Don’t hold liberals responsible for their actions. Like alcoholics and psychopaths, they can’t help themselves.
That’s the conclusion of a new study which found that ideology can be built into the DNA, borne along by a gene called DRD4.
Tagged "the liberal gene," according to journalist Jeremy A. Kaplan, DRD4 is the first specific bit of human DNA that predisposes people to certain political views, the study’s authors claim.
The key to it all is that liberals are more open to illogical ideas, said lead researcher James H. Fowler, a professor of both medical genetics and political science at the University of California at San Diego.
This isn’t a typical gene association study," he said. "There’s a combination of genes and environment that matter."
The paper, which appears in the latest edition of The Journal of Politics, focused on 2,000 subjects from The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. By matching genetic information with maps of each individual’s social network, the researchers were able to show that people with a specific variant of the DRD4 gene were more likely to be liberal as adults – but only if they had an active adolescent social life.
"The research, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, focused on dopamine – a neurotransmitter that affects a wide variety of brain processes, including control over movement, emotions, and ability to experience pleasure and pain," reports Kaplan.
Previous research identified connections between a variant of this gene and novelty-seeking behavior, a personality trait that numerous studies have shown is linked to political liberalism, the authors say.
So if a liberal ideology is genetic, or at least partly genetic, does that mean it runs in the family – and can be passed on to your kids?
No doubt about it, the authors of the study say.
"In fact, psychologists have asserted for many years that social conservatism is heritable," the paper notes. Fowler cites twin studies comparing fraternal and identical twins that have pinpointed exactly how much liberal ideology can be passed along.
"Ideology is about 40 percent heritable. It’s almost half genes and half environment," Fowler told Fox News. What’s more, he said, any trait that can be inherited has potentially been with the human race for a long time.
Fowler and colleagues Jaime E. Settle and Christoper T. Dawkes, also of UC San Diego, and Harvard University’s Nicholas A. Christakis hypothesized that people with the novelty-seeking gene variant would be more interested in learning about their friends’ points of view.
As a consequence, people with this genetic predisposition who have a greater-than-average number of friends would be exposed to a wider variety of social norms and lifestyles, which might make them more liberal than average, they deduced.
The researchers reported that "it is the crucial interaction of two factors – the genetic predisposition and the environmental condition of having many friends in adolescence – that is associated with being more liberal."
The research team also showed that this held true independent of ethnicity, culture, sex or age.
It’s a frightening thought, isn’t it? But the study comes as a number of people – both liberal and conservative – are wondering publicly about Barack Obama’s mental health.
Liberal Democrat James Carville railed on and on about Obama’s nonchalant attitude after the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico until he was ordered by Democratic officials to shut his mouth.
The female liberals on "The View" TV show repeatedly have expressed sympathy for Michelle Obama’s living with a man who appears to be so out of touch.
Is it possible he was just born that way?