"Who are smarter, liberals or conservatives? This is the kind of question that could spark fierce and endless debates between political opponents, but what if we could know, scientifically, that one side has the edge in brainpower? Should that change how we think about political issues?" -- Jason Richwine.
There are too many variables. As the article stated, there are more than one way to define a 'liberal'. Blacks vote for the 'liberal' Democratic party, but they are not liberal in the original sense. Blacks vote Democratic for narrow-minded tribal reasons than to extend their sympathy and understanding to non-blacks. If we include blacks and the underclass in general in the 'liberal camp', then liberals have both the most intelligent people and the dumbest people whereas conservatives largely occupy the middle. Most Jews are liberal but so are most NAMs(non-Asian minorities). Of course, one could argue whether Jews are truly liberal in the truest senses or liberal for tribal reasons--'is it good for the Jews?'
So, suppose we narrow down this debate by focusing ONLY on white gentiles. Are white liberals more intelligent than white conservatives? Even here, the 'liberal' or Democratic side will have very smart whites but also much of the less intelligent blue-collar class. Conservative whites will be dominant in the middle(above average IQ but not brilliant)--along with some super rich busisnessmen and a good number of Bible-thumping dimbulbs(and peckerwood KKK types).
Richwine is largely correct that smarter people are more likely to question authority, orthodoxy, or tradition, BUT this hasn't always been true. It is true ONLY IF society is essentially traditionalist and repressive, in which case smart people would indeed be thinking/acting against the conformist grain. But, suppose society is generally permissive, hedonistic, infantile, consumerist, and amnesiac where it takes no courage or intelligence to be 'different'? Look at most of our dumb young people; they lack a sense of tradition nor do they have respect for authority. Kids grow up with rock n roll, rebel-as-hero imagery(and even porn on the internet). In a permissive and amnesiac world, the person who seeks to preserve, maintain, and revive tradition may be the one going against the grain, thus more intelligent than the mindless dufuses into punkism, bad attitude, or 'radical' platitudes. Someone who eagerly reads about Thomas Jefferson, Catholic tradition, or the glory of Western Civ could well be more intelligent than a guy who wants to rock n roll, join silly protests at G-20 summits, or swallow every global warming cliche by Bono and Gore at Live Aid concerts. A college student with real passion for Dante and Shakespeare may be smarter than a PC drone who reads literature only as ideological texts(as his professors taught him).
Also, while every brilliant NEW idea or ism may have been the work of a high intelligent person, those following in his footsteps tend to be less intelligent. Marx was super smart, Lenin and Trotsky were very smart, but Marxists got dumber and dumber along the way. The early Marxists were pioneers, later ones were mere sheep--which goes to show every 'liberal' or 'leftist' idea eventually turns 'conservative'. By the 1960s, Marxists were the 'conservatives' in Russia.
There also seems to be a snowball effect that determines how certain people think and act. If word gets out that smart people are supposed to think so-and-so, smart kids will gravitate toward those ideas via intellectual peer pressure without much resistance or skepticism.
Nor can 'smart stuff' be disassociated from the politics of morality. Indeed, many smart people have been subtly bullied into liberal or leftist orthodoxy. Emotionalism colors or even overrides intellectualism. For example, PBS and NPR--'smart stuff' for 'smart people'--sermonize about slavery, discrimination, 'racism', 'sexism', etc and champion egalitarianism as a secular religion. Thus, Many liberals refuse to consider the reality of race--though science is proving otherwise--because they've been morally and emotionally pressured to embrace 'anti-racism', 'progressivism' & 'diversity' as moral imperatives(masquerading as intellectual ideas or scientific truth). So, even if liberalism may indeed attract more intelligent people, it doesn't necessarily permit the full-range of intellectual freedom. (Under Marxism, one could be as intelligent as he wanted--as long as he confirmed the scientific truth of Marxism. Under Nazism, one could be as intelligent as one wanted--as long as one rejected 'Jewish science'.) Indeed, intelligence + courage is often prohibited or censored on the Left. Edwin O Wilson, James Watson, and William Shockley were attacked or vilified not for their lack of intelligence but for their courage to say what they really believe. A liberal who believes in evolution may be smarter than a conservative who believes in creationism, but a liberal is allowed to understand and study evolution only in a way that doesn't violate EGALITARIANISM. Radical correctness, no less than conservative orthodoxy, can stifle or suppress true intelligence and truth-seeking.
Also, I'm not sure that intelligence alone accounts for a person's willingness to challenge authority, tradition, or orthodoxy. There are forces of personality and social context to consider as well. A not-too-smart person with a strong personality may be more willing to challenge authority than a smart timid person. A smart Asian student is probably more likely to obey the teacher than a wild but not-too-smart black kid who refuses to sit still and loves to upset the order in the classroom.
And, a lot of well-mannered bland white liberals are practicing only the CONCEIT of being skeptical and intelligent because, in fact, all they ever do is nod their heads to whatever PC central--media and academia--tells them to think and do. They've learned to put on the 'smart' label than to think honestly or courageously. Today, if you simply agree with Jared Diamond on everything, you're smart. If you agree with Jared Taylor, you're not only dumb but EVIL. Notice that a lot of 'smart' liberals pat themselves on the back by calling everything they don't like 'racist', 'sexist', or 'fascist'.
Intelligence must also be considered within the social context. The notion that a smart person must think original thoughts or make new discoveries is a Hellenic & modern European idea/ideal. In most civilizations throughout history, the most intelligent people were expected to uphold tradition, preserve cultural memory, and maintain the social order. Indeed, preserving tradition and sacred texts was extremely time-consuming and demanded complete devotion. Books were copied page by page by scribes. Just maintaining the existing knowledge and tradition was a full-time job. Since reading materials were precious before the rise of the modern printing press, there was a much greater sense of REVERENCE than rebellion against knowledge handed down through the ages. (The wily and individualistic ancient Greeks were truly an anomaly in this regard.) Smart people just accepted Aristotle's 'discoveries' to be true for centuries.
In Stanley Kubrick's SPARTACUS, the rich and intelligent Crassus maintains the social/political order. Roman society groomed smart people to defend the order as it were. The people who rise up against Imperial Rome in the movie are the illiterate gladiators. Spartacus may have been a naturally smart guy, but his reason for rebelling had little to do with intelligence but desire for freedom.
For most of Jewish history, the smartest kids were expected to preserve the tradition and go into Talmudic studies. In China, the smartest were chosen to become scholar-bureaucrats whose purpose was to maintain the status quo than to change society. In this kind of rigid world, challenge to authority was more likely to come from unwashed elements or barbarian bandits. In Akira Kurosawa's KAGEMUSHA, a poor thief starts out as a free soul cyincal of authority but turns more 'conservative' after he's brought into the high-n-mighty 'intelligent' world of the warlord clan. In old Japan--and even in new Japan to some extent--, intelligence is synonymous with learning and revering knowledge-as-it-exists than rebelling against it.