Is DNA Ideological Destiny?


Researchers at Rice University in Houston and University of Nebraska used the results of a twin study to find that ideology has a pretty good-sized heritable component. They report that by

…calculating a simple index of conservatism or liberalism based on the spread of yes or no responses, and constructing a measure of political opinion by looking at how many neutral responses were given. They calculated that between 40% and 50% of variation in political orientation was genetic, and almost none of it resulting from parental socialization. On the other hand, when they examined a specific question about political party affiliation, the results were nearly the reverse: Heritability had little to do with it, while shared environment was key.

I have already reported that some scientists believe conservatism is a genetic flaw that needs to be eradicated. (OK, OK, I'm just KIDDING about that eradiction part.)

Undoubtedly next on the gene/politics research agenda: Finding the genes that predispose some people to a pathological lust for freedom. Can they be fixed?