So I’m reading an article the other day that posits that our political leanings, our liberal or conservative predispositions are largely genetic in origin. No matter how you were raised or what experiences you have had in life your probable political orientation was most likely already there at conception. I read a few more articles on the subject and they’re pretty convincing. One study in particular studied identical and fraternal twins raised together in the same family and also those raised apart. The take away from the study was that identical twins raised either together or apart maintained a strong correlation in regards to their political orientation. The fraternal twins, well not so much and even less so if they were raised apart. I’m a big proponent of nature in the nature vs nurture debate. I love it whenever studies use identical twins raised together and apart. It’s such an ideal real world way to get a sense of how big a role genetics play in our basic nature. One article by Avi Tuschman in The Atlantic printed a little poem from a 19th-century English dramatist and poet named W. S. Gilbert that goes:
I often think it’s comical
How nature always does contrive
That every boy and every gal
That’s born into this world alive
Is either a little Liberal
Or a little Conservative
Evidently modern science wasn’t the first to consider this possibility. One of the reasons this article caught my eye was because of the way that it dovetails so neatly into the name and concept of this blog. The idea being that it’s mostly futile for a conservative to try and convert a liberal over to his way of thinking and vice versa. As Robert A. Heinlein suggested in another context “it wastes your time and annoys the pig” as I also quote at the bottom of all my blog posts.
All of that being said I think that nurture or environment does play some role, albeit a smaller one. A favorite quote of mine is “If a person is not a liberal when he is twenty, he has no heart; if he is not a conservative when he is forty, he has no head.” This makes sense from an experiential perspective. I think that most of us will agree that as people age they do tend to become more conservative. I like to call this “becoming older and wiser”. My question at this juncture then is this: When are all of you freakin’ liberals out there ever going to grow up!!! Oh boy. Here comes the hate mail!
Here are a few related articles for your perusal:
Since I can’t get the last link to work just Google this headline from The New York Times: How Much Do Our Genes Influence Our Political Beliefs?
“I spent most of my life arguing with pigs but all I did was waste my time and annoy the pigs”
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