This is getting hilarious.  From time to time studies come out trying to identify biological distinctions between conservatives and liberals.  And usually, conservatives are somehow biologically “different,” e.g, bigger area in brain for anger, unable to make proper eye contact, a quicker sense of disgust, etc.

Now, we find that conservatives—poor dears—have bigger fear centers in their brains, and smaller areas that look on the bright side.  From the story:

Tories may be born not made, claims a study that suggests people with right wing views have a larger area of the brain associated with fear. Scientists have found that people with conservative views have brains with larger amygdalas, almond shaped areas in the centre of the brain often associated with anxiety and emotions. On the other hand, they have a smaller anterior cingulate, an area at the front of the brain associated with courage and looking on the bright side of life.  The “exciting” correlation was found by scientists at University College London who scanned the brains of two members of parliament and a number of students. They found that the size of the two areas of the brain directly related to the political views of the volunteers.

Notice “normal” brain structure is always the liberal.

Besides, what is “conservative” in the UK, may be middle of the road in the USA.  Does that mean our conservatives’ brains are even more convoluted?  And again, some people become conservatives after being liberal.  Look at Ronald Reagan and First Things founder, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus. It works the other way around, too:  I have a friend who was a big Goldwater conservative, and now wears pink underwear (to borrow a quote from Richard Nixon during his commie hunting days.)  It was a miracle healing!

It seems to me that political attitudes are shaped primarily by experiences.  Ask anyone why they became strongly one persuasion or another, and often it is a powerful event, a strong leader, or a combination of the two.   I was once very strongly “left” due to the influences of JKF, Ralph Nader, MLK and the horror of the assassinations and Vietnam. I became “right” thanks to living in San Francisco and the left’s illiberal support of assisted suicide.  I may have been seduced by the dark side, but I don’t think my brain structure changed.   (And yes, as I have stated often, I still consider myself a Martin Luther King liberal.)

But, if its all in our hard wiring, we’d better make political views a suspect category for civil rights and hate crime protection. After all, we shouldn’t punish or discriminate against anyone for being who they are.

Articles by Wesley J. Smith

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