According to a Jan. 7-10  Gallup survey,… support for abortion rights increases with formal education and household income.
Why is it that the well educated tend to be the most liberal?Supple minds better able to absorb knowledge are by the same principle better able to absorb falsehood. Not only our educational system, but also our culture, are poisoned by a faulty picture of nature.
Modern science, based on Newtonian mechanics, says nothing about purpose in nature. Science's tremendous success at "mastering" nature gives it the appearance of presenting a complete conception of all reality, so that its silence on purpose is interpreted as a universal denial. This same success gives science a great credibility in the academy, so that all other disciplines aspire to pattern themselves in some way after science (physics).
But there is an additional, more radical factor at work. Natural science, even if unsuccessful, still mediates our understanding of the natural world. Notice that we humans take our knowledge primarily from our five senses. Knowing and thinking in sensible terms is most natural to us, so we understand even invisible things (like the human soul, God, and most of the universe) in analogy with visible, natural things. This means that scientific errors about the natural world will warp our conception of everything else: music, history, language, psychology, politics, etc.
Thus we see that both science's success gives it an unrivaled power in the modern world, but also its perennial place in human knowing makes it the foundation of any culture, including our own. Hence the "well educated," less "down to earth" elites tend to be more liberal because they have imbibed more of the spirit of the age, poisoned by materialistic science.
Why does the Elite use the Nanny State?
As we've seen, the purposeless (or chaotic) picture of nature removed the presumption that individuals can control and improve themselves, leaving the state to contain the necessarily ensuing chaos. We might call this the Hobbesian or negative Nanny State, after Thomas Hobbes, whose political theory called for an authoritarian Leviathan to contain the chaos of "The [Human] State of Nature."
Additionally the mistaken, purposeless view of nature takes on a positive or utopian form that encourages the Nanny State to surpress human nature in light of some arbitrary ideal. Karl Marx is the prime example. Despite our human propensity to act selfishly or stupidly, there is a basic goodness in human nature. In contrast, the liberal presumption that humans are not by nature geared toward their own happiness (in a broad, life-long sense) means the State must intervene to perfect society.
Without a clear picture of nature by which to judge the purpose of our existence, the standard of happiness shifts with the winds of fashion, or any crazy idea that enters some intellectual's head and catches on. Usually an idea's appeal comes from rebellion against some traditional stricture that feeds into an physical impulse.* At one point the "revolutionary idea" was extra-marital sex, then it became homosexuality, but recently it's been the (rather unextraordinary) pairing of older women with younger men (do you get the idea that they're running out of traditions to transgress?). Almost always these ideas presume that only the knowledge (gnosis) possessed by an elite can save mankind from languishing in its "natural" imperfection. This presumption against nature is why liberals treat the family, which no civilization in history has ever survived without, as by nature disordered and requiring the intervention of government (in particular of unelected judges). Parents are presumed incapable of raising their children without the help of "the village"—doublespeak for those who think they know better than you or your neighbors. Communities are presumed incapable of governing themselves without trampling on rights of minorities (however defined by the elite). In the minds of the Elite, the Many are unfit to direct their own lives and need Nanny to do it for them.
*Doing away with an objective (natural) notion of the good leads to subjectivism. In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis masterfully describes the results of subjectivism:
But what never claimed objectivity cannot be destroyed by subjectivism. The impulse to scratch when I itch or to pull to pieces when I am inquisitive is immune from the solvent which is fatal to my justice, or honour, or care for posterity. When all that says 'It is good' has been debunked, what says 'I want' remains. It cannot be exploded or 'seen through' because it never had any pretentions. The [elite] Conditioners, therefore, must come to be motivated simply by their own pleasure. I am not here speaking of the corrupting influence of power nor expressing the fear that under it our Conditioners will degenerate. The very words corrupt and degenerate imply a doctrine of value and are therefore meaningless in this context. My point is that those who stand outside all judgements of value cannot have any ground for preferring one of their own impulses to another except the emotional strength of that impulse.
.... By the logic of their position they must just take their impulses as they come, from chance. And Chance here means Nature. It is from heredity, digestion, the weather, and the association of ideas, that the motives of the Conditioners will spring. Their extreme rationalism, by 'seeing through' all 'rational' motives, leaves them creatures of wholly irrational behaviour.
"Freeing" ourselves from nature actually leads to total enslavement to "nature."
Priests for Life, “Prolife Infonet News Update” (Jan 25, 2002) [accessed 2005-02-10]