Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Liberal Mystery Solved: DRD4

Scientists have apparently found what makes a person liberal. According to researchers at Harvard University and the University of California at San Diego - they have linked liberalism to a specific variant in the DRD4 gene. There is one caveat; people with this variant must have also had a large group of friends when growing up for liberalism to kick in. I have always said that liberals and conservatives have brains that are wired differently, but maybe there are gene differences as well.

Researchers concluded that individuals with the DRD4 gene variant and many friends growing up “tend to seek out new experiences and a rush of pleasure from novelty”. The researchers also stated “this tendency opens this group of people up to friendships with people of different races, religions, sexual orientations, and lifestyles – making them receptive to change and to unconventional ideas”.

I certainly cannot say that my liberal siblings fit this analysis since none of them had a great number of friends growing up. In fact, I would classify them closer to loners than socialites. I was more extroverted and social than my liberal siblings. So I would conclude that there are other aspects and reasons why individuals become liberal thinkers. Environmental factors must also be considered such as the ongoing indoctrination and brainwashing that is occurring at schools and universities.

It certainly is not surprising that a gene defect or some oddity from a normal functioning human being causes individuals to be liberal thinkers. After all, when it comes to commonsense on fiscal matters they tend to have an irrational thought process. Think about it; a modern liberal’s thought process is nothing like how our founding fathers solved problems. If our founding fathers thought like liberals we would still be an English Colony.

To some extent the researchers’ results make some sense. For instance, the large friendship caveat corresponds to elitism and can even explain large protests and parties such as Woodstock. The results also clarify a liberal’s philosophy on most social issues such as gay marriage and even illegal immigration. But one thing is true, liberals may not have a problem with certain lifestyles, but they are certainly not okay with the lifestyle of big business executives or non-union corporate workers in general. And many liberals detest the lifestyles of avid religious followers. Liberals may be receptive to change and novel or unconventional ideas as long as they are not coming from a conservative. So, I would really question the fact that hardcore liberals are any more open to different lifestyles or unconventional ideas than a hardcore conservative. Most people with unconventional ideas and are out of the box thinkers tend to be loners who do not want to be influenced by external biases (right or left). Face it; liberals tend to exist in large social groups to have others reinforce their ideology and therefore; their ego.

For instance, let’s examine PETA as an example to this hypothesis. Most PETA members are hardcore liberals and they detest the meat industry. However, PETA members are still against anyone who eats meat, even if it is cloned and no animals were butchered or mistreated. Cloning is a novel and unconventional idea to solve the meat industry problem, but hardheaded liberals only see one solution. Sure, liberals have unconventional ideas such as their solutions to climate change or to economic policy. Many unconventional liberal solutions to problems are not reasonable because they do not solve the problem and they create more problems – cap and trade is a classic example.

The bottom line is that I am not surprised that the liberal species evolves from a certain defect from a normal functioning human body. But, the traits described by the researchers of this study fail to correlate to all liberals and it is highly debatable that liberals are more receptive to novel or unconventional ideas than conservatives. If anything, this study may define the difference between liberals and conservatives when it comes solely to social issues. I do not see any correlation when it comes to domestic or foreign ideologies.

My Book: Is America Dying? (, Barnes and Noble)

1 comment:

  1. >>”It certainly is not surprising that a gene defect or some oddity from a normal functioning human being causes individuals to be liberal thinkers.”

    Well said!

    I agree with your conclusion, Patrick. The study got it half right.