Published October 28, 2010
Forgive them - they can't help it
"Every little boy and girl
"That's born into the world alive ..."
Can there really be a liberal gene? They’ve got to be joking.
But no here it is, straight from Fox News today: James Fowler, a professor medical genetics and political science (cool combination) says liberals can’t help being – liberal.
“We hypothesize that individuals with a genetic predisposition toward seeking out new experiences will tend to be more liberal,” he writes in a paper in the latest issue of the Journal of Politics.
It isn’t quite that simple of course, good science seldom is. This state of mind is only fostered “in a social context that provides them with multiple points of view," Fowler added. But his research was done on a statistical group of 2,000 subjects, so it looks good enough to be going on with now.
Of course, what Fowler calls the “liberal gene” he also explains as being the “open minded” gene. And that might well apply to modern conservatives instead of liberals, because which of them is more open-minded?
After all, Fowler defines his “liberals” as being open minded and open to new ideas and new solutions. But does that fit modern American liberals, who stick to disastrous failed ideas and policies in the face of all the evidence? Or does it apply to American conservatives, who are right now thrashing out a redefinition of conservative policies for the new century?
So perhaps Fowler’s “liberals” were really open-minded conservatives all alike, and his “liberals”, while certainly not conservative, were just rigid, closed minded defenders of a disastrous, failed status quo all along.
Still, in a broader sense, if Fowler is right, then core conservatives and liberals alike are predisposed to be what they are. This means of course, that conservatives should show more tolerance the next time they hear President Obama or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. After all, they can’t help it, can they?
It also means that so-called principled liberals, like Obama, are far more likely to run the country into the ground than cynical opportunists like President Bill Clinton did. After all, Clinton listened to Dick Morris when he had for his political strategy and managed to work with then House Speaker Newt Gingrich to eliminate the annual budget deficit. That certainly seems a long way off now. Obama and Pelosi, by contrast are what they are, and they always will be. Not even national ruin will change them.
So let’s leave the last word to Gilbert and Sullivan:
“Every little boy and girl
“That’s born into the world alive
“Is either a little liberal
“Or else a little conservative.”
Martin Sieff is former Managing Editor, International Affairs of United Press International. He is the author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East.”