I don't know if they still teach Maslow's Hierarchy of Need, a theory that seems commonsensical but doesn't quite explain the behavior of many people. Fine as an approximation, perhaps. I wonder if something similar isn't happening about reason and logic. Perhaps the foundational needs have to be in place first. You believe what gets you food and shelter, then can move on to believing what you need to be accepted socially, and only after that is in place can one apply true/false tests rigorously, accepting ideas that go against the group. Personalities vary, and some have a better ability to stand alone than others.
This is at least a possible explanation of why people who are able to reason - which we know because we have observed it in other venues - come up with only lame cliches on some issues. It is not just that they disagree with me, and I thus conclude their reasoning is poor. (there may be some of that.) The obvious counter would be that perhaps it is they who are reasoning nicely and I who have gone off the rails. Yet I know people who disagree with me whose arguments are moderately to extremely strong. I am not thinking of those presently. I am referring to those with significant credentials - math degrees from Ivy League schools and subsequent careers requiring precise thinking; forensic psychiatrists with rather stunning abilities to weigh one factor against another. I know some amazingly intelligent people. Yet some of them spout whatever the New Yorker or the alphabet network consensus is peddling this week.
Nor does it seem to be that they just default to the tribal line on many issues because they haven't the time to examine everything, but apply shrewdness and wisdom to the subjects they invest more time in. These are, if anything, more party line than their - ahem - less educated brethren. This is New Hampshire, and one can easily find Democrats who think that liberals are badly wrong about one or two issues, yet choose them on balance. The worrisome ones who have got me thinking - those who I suspect of having to have their social status and situation nailed down before they can move forward and think - are doctrinaire. And they are legion.
I have commented before that I believe liberalism is spread socially rather than logically,* that social signalling and social enforcement takes up a lot of a liberal's energy. It may be that their social insecurity is greater, so that they can never let down their guard. They sense (correctly?) that they could be cast into the outer darkness at any time. They are intelligent enough to talk themselves into whatever is necessary.
I have little doubt that it is only by the grace of God, via CS Lewis, that I am not fully among that number. My families of origin have many who are still consumed by it, and I was entirely of that mindset throughout school. It still whines at the door. (Okay, that's a bizarre mixed metaphor. Mindsets are not mammals.) But Screwtape, That Hideous Strength, and especially "The Inner Ring" were powerful warnings at a formative time. I find the mirror version, and the mirrors of mirrors, quite easily upon reflection. The approved culture has a special sweetness, but so does the counterculture, and the counters upon counters. Fortunately I haven't the discipline and focus to think about it long, and content myself with having a whack at whatever dragon seems nearest at the time.
Liberals are far better at reading social cues, and reading between the lines. But this strength becomes a weakness when it is relied on to the exclusion of more important virtues. I am asserting all this strongly, because I have had a dozen examples in my mind as I wrote this. Still, I might be missing an entire chapter here. Could you do me the favor of trying this theory on in your imagination about your more intelligent liberal friends, even if historical and long since gone?
*Nor is conservatism always spread logically. Its weak side is that it often relies on emotion and sentimentality. The accusation that it relies on the emotion of fear is misplaced. That's projection.