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Those Wacky Liberals Really Can’t Help It

November 4, 2012

Up for jumping out of a plane without a parachute?  You’re probably a liberal.  How about diving into a vat full of poisonous snakes?  Yep, recent studies suggest you probably have liberal tendencies.  Or my mother’s favorite question which was to ask if I was foolish enough to jump off the bridge just because everyone else was doing it.  She’d ask in a tone which made it clear she meant it as a rhetorical question, but I guess she didn’t realize that the answer actually depended on whether I had a conservative or a liberal brain.

The point is that there is some interesting scientific evidence suggesting that liberals might be more likely to be the one’s jumping first and asking questions afterwards.  It seems that for some reason liberals tend to have a smaller amygdalas, (a particular area of the brain involved in the decision making process), than conservatives and thus are less likely to properly assess risk prior to taking action.  Interestingly, much of the liberal media has defined this ability to properly assess risk as evidencing “fearful” behavior, rather than acknowledging that ignoring the possibility of negative consequences is a good way to make a bad decision.

The reality is that the more reasonable interpretation of such data is to suggest that when an individual is predisposed to avoid considering the possible consequences of a particular action the decision making process is absent and as a result of  that individual simply combines thought with action.  If one couples this propensity for acting without thinking with the fact that liberals are far more herd like in their behavior, one begins to understand why it is that liberals often have such a negative emotional response to conservatives and the conservative world view.  One need only combine the liberal propensity to act without thinking with the tendency to follow the crowd to come up with the related conclusion that liberals will, by and large, jump off that bridge referenced above.

This all suggests that the liberal view might best be summarized by the Nike slogan, “Just do it”, which obviously suggests that, for example, the important thing is to shoot the arrow with or without a particular target in mind.  It seems that it’s not just a matter of a smaller amygdalas, but there is also evidence that liberals are much more likely to possess the DRD4-7R gene which significantly affects the relationship between mood and behavior.  Essentially, engaging in risky behavior elevates the mood of those with the gene and thus it motivates them to search out the new and the dangerous with their sole focus being on the “high” they receive and a complete absence of any consideration being given to the possibility of more far-reaching negative consequences.

The truth of the matter is that Democrats/liberals tend to take positions on an issue by issue basis while drawing from a much more limited set of moral and ethical premises then do Republican/conservatives.  Jonathan “Haidt, a self-professed liberal atheist”, explicitly suggests as much when he claims,

We think of the moral mind as being like an audio equalizer, with five slider switches for different parts of the moral spectrum. Democrats generally use a much smaller part of the spectrum than do Republicans. The resulting music may sound beautiful to other Democrats, but it sounds thin and incomplete to many of the swing voters that left the party in the 1980s, and whom the Democrats must recapture if they want to produce a lasting political realignment.

The irony is that even in defining the results of the various studies purporting to show the differences between the conservative and liberal brain, the primarily liberal media evidences just those very characteristics.  I recently wrote an article aimed at illustrating that very thing. Liberals have a propensity to misrepresent what they do not understand based on their inability to incorporate what they mistakenly believe to be conflicting positions into one cohesive and comprehensible system.  They pick and choose from a wide array of relevant data and claim that their conclusions are valid when the fact of the matter is that by ignoring the data which conflicts with their particular world view they completely invalidate those conclusions.  Perhaps the most ironic result is that they then claim that conservatives are the ones who are unable to assess and incorporate conflicting data and, further, that conservatives are “against science” and close minded.

The interesting thing is that there is no need to introduce any new data to prove that the way in which the various liberal authors and commentators interpret the data which purports to explain the differences between the liberal and conservative brains are almost invariably completely and utterly false.  This key point to remember is that the reason liberals misinterpret the data and thus come to the wrong conclusions is explained in the findings of the studies themselves which obviously makes things a bit difficult. It is a bit disheartening that so few conservative commentators seem willing to point this out.  As with much of what passes as political discourse in this day and age they seem content to allow the issue to be framed within a liberal context and then wonder why it is they can’t seem to get any traction.

Arguing over whether or not conservatives are close-minded, for example, is really a fool’s game and simply solidifies the validity of the invalid paradigm of the left.  I would suggest that the real issue confronting the American Citizenry is whether it prefers to be led by those who are driven by the need to make changes regardless of the effect those changes may have or whether it wishes to be led by those who change what needs to be changed, leave alone those things which do not need to be changed, and make those decisions based on relevant and pertinent data.  The choice is up to you.

The daredevil who just wants change or the fundamentally rational person?

Below I provide quotes and references which provided the basic data for the article.

Thank you.

while conservatives are though to be better at recognizing threats, researchers said.

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a “liberal gene” — a variant called DRD4-7R, which affects the neurotransmitter dopamine — that has been linked with a personality type driven to seek out new experiences.

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suggesting that people who lean right value autonomy more;

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The conservative reluctance seems more understandable when looking at studies that associate personality and politics, which have been ongoing for decades. A good example comes from a 1950 study, in which right-wing types were identified as “rigid, conventional, intolerant, xenophobic and obedient.” (Left-wingers are typically assigned much more palatable adjectives like flexible and curious.)

In recent years, the dividing point has become open-mindedness, which suggests conservatives are, unflatteringly, defined by being closed-minded. “Every bad trait you can imagine has been laid at the doors of conservatives,” says Hibbing. “So I don’t blame them for being on guard.” (Of course, each attribute is what researchers make of it. An intolerant, conventional person might also be called a careful, orderly one.)

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This gene variation 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,” explain the authors. (More on What Goes on Inside the Brain of a Misbehaving Boy?)

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They suspected that DRD4-7R-equipped novelty-seekers would listen more closely to the views of friends and would also acquire a wider circle of friends, exposing these embryonic Keith Olbermanns and Jon Stewarts to yet more points of view, attitudes and lifestyles. This exposure would further tease out their inner liberal.

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While having the gene won’t make you liberal and having a rich social life won’t do so either, the interaction of the two may well do the trick. “Ten friends can move a person with two copies of the 7R [variant] almost halfway from being conservative to moderate or from being moderate to liberal,” the study concludes.

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In a study led by Yuko Munakata, professor of psychology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, investigators presented subjects with a random noun and asked them to pair a verb with it. In choice situations like this, brain cells in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex are designed to consider a wide range of options—essentially conducting a high-speed argument among themselves. The debate would go on forever, except chemical inhibitors soon silence things, allowing only one option to prevail.

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(A post I had originally published elsewhere)

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