Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Anchored by Melissa Bell  |  About  |  Get Updates:  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  RSS Feeds RSS Feed

There's a liberal gene? Cue the 'Where's the cure?' jokes.

height
Does Bill Clinton have a "liberal gene"? (Mark Moran/AP/The Citizen's Voice)

If you're not a liberal when you're 20, you have no heart. Or so claims the quote that may or may not be from Winston Churchill.

However, scientists at the University of California at San Diego and Harvard University now say it might not be a lack of heart that keeping folks from leaning left. It might be the lack of the gene known as DRD4.

A new study published in the Journal of Politics says evidence has been found that the gene might contribute to people's political ideology. In this case, people are more likely to be liberal if they have the DRD4 gene and they had a lot of friends in high school.

The DRD4 gene has been known to contribute to more of a risk-taking personality.

No, this is not a liberal conspiracy to paint conservatives as the friendless, retiring folk in high school. But to increase the likelihood of going liberal, the two factors must be in play.

Read all about the gene over at our Checkup Blog.

By Melissa Bell  | October 28, 2010; 1:33 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Metro bomb plot, the FBI and the question of terrorist threats
Next: Halloween inspiration from the past (Photos)

Comments

There's a lot of reasons people vote liberal:
1) their parents were JFK-type liberal;
2) they're not paying taxes for one reason or another
3) they mistakenly think government is their daddy;
4)they're ultra-rich hollywood/pro-sports, and don't know or care if taxes increase
5) they have inferiority complex and actually envy/hate the so-called wealthy.
6) they mistakenly think lifelong welfare and hand-outs is the answer for their problems

Posted by: ohioan | October 28, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how big the sample was, and how they got their sample base? They used to say a liberal was sombody who hadn't yet been mugged. Some people get "mugged" by the harsher realities at a pretty early age. If you think about people you knew when you were younger, or local children's social dynamics, you'd realize that might mean they don't have a lot of friends when they're young due to trust issues. Possibly their experiences made them "white crows" to other kids?

That said, not being a self-identified liberal doesn't have to mean being a self-identified conservative. How about being just "skeptical and rational?" We could use more people who identify themselves that way, AND act/vote it. Sometimes the only choices you have are between greater and lesser evils, though. Personally, I think the Comedy-Central sponsored "Sanity/Fear" Rally/March scheduled for 30 October 2010 just about sums up the modern American political scene. I'm not going to be there, but I'm going to watch!

Posted by: Medusa | October 28, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it is a "liberal" gene. I think it is a virus. I had it. After a mortgage, a wife and a child, after 11 years of paying taxes, I got better. Haven't voted for a Democrat since the '92 primaries. I occasionally relapse when I get emotional, but all it takes is a dose of reality and I snap right out of it.

Posted by: JJinCO | October 28, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

A little in-vitro gene therapy should cure it.

Posted by: illogicbuster | October 28, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I dunno. I started off much more conservative than I am now. I like to think that most thinking people can evolve and change their political outlooks over time.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 28, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

That said, I think there are certain innate tendencies that lend themselves to certain political positions. Liberals, in general, are much more willing to experiment and tolerate risk, while conservatives tend to be more in a defensive crouch and concerned with protecting themselves from perceived risk.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 28, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

What this study calls the "liberal" gene is not really a revelation at all -- we usually refer to it as having a "conscience".

Posted by: labman57 | October 28, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company