November 15, 2013

Liberal v. conservative: Is it genetic?

HBD Chick [or hbd chick] is reviewing Avi Tuschman‘s Our Political Nature: The Evolutionary Origins of What Divides Us. In the comments, I found this:
Matt
10/30/2013 at 1:49 AM

... On the Conservatism-Liberal divide – I don’t think this is a “natural” jointing of human personality or societal belief or whatever. In the sense that if you took a big bundle of personality or societal beliefs, and factor analysed them, a neat Conservative-Liberal split would not fall out of the data, “naturally”. 
Rather, what has happened [is] the political process has worked to produce two large political factions which are able to compete with one another (there’s more in proportionate representation democracy but they have to form coalitions so it's functionally similar). 
Each of these large political groupings must market itself to a large section of society and attract functionally high performing people who are willing to talk the ideological talk well, in order to stay competitive. 
It seems like, partly, the way one of these does this is by manufacturing ideological statements which appeal to people who are open-minded, smart, tend towards social anomie / cosmo rootlessness and have high abstract and unconventional thought. The way the other does this is by attracting people who are highly disciplined and achievement oriented, socially connected in their communities and pragmatic. Looking across human societies, this seems like a really common way for two ideological coalitions to form.  
And of course, because these traits are embodied physically in the brain and in the genetic code, there are genetic and physical correlates. 
However, the end result isn’t that either of these political groups actually puts their ideology into practice, but more that they sell off their decisions and stances for money to various stripes of bourgeois-capitalist organisation, with ideology providing some constraints as to how they do so. 
[Jonathan] Haidt is utterly correct that (at least many of) the personality dimensions which underlie political differentiation have evolutionary explanations, but (at least most of) their clustering together to form political positions is driven mainly by the political process (which is mostly a sham for a process controlled by money and interests) NOT an a priori clustering which falls out of evolutionary logic.

In case you are wondering who "Matt" is, well, there are a whole bunch of high IQ Matts these days. "Matt" is the new "Steve."
It might be interesting for iSteve readers to evaluate themselves on Matt's dimensions:

Liberals (at least at the high end):
1. open-minded
2. smart
3. tend towards social anomie / cosmo rootlessness 
4. high abstract thought 
5. unconventional thought. 

Conservatives:
6. highly disciplined
7. achievement oriented
8. socially connected in their communities 
9. pragmatic.

For example, I'd say that while I endorse all the conservative virtues, I am not personally all that disciplined, achievement oriented, connected, or pragmatic.

On the other hand, for somebody who is high in #5 (unconventional thought), I'm lacking in #3 (alienation). 

The other odd thing about me is that I'm relatively low in #4 (abstract thought). Instead, I'm high in example-based thinking. I'm not very good at thinking in purely abstract terms, but I can come up with a large sample size of examples, from which I can sometimes extract more general lessons.

Who pushes whom?
For example, when presented with the Trolley Problem -- if it's moral to push a lever that will kill one person to save five lives, why are we more reluctant to push a fat man on to the tracks to save five passengers? -- I immediately start churning through examples until I come up with the fattest fat man I can think of (the Samoan sumo wrestler Konishiki). From thinking about trying to murder Konishiki with my bare hands, I conclude that it would really hard (and imprudent) for me to push Konishiki to his death, so maybe I shouldn't try. And from there, I reason more generally that maybe it is a good thing that human beings seem to have a prejudice against starting lethal brawls with guys bigger than themselves.

90 comments:

Hacienda said...

As usual, Steve, you suffer from racial solipsism. Matt is completely clueless. Liberal/Conservative is a priori. As a priori as 2 + 2 = 4.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aNlYy6V8Hg

Soviet youth early 80s

David M. said...

I would say most liberals aren't particularly high in 1 and 5, and differences in 2 and 4 between the "average" liberal and "average" conservative are fairly trifling, especially when you attempt to account for social influences on ideology (such as being on a college campus). They only really have a lock on number 3.

Indeed there is strikingly little about liberal thinking today that is not conventional and closed-minded. The typical liberal seems to think that being cool with strange piercings and increasingly abnormal sexual couplings is the height of open-mindedness, but of course these things are largely celebrated in our culture, while the truly unconventional ideas discussed here usually just leave a liberal "pointing and sputtering" (to use a Sailerism). Not that main stream conservative thinking is all that unconventional either.

Anonymous said...

As usual, Steve, you suffer from racial solipsism. Matt is completely clueless. Liberal/Conservative is a priori. As a priori as 2 + 2 = 4.

Then how did all those Jewish Trotskyists (actually other varieties of leftists as well) become the intellectual leadership element in official conservatism?

A Working Class American said...

the most important thing is that we not allow any mixing of the ideologies of the Left and Right.

PA said...

Qualities 1-5 make people impatient with dogma and convention. Today, liberalism is dogmatic and conventional.

SFG said...

I'm a standard liberal personality-wise, but I lived in NYC for a while, so I can see it doesn't work. Getting attacked by NAMs makes you racist.

I don't like conservatives (sports? ugh!) , but their philosophy seems to work better to some extent. Not sure what that makes me.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like "Matt" has done a lot of philosophical thinking, but has never actually met anyone involved in politics.

Spoiler alert: It's the same personality types working on both sides.

Jim said...

Konishiki is Hawaiian

2Degrees said...

Open-minded? Yes, mention HBD and see how open-minded they are.

Gottlieb said...

Personality is a combination of traits , a internal variation of behavior . It is internal because individual behavioral changes can only take place internally , in other words, the change must always come from within and not by ''environmental influences'.
Not that liberalism and conservatism are not exactly like as hereditary behavior , because it depends on the social-conceptual context. If you are an individual in a country where this dynamic is slightly different (which by itself is a big difference , as the difference between the mean of intelligence, technical convergent aka intelligence - iq ) then the basic principle of survival human beings , you will tend to suit local demands .
The human societies are like big puzzle and these individuals are like puzzle pieces , pieces mostly slightly imperfect that through the process of socialization , goes to shape the individuality of people to make this fit perfectly.
Culture is the hegemonic externalization of the phenotype of a majority , especially when this culture is biological or ethnic culture . In essence , this type of culture is based on genotype , ie maintaining a large network altruistic cooperation forged by genetic similarity .

The modern liberal culture is based on the externalization of a specific behavior-phenotype of the population of European origin, where all these aforementioned characteristics appear at constant levels. It is a behavioral phenotype of tribalism, a culture artificially manufactured. It is the first step to a hypothetical transhumanism, where man has all the power to build their own biology, redesign it.

Cail Corishev said...

Eh, I'd score higher on all the liberal ones, and near zero on the conservative ones, but I'm conservative to the bone. Even in public school, I never fully bought into all the environmentalism and other favorite ideologies the liberals were pushing at the time. Liberals always bugged me.

His "conservative" traits to me sound more like "good soldier" traits: a 1950s stereotype of conservative, featuring guys with crewcuts flying the flag from their porches every holiday and buying Chevys as a form of patriotism. It's a little more complicated than that these days.

rightsaidfred said...

Matt's dimensions

Does not look that robust. I can think of many counter examples.

panjoomby said...

Matt has no data to back up his conjectures, while Dr. Haidt has tons of data which he interprets very well - b/c Haidt considers many reasonable hypotheses & makes conclusions by what hypotheses best fit the data (while wielding Occam's razor).

...& generating multiple examples IS abstract thought, dude!

panjoomby said...

* well, generating multiple examples correlates with abstract thought, anyway:)

Anonymous said...

Its amazing that no where on anyone's ideological spectrum appears the word "freedom".

Collectivism has turned out disastrous in practice everywhere. In addition some of us believe having a self anointed elite tell us what to do with our lives and money is immoral.

People who seek power over other people always claim benevolent purposes. The people who founded our country knew otherwise and trusted no one with such power. They did their best to preserve freedom for all and their work was clearly one of the most successful attempts in history. Right now there are people who believe that if 5% of the public is without health insurance it justifies removing all freedom of the other 95%.

candid_observer said...

I think that "thought leader" types for political or social movements don't necessarily, or perhaps even often, embody the traits of the vast majority of the members of the movement. They really occupy a category unto themselves, and, not infrequently, switch from one side to the other.

Anonymous said...

In fact conservatives outside of rural areas and the south are getting less. So, I think the theory doesn't hold water it depends upon where you are rise and conservatives today are going for Green Acres. In 1968, they did a lot better in San Diego or Orange now its Kern or Modoc. In 1968 Kern and Modoc voted more Democratic.

Anonymous said...

highly disciplined
7. achievement oriented
8. socially connected in their communities This fits more the far right or the far left than it does conservatives. Many conservatives particularly folks in the Tea party are not socially connected that much to the general community and are not higly disciplined. The former Soviet Union fits this to a Tee not American conservatives. Many conservatives particularly in the Tea Party feel more isolated from their community than apart of it. One Reason why they are trying to moved it to the right on the social issues. Most Americans are not that much interested in either gay marriage or abortion, sorry folks. Most folks even in Red states support some abortion and gay marriage is mainly a big thing with religious people and even in Red states Bubba is against it but its not that as important as your average Tea party Patriot thinks it is.

Anonymous said...

towards social anomie / cosmo rootlessness
4. This is the only one that described liberals. They are not smart. In fact blacks are the most liberal in the US, and they are very conformists. The trend is toward gay marriage or abortion not from it in the US. Not open minded, they believe everyone should have so-called progressive ideas not a mixture of left and right. Very much like conservatives, sorry folks. No new ideas since the 1960's.

Anonymous said...

There is an old book published in 2000 called Suburban Warriors and many of the right back in the 1960's were better than the left at abstract thinking since the right had a lot of aerospace engineers on its side in Southern California while the left in the Northern part of the state had liberal art majors from New York and so forth. It probably has changed now but at one time the right was better at abstract thinking than the left in the Us in the 1960's.

Matthew King said...

"In case you are wondering who 'Matt' is, well, there are a whole bunch of high IQ Matts these days. 'Matt' is the new 'Steve.'"

Yup. Glad you noticed.

I have just reserved the "iMatt.com" URL.

Matt

freudwasrightaboutafewthings said...

Matt contradicts himself.

"people who are open-minded, smart, tend towards social anomie / cosmo rootlessness and have high abstract and unconventional thought. The way the other does this is by attracting people who are highly disciplined and achievement oriented...."

This is not a genetic faultline? How?

Matt also speaks in lofty theoretical language without offering a scintilla of evidence.

Pretty much everyone in Silicon Valley is highly disciplined and achievement oriented, yet they are liberal. Hollywood types as well. Ditto artists. Hipsters are quite achievement oriented.

He is a perfect Steve Sailer reader!

Matt is the new Steve - true, in ways you cannot imagine!

Jonathan Haidt is awesome.

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

[Liberals] open-minded

True open-mindedness includes the ability to follow ideas to their logical or likely conclusion. To reason your way through effects of causal ideas. Liberals absolutely do not embrace this. To them "open-minded" is simply that the idea/concept/belief/whatever must be accepted. To be really open-minded you have to actually allow your mind to process it, to analyze it, to come to some rational decision about it's qualities, benefits and/or drawbacks.

Hieronymus Boss said...

Well, from his spellings we know Matt is from the Commonwealth, and we also know that he's been reading a lot of public choice theory. What he says is interesting, but I'm not persuaded.

As tends to be the case with social-constructionist explanations (which is what this is, albeit presented with a tone that appeals to conservatives), carts and horses are out of order. If politics is just an elaborate puppet show put on by elites so that the public won't notice their unedifying squabbles over money and influence, then why are these groupings "really common" across human societies and, I'd add, across historical periods? Matt seems to think that the relationship between the substantive goals of a political coalition and the ideology it adopts in order to garner support from high-functioning intellectuals and professionals is more or less arbitrary, but if that were the case then one would expect much more ideological variety than we actually see.

Of course evolution doesn't completely explain the existence and robustness of liberalism/conservatism, but nobody has said that it does. In particular, we should also consider the history of ideas: the west has been having the same argument about modernity for the past 500 years, and the rest of the world has inherited the west's political dilemmas. The battle lines of modernity reflect and map onto clusters of traits which are certainly heritable to some extent, and in all likelihood heritable *as clusters*.

Nor do I find his typology altogether convincing. Ivy-league liberals are about as "achievement-oriented" a group of people are you're likely to find. Conservatives, if anything, tend to be suspicious of the modern meritocratic idea of achievement: they (validly) criticize liberal posturing as status-seeking and seem vaguely nostalgic for a semi-aristocratic recent past in which achievement was less important and fulfilling a prescribed social role more so. Finally, if conservatives are practical then liberals are pedestrian. They will sit there all day arguing about whether Rihanna's latest video sends a good message to teenagers, but most of them couldn't tell the difference between Bach and Beethoven if their lives depended on it. In their aesthetic and cultural interests, today's liberals are for the most part hopelessly mundane. This, of course, also cuts against smarts and "open-mindedness."

Immigrant from former USSR said...

To the best of my humble understanding, the combination of words
"cosmo rootlessness"
is literal translation of
"kosmopolit bezrodnyj".
It was used by authorities of USSR around 1945 through 1954 in the campaign to suppress Jews.
This my comment is not to justify or disapprove that campaign; just factual observation.

Hieronymus Boss said...

Also, did Bryan Caplan record the digit strings for commenter verification? That's so cool! This seems like a job ripe for low-wage replacement, though...

Anononmous said...

on Matt's dimensions:
1. open-minded
6. highly disciplined ... etc.


It's like horoscopes. Come up with something concrete you can measure stastistiscally.

Anononmous said...

"Liberal v. conservative: Is it genetic?"

Yes, college modifys your genes.

fish said...

Ah..... the left is having a bad week! Lets review a book that reassures them and categorizes them that they really are the special little snowflakes they think they are!


Liberals (at least at the high end):

1. open-minded
2. smart
3. tend towards social anomie / cosmo rootlessness
4. high abstract thought
5. unconventional thought.


Yes..yes....thats much better!

Okay.....who needs a cigarette?

PithLord said...

This map from psychology to politics seems pretty limited to white Americans in the twenty first century. How would you map the working class people in Yorkshire in the 1980s who followed Scargill to the ones who went to London and voted for Thatcher? How would you compare Thomas Sowell with Jesse Jackson?

pat said...

You might also read my review of this book on Amazon.

Tuschman is a crank. His ideas are too silly to merit serious analysis. I had hoped to find a serious book on the biological foundations of political stances. Such a book would be filled with SNP citations and fMRI studies. But this one isn't.

Most of it revolves around a short and crude test that is meant to be an upgrade to the infamous California F-Scale. Altemeyer's Right Wing Authoritarian (RWA) test may be taken online. It purports to measure how conservative you are - but it doesn't do any such thing.

The HBD Chick - who I presume is conservative - got 28 on it. That's a very low (liberal) score. I got 27. I'm a registered Republican who has voted a straight Republican ticket since the end of Carter's first administration. Yet this vital tool for Tuschman could not discern my fairly obvious conservative slant.

The reason is simple. The RWA test is a cartoon test of straw men. It really just tries to measure people who would be comfortable in a totalitarian regime. Tuschman is so naïve that he thinks that that is the mind set of 'Tea Party' members. It never occurs to him that the 'Occupiers' might be more responsive to a 'man on horseback' who rides in to trample constitutional protections so as to 'set things right'.

Tuschman also indulges in some very far out crypto-Freudian analysis. Forgive me if this seems a bit obscene.

Tuschman analyzes a Dave Barry joke about Blue State people who drive Volvos. Tuschman explains that that refers to connection between communism and feminism.

Don't see it?

Well Volvo sounds like the female sex organ and Volvos are made in Sweden - a communist country. What could be clearer than that?

But just in case you missed that one he provides another. The fifties giant ant Sci-Fi movie 'Them' wasn't about the dangers of nuclear testing after all. You might be forgiven for that because all the movie characters talk about Atomic bombs constantly.

Fortunately Tuschman can 'deconstruct' the true message. It is really a cautionary tale about feminism and communism.

Let me give you some help.

Ants live in a highly structured society and they are all descended from one 'Queen'. 'Them' is really about the fears of
being tyrannized by women. Those right wingers are constantly injecting their agenda into Hollywood movies.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

All nonsense, unless he is arguing that this predisposition has a strong racial component, because this alleged biological division appears to only affect whites. Blacks, Jews, Asians, Hispanics, seem overwhelmingly inclined to vote for their racial interests, that is they overwhelmingly vote to sponge off of whites. If there is a biological urge toward conservatism the rational desire for parasitism seems to override it in these groups, at least when they are in close proximity to whites.

Anonymous said...

Liberal/Conservative is not a priori (I can't tell whether the first comment was sarcastic).
The illusion of there being just two political positions largely stem from the first-past-the-post American voting system. My country of Italy has always had a mostly proportional electoral system and therefore more than two political positions.
Besides, if you look at the past, the position we today attribute to left and right weren't always thus.
I don't have a link at hand right now, but I remember that two separate ancient studies (one in the US one in Germany if I remember correctly) showed that before the sixties support for abortion and divorce statistically correlated strongly WITH dislike of other races and a hawkish foreign policy, and this was independent of the economic right wing - left wing axis. Today this would be impossible to comprehend.
In general ancient leftists weren't sympathetic to any underdog groups other than "the workers" and after a certain point maybe women. Traditional Marxists considered beggars parasites and homosexuals bourgeois decadents. Wasn't the Democratic party the party of slaveholders and also economically left wing?
Most significantly, the Fascists and Nazis were economically left wing as well as fiercely nationalistic. Were they left wing people or right wing people? European nativists today are the same. Are they left or right? Going back further, proud blood and soil nationalism was a left wing thing in the 19th century. So?
In America, opposition to government surveillance is considered a broadly speaking leftist issue. In Italy, it's the other way around. I saw one leftist demonstrator with a sign that said: "Please wiretap us all".
In Italy and some other countries there's a distinct political area we could call the Catholic stance or Christian Democracy. The are the biggest supporters of being open to immigrants (even heathens and Muslims), and big opponents of war, and very strongly pro-family, anti-gay, anti-abortion. Right wing or left wing?
On the opposite corner we have the Radicali, who are the group who caused divorce to become legal in this country, and they are strong economic right-wingers, and strong social leftists. Are they right or left?
Which ones were the left and which ones were the right in medieval Italy, the Pope supporter or the Emperor supporters?

Anonymous said...

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2013/11/a-history-of-slavery-and-genocide-is-hidden-in-modern-dna/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+smithsonianmag%2Fscience-nature+%28Science+%26+Nature+%7C+Smithsonian.com%29

Anonymous said...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/harveysilverglate/2013/11/15/david-koch-and-the-wgbh-controversy-pledging-allegiance-to-the-flag-of-the-day/

MC said...

Poor Matt Yglesias really missed out, didn't he?

Anonymous said...

"Liberals (at least at the high end): 1. open-minded"

If by 'liberal' you mean leftist, then I don't think they are open-minded.

Anonymous said...

I think that the personality types that we think of as conservative may have been left wing in situations like the former soviet union (under Brezhnev) while certain extreme liberal personality types may have been right wing in Nazi Germany.

Your commentor is right though, the mix of beliefs that is liberal or conservative are due more to tribalism and history than any one central political philosophy.

AKAHorace

Bill said...

I score 5 out of 5 on Liberal and 0 out of 4 on Conservative. I'm a rabid right-wing Catholic.

I think the grouping he calls liberal probably predicts extremism better than liberalness. Similarly, I think the grouping he calls conservative probably predicts moderation better than conservatism.

How about historical figures? Hitler and Mussolini were probably also 5/5 and 0/4 kinds of guys. Franco, on the other hand, was probably 0/5 and 4/4.

Chicago said...

I see the Huffington Post has a story covering the porcine Oprah Winfrey's recent interview with the BBC. She stated that there was a need for what was called "demographic pruning" in order to stamp out racism: "they just need to die". The "they" being whites of course, at least those who don't kiss her rear end. This, the celebrated talk show host who made billions off of gullible whites. So, on what side of the fence does she fall, liberal or conservative? On the one hand she wants a final solution for the white problem and on the other hand she's promoted every variety of sexual deviancy and dysfunctional lifestyle. Are her views/attitudes a product of nature or nurture?

Marc B said...

I suspect high IQ types are more susceptible to liberalism because it requires more abstract thought to make sense of it's appeals to emotion. Socialism also provides the promise of authority being in the hands of intellectuals. Conservative ideas are more linear and mesh with human's natural survival instincts. Power is attained by someone who earned it, which is a simple principle for people to understand.

el supremo said...

The problem with this theory is it doesn't reflect the broader values of the society which individuals may be reacting against. In 1970 your egalitarian true believer Soviet Young Pioneer would score as heavily conservative on these scale, while members of the dissident Waclav Havel crowd would be liberal.

Which gets at another problem - does conservative mean association with conservative ideals, or just being a member in good standing of the status quo, which could be quite left-liberal on economic or social issues (my Soviet example, or the conventional liberal high achieving college students in America today)

A similar problem exists in defining liberal as well - its it just "free-thinker opposed to broader society" (including Romantics like Chateaubriand or Julius Evola who are otherwise quite conservative) or liberal in the sense of thinkprogress.com?

The theory is too neat and lacks an understand of how politics and ideology have evolved in society.

Anonymous said...

I score 5 out of 5 on Liberal and 0 out of 4 on Conservative. I'm a rabid right-wing Catholic.

I think the grouping he calls liberal probably predicts extremism better than liberalness. Similarly, I think the grouping he calls conservative probably predicts moderation better than conservatism.


Probably because of "who, whom?" Ultimately politics is about identity politics and tribal association, which trump everything else.

Dutch Boy said...

A better way to differentiate liberals and conservatives is by their attitudes towards family and procreation. Liberals in general are relatively indifferent or hostile toward family cohesion and avoid procreating large families (both threaten the selfish individualism that is the true hallmark of liberalism). Said individualism is also the source of the anomie that afflicts the liberal. He does not feel himself part of the web of family/ethnic/religious relationships that nourish the normal,healthy person. He lives in the bloodless world of ideology in which the liberal is affirmed by his attitudes rather than his relationships.

Paul Mendez said...

I think it is absurd to use "Liberal/Conservative" and "genetics" in the same sentence.

In 1776, the "Liberals" were the small-government Patriots and the "Conservatives" were the big-government Tories. In 2013, the "Liberals" are the big-government Statists and the "Conservatives" are the small-government TEA Partiers.

Is it "Liberal" or "Conservative" to use government power to mandate society's thoughts and behaviors? Is it "Liberal" or "Conservative" to value personal freedom? Is it "Liberal" or "Conservative" to look after those less fortunate than you?

Now, what I do think might make sense is to ask whether genetics influences one's personality along the "Socialist/Individualist" spectrum.

I think it was one of Pinker's books that suggested that while humans evolved to be Social(ist) animals, there is also a genetic reward for "cheating," and that evolution would find a balance between the Socialists who look after each other, and the Individualists who look out for Number One. In good times, the Individualists would prosper, but it bad times the Socialists would have the edge. A population of all Socialists would be ripe pickings for a few selfish Individualists, but a population of Individualists would be equally vulnerable to a few Socialists working together.

Anonymous said...

" The Vatican’s Secret Life "

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2013/12/gay-clergy-catholic-church-vatican

heartiste said...

Related to the cosmo rootlessness of liberals, a person once asked, concerning the "kill whitey" experiment, what sort of evolutionary advantage an extreme out-group favoring "traitor trait" would have for the liberal or the society within which he lives? (cf., Uncle Tim Wise) It's a fair riddle.

I could only guess that the "traitor trait" may have "worked" (i.e. been fitness enhancing) in a mostly homogeneous tribal environment, where exposure to Others was limited, and extracting some good alleles (or good trades) from the occasional traveling or neighboring tribe produced a net benefit for one's tribe's survival. But now, the Other is everywhere, and the Otherness is more pronounced, more genetically distant, so the traitor trait is no longer fitness maximizing for the in-group, and may not even be so for the cosmopolitan transnational elite aka shamans anymore, even if they tell themselves otherwise. The costs now outweigh the benefits, but the gene(s) still linger, so the wrong-headed policies and ego-fueled snark continue.

Anonymous said...

Instead of conservative vs liberal, it's better to speak of the nature of the combo of the two.

A person might be 60/40 more liberal than conservative. Someone else might be conservative leaning but substantially liberal as well.

Also, there are lots of people who are just herd-mentalitied. They could go either way, and they'll go wherever they're led. Notice that this 'gay marriage' mania among the masses isn't liberal. They didn't make up their own minds on a free-thinking individual basis. They were conditioned to love homos, just like most people in the USSR were conditioned to revere Lenin.

But ideology and politics aside, there is something like a tribal, aggressive, fearful, hostile, defensive, hunkering-down personality. Buchanan is naturally conservative.

And there is a personality that is kinder, nicer, sunnier, more embracing, more curious, more tolerant, and etc. Ken Burns is naturally liberal.

But here's the paradox. For liberalism to thrive, they must be protected by conservatives. Ken Burns can enjoy and parade his liberalism because white aggression and power created a land of law and peace through raw power and dominance. Just ask the Indians who were rubbed out. If there were still Indians all around taking scalps, even Ken Burns would have to take up arms to defend home and hearth. Even he would have to join with Ethan to go searching for his daughter who was abducted by redskin folks.
Notice that NY turned more conservative during the high crimes yrs, leading to the incredible election of Republican Giuliani. But once crime went down, liberals could breathe a sigh of relief and act out their liberalism.

But conservatives also rely on liberals for power. A totally conservative society will just stick to the old ways and stagnate. For a society to grow strong, there has to be room for new ideas that might lead to advances in science, technology, economics, and etc. West had more of a blend of conservatism and liberalism, which is why it shot past East Asia, Russia, Ottomans, and Persians who were mostly conservative and sticking to Established Ways.

There are prolly lots of kids of very liberal mentalitied parent and very conservative mentalitied parent.
The mother could be extremely conservative-mentalitied and have no use for anything outside home, common sense, faith, and community. But the father could be extremely liberal-mentalitied and teach the kid to be open to everything, even Hare Krishna dancing in the park and passing out yucky food. Many people are interested in other cultures but still want to maintain clear borders and boundaries.

But maybe ideology will affect marriages in the future. In the past, people got together on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, culture, etc., so very often, a conservative mentalitied person married a liberal mentalitied person.
But with stuff like 'gay marriage' and 'do you watch Hannity or Maddow' becoming the dividing line among white Americans, it could be lib types will marry lib types and con types will marry con types.

Generally, during hard times, lib types will seek the protection of con types. In good times, con types will be seduced by fun stuff created by lib types. Look at all the children raised in con families being seduced by MTV and Hollywood and TV.

The Z Blog said...

This is a good example of the opposite rule of liberalism: http://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=561

Anonymous said...



Of course, in purely political terms, unconventional thoughts can easily become the conventional thought, the 'new normal'. In the USSR, communism became the orthodoxy. Then what? And same with Red China. But given the rift between USSR and China along national and racial lines, things just got more complicated.
To be sure, the rift need not have happened. If China had been ruled by a more moderate leader, the two nations would likely have gotten along. But Mao kept on offending Khrushchev until the latter couldn't stand it any more. The rift was more the result of clash of personalities than nationalities.

And what can be said about a personality like Mao's? Is rebellionism a form of liberalism? Or is it a form of radical conservatism? Mao rebelled not because he wanted to be open-minded and tolerant but because he wanted to bring down the powers-that-be so that he could be the power-that-be.
Rebels don't merely seek to have their voices heard. They seek to overthrow the system so that they will control the system--and very often, they are even less tolerant than the previous rulers.
But to the extent that the rebel mentality wants to undermine an existing system, it's not conservative either.

But then, whose conservatism are we talking about? Khomeni was a rebel against the Shah but still a conservative in his own way. It was a case of religious conservatism rebelling against secular monarchist conservatism(though, relatively speaking, one might say the Shah was too liberal-cosmopolitan in many ways).

American and European conservatives seem to justify Western conservatism on the basis that it is more hostile to other forms of conservatism. So, American conservatives justify their conservatism by claiming to be more hostile toward Muslim conservatism than Liberals tend to be. 'We conservatives are better than liberals because we hate Muslim conservatives even more.'
It's all very confusing.

One thing for sure, liberals all over the world get along better than conservatives do. A British liberal and an Indian liberal will see one another as a global citizen and fellow human being.
But a Muslim conservative and an American conservative will see one another as 'raghead' and 'infidel'. So, liberals gain greater power by coming and working together whereas conservatives all over the world see each other as the Other.

Indeed, much of conservative aggression isn't so much at Liberals as Other conservatives. Notice how much Christian Right hates Muslims. And lots of American conservatives hate Russia patriots, Chinese patriots, and Iranian patriots. Talk Radio is full of Russia-bashing and Putin-bashing. Even Victor Davis Hanson of NR sides with Pussy Riot against Putin.

Art Deco said...

Just by inspection, I am not seeing anything plausible as a differentiating criterion. Try this:

1. High density environments with variegated land use & social landscape v. low density with truncated variegation.

2. Private v. public employment; commercial v. philanthropic / guild employment; media v. non-media commerce.

3. Positions w/ satisfactory operational measures of competence v. not.

4. Positions which rely on articulateness v. not.

5. Liberal v. vocational education.

6. Procreative and self-defined in terms of conventional family relations v. not.

7. Competitive v. non-competitive recreations; hunting v. cross-country running.

--


Recall Thomas Sowell's observations on the Anointed. They confound expertise and general intelligence and then confound intelligence with articulateness. Very often, what they promote amounts to the interests and tastes of articulate people.

Whiskey said...

Steve I think the whole thing is wrong. Liberal and Conservative are wrong labels, open-ness and rootlessness/cosmopolitaness is wrong, pretty much everything is wrong.

IMHO, we have a divide between the "old Religions" of Christianity and Judaism as they were traditionally understood, and the new religion of PC/Multiculturalism and NAM worship.

We have the traditional national identification, and we have the "new" Global Class Aristocrat identification.

It would be wrong to consider the Global Class Aristocrats as "rootless" because they are rooted, just in all the major cities around the world. Hell for them is a rural place in New Zealand, or Utah, or Scotland where they can't socialize with others of their ilk.

And this class, which also corresponds to the New Religion, is very closed minded, dogmatic, and super-religious. Its just they deny their religion.

Ryan said...

The reason you wouldn't push the man onto the tracks is if that's the general rule we all have to go through life worried that some good Samaritan is going to turn us into a disposable emergency brake.

The moral position is to respect autonomy. Throw yourself onto the tracks if that's what you think is right, don't take the right to make that decision away from someone else (you psychotic murderer...).

Anonymous said...

It's called mass culture but isn't controlled by the masses.

All those celebrities perform before the masses and therefore seem to be owned by the masses and the public. But they are hired and groomed by the elites--mostly Jews and homos--who can make or break anyone with their media machine and hiring/promoting practices.
So, even as celebrities seem to be pandering to the masses, they must really suck up to the bosses of the industry, the elites.

Thus, mass culture isn't so much a reflection of mass views and values as a means by which elite tastes and biases are disseminated to the masses via celebrities.
For example, celebs know they have to be pro-Zionist and pro-homo to work in the industry, and those views and 'values' become spread over the masses. Eventually of course, they become 'mass values' but only because they were fed to the masses by the elite controllers of 'mass culture'.

Do the masses control anything?

jody said...

another goofy hypothesis easily shot down by even a cursory glance at the data: liberals do not exist in any society except european societies within the last 100 years.

there is simply ZERO evidence of anything biological here. this is one of the few situations where evolutionary psychology has NO application whatsoever.

non-europeans do not even have political division as posited in this book. with them it's basic, straightforward, extremely simple identity politics turtles all the way down. they have almost nothing resembling complex political thought. indeed, they have few original thoughts on politics at all.

the only time they even started having 'thoughts' on politics is after being exposed to europeans. and they don't really have thoughts. they just emulate the europeans. badly.

Anonymous said...

"'It hurts so much I can't sit down': The dangerous practice of butt implants that is ruining women's lives across Venezuela"

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2507891/Dangerous-butt-implants-ruining-womens-lives-Venezuela.html

Anonymous said...

Avi's book seems to be more about left vs right than liberal vs conservative. Both liberal and conservative are moderate middle-of-the-road positions that favors pluralism and tolerance.

So, the Occupy Wall Street was really about Left vs Liberal than Left vs Right. Wall Street folks are mostly liberal. They might be 'conservative' on issues of taxes but 99% are socially liberal and cosmopolitan-like.

Also, most American conservatives are live-and-let-live types and feel nothing but contempt for the far right. They might wanna own guns but don't wanna join paranoid militias.

Libs and cons may dislike one another but can get along. But hard left and hard right cannot.
But then, hard right and conservatives may not get along either. I can't imagine Reagan getting along with Nazis or KKK.
And plenty of Democrats were anti-communist Liberals.

Is there is a difference between personality and mentality? Some people seem to have a leftist mentality, and it is essentially a need to feel morally superior on the basis of higher truth either conceived or revealed anew.

There were plenty of Jewish leftists who were convinced that economic inequality was at the root of all evils. They sympathized with communist regimes in USSR, China, Cuba, Vietnam. But when communism turned out to be a total mess, they lost faith in communism but their leftist mentality remained intact, and they just found new things with which to feel superior toward everyone else. It can be 'global warming' or 'gay marriage'(I'm "more evolved" because I screamed my head off in support of a community that thinks the anus is as much a sex organ as the vagina) or flattering themselves over having bawled over 12 Years a Slave. Their mentality of moral righteousness is so strong that they've become blind to the ridiculousness of their positions. I mean I can understand tolerance of transvestites but the BIG MORAL ISSUE OF THE DAY? But some mentalities need a fix. If the heroin is gone, they need other drugs. They need the high by other means.

There is also moral superioritism on the Right but the rightist version is based more on received truths or tradition than on 'higher' truth that claims to be revealed brand new by some prophet or intellectual. In that sense, the left tends to be more inspired since it seeks new or fresh sensations of moral narcissism whereas conservatives wear moral hand-me-downs.
The Left is more fashion-sensed.

Anonymous said...

Long ago, Christianity was the New Left and paganism stood for conservatism. Paganism was about tribalism and truth-by-tradition. Christianity was universalism and truth-by-revelation.

Today, things are getting strange. All this homo-stuff and multiculturalism represent the rise of neo-paganism. Homo-culture is about luxury and privilege. And Multi-culturalism says there is no single truth, and all cultures are equally valid. Paganism is essentially 'conservative'. It is predicated on tribal identity and us-vs-them.

What may be most useful for most conservatives is a kind of ethno-humanism. Humanism of yesterday overreached by its universalism. While the notion of universal humanity is valid, specific problems of a community can only be solved by its people who are close to and familiar with the society they live in.
There is no reason to reject humanism altogether on the right. Humanism can have value if ethno-centered. Humanism is valuable because it gives meaning, a face and voice to the masses. Without it, there is only neo-aristocratism that favors the powerful and privileged, which is why the most telling images of moral virtue in the 21st century is hordes of morons screamingly wildly in celebration of elite 'gay pride' parades. They might as well be serfs bowing down before French aristocrats with their snuffs, silk dresses, and powdered wigs.

Such herd morality.

Glossy said...

"People who seek power over other people always claim benevolent purposes."

People who don't seek power over other people are politically irrelevant. In other news, pacifists are militarily irrelevant and hermits who have taken vows of poverty are economically irrelevant.

Notice that democracy has very rarely survived the tribal, illiterate, legendary stage of societal development. Historians think that early republican Rome was somewhat democratic, for example. But we know very little about it. Same with pagan Germanic tribes.

Even within a homogenous tribe of Jante's Law egalitarians there will always be someone who is both able and willing to impose his will on others. Why should he stop himself from doing so? Because of the local understanding of morality? But in a population of thousands someone will always be the weakest moral link. A political system that can be destroyed by any weak link is inherently unstable.

So democracies always turn into "democracies". An egalitarian facade hides the fact that most political power is held by a few people. And this will always be so. And complaints about this are as stupid as pacifists' complaints about war. If you care about politics, you should seek power over other people. Otherwise you'll always be a spectator, like sports fans.

"The people who founded our country knew otherwise and trusted no one with such power. "

Might as well be a quote from a press release. They took power from officials appointed by the British government and gave it to themselves. They were also men of property who drew up electoral systems in which only men of property could vote. I think that's better than universal suffrage by the way, but it was also a power grab.

The people who genuinely find power grabs immoral remove themselves from politics. Politics does not miss them in the least. It goes on as if they never existed. How much power does the political elite end up having? Exactly as much as it can get without being overthrown by taxpayers/subjects/peasants. Some types of subjects will put up with more than others.

Anonymous said...

So Bill is smarter than Franco. Yea ok sure.

Anonymous said...

"non-europeans do not even have political division as posited in this book. with them it's basic, straightforward, extremely simple identity politics turtles all the way down. they have almost nothing resembling complex political thought. indeed, they have few original thoughts on politics at all."

Absolutely false. It may seem that way because their societies tend to be dictatorial--where one voice dominates all--or because their minority status in the West encourages them to pull together, but there are lots of divisions in the non-Western world. A good example would be Turkey, with a powerful secular and religious divide. Egypt has a strong urban-rural divide. And we saw in recent events the divide between the religion-oriented and the secular-oriented.
There were lots of Japanese who favored diplomacy over war prior to WWII. And even in its road to modernization in the 19th century, Japan was divided between reformers and reactionaries.
Just because one group takes total power and puts itself forward as the FACE OF THE NATION doesn't mean that it's the only face or voice in the nation.

PS. On the question as to why Japan made greater progress than China in the drive toward westernization and modernization, could it have been due to the fact that Japanese elite power was blocked to most people? Exceptions to the rule notwithstanding, only the samurai could rule as samurai, and the samurai ran the government. So, if you were not born as samurai, you didn't even bother trying to become a part of the samurai class, the elites of the nation. If you had smarts as a member of the merchant, finance, or artisan class, you applied all your energy in those areas. And Japanese merchants and artisans were moving past Chinese and others even before the intervention of the West.

In China and its minion nations(like Korea), officially at least, anyone could study and pass exams and become a member of the scholar-bureaucratic elite society since those nations were not military-elite-ruled. On the face of it, China may have been more 'meritocratic' and open to social promotion, but it also meant that many smart people--who might have done more for society as merchants, artisans, or innovators--devoted so much of their intellectual energies toward mastering something as useless as an eight-legged essay.
If there had been no hope for any Chinese to rise to elite status by passing exams, more Chinese might have devoted their time to business and other matters, indeed as many smart and talented non-samurai Japanese did. But the prospect of passing exams and becoming a member of the scholar-elite may have had the effect of wasting so much intellectual energy in China on useless stuff like the 'proper way to write a pompous essay'.

Maybe Europe made strides in business and other areas for a similar reason. Also ruled by the military caste of noblemen, it was nearly impossible for many Europeans to make it to noble rank--though, of course, there were always exceptions. And since there wasn't some bogus exam to study for and pass in order to make it to elite rank, non-elite-born Europeans with smarts and skills threw their energies into business, artisan-stuff, making better products, trade with other worlds, etc.

Chinese elite power may have been more open to the people but it also had the effect of directing so much brain power at useless pomposity.

Anonymous said...

There are probably strong social and genetic bases for political attitudes, but it's probably more complicated than a one-dimensional liberal-versus-conservative personality axis. There are probably a number of different variables working in concert to produce a variety of political personality types. In particular, I'd guess that there are a number of different sets of genetic and social circumstances that would produce a self-identified liberal. Ditto for conservatives.

It's like a hand of cards. A 2 can be a bad card or a good card, depending on what the rest of your hand is.

I'm at least as much a liberal as I am a conservative according to Matt's criteria, and yet I consider myself to be very much on the right.

For example, I probably have greater social alienation than most people, along with a sui generis ethnic background. But my personality is such that this trait makes me more conservative, not less. I suppose it's a bit like Churchill's comment that he supported the Church of England from the outside, like a buttress.

Likewise, I tend toward abstract thought, but my preferred abstractions lend themselves to conservative reifications (i.e., the Nation-State as a political ideal).

I think Art Deco identifies some good axes of political personality differentiation in his post. Steve's concentric/leapfrogging dichotomy has a lot of merit too. But I suspect it all fits together in ways that are sometimes strange and unpredictable.

The mapping of natural personality traits to politics is further confounded by the fact that there is latitude as to how particular policies are marketed. The same policy might be "liberal" or "conservative" depending on which buttons its champions decide to push.

"Save the trees, man" sounds liberal, while "Foreign immigration is putting too much pressure on our carrying capacity" sounds conservative.

"We need to throw open the borders because borders are outdated" sounds liberal, while "Mass immigration is part of American Exceptionalism" sounds conservative.

"Lindsey's got our back" sounds...well, I hope nobody's that manipulable.

Anonymous said...

I have a lot more to say on this but to simplify:
Red States ethic of pre Civil War types (yeomanry- free archer types)
Blue States made of post Civil War peasantry types with identity politics (e.g. "Godfather" Tammany Hall patronage)

Anonymous said...

Glossy said, quoting me at first:

"People who seek power over other people always claim benevolent purposes."

People who don't seek power over other people are politically irrelevant. In other news, pacifists are militarily irrelevant and hermits who have taken vows of poverty are economically irrelevant.

So there is never a society with more freedom for the average shlub than the anointed? There is no difference in the freedom my father experienced in 1950's America and the freedom experienced in North Korea or Cuba? How did that difference come about, if not the political participation of decent people?

Perhaps by introspection you conclude that no one would engage in politics except to advantage themselves with the use of force over others.

agnostic said...

The point about abstract thought is a good one. It's more helpful to phrase it as reason vs. intuition, logic vs. common sense, etc., to highlight that these are mental processes that guide our decisions.

A brain study showed that liberals have more activity in the analytical regions, while conservatives fire more in the emotional lobes:

http://akinokure.blogspot.com/2012/09/constrained-emotion-vs-unchecked-reason.html

TL;DR -- libs are spergier and out-of-step with man's natural state, while conservatives have richer minds that are closer to the norm for homo sapiens.

Although here's some data from the GSS showing that these corporeal vs. cerebral differences by political type are more pronounced at the top of the class pyramid than at the bottom:

http://akinokure.blogspot.com/2012/10/disgust-based-morality-by-politics-and.html

agnostic said...

Conservatives aren't achievement-oriented -- that's for folks with OCD, status-striving hang-ups, and so on.

Most of those people are liberal and live in ultra-liberal places. Not just cities as opposed to the 'burbs or rural, but the most liberal cities.

I mean, do conservatives get shit done? Sure. But mankind was not designed for "achievement." Workaholism and status-striving are diseases of civilization.

Come to think of it, "achievement" is another term for "leveling up" in today's video game culture. It points to the pointlessness and compulsiveness of lots of endeavors that are "achievement-oriented."

So while libs are ceaselessly jogging on their OCD treadmill, leveling up this status and leveling up that status, conservatives feel like enjoying the rhythms of life.

Lull, anticipation, build-up, catharsis, unwinding, lull again. Just let those rhythms take their course, and don't try to impose artificial stability or constancy.

It's telling that libs never "do anything special" on certain days or times. Like waiting for a Sunday church gathering, enjoying everybody's company, then going back to less communal interactions until next Sunday.

This all boils down again to conservatives being more corporeal and rhythmically responsive.

agnostic said...

Conservatives also go dancing more -- actually dancing, I mean. Not going to a night club where they don't coordinate their bodies to the music, let alone with a partner.

A stereotypical conservative dance club plays country-western line dancing kind of music. That's music that your body gets into, you're moving around a lot.

A typical lib dance club plays techno music that most people are not in fact moving their bodies to, not moving around the dance floor while dancing, and so on. It's more of a "techno playlist" club than a dance club.

And of course most libs look down their nose at dance music anyway, unlike conservatives who are more likely to feel like it's fun to get pumped up and moving around in a crowd setting every once in awhile.

The exception is the Jersey Shore guido types who do move around and get rowdy to techno music. They may be liberal on some issues, but are mostly conservative.

Anonymous said...

In 1776, the "Liberals" were the small-government Patriots and the "Conservatives" were the big-government Tories.


I know what you're trying to say, but it's more complicated than that. The 1776 Patriots couched their arguments in explicitly conservative terms. They saw themselves as seeking a restoration of the true, original rights of Englishmen/Anglo-Saxons/Germanic tribesmen. This Whig version of history may have been somewhat of an illusion but that's a different matter - the point is they saw themselves as fighting for a "reactionary revolution" and a restoration of what they felt had been lost.

The contrast becomes clear if you compare the American Revolution to the French one. The French revolutionaries were very consciously and deliberately "radical" or "liberal" or "left-wing". They were not trying to resurrect something from the past, they did their best to erase the past. Their very calendar started with Year One being the year of the French Revolution.

Crawfurdmuir said...

I recall somewhere reading of a study that claimed first-born children (particularly sons) tended most strongly towards conservatism, while middle and later children were more likely to list to the left.

I'd first question the correlation of the named traits with the political views associated with them in the post you quoted. My guess is that they derive from some old effort to portray leftism as the position of the morally and intellectually superior, if not to make opposition to it into a psychological pathology, after the fashion of Adorno's "The Authoritarian Personality."

Furthermore, I don't think I fit neatly either with the "liberal" or the "conservative" traits. I've got a mixture of them. Yet I am a thoroughgoing reactionary, which fits quite well with my being a first-born son.

As W.S. Gilbert wrote in "Iolanthe":

"I often think it's comical--Fal, lal, la!
How Nature always does contrive--Fal, lal, la!
That every boy and every gal
That's born into the world alive
Is either a little Liberal
Or else a little Conservative!
Fal, lal, la!"

There may be something to this.

Anonymous said...

Liberals (at least at the high end):
1. open-minded
2. smart
3. tend towards social anomie / cosmo rootlessness
4. high abstract thought
5. unconventional thought.


BTW this reminds me of a line from 30 Rock.

Jack: "You and your East-coast, intellectual--"

Liz: "Why don't you just say 'Jewish'?"

hbd chick said...

@pat/albertosaurus - "The HBD Chick - who I presume is conservative - got 28 on it."

i'm something of a conservative, but i'm an odd sort of conservative.

desire small gov't, but socially pretty liberal (the thought of gays marrying doesn't make me heave). my main conservative concern is that mass immigration needs to be stopped, because: human biodiversity.

pew keeps telling me i'm a libertarian, but i like nations and fairly closed borders, so...dunno. you tell me! (^_^)

hbd chick said...

@steve - "HBD Chick [or hbd chick]..."

less formally: h.chick (^_^)

Anonymous said...

Cat and dog.

Which is conservative, which is liberal?

Dog and wolf.

Which is conservative, which is liberal?

are vegetarianism and meat preference also genetic?

agnostic said...

The perfectability of man is a core liberal belief, and that seems to tie in with their OCD.

Conservatives are more suspicious of perfectability, and are not as perfectionist.

Anonymous said...

It's girls vs. boys and while our democracy lasts, girls are winning.

Anonymous said...

Behavioral traits are at least partly genetic so collections of traits that are *labelled* liberal will cluster and another set of traits that are *labelled* conservative will cluster.

How the traits are clustered and labelled will generally involve a lot of political bias.

I think what is definitely true as a minimum is liberals like change for its own sake and conservatives don't.

This is a good and necessary thing as it allows for cultural evolution but *only* if conservatives are dominant and liberals only get their way when it is really obvious they are right on some particular topic.

Conservatives were dominant for most of history until television - or mass media in general - since when Liberals became dominant and
starting changing everything including all the stuff that had been found to work best through centuries of trial and error.

Anonymous said...

samoan born in Hawaii.

Glossy said...

"So there is never a society with more freedom for the average shlub than the anointed? There is no difference in the freedom my father experienced in 1950's America and the freedom experienced in North Korea or Cuba?"

The differences aren't great and they don't all go the way you imagine. For example, ordinary North Koreans are allowed to be as proud of being Korean as they want. Ordinary Germans are on the opposite end of that scale. US whites are somewhere in the middle. Ordinary North Koreans are also allowed to be as disgusted by buggery as they want. I suspect that the human default is to want to be disgusted by it, with other reactions being aberrations.

All local elites want their subjects to think that they're better than other people's elites. Most subjects buy that. You obviously did. A lot of resources are thrown at this and there is a lot of gullibility out there.

It's a bit like believing that our bank robbers are more honest than their bank robbers. No, bank robbers all over the world are self-selected for certain traits. Honesty is not one of those. If someone became successful in politics, it's because he's willing and really good at (there's competition) at taking power from others and giving it to himself.

As I said in my earlier comment, the important differences are in what the elites can get away with without being overthrown, not in the elites' moral qualities. The populations themselves do differ, on average, in moral qualities. But their bank robbers and politicians don't. Bank robbers and politicians are small self-selected slices of their populations. And they're not self-selected for selflessness.

What determines how much a given population of subjects will put up with before the elites are changed? That's the interesting question. Of course the answer has got to be "a million different factors".

pat said...

HBD Chick sounds like a - well - me. Therefore I don't think of her political stance as odd. To be a small government advocate who isn't upset over gay marriage but is upset over uncontrolled immigration is to be in the same property space cluster as me.

The main problem with Tuschman's book is that it isn't the book it purports to be. It is abundantly clear that your political affiliation and likes and dislikes has at least some genetic component - but how it works and what are the specifics are as yet unclear. Tuschman doesn't really shed much light on this problem. He is so caught up in his own partisanship that he is worthless as a witness.

But I just ordered a Kindle version of another book on Amazon that might be more relevant. It is ""Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences". I may be able to read it through this weekend. If so I will post a review on Amazon and another comment here.

If I can gather enough material I will make another little 'talking head' video on this topic.
Albertosaurus

Svigor said...

i'm something of a conservative, but i'm an odd sort of conservative.

desire small gov't, but socially pretty liberal (the thought of gays marrying doesn't make me heave). my main conservative concern is that mass immigration needs to be stopped, because: human biodiversity.

pew keeps telling me i'm a libertarian, but i like nations and fairly closed borders, so...dunno. you tell me! (^_^)


Anarcho-Fascism.

Svigor said...

Or, as someone else put it, National Libertarianism.

Anonymous said...

Liberal and conservative or right and left are too broad.

Whether liberal or conservative, it seems there are certain attitudes and mind-sets that set people apart(even among those in the same camp).

Take 'trusting' and 'skeptical'.

There are trusting liberals and skeptical liberals. The former kind foam at the mouth and go wee wee in their pants over Obama. The latter kind may make all the partisan noise but personally remain critical and skeptical even of the truisms on their side. Steven Pinker is, relatively speaking, a skeptical liberal.

Same among cons. There are trusting cons and skeptical cons. Trusting cons say 'dittos rush, dittos rush' and think Reagan was like a god. Skeptical cons questions the official narrative on their own side. American Conservative puts itself forth as a skeptical conservative journal.

There is also the divide among skeptical and suspicious and paranoid. A skeptic may ask question but is still curious. Indeed, curiosity makes him look for more answers. But people who are suspicious are often not curious. If something seems wrong or strange, they just wanna get rid of it or oppose it. As for the paranoids, they are extreme in their conviction that hostile forces are behind something odd or strange.

There is also the individualist mind-set and collective mind-set. Among liberals, the individualists want the freedom to think their own thoughts and value freedom in others. But some progressives naturally feel collectivist in their thinking. They wanna hold hands and sing 'we shall overcome' or have some such communal feeling of righteousness, as among Hippies in San Fran in the 60s.

There is also the passionate mind-set and the cool mind-set. Some people are driven by emotions over everything, left or right. Others tend to be more careful and cool about things. The impassioned types can be more extreme. They might scream and come at you as the 'enemy'. But such types are also likely to be less intellectual, thus they're likely to be faster to drop their positions and go over to something else. A cooler personality may be less blindly impassioned but his theoretic and principled conviction to a cause or dogma may be more long-lasting.

There is also the material personality, the sensual personality, and the mythic-sacred personality.

Material personalities prefer to deal with things of material reality and value. Sensual personality prefer things that make them feel good--food, sex, and etc.
Mythic personality hold dear to the idea that some things have sacred value for its meaning, beauty, tradition, and etc.

On the Left, mythic personalities are devoted to MLK faith and Oprah. Or some mountain sized Negro who loves a little white mouse.

On the white Right, the mythic personalities are devoted to preserving the beauty and uniqueness of the white race and their homeland which is seen not merely as piece of real estate but as a holy sanctuary.

Anonymous said...

A song that expresses the mythic personality view of Israel.

It's not primarily about ethics, democracy, international obligations, and etc. but about the non-negotiable conviction that the land is 'sacred to us'.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y75RYb92gts

I'm not even Jewish but remember singing it in class with a bunch of Jewish kids.

Anonymous said...

jody

"another goofy hypothesis easily shot down by even a cursory glance at the data: liberals do not exist in any society except european societies within the last 100 years.

there is simply ZERO evidence of anything biological here. this is one of the few situations where evolutionary psychology has NO application whatsoever."

more like 500 maybe 600 years ago in Europe and much more recently emerging among the middle class spawned by the spread of industrialization - i.e. massive evidence of something biological.

.

golostomy

"Notice that democracy has very rarely survived the tribal, illiterate, legendary stage of societal development."

Another way of putting that is democracy is a function of a particular pattern of relatedness and is the optimal form of government for a population with that pattern of relatedness.

Of course even under optimal conditions it is still vital to minimize the influence of homegrown sociopaths or unassimilated foreigners (who are effectively sociopathic in regard to the indigenous population).

Anonymous said...

I shouldn't argue on the Internets, but it is the only thing entertaining in this dismal time.

My point about the failure of people who create left/right schema, carefully listing different characterists of each group is that most of them ignore the propensity for one site or the other to support freedom for the average person.

I'd say conservatives are pro-individual autonomy and liberals are anti-individual autonomy. Reagan was the last President to speak often and extensively about freedom as a good.

Glossy said...
"The differences aren't great and they don't all go the way you imagine.[ . . .] Ordinary North Koreans are also allowed to be as disgusted by buggery as they want."

Yup N.K's are free to have opinions congruent with their masters.

"I suspect that the human default is to want to be disgusted by it, with other reactions being aberrations."

Even better, the masters are right, no matter what you believe your opinion to be.


"All local elites want their subjects to think that they're better than other people's elites. Most subjects buy that. You obviously did. A lot of resources are thrown at this and there is a lot of gullibility out there."

Of course, my belief that I am freer than a Cuban is delusion and reification. So are my choices. With these powerful, skilled and resource-full elites out there, I am sure to be a bewildered gullible clild-like person.


"As I said in my earlier comment, the important differences are in what the elites can get away with without being overthrown, not in the elites' moral qualities."

Straw man. I never raided that.


Institutions can support or restrain rulers. A person who says "you didn't build that" or "Government is what we all decide to do together" is for empowering those who really built that in their eyes and those who are expressing what we all decide to do together (although how they discover that is beyond comprehension).

"What determines how much a given population of subjects will put up with before the elites are changed? That's the interesting question. Of course the answer has got to be "a million different factors"."

Its so complex it will always be a mystery, like the GAP. Perhaps the first step should be to say: "People should be free, individuals, no matter what their station, should have self determination".

Anonymous said...

http://www.reuters.com/investigates/pentagon/#article/part2

as said...

Avi Tuschman is a very nice guy.

David said...

There's an aristocratic v. low-brow divide too.

The low-brow (or lumpen) used to be described as "the working man" (left) then became "the hard hats" then "Reagan Democrats" and now Fox fans who holler for Israel (all "right"). A large proportion of these people are "mongrels" and immigrants, but not all. Their uniting factor is ever a certain anti-intellectualism; they would rather watch a wrestling match than read. But they are on both political sides and their anti-intellectualism finds itself in the burning hatred they feel for the aristocratic type.

The aristocratic type is calm, sure, self-possessed, not much ignited by commercialism, not much into status games. Think a thoroughbred as opposed to a scrapping mutt. This type is also found in both wings of politics - whether as "plutocrats of privilege who never got their hands dirty" or as "arrogant intellectuals who never did a day's work in their lives."

This divide is touched on in Jean Renoir's masterpiece "Grand Illusion." The two great commanders in the movie remark how civilization is giving way to the small men - specifically, in the film's terms, the Jews and the manual laborer types (a development the film looks benignly on).

Just observing a factor, not out to gore an ox or be (very) acerbic. The vulgar v. the quality. Notice how the side of the vulgar is always taken by the classic left and the classic right, both using the word "democracy."

What we have taking over now (and for some time) is an ersatz aristocracy - billionaires only one or two generations removed from rag-pickers. (Their megaphones and fellow-wannabees celebrate this, of course.) The top has gone to hell.

Anonymous said...

A very real pride of place in this topic belongs to the late and very great Dr H. J. Eysenck. His research in this matter of heritability and political and religious orientation was just ignored mostly in the US (Arthur Jensen was a notable exception who discovered Eysenck's work in the mid 1950's and was forever inspired by it )