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The Problem With Romney….Is In The Liberal Mind

October 1, 2012

The problem for Romney, and conservatives in general, can be found deep in the recesses of the liberal brain.  No less of an “authority” than Chris Mooney of “The Republican Brain” fame lays it out pretty well for us in an interview with Huffington Post reporter Cara Santa Maria published on May 7, 2012.        (I just realized I may not have indicated that the responses are mine, not CSM’s)

CM: If you look at what are called the big five personality traits (it’s a well accepted way of studying personality in psychology), then it turns out liberals and conservatives aren’t the same on any of the big five traits. But these are the ones where they’re most different:

Sure Chris, I’ll walk that far with you, but….

 Openness to experience is the one that really makes you liberal. it’s about wanting to try new things, new ideas, travel to new places.

I think we’d agree that what you are saying is that these characteristics indicate a distaste for the ordinary, the mundane, or in other words, stability.  Liberals are always up for the next best thing and look with disdain on the tried and true.  It’s all about blazing a new path, a new adventure, putting it all on the line, really living, flying without a net, fighting boredom any way they can.  The adrenaline rush is just too much to give up.  In fact, given the choice between complete chaos and making a plan, I think we’d agree that chaos wins hands down.

Interestingly, according to this article, the results of some relatively new scientific research might well help prove your case. It seems, according to the researcher’s published findings, that “Individuals carrying a particular variant of the D4 gene affecting the neurotransmitter dopamine are more likely to turn out to be liberals…..”.  This variant, which goes by the name of DRD4-7R “….has already been linked to a personality type driven to seek out new experiences.  In other words, people with the DRD4-7R gene are more likely to be game for a laugh, for a dare, for anything new and stimulating “to alter dopamine levels to affect mood,””

I think we can agree that nothing was said about the use of one’s “adult/conservative” brain during the decision making process. In other words, no indication that the larger amygdalas of the conservative brain, (a particular area of the brain involved in the decision making process) is even partially engaged prior to the liberal brain taking action.  In fact, it would seem that the sequence of events and subsequent actions would actually require disengaging that particular “brain”.  The liberal mind is not just “open to new experiences”, as you are so fond of saying, rather it craves the dopamine high which comes as a result of reckless and mindless behavior entered into completely spontaneously and necessarily involving undeterminable risk.  In other words, the preferred environment for those with a liberal mind is one that evidences a great deal of chaos.  Chaos is not a means to an end; it is the end in itself.

(Interestingly, a related article addressing the effects of the same gene variation was entitled, What Goes on Inside the Brain of a Misbehaving Boy?).  In any event, let’s move on to the rest of Mr. Mooney’s interview:

Conscientiousness, the second trait, tends to make you conservative. It’s about wanting order and structure in your life, you know being on time, driving to work the same way everyday.

Interesting.  Perhaps a quote from Mr. Mooney’s article dated April 10, 2012 and published here might help clear up any misunderstanding.

Conservatives, in contrast, tend to be less open and also consistently rate higher on conscientiousness, which means that they tend to prize orderliness and structure. Conscientious people are driven, competent, organised – and, on average, politically conservative.

How absolutely awful!

Conservatives, according to Mr. Mooney, are not only conscientious, driven, competent, and organized, but those individuals with those attributes also tend to be, on average, politically conservative.

Well!  I think we can all agree that people evidencing those characteristics should not be allowed anywhere close to any elected office.  Who knows what might happen if all our elected officials were to suddenly become conscientious?  Why we might actually end up electing a person such as Mr. Romney.  Too boring.  Too competent.  Just too American for the likes of us.

Wouldn’t it be better to elect someone who can feed our dopamine addiction by implementing policies designed to ensure continued chaos such as the present occupant of the White House?  It would seem that the reason that Mr. Romney may be fighting an uphill battle in his quest for the office of the Presidency is because he is simply too competent and thus may be viewed by many liberals as having the skills to bring order out of chaos.

Then there’s agreeableness, not that big of a difference. Everybody I think knows what being agreeable is. There is extroversion versus introversion, conservatives are a little more extroverted so they probably have more friends than liberals. Then there’s stability or the opposite of neuroticism and conservatives are less neurotic than liberals.

The good news above is that Chris Mooney allows that both sides evidence a certain agreeability and even, contrary to some evidence, suggests that the edge goes to the conservatives.  I’ll leave it up to the reader to consider his final sentence where he suggests that liberals are more neurotic and conservatives are more stable.

Sorry Mitt…apparently you just aren’t dysfunctional enough to appeal to the liberal brain.

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