Are Political Affiliations Predetermined By Our Genetics?

The short answer is no.

This from John B. Judis from The New Republic:

“…over the last two decades, political scientists, and psychologists have used genetics and neuroscience to claim that people’s political beliefs are predetermined at birth. Genetic inheritance, they argue, helps to explain why some people are liberal and others conservative; some people turn out to vote; and why some people favor and others oppose abortion and gay rights. The field itself has a namegenopoliticsand it is taking political science by storm. In the last four years alone, over 40 journal articles on the subject have appeared in academic journals.”

What has become all the rage among social scientists who are trying desperately to grapple with the steep polarisation of politics (in the the US specifically in this case) sounds like it has more to do with phrenology than solid science. What is worrying however is the veneer of credence genopolitics has been given by intellectuals. Judis offers this:

“The real question posed by genopolitics is why so many respectable academics have fallen under its spell? One reason may be strictly professional. Academics in the social sciences are always on the look out for ways in which they can ground their squishy subjective speculations in the hard terrain of science. The more mathematical symbols and complicated flow-charts or arcane graphs a journal article contains the better. Even literature professors have looked toward obscurantist continental philosophers to turn novels and poems into “texts” that can be analyzed and charted. Twentieth century philosophy is littered with attempts to reduce language to mathematic formulations. The drive to reduce human behavior to neurons and genes is only the latest expression of this drive to turn social scientists into real scientists.”

The story is here.

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One thought on “Are Political Affiliations Predetermined By Our Genetics?

  1. If one were truly predisposed at birth to particular political beliefs than I have no explanation for myself. I spent the first 30 years of my life as a staunch Republican, but over the past 20 years I have become a full-fledged progressive. Today I find many Republican ideals repulsive and am ashamed that I subscribed to them for over half of my life. Sounds like the social scientists have a lot of work to do.

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