Politics may be partly genetic, now what?
There are rampant misconceptions attached to the notion that there might be a role for genes in politics, says the author.
April 7th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Politics may be partly genetic, now what?

Editor's Note: Chris Mooney is the author of "The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science–and Reality."

Is it possible that, as children, we’re already either “liberal” or “conservative”? Do we actually have at least some elements of a nascent ideology well before we even know what that means?

In the 1882 comic opera Iolanthe, Gilbert and Sullivan planted precisely this idea - long before there was any science to back it up. Here’s their verse - which is, admittedly set in a humorous context:

Nature always does contrive

That every boy and every gal

Who’s born into this world alive

Is either a little liberal

Or else a little conservative!


  • Elizabeth Landau
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