Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Liberal or conservative - is it decided by your genes?

Are you for or against abortion, gay marriage, the Iraq war.....?

According to John Alford, a political scientist at Rice University in Houston, Texas, our political opinions may be partly determined by our genes.

"Trying to persuade someone not to be liberal is like trying to persuade someone not to have brown eyes," says Alford.

Alford has found that identical twins tend to have similar political views. (EARTHDAILY Are political leanings all in the genes?)

John Jost, a psychologist at New York University, looked for a coonection between personality traits and political orientation (American Psychologist, vol 61, p 651 EARTHDAILY Are political leanings all in the genes?). He found evidence that:

People who are dogmatic tend to be conservative.

People who enjoy lots of new experiences tended to be liberal.

People who prefer simple and unambiguous paintings, poems and songs, tend to be conservative.

People who do not see things in black and white, people who understand complexity and ambiguity, tend to be liberals.

Many psychologists describe personality in terms of conscientiousness, openness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

People with high openness scores tend to be liberal.

Ira Carmen, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has studied a gene involved in regulating levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. (EARTHDAILY Are political leanings all in the genes?)

High levels of dopamine can cause obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Carmen speculates that high levels of dopamine might be linked to the need to impose order on the world.

Some conservatives might have high levels of dopamine.

Some scientists suggest that conservatives may very often be dogmatic, routine-loving people and that liberals are usually free-spirited and open minded individuals.

However, we should not assume that all conservatives are the same and that all liberals are the same.

Hans Eysenck, in his book Sense and Nonsense in Psychology (1956), had a two-axis system to explain political attitudes.

According to Eysenck, there was a radical versus conservative axis and a tough versus tender axis.

A conservative could be either tough or tender. A radical could be either tough or tender.

Hitler could be seen as a tough conservative. Mao could be seen as a tough radical.

Tough-minded conservatives would support militarism and harsh punishments.

Tough-minded radicals might support easier divorce laws and fewer restrictions on birth control and abortion.

Tender-minded conservatives would tend to oppose imperialism and easy abortion.

Tender-minded radicals would tend to support racial equality and peaceful solutions to conflicts.

When it comes to politicians one could perhaps divide them into the following groups:

1. Fascist mafia (tough minded conservative)

2. Totalitarian socialist mafia (tough minded radical)

3. Fundamentalist fascist mafia (tough minded conservative)

4. Mainstream militarist mafia (tough minded liberal)

5. Unelectable


Dave Allison said...

Quote:"Are you for or against abortion, gay marriage, the Iraq war.....?"

What to fetuses have to do with lesbian?

What does marriage have to do with the Iraq war?

I am a wedding photographer and welcome gay marriages, in fact most of the people whoses marriages I photograph, are gay, in the old meaning of the words.

Unknown said...

Wow - I read that totally different; not that these three issues are linked specifically, but just that all are political issues, on which liberals and conservatives tend to hold opposite positions.

As far as the premise of the article, I would disagree, and I believe the current election cycle is evidence that we are more than just liberal and conservative. I tend to think there are a whole lot of libertarian types who are tired of the status quo on both sides. That's why McCain and Obama are doing so well...

Site Meter