We all know people who made it through high school with stellar grades and got into good colleges because they were grinds, and good at rote learning. But these types were never much fun because they never had anything interesting or original to say.
People like that never seem able to draw a bead on exactly what is absurd about a situation. They never come to conclusions other than the ones they're taught. And they rarely have good senses of humor. They have a lot of facts stored away; but they rarely have any real "feel" for a subject.
The word that's often to describe what these students do on tests is "regurgitation." Being able to cram for exams may be a useful life skill, but when the only opinions one can offer are also regurgitation, it's a little pathetic.
We've all known someone who got a 5 on the History AP but couldn't tell you why any of those historical events happened, or draw parallels with other events.
Certainly neither Left nor the Right has an absolutely monopoly on such people. But these days, what gets taught at in school, what newspapers publish, and the viewpoints promoted on TV and in the movie theaters, skew Left.
In such an atmosphere, those who buy into the propaganda without pausing to consider whether it's reality-based or not, skew Left. Absorbing all that unthinkingly is, for all practical purposes, rote learning.
Consider the central tenet of Leftism: that there are no differences between the races and the sexes (other than that white men are evil). This is ridiculous on its face. Yet many people ignore all the evidence in front of them and subscribe to those notions -- because they've been told to.
Now, it's not just rote learning alone involved here: fear of social censure is too. (Not everybody who said the emperor's new clothes were beautiful actually believed it; many were simply afraid to mock him.)
But, unquestioning acceptance factors in on both fronts.
Back in the 60's and 70's, one of the Left's mottoes was, "Question authority." Today, the Left hates it when people question the establishment media, academia, or government.
They would far rather we accepted their viewpoints unthinkingly.
Because, really, that's about the only way you can accept them.