Here is Chris Mooney explaining that the more educated a conservative is, the more wrong they are. Specifically, he is talking about climate change, and how surveys show that more educated conservatives are more likely to deny climate change, and assert more confidence in that denial.
This is old news to anybody who talks to conservatives, but what Mooney also talks about is the control group. That is, they surveyed to see if the same effect worked on liberals, using a classic liberal bug-a-boo: nuclear power.
Short answer: it doesn't. Liberals start out with a negative view of nuclear power, but exposure to information and science makes them more accepting of it.
What this tells us is that there is a more fundamental divide than just values or policies; conservatives and liberals differ on what truth is. What Mooney doesn't say (because he is an Accomodationist and desperately trying to stay in Religion's good graces) is that this is also the difference between the empiricist and the metaphysician, between the atheist and the believer.
Some people think the world derives from truth; and some people think truth derives from the world. Some people think 2+2=4 because it is a law of mathematics; and some people think 2+2=4 because every time we add 2 and 2 together they come out 4. The latter implying that 2+2 could equal 5; it just doesn't.
Given the notion that the world derives from some cosmic set of first principles, one could be forgiven for assuming that once you learn those principles, your judgements are infallible and therefore don't need to be checked against actual reality. And this describes the believer, whether it is woo, religion, or ideology. Scratch a true believer, and underneath you will find the assumption of personal infallibility. Always. Trust me on this, I'm not wrong.
The empiricist (or rationalist, scientist, liberal, pragmatist, or just plain sane - all equally valid synonyms) on the other hand, always assumes that "there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Any and all claims require validation. Always. If you can't check it for yourself, at least in principle, it's as good as not true.
This may sound inverted to most people. After all, isn't it the empiricists who flatly state that miracles don't occur, psychics are frauds, and God doesn't exist? How can they be so authoritatively negative if they're supposed to be open to the unknown?
The answer is simple: because all of those claims fail the test of investigation. Meanwhile, the people advancing them are authoritarians; they are not even concerned with evidence for or against their proposition. They have derived the matter from first principles, and they look no further than that.
As always, the issue of "open-mindedness" comes down to projection. The people who are open-minded are the ones refuting miraculous claims, because they have applied the tests of validation, and the claims have failed. The people who are close-minded are the ones who insist on their claims regardless of all logic, evidence, and investigation. They are not open to alternate explanations for the phenomena under discussion; they are assuming that their personal interpretation of their experience is infallible and unquestionable.
You can change the empiricist's mind; simply present sufficient evidence, and he will embrace your claim. But you cannot change the authoritarian's mind with any amount of evidence, because he didn't choose his position based on evidence in the first place. When dealing with an authoritarian, there are only two possible avenues of approach: internally, wherein you demonstrate that the principles the authoritarian embraces actually lead to a different conclusion; and externally, which is to say, with a baseball bat.
The problem with the first approach is that once the authoritarian decides that you are the enemy as a first principle, nothing you say matters anymore. You can point out contradictions galore, and they are simply ignored as lies (or often, responded to with naked hostility). The problem with the second approach should be obvious, and yet, fundamentally, it is all we have left.
This is not a call to violence, or even a justification of it: it is a simple recognition that reason is a participatory exercise. You can't force someone to be reasonable. You can only make it expensive to be unreasonable.
In this case we use law and custom to make unreason expensive. You can give your money to a cult but you can't make us give to it; you can make your own decisions for whatever reason you want but public policy has to be set by public logic, evidence, and debate.
But when the body politic has decided that public (aka empirical) logic is a tool of the enemy, then you have a problem. If you can't marginalize those people to the extremes and the fringes, your democratic, educated, liberal society is doomed.