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!

It may have all seemed like a joke back in 1882. But beginning a century later in 1986, the published scientific literature began to accumulate a growing number of left-right genetic studies, of the sort seemingly anticipated by these hundred-year-old verses.

Again and again, across countries, studies of adult monozygotic (“identical”) and dizygotic (“fraternal”) twins show that the former tend to be far more politically similar to one another than the latter. This “twin study” methodology certainly has its limitations, but it is a well established way of studying the degree to which genes influence traits, since “identical” twins share all of their DNA but fraternal twins share only half of it. The left-right twin studies suggest that 40% or more of the variance in our ideological views may be ultimately rooted in genetic influences.

The evidence here seems too much to simply brush off with a wave of the hand - but what does it mean?

After writing about the science of left and right in my new book The Republican Brain and discussing the possible role of genetics - albeit only for a handful of pages - I have learned that rampant misconceptions are attached to the notion that there might be a role for genes in politics.

The problem seems to be that too many people wrongly think of genes as tantamount to destiny.

“As soon as you mention genetics, they think you’re a genetic determinist, and I can authentically say that I am not,” remarks the University of Nebraska-Lincoln political scientist John Hibbing, one of a number of researchers who has conducted research and published on the genetics of politics.

Hibbing’s right: Just because politics appears to be partly influenced by genes doesn’t make genes the dominant factor influencing our ideologies. Nor does it make them political destiny. It is vastly more complicated than that.

Politics is a complex social trait. That means it is multiply determined - influenced by a variety of factors, including our upbringing, the country and region in which we grew up, the particular events of the day, and so on.

However, that doesn’t mean there is no role for “nature” here. What the genetic studies appear to be showing is that even after all of the social factors that shape our views are taken into account, the influence of genes still persists as well - as one of many factors that make us who we are.

But how is that possible? Genes make proteins, not Republicans. I agree that it’s a bit baffling to contemplate, but if you break down the steps, it may be less crazy than it sounds.

In a recent study, for instance, Hibbing and his colleagues tried to trace the route by which genes may ultimately shape political behavior.

It turned out there were no less than five major steps involved:

  • 1. genes to chemical messengers in the brain, like dopamine
  • 2. chemical messengers to “cognitive and emotional processing tendencies”
  • 3. these tendencies to personalities and values (which have been repeatedly shown to differ between left and right)
  • 4. personalities and values to bedrock principles or ideology
  • 5. ideology to stances on specific political issues

And at every step of the way, the “environment” enters into the picture, changing not only the outcome but, very likely, the expression of genes themselves (what is known as epigenetics).

If genes influence politics, then, they likely do so very indirectly.

There are sure to be thousands of genes involved; and they surely operate differently over the course of a lifetime, in interaction with “culture” and the “environment.” Hence the consistent twin studies finding that genes account for only about 40% of the variability in our political views - nothing like 100%. This is not “hardwiring,” or anything like it.

Nevertheless, the picture that emerges from it all remains a very different view of politics - one in which ideology itself seems to emerge from more basic and seemingly non-ideological traits. That doesn’t mean you can’t shift your views or change your mind - people do it all the time. But it does mean that politics probably reflects something much, much deeper than philosophy or rational arguments.

So does this mean that liberals and conservatives are doomed to unending warfare? Not at all.

Hibbing, for one, thinks the results amount to a great case for political toleration - and likens the issue to the debate over the origins of homosexuality. “The closest we’ve come to a widespread debate over this kind of issue is sexual orientation,” he says, “and it’s noteworthy those who are the most tolerant are the ones that do think it is partly biological.” Indeed, religious conservatives who think it is possible to “convert” gays and lesbians to heterosexuality, and claim homosexuality is a “choice” tend to ignore the science on this issue.

Ultimately, though, whatever else you might say about the emerging science of politics, neither ignoring it nor misunderstanding it seem a reasonable option. The best approach to these findings, it seems to me, is to weigh them in all their nuance and complexity.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of Chris Mooney.

soundoff (363 Responses)
  1. J. Eddins

    Nope, dont work for me.

    April 8, 2012 at 6:07 am |
  2. HUH?

    Being political beliefs on both sides constantly shift through our history, this hypothesis is nuts.
    I do notice this wide brush judgement of people as either or is getting worse. I noticed it more in the Bush
    years when strategies became more obvious.

    April 8, 2012 at 6:05 am |
  3. Navin Johnson

    Its rooted in your IQ. If your IQ is below 50 you're a Republican. If your IQ is above 50 you're a Democrat.

    April 8, 2012 at 6:01 am |
    • Rich

      What a simplistic little slap from a simplistic little mind! I guess you're a Republican then?

      April 8, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Aardvark

      My IQ is exactly 50, does that make me an independent? Seriously, Navin, why make such foolish comments – so disappointing.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Frank J

      Navin Johnson (isn't that the name of the Steve Martin character who was a blond haired white boy in a dark-skinned African American family, and was shocked to find out that he was adopted?): I think it's clear that we are all blank slates upon which our education and life experiences shift us into liberal versus conservative camps. Also, any thinking American would understand that we need both sides of the political spectrum to keep the other in check. As much as I disagree with Republicans (sometimes), I wouldn't want them to go completely away.

      Some might think of this as the beauty of the two-party system. Some would add that I have just expressed a belief in the American Way. Both would be true.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      That's funny, most the highly educated people I run into (college education or higher, all with non arts degrees) are financially conservative. All these people have IQ's at least higher than average (100) and some are even over 120. The liberal democrats are the ones with the low IQ. If you dont believe me, go to a large engineering firm or something and ask around. Then do the same at your local ghetto. The more intelligent of us all are financially conservative. When you add social conservative in is when you get the people with the lower IQ's.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  4. Marc

    Well, it is easy to see by the comments that this is still the same CNN.

    April 8, 2012 at 5:57 am |
  5. Guest1m

    This article is so stupid that I had to read it. OBVIOUSLY there is more to political orientation than genes. Big news CNN...

    April 8, 2012 at 5:14 am |
  6. Anthony Caudill (tcaudilllg)

    Judging from the content of that article, John Hibbing is as vile as any dictator.

    April 8, 2012 at 5:01 am |
  7. orwell scoffs

    I do not buy into the “liberal” or “conservative” dichotomy; life's choices are far more complex and simple.

    And I certainly do not buy into the "conservatives are right", and "liberals are left" dichotomy.

    But since we are want stupid dichotomies and astrology to guide us in life, how about:
    conservatives are tails and liberals are heads; OR
    conservatives love Satan, and liberals are loved by God, OR
    conservatives deny facts, and liberals desire facts, OR
    conservatives are Scorpios, and liberals don't care.

    April 8, 2012 at 4:43 am |
  8. Mtheory

    It's simple: People view the world as they internalize themselves. People that view society as generally good, honest and well-meaning subconsciously see themselves in a similar light. They would be liberals who believe in equality, fairness and charity to the masses. People that view society as generally evil, scheming and arrogant subconsciously believe themselves to be the same and thus project that into conservative values of fear, defensiveness and spite toward the masses..... until finally that behavior is fomented and edified by Fox News!

    April 8, 2012 at 3:57 am |
    • Anthony Caudill (tcaudilllg)

      It's simpler even than that. Binary circuits... that's all it comes down to. Ons and offs, steady charges and fluxes. No real mystery... the real achievement is daring to let go of idealizations that prevent one from seeing the truth (not that one shouldn't reach for all that is attainable). Power is to be defied... those who would use it, are to be stripped of it. Always reach past power to achieve your dream.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:05 am |
  9. denisep

    My father is Republican, my mother is Independant and I myself believe in Democrat. So no genes have nothing to do with my beliefs. My parents combined and myself do not believe in anything similar. We couldnt be more different. Not sure this gene theory means a dang thing

    April 8, 2012 at 2:45 am |
  10. Follix

    It's not just politic, your genes determine who you are, free will doesn't exist.

    April 8, 2012 at 2:41 am |
    • joejeffrey

      Hmm. So that means you did not actually write this post; it was the involuntary movement of your fingers, caused ultimately by your genes. But that means it's not something you actually believe and want to express, because "want" would mean free will. So I guess my post is a mistake, because actually no one posted anything for me to reply to; just some fingers that got moved around on a keyboard by some genes.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:34 am |
      • Rich

        Wow. That's deep. I feel... somehow nihilistic now.

        April 8, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  11. Limbaugh is a liberal

    It's science, therefore republicans will immediately want to ban it.

    April 8, 2012 at 2:13 am |
  12. dadda

    This question is simply asking Nature v. Nurture. On either side of development one argues the other has more influence over the other. As children we may imitate our parents and the adults in our lives, and w go through childhood, pre-adolescents and adolescents we gravitate towards safety or security. As we go through adult the same is true as the fore mentioned, however we change our relationships based on what gives us the same feeling as when we were children.
    So if you grew up in a conservative household to include aunts, uncles etc... then one could suggest you are more likely to be conservative, but depending on your interactions you may not be as a result of what makes you feel secure; referencing relationships. Think about it we do seek out the opinions of those we know are like minded, other wise it seems futile to do other wise.
    This article seems more like pseudo science than anything else, just my two cents worth.

    April 8, 2012 at 2:10 am |
    • BD70

      Really....environmental – I have 9 siblings. Some of us are conservative, some are left leaning. One is a right wing Faux news nut case. How do you explain that?
      We live in the Northeast.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:51 am |
  13. craigster

    Prior to LBJ, and the post equal rights movement in the 1960's...the South all became...Republican, prior to which, was always Democrat. If anything, politics is much more a regional thing, depending on certain ideologies. Truth is...it makes no sense in the world that a poor southerner would think to vote for a party that caters to the rich. It's not genetics that causes this, or for that matter a human to think a certain way...it's more...conditioning (Evangelical and social difference), which basically is keeping the Republican party alive. The Democratic party is the universal party of logic...the party for the people. Take away special interests, stigmas...and almost a sense of hate, and...the Nation would be practically all blue states. It's not genetic at all...it's manipulation.

    April 8, 2012 at 1:58 am |
    • FunkyMonkey7

      Actually, it depends on the parties, as well. 150 years ago, the Republican party was the party of logic and relative tolerance, and the Democrats were the party of conservatism, and to an extent, bigotry and intolerance. Of course, the Democrats re-invented themselves with the New Deal to the extent that no Democrat from the Civil War/ Reconstruction era would ever recognize it. It's entirely possible that the Republican party may, after nationwide loss and humiliation, may reinvent itself into the new party of logic and become more progressive than the Democrats. Anything's possible when politicians are willing to lie through their teeth for votes.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:03 am |
  14. B100Z

    FROM THE BOOK – "The newer parts of the brain, such as the prefrontal cortex,
    empower abstract reasoning, language, and more conscious and goaldirected
    behavior. In general, these operations are slower and only able
    to focus on a few things or ideas at once. Their bandwidth is limited."

    I was a computer programmer, systems analyst, and IT mgr. over a 26 year career. In all that time, I knew of one single conservative programmer. I ended up with his corner office in 1985 because he could not multi-task and was unwilling to allow inevitable change to occur.

    April 8, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • FunkyMonkey7

      wait...he got a corner office while being unwilling to adapt to changes? That's not something you see everyday. I'm assuming that when you mean corner office, you mean it as in it is a good thing, because usually, corner offices in big companies are reserved for supervisors, where they can enjoy the view of looking out of the windows facing two directions.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:09 am |
    • Rich

      Gee, I'm a conservative programmer, and most I know are either conservative, independent, or apolitical. The graphics guys lean more leftish, but hey... they're artists. It's expected of them.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  15. Joe

    I don't understand why people are so afraid if a little socialized reform. Are we too good catch up to the rest of the top tier countries when it comes down to the rights of our citizens. I'm not asking to get rid of our democracy I'm asking for insurance because my job doesn't offer it to part time employees and they won't make me full time and new jersey says I make too much to qualify for their insurance yet I make only 7.25 an hour and only work a maximum of twenty five hours a week and considering I have to pay almost 800 dollars a month for my rent and other bills it's a miracle I can even eat once a day. And all I'm asking for us insurance just in case I need to see a doctor is that so bad?

    April 8, 2012 at 12:55 am |
  16. Cinic

    Certainly and almost obviously politics are greatly influenced by genetics although indirectly. I don't think there is a biochemical component related to political affiliation, BUT I believe there is a high correlation between intelligence and party lines. 🙂

    April 8, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  17. B100Z

    OBAMA 2012

    April 8, 2012 at 12:40 am |
  18. lara

    Many people who have written in on here are scary because they seem very bigoted and ignorant, they do not know how to reason or think logically and yet, I'm sure they vote. Their comments sound like the rantings of a lunatic. It's really disturbing.

    April 8, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Rich

      You're right. But it's worse: the media used to inform us, when they had to distill the news down to an hour show each evening. With the 24-hour news cycle, it's infotainment, and the average person is 1) confused by contradictory information, and 2) seeks out whatever news channel validates their viewpoint, which closes their minds to other viewpoints.

      Basically, we're screwed as a country.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  19. Andy

    Well I guess you can discover that distinction out of just the basics that make us human.

    Those that tend to be cautious would naturally be conservative and those who tend to be open minded and curious would be more liberal.

    The definition of "conservative and liberal" have been polluted by our politics. Neither is bad in the right context its just our media and leaders would like to keep these 2 things polarized for the sake of control over others and protecting their assets and power.

    April 8, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Joe

      Thank you. And I really mean that because you are one of very few people commenting on this that truly makes sense

      April 8, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • TShearon

      Andy,I agree. I get so disgusted by people on both sides of the political spectrum insulting the other sides intelligence or questioning motives. I think most people do not care about 90 percent of the things that divide conservatives and liberals. For instance, most of us believe that taxes will need to be raised and spending will need to be cut.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:05 am |
      • LL

        Taxes raised and spending cut.... you mean compromise. Yes, I think most of us agree, unfortunately not our politicians.

        April 8, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  20. Darlene Buckingham

    I don't appreciate the way politicians lie and are destroying our planet. What gene determines that?

    April 8, 2012 at 12:10 am |
  21. Joe

    So most people took this article the wrong way I'm a 23 year old independent my father is a democrat and my mother never talked about politics I lean left the majority of the time but there are times when the right has the better plan so I'm objective in my views. This article has merrit for what it was and what it was intended for and wether you agree or not you took you're time out to comment which means only one thing CNN can now charge more for their advertising because you read their story so get over it, it's only words put in to a digital format and put on the Internet with the sole purpose of making Disney more money.

    April 8, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  22. CRC

    Of all the people I meet those who are more irresponsible are more likely to be democratic aka liberal. That is because as socialist they want the hard working conservatives to hand over their hard earned money and share it with them while they sit at home on their lazy a_s and do nothing but collect welfare or take out loans for college and then not repay the loans. They know how to work the system to their benefit, believe me!

    April 8, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • Joe

      Dude in what world do you live the conservatives you speak of are the filthy rich jacka**es that don't want to pay their fair share of taxes to the government. You do realize that of all the so called industrial countries we gave the lowest corporate tax rate to " produce more good paying jobs" yet we are no where near countries like sweeden who's GDP is the highest in the world but has a corporate tax rate of nearly 75%

      April 8, 2012 at 12:15 am |
      • FunkyMonkey7

        Sweden definitely does not have the highest GDP. The US still has the highest GDP for a single individual nation. The EU has the greatest GPD as an economic body, with China being a close third after US. Lichtenstein has the highest GDP per capita, but that's only because it has an absolutely small population. Qatar has the highest GDP growth rate and is second for GDP per capita, also due to its small population in conjunction with its oil supply. All of these facts come from the CIA World Factbook

        April 8, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • LL

      Wrong, wrong, wrong.. the most red states (i.e. conservative) are those that get the most back from the federal government, based on a $1 to $1 comparison. For every $1 they pay in federal taxes they get more back. They take that 'extra' money from the blue states.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:56 am |
      • rdeleys

        Exactly, but don't expect them to ever admit it!

        April 8, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  23. Rob

    There is no science to be done here, because "liberal" or "conservative" (or "gay" for that matter) have no objective definition, much less an objective way to identify such individuals. So anyone you try to study could be lying; either to you, or themselves or maybe they don't even understand what the heck you're talking about...

    April 7, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  24. Terry

    Sorry Rand, I am on Medicare and my Medicare Costs have gone down under the new plan. The Healthcare Bill did not remove money for seniors, which the Tea Party tried to claim in 2010. Older Americans served in three wars, and built the middle class that was destroyed when the Bush Administration deregulated Wall Street and US Banks. I voted for Bush, but I sent him a letter explaining why we needed to stay out of Iraq and Afghanistan, but he was so entrenched with Cheney and the Military Industrial Complex, he had no clue of what we now realize were lies regarding WMD's in Iraq. As for the healthcare bill, go back and checkout how many Republicans supported the "Purchase Mandate for Healthcare Insurance". Actually, the requirement for everyone to purchase healthcare insurance was the Republican addition to the bill. Read the bill.

    April 7, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Jonathan

      The Military Industrial Complex is pure evil, but no matter what party is in control the Military Industrial Complex will always have influence and power. Obama is continuing Bush's wars and once they get their war with Iran they will try to secure more resources in Central Asia through the blood of good men and women. A draft seems inevitable and they are already trying to justify invading Africa through Kony propaganda. As much good government can do, it can be easily corrupted and it can do evils greater than what was ever known. Thank you for your service.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
      • Rich

        "trying to justify invading Africa through Kony propaganda"

        I doubt we would invade Africa to find one guy and a few hundred of his followers. But we do have special forces helping hunt him down.

        April 8, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Theend

      Thank you...

      April 7, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  25. Bob

    Yes, there should be some sense of tolerance – The Tea Party people can not be blamed for their ignorance. However, standing around watching the building burn down is not an option. The raging flame of ignorance needs to be put out before we all get burned in a manufactured rage reminiscent of Hitler himself.

    April 7, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Dave A.

      Hi Bob, maybe people do have to take some responsibility for their ignorance.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  26. Phil from Dallas

    Those who embrace Democratic principles and ideals usually have college degrees, are intelligent, worldly, and want what's best for our country and all of its citizens. Republicans usually are less educated, and less intelligent, less worldly, and want what's best for themselves and their Party. That sums it up.

    April 7, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • notea4me


      April 7, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Karen

      You're so right, Phil! I can almost tell right off of the bat whether someone I meet is Republican or Democrat by knowing their level of education, and whether or not they have travelled.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • ThePatriot

      Dude! ....thats post of the day!!!

      April 7, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Theend

      Recognition reflex...

      April 7, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • CRC

      Those who can't think for themselves will follow the training of their college instructors and get locked in to democratic dogma. Those who think responsibly and use logic will see through that dogma and become more conservative. Conservatives teach personal responsibility while liberals teach irresponsibility and let the government take care of it all since you as joe public are not smart enough to think on your own. I am an older Christian conservative and the difference between the liberals and conservatives is striking and those who are liberal all have the same strange thought processes which are essentially socialist values. We never want to see socialism in America, that is not what made America great but it will be America's downfall just like the other countries in the world today that embrace socialism, aka personal irresponsibility.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:02 am |
      • Joe

        Again you throw the word socialist around like it is a bad thing socialism is not evil because if it were then countries like sweeden Denmark Norway Finland and many other very peaceful productive and intelligent nations would be considered part of that axis of evil the bush administration used to like to push down or throats but none of them are actually socialist they are dictatorships please do you're homework because it's embarrassing to see how many Americans think that N. Korea and Iran are actually socialist countries

        April 8, 2012 at 12:32 am |
      • B100Z

        Explain the Republican cult comment "can't think for themselves" please.! I hear it all the time from conservatives. It's whjat you've been trained to say by listening to your irrational buddies...just like you cons throwing around the word "socialist". Another one politicians on the right use is, "what the American people want is...". Google-eyed Mitch McConnel uses this a lot, as do all his devout followers. As if ALL Americans are on "THEIR" side. Yeah!! Right!

        April 8, 2012 at 12:49 am |
      • FunkyMonkey7

        Joe, Bush didn't put North Korea, Iran, and Iraq together into the Axis of Evil because they were allegedly socialist, he threw them together because they were both authoritarian (secular authoritarian in Iraq, religious authoritarian in Iran, and sultanistic/cult of personality authoritarian in North Korea) and anti-West. In fact, I don't know anybody who would say that those three countries are all socialist (except for maybe North Korea, and then only because it's nominally communist, which is a form of radical socialism)

        April 8, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • Mia

      Completely agree.

      April 8, 2012 at 5:30 am |
    • Me from Boulder

      As a whole, those who won't align with any party tend to be the most intelligent because they remain open-minded and willing to see all sides. These are creative folks who see outside the box, who can visualize without outside influence. Many more Democrats are more "educated" and may appear more intelligent because they have a bachelor's degree or higher, but liberal arts degrees don't count! 🙂 You may communicate effectively with that Communications degree, but you are probably dumb as dirt and those who are actually intelligent see right through your thesaurus-memorized words.

      However, in Democrat vs. Republican intelligence, Democrats do win, hands down.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • college-educatedrepublican

      That seems like a typical response from a non-educated democrat. I am college educated and looking at law schools, just because I claim myself as a Republican I'm not smart? Try going down to your local "hood" and see how many educated democrats there are down there. That is the most illogical thing I have ever heard. I consider myself to be a Libertarian which requires more thought and education than any of the parties out there.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Frank J

      I essentially agree with this statement which, in summary, says that the more education a person has the more liberal they are in the politics, except that there is one BIG missing factor: money. Once an educated person becomes financially rich, they become more conservative. Thus the Republican party consists of two sides of the social spectrum: the uber-rich, and those poorly educated blue color types who buy into the up-by-your-own-bootstraps ideology preached by the uber-rich.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  27. Ed Sr of Dallas Tx

    Apparently my genes are all screwed up! I started out at age 21 as a Democrat and voted Democrat just as my family did......then at age 31 I became a Republican and voted Republican....then at about age 45 I started voting the man and the issues and became an Independent! I remain an Independent and believe that both other parties are NUTS!

    April 7, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  28. Chris

    This is utter hogwash. There are plenty of known predictors of political idiology. Take a look at any election map. Rural=conservative Urban=liberal. Another one is age. Under age 25? Chances are you're a liberal. Political idiology is not a fixed phenotype. It is primarily dependent on your lifestyle and experience. No doubt genetics plays some role...it plays a role in everything. But we don't need genetics to explain why people adopt particular idiologies.

    April 7, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Brian

      Did you ever consider that these other factors (besides age of course) could be influenced by genes- and perhaps the same genes that code for political predispositions?

      April 7, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Brian

      I'm not saying that genes determine where a person lives, but a job or a certain ideology certainly can. This in turn is partially determined by genetics. Btw, open a current biology or genetics book... the nature vs nurture debate is over! Almost everything about you is at least a little bit controlled by genetics so get over it!

      April 7, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
      • FunkyMonkey7

        Definitely location has much to do with it. I live in the last bastion of conservatism in Southern California, a usu. liberal state. According to our voting record, we have voted for a Republic presidential candidate for every election since Roosevelt's second term, and we have had a Republican congressional candidate for almost just as long. We also have a fairly mixed ethnicity composition, with much of the conservative block coming from older Caucasian Christians, refugees (often highly educated) from communist countries, and older Catholic Latinos.

        April 8, 2012 at 1:05 am |
  29. WhackyWaco

    My parents were Yellow Dog Democrats. I was more liberal when I was young, but as I grew older I became more conservative.

    April 7, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • ThePatriot

      There goes my life long learning...I thought only certain animal species change their colour from new born to adulthood!!!

      April 7, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  30. Darth Vader

    Luke, it is your destiny to be Republican. Join me so I can complete your training. Together we can rule America.

    LUKE: No! I'll never join you!!! Now I need a new hand, you JERK! SOCIALZED MEDICINE!!!

    April 7, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Darth Vader

      Yeah. I see the typo in Socialized. Pray I don't notice other things.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  31. caesarbc

    Politics is not genetic. That is rediculous. However, it does depend highly on with whom you closely associate yourselves on a daily basis. Practice, ritual, and habits, form your worldviews, and those are largely dependent upon your immediate social environment. You choose those with whom you perpetuate behavior patterns.

    April 7, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  32. Galactus999

    I am a Republican who dreams of the day that I will be rich enough to feel guilty of all my wealth and become a Democrat.

    April 7, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • ThePatriot

      You just miss that chance.....Nation's biggest LOTO just got over

      April 7, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Dave A.

      Gal. Im a demo and dont feel guilty. Dreaming about dough is a waste of time. Life is NOW!!

      April 8, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  33. Brian

    “identical” twins share all of their DNA but fraternal twins share only half of it... why do you wish to misinform the public? Fraternal twins can share anywhere between 0% and 100% of their DNA (but both of these extremes are almost impossible as you know) with the statistical average being closer 50% (which is also what it is for any siblings).

    April 7, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  34. Jonathan

    Whoever came up with this idea is a moron. The Left/Right Paradigm is a HUGE charade and it's only a way for the elites to stay in control. It divides the people into two groups and whenever there is another group such as the Libertarians who try to enter the political sphere the Left/Right combine together to shut it down. For those of you who ACTUALLY BELIEVE the Left & Right stand for what they say, then YOUR IDIOTS. The Democrats aren't the party of JFK anymore and the Republicans aren't the party of Eisenhower anymore. Do your own research on issues and don't listen to the VOMIT CNN, Fox News and MSNBC spew into your brains. Open your minds and realize this crap already. Believe in liberty and throw the garbage in Washington out.

    April 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Brian

      He's talking more about conservative and liberal values, not party affiliations. The values a person holds are shaped partly by genetics just as personality, intelligence, etc. are. Don't have a fit and be glad that everyone isn't a libertarian like you are.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Andy

      Libertarians were absorbed into the GOP.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:22 am |
      • Andrew

        Along with the Klan, Skins and Snakehandlers.

        April 8, 2012 at 1:21 am |
  35. Lori

    I think one day we will find almost every choice we make to be due to a gene. My dad and his two siblings were raised by Republican parents, yet somehow my dad ended up being the loan Democrat of the group. He died when I was 3 and here I am, 39 years old, practically the only Democrat in the family. I've been told that I have his beliefs and ideologies, despite growing up with a family that believes differently than I do on many topics. Sounds genetic to me. 🙂

    April 7, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  36. Charlie

    If this article was true then I would be a conservative Republican and I voted for Obama four years ago.

    April 7, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Dave A.

      Good choice!

      April 8, 2012 at 12:05 am |
  37. David Fox

    Leave it to a bunch of liberals (cnn) to blame their liberal condition on genetics.

    April 7, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Leave it to a conservative to only half read the article.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
      • notea4me

        Conservatives don't read.

        April 7, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
      • orwell scoffs

        Don't say that, they are paranoid too.

        But at heart, they are proud anti-socialists who are closet anti-social.

        April 8, 2012 at 4:56 am |
  38. Laurie

    Look, not every crime, not every abnormal behavior, not every political opinion has a gene that corresponds to it. There is a wonderful thing called "spirit" or "soul" and FREE WILL. We are not just a bunch of programmed cells, we are embodied spirits. We may CHOOSE our moral values according to goodness or evil.

    April 7, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • chubby rain

      prove it?

      April 7, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • ThePatriot

      Thats deep!!! ....for the satuday night...

      April 7, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  39. LMD

    This article is pure bunk. In a family of 4 kids,we all have different political views and do not share the party affiliation. the same goes for my children,2 are for one party,1 for another,and still another is an Independent. So I guess my family breaks this man's thinking big time(BTW,I vote totally different from my parents)

    April 7, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      He didn't write about parties; he wrote about conservative and liberal. They aren't the same except in the far right and far left brain.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  40. TC Williams

    Politics are rooted in ignorance and stupidity.

    April 7, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • ThePatriot

      hmmmmm...I heard this phrase before.....Oh ....yes I remeber...that was uttered by some dictator in the Third World.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Politics is rooted in reality. If you deny you are a politician, you are either a hermit or in denial.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  41. Caiha

    This is a loud of poop, but I understand where he's coming from. The problem with American scientists and their total disregard for scientific method is they always want to suggest their research is the end all be all of the issue, when it is in reality only one small slice. I'm fully aware it's in my nature to be conservative. I'm a born protector, defender, or as people with a more liberal bent would say: "sucker." However, that very same trait combined with life experience has caused me to agree with quite a few liberal ideals. It's the same trait, the same genetics if you will, causing me to agree with liberals on some issues and conservatives on others. So clearly, at least in my case, it's not a straight down the line predisposition, but a combination of that with life experience. One thing I want to restate though, American scientists need to go back to using scientific method instead of throwing out untested and unproven theories, even mere hypothesis, as truth. Though CNN jumping on these research papers before the scientific community can conduct third party researh to test their veracity may be part of the problem...

    April 7, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • David Fox

      You're insane. If you're pro-gun you have to be anti-abortion. It's a scientific fact. :p

      April 7, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • chubby rain

      I think there are a couple of problems. The first is that scientific papers are being rewritten by nonscientists for a nonscientific audience and a lot of the nuance and uncertainty present in the scientific paper is lost in translation. The second is that you are generalizing based on the works of a political scientist: hardly a physicist or biochemist. In such disciplines, the data is much less black and white, making it seem less scientific.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  42. Anthony Caudill (tcaudilllg)

    These so-called neuroscientists had better get out of depth psychology, where they do not belong, and instead devote themselves to MEDICAL pursuits like CURING ALTZHEIMERS and SCHIZOPHRENIA, AND STOP WASTING OUR TAXPAYER DOLLARS ON THIS CRAP. Because if they think they are going to issue decrees from on high, as appears to be their aim in wandering into other skill type's turf, they are mistaken as it will be THEY who are enslaved.

    April 7, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  43. matt houston

    The greedier you are genetically, the more likely you will be Republican.

    April 7, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • dan

      and the more you wanna work hard and throw away your money away genetically, the more likely youll be a democrat

      April 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
      • FastFreddy6

        Liberals working hard? Since when?

        April 7, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
      • Jeff Carrabine

        Republicans NEVER work hard they are the kings of lazy. They live off the sweat of democrat labor. They care for nobody but themselves. That is a republican staple. The only good republican is a dead republican. I fart in your general direction republican party.

        April 7, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  44. Lila

    There could be something to this. My family are all Science people. No one is overly religious, they care about people and have worked to save lives, care about the environment, against wars, aren't fearful of other people, etc...

    April 7, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  45. .

    Conservative dummies.

    April 7, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • ThePatriot

      You don't have to lump it together...you just mention either and its obvious.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  46. .

    If you're a dummy, you're a liberal. If your have common sense and a brain, you're destined to be a conservative.

    April 7, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • ThePatriot

      Well... your theory doesn't hold true....'cause most of the genetically superior brains....like scientist, artist and philosphers are Liberal by their views!!!! Most of the Mad Men of the current and past are and were conservatives.....Check out human history.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
      • DP

        Yes, yes, I'm sure Stalin and Mao were scientific and sane in their killing. The problem is humans are violent and get to feel okay with themselves when they express that through statism. Which cheering section you sit in while you urge the government to do violence doesn't really absolve you.

        April 7, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  47. mememine69

    Climate change was Liberalism's Iraq War.

    Y2Kyoto, by mememine

    ALGORE is my shepherd; I shall not think.
    He maketh me lie down in Greenzi pastures:
    He leadeth me beside the still-freezing waters.
    He selleth my soul for CO2:
    He leadeth me in the paths of self-righteousness for his own sake.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of reason,
    I will fear no logic: for thou art with me and thinking for me;
    Thy Gore’s family oil fortune and thy 10,000 square Gorey foot mansion, they comfort me.
    Thou preparest a movie in the presence of contradictory evidence:
    Thou anointest mine head with nonsense; my fear runneth over.
    Surely blind faith and hysteria shall follow me all the days of my life:
    and I will dwell in the house of ALGORE forever.

    April 7, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • SmartyPants

      See, this is problem with people such as yoiurself. Al Gore did not invent climate change, he has simply passed on information from the scientific community. Yes, it's call "science" and I know that in recent years science is so "20th century" to people like you. So, "liberals" are not the ones that make this a poltical issue. It's that they are not so stupid as to put their heads in the sand and pretend there is no merit to the "science" of climate change. You can stick you head in the sand or put your hands over your ears and yell "la,la,la, I can't hear you! I can't hear you!" but problems associated with climate change are not going to go away.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
      • Livefree88

        Al Gore has a greed factor behind his views...He is in the board of the Chicago Carbon Exchange. The place where carbon "credits" are bought and sold.

        April 7, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  48. BoonDocks Patriot

    Here is one of the best analysis for the reasons and environment that creates
    the Authoritarian Conservative in our political landscape. The piece was written by John Dean (Republican). He was President Nixon's general council during the Watergate scandal. He was the one who testified before congress after he figured out that Nixon was going to use him for the scape goat.

    It should be mandatory reading for all thinking Americans. After reading it I am sure you will recognize the traits in many of your friends and contacts that will help help you understand why they are who they are. The three Gs
    (God, Guns and Gays) are a major underpinning in their upbringing along with a large doses of fear of any thing different than what their world has provided to their thought process and reality.


    A people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives. ~ James Madison

    April 7, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  49. mememine69

    If conservatives compromised to leave all religion out of government and liberals replaced “group think” with individual liberty as the foundation for democracy, it could all work.

    April 7, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • OrionStyles

      Yet the majority think Ron Paul is a kook for this...

      April 7, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • eb79


      April 9, 2012 at 4:22 am |
  50. Theend

    Certain personality types, i.e. Myers Briggs - Extraversion/Introversion/Judging/ Perceiving, etc. and Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) Hypochondriasis Scale/Psychopathic Deviate Scale, etc. - tend to be more conservative, or liberal, than others. Biological psychology says that genetics are responsible for personality. Behaviorism says personality is a result of life experiences between the person and the environment. Psychodynamic theories focus on the unconscious mind and childhood. Humanist point to free will and the individual. Take your pick.

    April 7, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • tcaud

      Give up Myers Briggs and check out Socionics, developed by A Augusta in Ukraine.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
      • Theend

        "Who has fully realized that history is not contained in thick books but lives in our very blood?" - Carl Jung

        April 7, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  51. mememine69

    How do Democrats expect to get voter support when they condemn the voter's children to a CO2 death?
    Resentment to this climate change fear mongering will keep Liberals out of power for a decade.

    April 7, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • DJL

      Every legitimate climatologist agrees that the earth is getting warmer. That is, unless you watch Faux news.

      P.S. Eleven of the thirteen warmest years on record have been the last eleven. Some mountain tops are now barren of snow. Ocean levels are rising (because of the melted snow). Climate change is real, not a myth.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  52. PointOutTheObvious11

    Is the soul your brain? Drink a beer. Take an anti-depressent. Try Ginseng

    Eat food!

    April 7, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  53. Mary

    There is a website devoted to the topic of genetics/psychology and religious/political views – neuropolitics.org. It has archives of monthly newsletters going back several years which present research papers on these topics. Can be dry reading because it is academic oriented but it definitely gives you food for thought.

    April 7, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • tcaud

      Who are the neuroscientists to take over these issues?

      April 7, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
      • DJL

        It's called research.

        April 7, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  54. mememine69

    Climate Blame?
    Nonbelievers, deniers and former believers all know that the millions of people in the world of science calling climate change a threat to the planet do not exist. If they did, they would have joined the dozens of climate change protesters by now to save their own children as well. The exaggeration of consensus and CO2 effects are painfully obvious.
    Conservatives see that as long as Liberals are alienating voter support by condemning the voter’s children to a CO2 death, they will not get back in power for a very long time.
    Wouldn’t real planet lovers rejoice at the good news of the greatest threat in history being just a tragic exaggeration?

    April 7, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • DJL

      Please do yourself a favor and stop watching Faux News. They're the only ones who are saying that Climate Change isn't real.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  55. BoonDocks Patriot

    Here is one of the best analysis for the reasons and environment that creates
    the authoritarian Conservative in our political landscape. The piece was written by John Dean (Republican). He was President Nixon's general council during the Watergate scandal. He was the one who testified before congress after he figured out that Nixon was going to use him for the scape goat.

    It should be mandatory reading for all thinking Americans. After reading it I am sure you will recognize the traits in many of your friends and contacts.

    April 7, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Rick

      This is pure idiocy. People are born not liberal or conservative. They learn this from their parents and friends. Some go the opposite way and some comply. It makes no difference. These are just two types of philosophical myopia.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  56. JAY SAYS

    To be truly analytically objective. You would have to be a neutral moderate. That is why the medias symplification of politics into a two part idea is politically incorrect and stories like these are really faulty at there premise.And on a personal note most of society has a very really distorted view of their own political standing.If I were to grade society on comprehension?

    April 7, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • OrionStyles

      Tell them to google political compass

      April 7, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  57. Arlyn

    The twin studies show that some are born craving novelty and some are born craving stability. That's where the liberal-conservative dimension comes in. Experience will enhance or contradict this characteristic. People generally LEAN one way or the other and may end up in the middle or switching sides over time. I think people are hostile to this information because it questions the assumed virtue of their political stance. Shallow people want to believe that they have CHOSEN the correct side and the other guys have chosen evil. Not that simple! Never is! We're all in this lifeboat together. Stop crowin' and start rowin'.

    April 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  58. WFRT

    OH yes, liberals point to pseudo-science as long as it doesn't go against them (such as the fact liberal blacks have much lower IQs than average whites)

    April 7, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Wingsrule

      Way to be a fking white supremisist you fa.ggot

      April 7, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  59. blake

    More lunacy from the leftist writers at CNN.

    April 7, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • flagwavin

      Why don't you tell us how you really feel at the article?

      April 7, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
      • Rich

        Because the censorship filter would kick in.

        April 8, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  60. Bryan

    I don't think so.....I was born into a somewhat conservative family, was a staunch conservative until I was in my mid-20s. Then I slowly began to wake up and realize how illogical and backwards most conservative beliefs really are, and how little most conservatives really thought for themselves. We all just spewed the crap conservative talk-radio was feeding us. I am now very liberal, and it had everything to do with getting out and seeing the world, taking in new ideas, and understanding how the world really works.

    April 7, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • george9

      How do you know that your viewpoint could not have been facilitated by genetics?

      April 7, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Joe

      ditto... Yes, my parents were archetypal Archie Bunker so I grew up thinking only conservative… lots of education and life experience and now I’m what the right calls the “liberal academic elite.” Politics parallels religious camps too; God of Laws vs. God of Love. I also understand the work ethic comment but hard work is only one part of the formula: add creativity and luck (both are hard to teach or control).

      April 7, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  61. Limbaugh is a liberal

    It's science, therefore republicans are required to be offended by it and call for its ban

    April 7, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  62. george9

    Since this is a scientific assertion, sit back and watch how many conservatives deny it. Just watch.

    April 7, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  63. TAK

    Makes sense to me. Inbreeding creates conservatives.

    April 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Rightwingswhackoescansuckit

      Quote of the day...LOL

      April 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  64. Kala

    This is just the kind of garbage we've come to expect from the Geobbles Ministry of Propaganda CNN/CBS/NBC.ABC.

    However it might be worth taking a look out to find out why liberals are so easely fooled by a hack like Obama.

    April 7, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • You're living proof...

      Funny. Because you're exactly the type of person he's talking about in his book. Denial of reality is the result of a mental disorder. We call it conservatism.

      April 7, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  65. Angry DuckWaffleSheepTosser

    Pancakes are flat. Waffles have nooks and crannies in them to hold butter and syrup. Ducks go quack. Bananas can be inserted into female orifices. Thank you for your underpants.

    April 7, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  66. ArranWebb

    Crack pot story.

    April 7, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • jim atmad

      Crack or pot? Make up your mind.

      April 7, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  67. jim atmad

    All of my grandparents were Eisenhower Republicans (as an aside, Ike wouldn't be let into a GOP meeting today).

    My mom and dad are/ were strong liberals. My dad's brother proudly hobnobbed with the GOP Washington insiders during Reagan, and my mom's brother was the founder of my hometown's Young Republicans.

    Genetics? They were all were very bright people who were interested in the world. They just chose different ways of expressing that interest.

    April 7, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • george9

      There is no reason that this could not all still have a genetic basis. Every person can still have different jeans, just like some are boys and some are girls.

      April 7, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  68. Kelley

    "Climate-gate", anyone?

    April 7, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • george9

      Only idiots would believe in 'climate-gate'.

      April 7, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  69. jeremy

    wow really CNN you guys bored over there don't have anything better to write about then this dumb crap WOW people who are really like into this you need to get lives THIS IS REDICLOUS

    April 7, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  70. tcaud

    I accuse this author of plagiarism. He's plagiarized my research that I conducted through applying Brian P Mitchell's typology to MBTI/socionics. Information metabolism: the ONLY WAY to realize the neurocognitive situation with respect to politics.

    April 7, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  71. Jim Weix

    Oh great. Now both the Republicans and the Democrats will favor genetic cleansing.
    Load your firearms!

    April 7, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  72. Pat

    I disagree with Mr. Mooney. Every member of my family is a conservative republican and I am as liberal a Democrat as they come......and it all had to do with my life experiences as a young adult.

    April 7, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Jim Weix

      Careful. Your family will take you to the vet to get fixed 🙂

      April 7, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Greg Esres

      Did you even read the article? Genes don't absolutely determine your political beliefs, but they likely have an influence.

      April 7, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  73. Michael

    Genetics have no bearing on political ideology in my personal opinion. Growing up I watched Fox News which obviously leaned me towards conservative opinions and beliefs. After actually getting out in the world and my subsequent trips to Iraq I found myself leaning more towards the left. Now I consider myself an independent conservative. I have no time for political parties because in my own opinion; both Democrats and Republicans are bad for this country and provide nothing of value towards our people or political system.

    “However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

    GEORGE WASHINGTON, Farewell Address, Sep. 17, 1796

    April 7, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Jack

      You are a smart guy, Michael. Genetics only plays a part, in my opinion, if you are (born) gay. I think it is more difficult to be gay if conservative. Not impossible, just more difficult. Hence, most of my gay friends are very left.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Steve And Darlene

      Michael. Thanks for sharing that quote from Washington. Our founding fathers are far smarter than we give them credit these days. That's my main reason for replying. I'm conservative and I'm sure genetics have influenced that because they have influenced how I learn lessons from my mistakes, etc. I research things myself rather than just accepting what the mainstream media or conservative media presents. My mother started out a liberal but after working for years as a social worker has become a conservative. She has shared with me that too many people play the system and that the system is designed to discourage you to seek your own way in life. Our personalities are different so while genetics can influence your political preferences, I think your experiences tend to override them eventually. Surveys indicate that as people age they tend to become more conservative. I'm going to get some heat over the next statement, but surveys have also repeatedly shown that conservatives have a tendency to research multiple outlets before forming an opinion whereas liberals have a tendency to follow ideas and beliefs portrayed in the mainstream media. That jives with my experiences when debating folks about issues.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  74. sir_ken_g

    Conservatives are retro lizard brains....

    April 7, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  75. james A.

    It is obvious to me that “type A” people tend to be conservative and type B’s tend to be liberal. This also underscores why one ideology or the other cannot be allowed to control everything at once.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • ArranWebb

      My brother's dominatrix is Democrat.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • jim atmad

      I know an awful lot of hard-driviing liberals. One difference is that, for the most part they are not as acquisitive (selfish) as righties, and gravitate toward more socially relevant fields rather than making lots of money.

      The nature of what gives them satisfaction is an indicator of their political leanings.

      That's why most teachers, nurses, scientists, and artists are liberal.

      April 7, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  76. Paul

    No it's based on experience, a person's age and their background to a degree. I was raised by Democrat parents but I am far more conservative on many issues than they are, and more liberal on others than they are.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  77. Mets Win

    Political affiliations are not genetic, although outlooks and mindsets can be. A child's mind is very malleable. If you have liberal parents, you're more likely to be liberal and the same goes with conservative parents/children. Also, your friends, schooling, and teachers have a very strong influence on how the adult mind turns out which can explain why a liberal parent can end up with a conservative child and so on. There are so many factors that make this article hogwash. That being said, there is one that is sure. We as society are interrupting the balance of nature vs. nurture by coddling the weak. The liberal mindset, which does play an important (yet small) role in society, was not meant to outnumber the conservative mindset of humanity. Up until recent history, liberals were the weak humans that were killed off, used for entertainment (arts, etc), and/or enslaved for further advancement or survival of certain civilizations. Now, the weak humans/genes are allowed to multiply too fast which will eventually cause the human population to collapse. Most liberals cannot fight, recognize danger, have basic survival skills, or the ability to overcome disasters that can endanger human life without the help of government handouts and/or without a leader to follow. The liberal mindset actually leads to more war, more death, and more suffering. As with anything, mother nature will always come out on top. When global socialism eventually fails,leading to famine, poverty, and large scale war, liberals will be the first to become extinct and the cycle will start all over again.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • rmtaks

      So you claim genetic research is "hogwash" when it doesn't support your ideas, then use genetics to explain why your side (conservatives) are superior. And if liberals were "weak, playing a small role in society, meant to be killed off" they would not be so prevalent.

      And clearly your simplified stereotype of a 60's hippie as a typical liberal lends me to believe you tend to gullible, and more likely the one who can't function without a leader. Your post is so long and delusional I'm pretty sure there's no point going any deeper into it though, you sure as hell aren't changing your mind.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • VEK

      Wow, and you want to be taken seriously? I must say, however, spoken like a true, biologically programmed and thus predictable conservative.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Rick

      I am very liberal on most issues and have been since I was a small child without really understanding what that meant. However, my mom is a republican, as we as my dad and all of my cousins, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews and so on. In fact, I am the only liberal in my family except for my half sister.

      When I was a kid, I was a Republican, but only because that is what my dad told me that we were. I never really understood what it meant. As soon as I figured out what it meant, I realized that this was clearly not me. The point is that if genetics play a role in political ideology, then it must have skipped at least 4 generations in my family to get to me!

      April 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • The Voice From Above

      Looks like your objective thoughts were run over by the Republican in you.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Joe

      Wow you are an idiot my good sir =\

      April 7, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
  78. Bob

    We are a product of both our environmental and genetic heritage. This is really all that needs to be said about it. However, there are those people, and they typically use the genes are not destiny argument, that will deny this fact and start with the vindictive accusations that every problem that you have is your own fault. Science does not concern itself with these types of accusations and in fact, science has clearly shown that these types of accusations are false – that is we are a product of our environmental and genetic heritage, neither of which we had anything to do with.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  79. Lisa C.

    Everyone knows Obama will win 2012 election easy-peasy. He is our chief battle master and Romeny will just lose in Iran attack. why elect someone that will not smackdown Iran and Afghaistin?

    April 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  80. Dr. Gonzo

    We need a eugenics program to help breed out the Republicans.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Mets Win

      Of course you look to eugenics. The liberals that pride themselves on being inclusive and tolerant are actually one of the most intolerant and violent groups when faced with views that don't match their own. A good example of this is your reference to N-zi German tactics. Don't worry though, when your policies fail and the sh-t hits the fan in this Country, conservatives won't need eugenics to breed the liberal mindset out of it's population. Liberals cannot survive without mommy and daddy's trust fund, gov't handouts, Ipods, starbucks, skinny jeans, mind altering drugs, or without a demagogue to follow. Half of the liberal population will starve or kill each other before the conservatives use up 20% of their own resources.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
      • Joe

        Again idiot, what's with the name is the last thing you remember October of 1986

        April 7, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • Lone

      Why stop there, both the dupes in public who dance to the same tune every 2 to 4 years and the fiddler themselves all need to be weeded out. Difference in opinion and approach, even 'genetic predisposition', are all fine, but when your goal is to play party divide for the sake or principle or spite (which much of the last 3-4 years has been about) instead of finding solutions and bettering this country then you are a criminal and a traitor. The only thing the functional part of the US is hoping for in November is if the rest of the country has caught up (and you never do).

      April 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  81. ted

    My parents were Carter Delegates, I spent the whole summer of 1976 in the back of my folks Station wagon as they canvased Jacksonville Florida handing out Carter Mondell Pamphlets and stickers. I can promise you my Dad would want no part of the new DNC, they stand for every thing my father was against, (that's not to say the GOP is better) in fact they are one and the same. So my question to the author is how do you quantify your assertion, when names are the only way to distinguish the players in Washington.

    I am Voting republican, not because I was raised to, but because Democrats absolute forbid and refuse any intelligent independent debate. So back to Race against Money that's our issues, real made made boogey men, while we're all in the same sad state of affair.

    Chris Mooney the wise sage prognosticator of politics he is NOT. You haven't a clue my child, not a clue.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • SmartyPants

      How ironic. You seem to prove the point. Why do so many republicans have such a lack of respect for science?

      April 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
      • ted

        I don't know about Republicans, as I can't speak for them. I abhor the idiot Zealots that hide behind the Imperial robe of Science and misspeak and misquote Science no different than demented Religious Cults misrepresent their spiritual deity.

        But what in my post, even said anything about Science? I didn't, but here you pull it out like the Church Lady beating back Satan. You poor poor child.

        April 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • rick

      I get the feeling that you've always been a Republican and didn't realize it.. Jimmy Carter's 'ideals' are not much different from the current liberal ideology. If you are voting Republican this year then you are certainly not on the fence in any way. These Republican candidates of late are some of the most hard core conservative cavemen that have ever been on the ballot.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
      • ted

        "These Republican candidates of late are some of the most hard core conservative cavemen that have ever been on the ballot."

        And God bless every one of them. The Liberals had their chance and they blew it. There's just not enough elitism to go around. You're far to exclusive. Everyone can play along with the conservative right game. But to be a Liberal if you're not from an ivy league school then you're a second class citizen.

        The Liberals want nothing more than a full blown Race war, so they offer salvation in the form of welfare and social engineering. Of course they make sure to keep the Colored folk well beyond the limits of the Gated communities the Libs live behind and well away from the "Good" schools they pay handsomely to send their own kids to. You guys are so full of your selves, Pelosi has to stand in galvanized tub, to catch her essence as it over flows, she uses it for the base of her Cool Aid she serves up to her minions.

        April 7, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Equality

      You said Democrats refuse to participate in any intellectual debates. And once somebody mentions science, you hide your tail between your legs? I'm curious as to what exactly you meant by that statement because honestly, the first thing that popped to my mind was science as well. Democrats are for evolution, and Republicans are for creationsim (generally speaking). And spouting off science in comparison to religion is not idiotic. Do you know how science works? You have to create a hypothesis and then eventually come up with an experiment and record results. Even after you prove your hypothesis, or come up with another theory, this has to be tested numerous times and also approved by other scientists. If you are religious, then good for you...go for it! But my argument is that religion doesn't have nearly enough proof as the theory of evolution. Then, creationists try to knock it saying it's only a "theory" so it's a bunch of bogus. This always makes me laugh, because it makes no sense. How is creationism any better than the evolutionary theory? (And by the way, gravity is a theory as well). If you are going to vote for Republican then, well...I guess that's your choice, but honestly I feel kind of sorry for you.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
      • ted

        Here I got a little something for you to. Science will be, it doesn't need you to safe guard the book, you wield like a crucifix when the blood sucking conservatives are out flying in the dark. I'm on to the Lot of You, and I'm not impressed.

        April 7, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • jim atmad

      If you think that the DNC and RNC are the same, you've lost your ability to reason.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
      • ted

        You folks wouldn't know a good Liberal if Tip O'Neil rose from the dead, tore off a chunk of Ted Kenned and flogged you senseless with it.

        April 7, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
  82. jim

    There is good and evil in this world. The GOP is pure evil and will always be that way.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Lisa C.

      yes yes Jim!! i urge people vote for Obama so war in Afghanistin and Iran will be over quick. Obama hopefully invades Iran soon before summer heat. If only I had two votes for Barack he is my fav king of America!

      April 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
      • jon

        At least Obama is not trying to rollback the country to the Dark Ages with taking away women's rights let alone democracy with all their recent bills put forth to limit voting rights.

        April 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  83. sandan

    When I first met my German wife who had a private Catholic education, I was what I might call a recovering Protestant. Although we prayed with our children nightly (the Lord's Prayer) we never attended church unless it was for a wedding, funeral etc. . Although we are both moderate Democrats, we never disgussed politics or religion at home with our children. As a result; our oldest son is a Catholic an a Republican who attends church, our daughter is a Catholic and a Democrat who also attends church. our youngest son (age 51) is a Baptist and a Republican that attends church. So much for your gene theory, as far as I'm concerned!

    April 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • rmtaks

      So two left-leaning moderates give birth to 2 conservatives and a liberal, and we're assuming the 40% impact the article stated. This really isn't statistically improbable.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  84. tigrr

    I hope US taxpayers' money wasn't waste on this 'research'... maybe there is a geneitc link between those with congressional leanings and stupidity. Idiots all.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  85. Jim

    Absolute and utter BS. My father was a Democrat as is my mom and 1 sister, my brother older sister and I are conservative. It has to do with how much you make (and pay in taxes) that make you conservative. My liberal sister is uneducated and basically lazy. My dad grew up in the depression but he would be a conservative in todays political climate

    April 7, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • rmtaks

      First you completely ignore the part about it not being all, or even most of what determines your political affiliation. Then you try to use personal anecdotes with practically no sample size to disprove formal research. Then you wrap it all up with generalizations. You are really not making a convincing case for why this is "Absolute and utter BS."

      April 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
      • SmartyPants


        April 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
      • rmtaks

        "My father was a Democrat..."
        "My dad grew up in the depression but he would be a conservative in todays political climate"

        You do realize this last part works against your narrative that both parents were liberals and you are conservative so this research is bogus right?

        April 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
      • ted

        Welp here we go the "Smarter than you" brigade to beat back and counter argument.
        You're wrong because we're smart, rinse and repeat.

        April 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
      • rmtaks

        ted: What are you complaining about exactly? I never once said or implied "I'm right because I'm smarter than you." I made the best argument I could while pointing out his string of logical fallacies. Are you saying well-presented arguments shouldn't hold more weight than ones people pulled out of their butts?

        April 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
      • ted

        "You are really not making a convincing case for why this is "Absolute and utter BS.""

        That's not for you to decide, you're not his audience. You are not his choir of Okey Doke Folks. You are his Anti Okey Doke Folks. You have no right to tell him what case he is making. Sit down this one might upset you. Not eveyone is making a "CASE" some people just want to put it out there, as it, with no other sentiment implied, not open for discusion or debate. Calling them stupid dosen't go very far to change their minds. Especially coming from the Liberal elite. We get it, your smart and everyone else is Stupid. So stupid they voted Obama in 08. Let's see if you can fool them again.
        Will it be shame on you, or shame on them?

        Keep up the good work, calling your voting base stupid. I really need to keep that campaign up. It's the only chance we have to get this leech out of office. Call me crazy, but it just might work. Whudda Maroone.

        April 7, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
      • rmtaks

        Ted: 1) I never called him stupid, yet you just accused me of doing that like a dozen times. 2) I do have the right to call him stupid if I want. Freedom of speech doesn't mean you won't be ridiculed for saying stupid things. 3) It IS for me to decide whether he is making a good case. Making judgements about people and their ideas his how we function in life. I didn't necessarily have to say what I thought of his post, but I did. If you think my tone was too negative therefore he is stupid, then he just did exactly the same thing to liberals except a lot more explicitly. I don't know why people think they get a free pass to insult whoever they want then complain about (mild) retribution.

        April 7, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Josh

      Totally wrong. There are numerous examples to discount this. Warren Buffet makes a lot of money and pays taxes (and thinks he should have to pay more). He's a liberal. Many famous actors make a lot of money and pay lots of taxes on that money and they are also liberal.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
      • SmartyPants


        April 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  86. MaryM

    Politics are NOT in the genes.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • rmtaks

      Are you a geneticist?

      April 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
      • SmartyPants

        Yeah, I always like the way people who are not experts automatically think they know more than the experts. Like the climate change deniers for example. Certainly experts can be wrong sometimes but, seriously, they know more than non experts so it worth doing some serious thinking and perhaps studying up on an issue before reaching a conclusion.

        April 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
      • rmtaks

        Smartypants: Right. No layman would just go up to an database admin and say they know more about databases, or go up to a dentist and say they know more about teeth, but for some reason scientists are fair game.

        April 7, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
      • ted

        I'm a thought scientist, and you're thinking wrong. Don't' challenge me. I'm have impeccable thinking skills, and your inferior climate change science is no match for my thinking science. I'm a scientist, be afraid whoooo be very afraid. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Booga booga booo!!!!

        April 7, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
      • george9

        Ted, you keep sounding like an idiot, do you have anything of any value to actually say? You're just digging yourself a deepe and deeper hole.

        April 7, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  87. KH

    So I guess Republicans were just born that way?

    April 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  88. fool1977

    I'm liberal on some issues, and conservative on others. I'm willing to bet that many people are. Let's stop trying to pigeon hole each other. Pitting left and right against each other, just like instigating class warfare, is what the lizards want.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  89. tupster

    40% of what? Popular science reporting always reports these statistics but does not say what they mean. This does not even report on the methodology beyond the fact it was twin study.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • SmartyPants

      Actually, it was very specific. Genetics appear to account for "40% of the variability in our political views"

      April 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
      • SmartyPants

        so 60% is caused by factors other than genetics which can likely be categorized as environmental factors.

        April 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  90. tupster

    The author believe in the statement "You cannot help who you are so I will tolerate you," but the statement "You cannot help who you are therefore you should not live or reproduce," has also been a common statement in history. Beliefs should be argued on the basis of their rationality and scientific and spiritual results! The author of this article is essentially arguing that BIAS is genetic and therefore should be tolerated.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  91. the truther

    So basically this study showed that we have genes that makes us liberals or conservatives but that it doesn't really do anything to us.

    so what was the point of this study?

    April 7, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • SmartyPants

      Yes, it does say that genes impact political persuasion. What it is saying is that genes alone do not account for political persuasion but that it is likely a complex interaction of genes and environmental factors that determine ones political leanings. This is true of many things to include whether you are more extroverted or introverted. Researchers tend to believe that we are born with a push to be either more timid or outgoing but that environmental (experiential/learned) factors can cause a timid person to become more outgoing and vice versa. You may have the wiring in your brain to be a great mathematician but if you do not do things that are related to that skill, you may never realize such a potential exists. Music, athletics… same thing.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  92. JCQueipo

    If you arE POOR and gullible, you are a Republican !!!!

    April 7, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • CRC

      If that were true then most all blacks would be Republican, drive through the poor part of town sometime. You got it backwards.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:10 am |
  93. Alex

    Is there not a a correlation between intelligence (including education and socioeconomic upbringing) and political allegiance? The lower, the more conservative (keep it simple) and the higher the IQ the more moderate left-leaning???

    April 7, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • sir_ken_g


      April 7, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Rich

      If there is, then you should have no trouble locating a citation for it. Until then, you're just talking out your @ss.

      April 9, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  94. Phyllis Cohen

    MONEY $$$ makes people conservative. All my friends were extremely liberal growing up. Now many of them are rich beyond their wildest dreams and POOF! they have all become conservatives. This abandoning of principles they once held dear is very detrimental to our friendships as I am still liberal to the core. Believe me, giving a few extra dollars to the tax collector would not adversely affect any of their lifestyles but the same folks who accepted college loans and unemployment when they couldn't find jobs now are against all those things. And don't dare touch their medicare! But universal insurance is anathema to them. I just don't understand their thinking and it makes me sad.

    April 7, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Big Bob

      It's called wisdom and maturity, sweetie. Have you ever heard the old adage?

      If your young and conservative, you have no heart.
      If you old and liberal, you have no brian.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
      • sir_ken_g

        Once those oldsters see the Ryan plan for SS and Medicare they will be very very liberal.

        April 7, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
      • jim atmad

        Another old adage that's pure bunk. Young people tend to be more liberal than older people because society is shifting underneath us. I'm as liberal as I was when I was 20, but on some issues I'm now very middle of the road. For instance, on gay rights I'm much more liberal than I was, but I'm still not as far as my kids are. To them, it's a 100% non-issue.

        It's amusing that at least half the time righties assign that adage to Winston Churchill. The funny thing about that is that, like a lot of people, Churchill became MORE liberal in his mature years, not less.

        April 7, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
      • rand

        I'm confused since Obamacare takes away $500,000from Medicare yet everyone screams foul when Ryan tries to do CUTS to keep it from going BANKRUPT! Liberal logic is sooo bizzare.......

        April 7, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
      • Bob

        Actually, Big Bob, it's called 30 to 40 years of republican brain washing via the television set and the churches and the business schools. That is the environment part. We all need to be aware that we are all susceptible to brain washing. The majority of Germans during World War Two were brain washed by Hitler over and over and over saying the same thing. It is happening here with the Tea Baggers. But this time it's not Hitler. It's the Koch's and their small group of country club friends.

        April 7, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • TLC

      It's all about GREED.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
      • Big Bob

        No, it's about work ethic. If you work you butt off your entire life, you don't want to give it away to the lazy and envious.

        April 7, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
      • rdeleys

        @ Big Bob - Work in a nice air-conditioned office, do you Big Bob? There are many in this country who work extremely hard doing manual labor and don't get squat for wages. They're always just one paycheck away from bankruptcy. Would it really be too much to provide them with a safety net??? I am continually astounded by the number of people in this country who lack even the slightest trace of empathy. Frankly, your comment is insulting and offensive.

        April 7, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
      • Dave


        I can't speak for him but as someone who agrees with him who has worked hard his entire life i find your comment to be extremely offensive and proof of the kind of person you are. Go ahead and attack and insult me if you wish since that is the kind of person your parents raised you to become. We lack empathy? How dare you say such an offensive and rude thing to those of us you don't even know, sociopath?

        We are continually astounded at your stupidity and arrogance and the stupidity and arrogance of those who agree with you. I have worked hard my entire life but you don't care about that since it doesn't reinforce your arrogant ideology and worldview where you are right and those of us who disagree with your stupidity are wrong.

        Would it be to much to ask that you do not talk down to us and tax us to support others so you can feel like a savior? Is that to much to ask of those of you say we lack empathy so you can paint as as devils worthy of your violations of our rights? Is it to much to ask that you let us help people as we see fit?

        Now sit in your home in front of your computer believing you are right since that is all that you know how to do and those of us whose rights you violate are horrible people. Aren't we narcissist?

        April 8, 2012 at 3:10 am |
      • rdeleys

        Well Mr. Dave, that was quite a hot little rant! Feel better now? You claim that I am offensive and rude, yet you make quite liberal use the words 'stupid' and 'arrogance' - words I never used - to characterize me and my opinions. I reread my post and you apparently see things in it that I never wrote. I was advocating for those often voiceless people in our society who aren't as well off and who constantly live on the brink of financial disaster, and that somehow makes me a narcissist and a sociopath?? Really? And it's because I want to "feel like a savior"? Really? And by advocating for those people, I'm somehow violating your rights? Let's see, I guess that would be your right NOT to help your fellow citizens who are in trouble. I'll grant you that. You DO have that right, but you DON'T have the right to claim that right on one hand and at the same time object to the accusation that you lack empathy, because by doing so, you make yourself guilty of rank hypocrisy. You can't have it both ways. To use your own words, is that "the kind of person your parents raised you to become"? And one last point, Mr. Dave. Don't read more into a text than is actually written. You don't know me or anything about my worldview. I guarantee you are not qualified to discuss either.

        April 8, 2012 at 7:56 am |
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