Thursday, October 28, 2010

Scientists uncover genetic defect that leads to liberalism

The title of this post may not be entirely fair or scientific, but this is interesting news:
People with left wing views may have their political opinions controlled by a "liberal gene", according to scientists.

The research suggests that some people have an inherent bias against conservative thinking, that is independent of their education or upbringing.

The effect is caused by a [receptor] in the brain called DRD4 which could be stimulated by the novelty value of left of centre opinions, say US researchers.

In people who are naturally outgoing, the feature encourages them to seek out companions with unconventional views as they grow up.

This in turn means they tend to form less conventional political viewpoints as adults, according to the study by the University of California and Harvard.
Novelty junkies who become liberals were noted to be carriers of the 7R variant of the DRD4 gene. Perhaps it should be no surprise that this genetic variation has also been linked with ADHD:
Associations have been reported of the 7-repeat (7R) allele of the human dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) gene with both the personality trait of novelty seeking and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
That liberals often value novelty more than common sense or traditional values is not a new observation. James Taranto takes note:
The liberal elites cannot comprehend common sense, and, incredibly, they think that's a virtue. After all, common sense is so common.

The British philosopher Roger Scruton has coined a term to describe this attitude: oikophobia. Xenophobia is fear of the alien; oikophobia is fear of the familiar: "the disposition, in any conflict, to side with 'them' against 'us', and the felt need to denigrate the customs, culture and institutions that are identifiably 'ours.' "
How does this addiction to novelty play out in real-world political discourse? The Brit who coined the term "oikophobia" provides some interesting insights from across the pond:
The oik repudiates national loyalties and defines his goals and ideals against the nation, promoting transnational institutions over national governments, accepting and endorsing laws that are imposed on us from on high by the EU or the UN, though without troubling to consider Terence's question, and defining his political vision in terms of universal values that have been purified of all reference to the particular attachments of a real historical community.

The oik is, in his own eyes, a defender of enlightened universalism against local chauvinism.
So the liberal sometimes struggles to grasp the importance of time-tested moral values. The failure to appreciate the significance of values such as group loyalty and traditional conceptualizations of sanctity and purity may, in fact, be progressivism's achilles heel.

Read more about oikophobia at the Wall Street Journal.
Here's a link to the The Journal of Politics article on the DRD4-7R allele.
Discussion: Memeorandum
Cross-posted at Left Coast Rebel


Nickie Goomba said...

I hear it's a mental disorder.

Z said...

it's a defect, alright......
sadly, it seems like it's contagious!

Z said...

it's a defect, alright......
sadly, it seems like it's contagious!