It's going to be terrible for Republicans who have to argue that being gay is a choice but that hating people for being gay isn't, but that's where at least one half of science is heading: People are born Republicans and can't change, it seems.
So on the bright side, it's not your fault you voted for Worst President Ever George W. Bush. Stupid DNA!
From global warming denial to claims about "death panels" to baseless fears about inflation, it often seems there are so many factually wrong claims on the political right that those who make them live in a different reality.So the growing scientific consensus is that being conservative is genetic and biologically-based... time to start teaching the controversy!
So here's an idea: Maybe they actually do. And maybe we can look to science itself -- albeit, ironically, a body of science whose fundamental premise (the theory of evolution) most Republicans deny -- to help understand why it is that they view the world so differently.
[A] growing body of research suggest[s] that the difference between liberals and conservatives is not merely ideological in nature. Rather, it seems more deeply rooted in psychology and the brain -- with ideology itself emerging as a kind of by-product of fundamentally different patterns of perceiving and responding to the world that spill over into many aspects of life, not just the political.
... [there are] seven published studies showing a consistent set of physiological, brain, and "attentional" differences between liberals and conservatives.
Later on my blog, I listed no less than eleven studies showing genetic differences as well.
Last month, yet another scientific paper on this subject came out -- from the National Science Foundation-supported political physiology laboratory at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The work, published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B ... goes further still in helping us understand how biological and physiological differences between liberals and conservatives may lead to very different patterns of political behavior.
While I imagine that conservatives will want to argue with this, what with today's GOP wanting to burn science at the stake and all, they should consider the "My DNA makes me stupidly vote in favor of billionaires who want to rape kids in my hospitals" defense as a bonus for them, and while science explains it all, they could always just tell people it's the same kind of "science" as "intelligent design" and then wink knowingly before they get back to diverting funds away from autistic kids and to Tom Coburn's buddies.
Science, after all, goes on to explain how you get from tiny (but already a human being like a corporation!) one-celled embryos to a walking slimeball like Rick Santorum who can tell people to pray away the Obama:
As the new research suggests, conservatism is largely a defensive ideology -- and therefore, much more appealing to people who go through life sensitive and highly attuned to aversive or threatening aspects of their environments. ... the Nebraska-Lincoln researchers had liberals and conservatives look at varying combinations of images that were meant to excite different emotions.So there you have it: pantsuits or not, conservatives walk through life viewing everything through eyeballs that see Hillary Clinton as a giant walking spider covered in maggots, and that's why they want to kill off healthcare.
There were images that caused fear and disgust -- a spider crawling on a person's face, maggots in an open wound [NOTE: INSERT YOUR OWN SANTORUM JOKE HERE]-- but also images that made you feel happy: a smiling child, a bunny rabbit. The researchers also mixed in images of liberal and conservative politicians -- Bill and Hillary Clinton, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
While they did all of this, the scientists measured the subjects' "skin conductance" -- the moistening of their sweat glands, an indication of sympathetic nervous system arousal -- as well as where their eyes went first and how long they stayed there.
The difference was striking: Conservatives showed much stronger skin responses to negative images, compared with the positive ones. Liberals showed the opposite. And when the scientists turned to studying eye gaze or "attentional" patterns, they found that conservatives looked much more quickly at negative or threatening images, and spent more time fixating on them. Liberals, in contrast, were less quickly drawn to negative images -- and spent more time looking at positive ones.
Similar things have been found before -- but the big breakthrough in the new study was showing that these tendencies carried over perfectly to the different sides' responses to images of politicians. Conservatives had stronger rapid fire physiological responses to images of Bill and Hillary Clinton -- apparently perceiving them much as they perceive a threat. By contrast, liberals showed stronger responses to the same two politicians, apparently perceiving them much as they perceive an appetitive or positive stimulus.
Wouldn't you? I mean, the way conservatives see if, every single liberal program ever was invented by Shelob. When you put it that way, I kind of want to kill off Social Security, too.
So the next time you wonder "Why is that conservative person taking a billion dollars from that Koch guy in exchange for promising to pass a law that will let them poison our water?" remember, to Eric Cantor, it's not just a funding bill for unemployment compensation or special-needs kids: It's the attack of the living dead.