pardon my snarky comment.--]

That number didn't sound right to me, so I visited the US Census Bureau's website. I also searched through various sites, taking careful time to check who was behind each domain and fact checking numbers and I could not come up with the above horrifying numbers. Instead, according to the US 2010 Census, I did discover that Winnebago County actually has 295,266 residents. Also, we have 22,643 residents on food stamps.

According to a local news source, as of August 2010, the average family receives $296 dollars per month.

I decided to message this person, in hopes of enlightening him to my findings on these factual numbers. Oh boy. Instead, I was hit with:

Where did you find these numbers? I was told this number by an official with Winnebego County today. If I have this wrong I would like to have it right and will be more than happy to redact the numbers and correct the County Official who gave me this number.

When I sent him the links (again), he replied with:

I was given this information by a County Official today. I think it is your Census numbers that are wrong. and the mere fact that I found the SNAP Program numbers in a matter of seconds would prove my number to be much more accurate than yours.

By the way your link doesn't work.

He then sent me a link to a tea laced site. [No worries, I will not repost that garbage on this site.] When I performed a whois search, I found that the site he was linking isn't even based in the USA, but instead Norway and the lady running it has been linked to a lot of right wing propaganda. When I pointed this out, I was ignored. I also inquired about which Winnebago County official gave him his numbers, he told me Dave Peterson.

Here's where his critical thinking should have kicked in. Dave Peterson...where on earth have I heard that name before? Oh yes. When I was working at River Bluff, I believe I was able to meet Mr. Peterson. Google, don't fail me now!

Peterson was ousted as president of the Cold Formed Division of Rockford Products in November when a private equity firm bought the bankrupt company and replaced its management team. On Jan. 3, 2008, County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen appointed Peterson — a longtime campaign volunteer for Christiansen — to a new $85,000-a-year job in his office as administrator for human services.

Dave Peterson is the Human Resources Administrator for Winnebago County. Why do we have the HR Administrator talking food stamp and population numbers with a political organization anyway? How does Mr. Peterson have access to these numbers? Did he do this on "company" time? I certainly hope not. I plan on calling Tuesday morning with these questions, and I would hope some of my fellow concerned citizens will do the same. SNAP (food stamps) is run through DHS (Department of Human Services), not Winnebago County, right? This Tea-Party fellow refused to answer these logical questions and instead said my numbers from the Census Bureau were wrong. Yes, he actually said, "Census Bureau's numbers were wrong." You read it right.

In an attempt to understand the way this man thinks, I offered this:

I'd honestly like to have a one on one debate with a conservative/tea partier. Not one against a whole page- not calling each other an idiot/un-American/terrorist, etc. I won't blast you on my personal or political page if you would like to have one.

From one politically passionate person to another- whaddaya say?

P.S. This is my attempt to try to understand a conservative brain, and offer you to understand a liberal brain. We don't have to agree, but how about it?

See, I was trying to extend that olive branch I'd heard so much about. I was offering to keep it between the two of us. He replied:

I am not out to understand the liberal brain by the way. I already completely understand and comprehend it. I am not impressed. Anything I engage with you would be for the purpose of educating you

.BTW...not knowing who you are it would be required before engaging such conversations that you be on my friends list. Add me and then feel free to engage.

I felt a strong urge to call him a simple minded bigot , but I resisted and instead replied:

Well, so much for the civil banter eh? Thing is, I feel the EXACT same about a conservative brain. I feel that if you would just sit down, listen and actually fact check, you'd be the one educated. I have never met a conservative who will sit down and debate. They take on the attitude you just did. However, I have met a lot of liberals who can, will and do sit down for a battle of wits so to speak. Why are you afraid of this? Honestly- not a jab or anything, but I view it as someone who is petrified to have an engaging debate. Someone who can not and will not listen to another opinion and/or facts is someone who doesn't care to find the truth or a solution.

Why friend each other if you absolutely refuse to debate? You instead say "I'll educate you", which tells me you don't give a darn about any sort of logic or fact checking.

I enjoy hearing other views, and if credible facts can be given, heck I can even change my mind! How can anyone continue to grow and learn if they refuse anything different than themselves? I offered civil conversation. Yet, by challenging his critical skill thinking and keeping insults to myself, he's proved my point. Conservatives can not think critically, and the farther right they go, the more their thinking skills fail them. Too bad the moderate conservatives are a dying breed.

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