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Liberal/Conservative from Life ‘til Death (#1)

DR learning

What do the words conservative and liberal mean to you?

Is your own definition strictly politically based? Is one good, while the other is bad?

If so, let that sh*t go, man/woman.  Clear your mind and try to forget your politic leanings.  Sure, it might be engrained in your being, but this analysis will not be strictly about politics.  Besides, how you ever going to learn if you never get past what you already know?  Let us explore the age-old question:

“Why are some people conservative while others are liberal?”

It’s true!

This topic has been studied ad nauseam often with a salacious and simplified narrative that pits “one side as evil versus the other side being smug!”  That narrative is too easy and often reinforced by the media pundits, that one “crazy” uncle and all those political postings (aka memes and from “some” dude’s blog) on social media from friends and family.  Instead, this analysis will focus on some of the factors involved in determining the development of a conservative or liberal mindset and will use a “cradle to grave” approach to explore the common change experienced throughout a lifetime.  Let us start at the beginning…the origins (if you will).

Merriam Webster dictionary defines “conservative” as: “believing in the value of established and traditional practices in politics and society: not liking or accepting changes or new ideas.”

Merriam Webster defines “Liberal” as: “believing that government should be active in supporting social and political change: not opposed to new ideas or ways of behaving that are not traditional or widely accepted.”

Clearly, we can see the meaning of these two words are in stark contrast and polar opposites.  So, what determines if we are a conservative or a liberal?   Easy question…you know this.  That’s (probably) right!

Is one simply born a conservative or liberal?

How big of a role does genetics play in determining our mindset?

It may come as a surprise, but recent utilization of DNA technology has allowed scientists to study whether a conservative or liberal mindset is hereditary.  It turns out that it is.  Two distinct parts of the brain are utilized differently between a conservative and a liberal.  A conservative brain reacts stronger to fear and emotion whereas, a liberal brain is less responsive to fear while using more of the openness to ambiguity and complexity part of the brain.  What does that mean?  As an example, consider this study that, “(A}sked mothers of (then) 4-year-old children to report the extent to which their child was afraid of the dark or was upset by sad movies and found…strongly and positively correlated with conservative political beliefs twenty years on…liberals were more likely…to score high on “activity and restlessness” (Hibbing, John R., Kevin B. Smith, and John R. Alford 304).  Thus, our question has been answered!  Has it not?  On one level we have our answer, however, one can’t dismiss the impact the formative years of youth play on further development.

 

If you appreciate this work and wish to make a contribution.

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3 thoughts on “Liberal/Conservative from Life ‘til Death (#1)

  1. I enjoyed this immensely. You know, I’ve pondered this question personally, I’m pretty sure I was correct about my thoughts. This helped. 🙂

  2. […] Liberal/Conservative from Life ‘til Death (#1) […]

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