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A Place in the Sun

Liberals, Conservatives, and Dominance Hierarchies

In social animals, the suppression of sexual behavior is common for the more subordinate members of a dominance hierarchy. Humans have several variations on this phenomenon, and the development of social "classes" is one of the most spectacular. The development of "classes" in gregarious species occurs in large social groups, when ordinary small-group dominance behaviors no longer support the reproductive advantages of dominant animals.

Humans are indeed imprisoned by their primate dominance legacy, and while the more modern-day variations of democratic government may hint at a human metamorphosis, this latter-day democratic awakening simply supports the wide variety of transient linear and nonlinear dominance hierarchies necessary to sustain economic production and technological change.

Animal Dominance Hierarchies

Almost all of our evidence collected to date indicates that Conservative males, on average, are more socially dominant than Liberal males, at least based on the classical dominance behaviors exhibited in other species. Conservatives exhibit more classically dominant behaviors than all the other political affiliations.

The most obvious of these is reproduction. The dominant males of all social species produce more offspring, but human reproduction exhibits dynamics that modulate the dominant male reproductive advantage, and further, follow bionomic reproductive rules analogous to the social insects, but with fertility distributed across a multi-female model.

Social animals have adapted a wide variety of dominance systems, from the very loose dominance hierarchies of high-density cat populations, to the very orderly and linear hierarchies of low-density wolf populations. The advent of the linear dominance hierarchy is phylogenetically ancient, and most common in low-density animal populations. It is of particular human interest, as it is very prominent in human economic organization.

A linear dominance hierarchy is a chain of dominance that starts from an alpha, which is able to displace any of the other group members from their territory and positions in the order of food consumption and sexual rights. The beta is next in line, and can do the same with all other group members except the alpha, and so on. The bottom of this food-distribution chain is the omega, which has no dominance rights over any other group member, and typically is the most food-deprived and timid of the group.

Linear dominance hierarchies are constructed through a series of competitive interactions that involve physical threats, dominance displays, low-grade ritualized fighting, and more severe forms of escalated fighting. Competition is fundamental in the formation of animal dominance hierarchies.

As we have noted before, Conservatives (especially males), exhibit more competitive behaviors than the other political cohorts, which correlates with their greater propensity to form into hierarchical social groups. Conservative males have much higher propensities to participate in organized sports, and subsequently rise to higher levels within business organizations, on average. They are also more likely to be in a pair-bond (romantic) relationship and produce more offspring.

The early stages of dominance hierarchies are typically more ambiguous in their dominance relationships, and frequently exhibit triangular patterns, where member A may be dominant over member B, and member B over C, but member C may be dominant over member A.

Obviously triangular relationships do not minimize intragroup conflict. The stress created by continual intragroup competition results in both lower overall food consumption and reduced reproductive rates. But if the group is small enough, a linear dominance hierarchy can emerge, eliminating the triangular relationships and subsequently lowering intragroup conflict--at least as long as food supplies feed all the group members.

Linear dominance hierarchies are typically small, usually involving less than a dozen members, and exhibit low levels of intragroup conflict. As group sizes increase, the linear structure breaks down, and the resultant ambiguity in dominance status contributes to higher levels of intragroup conflict.

Indeed, larger groups are cauldrons of constant competition and realignment of dominance relationships. Competition and fighting typically involve members that are about the same level in the chain of dominance, especially when a higher-ranking member vacates their position.

Reproductive Selectivity of Dominant Females

The reproductive implications of dominance behavior are many, and first discovered in chickens. When ranchers were selecting chickens with higher rates of egg-production, and subsequently breeding them, they noticed something very interesting--the chickens were becoming more aggressive.

Just as interesting, but then unnoticed, was that this aggressiveness wasn't increasing as rapidly in uncontrolled environments. Obviously, ordinary social and ecological processes were keeping the lid on chicken dominance behavior, but how?

This involves the reproductively selective behavior of dominant chickens. Chickens will not breed with cocks they consider to be subordinate to them, and subsequently less sexually active than less dominant chickens, although the survival rate of their offspring is higher. Cocks, on the other hand, will breed with less dominant chickens.

Dominant-female reproductive selectivity is common in most social species. In humans, female dominance is highly dependent on reproductive fitness and physical beauty, and dominant human females exhibit greater reproductive selectivity.

The Neurobiology of Dominance

Testosterone was the first neurochemical to be implicated in dominance behavior. Chickens develop stable linear dominance hierarchies in groups of ten and under, but when subordinate chickens are injected with testosterone, they become rather disruptive to the hierarchy, especially if isolated from their flock many days before returning.

Testosterone levels were not only modulating dominance behavior, but dominance behavior was modulating testosterone. Animals suffering from a series of competitive losses against other conspecifics were also suffering the added indignity of having their testosterone levels reduced.

Since testosterone was an active agent in sexual behavior and fertility, the reproductive implications were extreme. Worse still, testosterone levels left a number of chemical and morphological markers that were easily detected by females seeking dominant-male genes for their offspring.

As a result, dominant males maintain huge reproductive advantages in many social species, producing close to 100% of the offspring in short-chain dominance hierarchies that consist of less than a dozen individuals.

Dominance and the Dopaminergic System

Pure testosterone models of male reproductive fitness, while initially popular, did not account for the fact that testosterone was not the only active neurochemical being modulated in hierarchical social groups. While the neurochemistry of human dominance behavior is a very long way from being resolved, studies of other animals, including primates, implicate the modulation of more than a dozen neurochemicals.

More prominent among these are the monoamine neurotransmitter systems, (dopaminergic, noradrenergic, and serotonergic), along with the stress hormone cortisol. The three hotly political neurotransmitter systems are organized into distinctive pathways in the brain, each with their own unique set of cognitive and behavioral functionality.

As we have proposed countless times on this web-site, the dopaminergic system is the foundation of the cognitive and behavioral styles of Conservatives. The dopaminergic system is not symmetrically distributed in the human brain, and is more prominent in the left hemisphere, which is why we sometimes refer to Conservatives as being "left-brained".

The dopaminergic system is divided into several major subsystems that activate various cortical and subcortical structures to facilitate the initiation and termination of motor control, along with the hotly political behaviors of reward-seeking, reward-anticipation, approach, exploration, monosemantic cognition, and general prefrontal executive activities.

The dopaminergic system is also implicated in the functioning of semantic language networks, romantic bonding, sexual behavior, and the operation of the reward categorization system. We also believe the dopaminergic system is more active in morality and religiosity.

The dopaminergic system also seems to be highly active in dominance behavior, and long-term elevations in dopamine metabolites are reported in numerous studies of dominant animals across many species. This is to be expected, as dominant animals are less inhibited in reward-seeking relative to subordinates.

While there is also evidence of short-term dopamine elevations in subordinates, this seems to be relegated to the motor-control pathways that facilitate escape and avoidance, and not the dopamine pathways involving reward-seeking and anticipation.

Food, Conflict, and an Innate Dominance Categorization System?

The dopaminergic system seems to be assigning a positive reward-value to dominance levels, independent of any sort of personification of that dominance level. That is, the level of dominance exists whether or not a specific animal exists in that level.

This would explain the curiously widespread animal behavior that attempts to fill vacated slots within dominance hierarchies, as opposed to eliminating those levels altogether. If an alpha dies, social animals will seek a replacement. If the omega dies (or leaves), they will locate a new omega, or reduce the status of an existing group member down to that level.

This dominance categorization system is most likely highly enmeshed with the dopaminergic reward categorization system, which is a neurological rendering of the reward-values associated with, among other things, different types of food. Dominance levels and food reward-values seem to be covariant, and the dominance categorization system seems to be using the neural network models of food categorizations in the neural rendering of dominance levels.

The primary value of dominants is in their impact on food rewards, and this is likely configured into the left hemisphere's reward categorization networks. This might explain the tendency for subordinates to turn on alphas after extended periods of malnutrition. An alpha that isn't producing is in a precarious position.

But the dominant animal's value also involves its ability to wage intergroup competition, which is also related to food rewards. Dominant animals are much more likely to manage conflict with outgroups, and in humans, warfare is typically managed by Conservatives.

In humans, this phenomenon is easily seen in competitive sports, which is a form of animal pseudofighting. Competitive athletes achieve very high status levels if they are successful in defeating competitors. Once they experience an extended series of losses, they lose their high status and are frequently replaced.

Even though dominants can contribute food rewards and successful intergroup competition, they are typically avoided by the subordinates, especially if the difference in dominance levels is quite high. Where is this aversion to dominant members coming from?

The Dominance-Averse Noradrenergic System

A good place to start looking is with the noradrenergic system. Liberals have much more negative views of the "rich and powerful" than do Conservatives, and indeed, are much more likely to exhibit the cognitive and behavioral characteristics of the noradrenergic system.

Like the dopaminergic system, the noradrenergic system is also divided into subsystems, activating various cortical and subcortical regions, facilitating selective attention, analysis of novel and threatening stimuli, behavioral inhibition, avoidance, polysemantic cognition, negative emotional arousal, and general prefrontal executive functions.

Just like the dopaminergic system, it is also not symmetrically distributed in the brain, and is more active in the right-hemisphere, which leads us to frequently refer to Liberals as "right-brained". The noradrenergic system's response to dominant animals is primarily to promote aversive behaviors. We must note that studies confirming a noradrenergic link with dominance aversion are few, so while the noradrenergic connection is probable, it has not yet been established in humans.

But the interaction between of a dopaminergic dominance categorization system, which applies positive reward-values to dominance levels (with those values increasing as dominance levels increase), and the noradrenergic system's propensity to promote aversive reactions to dominant members (the more dominant, the greater the aversion), makes for a very crude model of both animal dominance and dominance-aversive behavior. However, aversive behaviors are not the same as submissive behaviors, which involve more complex behavioral displays to defuse aggression from the dominant, and involve the interaction of all three of the monoamine transmitter systems.

The "dopaminergic" Conservatives tend to organize into well defined dominance hierarchies, which reflects their greater propensity to organize their behavior around their innate dominance categorization system. As a result, Conservatives have much higher valuations of the "rich and powerful" than the other political cohorts. They also prefer fascist social organizations over communistic.

In contrast, the "noradrenergic" Liberals, being dominance-averse, do not organize very well into discrete hierarchies, have very low social valuations of the "rich and powerful", and prefer communistic social organizations over fascist.

The Food Value of God

Ancient prayer was heavily integrated with both food-rewards and intergroup competition. This is still active today, as prayer frequently occurs before meals. The dominance categorization system, by our presumption, would assign higher food-like reward-values to higher dominance levels. For the religious, the highest dominance level is assigned to God. The usage of such words as King and Lord to describe Jesus Christ certainly implies a neural integration of dominance levels, food rewards, and religious beliefs.

Pagan religions and early Christianity were heavily oriented towards the anticipation of food rewards. Further, the adaptation of the Resurrection into Christianity was originally derived from indigenous pagan fertility gods, bringing forth bountiful harvests, and symbolically eaten in the process.

The unusual practice of the Eucharist may be an echo of the strong relationship between food rewards, dominance, and religious beliefs, where Jesus is symbolically eaten. ("Take, eat, this is my body ... Take, drink, this is my blood ... " Jesus Christ).

Serotonin and Social Group Stability

The simple dopaminergic-noradrenergic model does little to explain why subordinate animals tolerate dominance hierarchies. The survival advantages of social life are quite high in predator-rich and competitive environments.

The life of a solitary animal in these environments is a short one, particularly if the species is highly social. Lone animals displaced from their social groups suffer from very high mortality rates. Dominance hierarchies, even though they result in unequal distributions of food, usually improve the food and reproductive yields of the subordinate members over and above their solitary state.

The tolerance of dominance behavior would find a friend in serotonin, which would quiesce the long-term elevations in the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol facilitates physiological changes necessary to deal with impending conflict, such as increased blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

When elevated for long periods, the impact is quite severe, as it interferes with tissue and bone formation, immune response, and fertility. Cortisol is released in both dominant and submissive animals during altercations. However, cortisol levels return to normal in dominants, while they remain elevated in subordinates.

Long-term elevations in the stress hormones provide for social instability, as this promotes major behavioral changes. Animals under extended periods of stress will either abandon their social groups or engage in more antagonistic behaviors within them. Evolution would find a way to promote social bonding within hierarchical social groups.

During conflict, components of the serotonergic system are elevated in both dominant and subordinate animals, but the serotonin levels remain higher in subordinates. Serotonin counteracts the long-term harmful impact of the stress hormones, such as cortisol, and provides a measure of stability within the dominance hierarchy. Serotonin also reduces aggression and locomotor activity, and in many species, reduces food intake.

Discussion

It is not surprising that the most manipulated neurochemical in modern medicine is serotonin. It facilitates stability within social groups, and further, allows humans to live in extremely high population densities.

An interesting side note is the relationship between serotonin and skin color. Serotonin increases the levels of alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone, which darken skin. The correlation between darker skin and population density is positive. In largely Caucasian populations, the non-Caucasians live in higher population densities.

Humans, like the rest of the gregarious mammalian species, seem to be inordinately reliant on dominance hierarchies to conduct their business. Given modern communications technology, much of the political decision-making could easily be handed over to the masses, just like the determination of the next star on American Idol.

But this won't happen anytime soon. The human propensity to organize their behavior around dominance hierarchies and their innate dominance categorization system will keep the current representative forms of government in business for a very long time.

Human economic behavior is organized around a linear dominance model, similar to the linear dominance hierarchies found in low-density animal populations. Anyone working in one of these hierarchies will probably be aware that much of the dominance-related behavior is not economically productive, and seems to be reducing the overall effectiveness of the organization.

This inefficiency is seen in all gregarious species, as the management of dominance relationships can take more time than the actual acquisition of food. The maintenance of the dominance hierarchy places quite an overhead on the operation of social groups, and the stability of the hierarchy eventually interferes with both technological change and economic development.

The interaction of the Conservative propensity for stable dominance hierarchies and the Liberal tendency to undermine them has undoubtedly accounted for many trends in the development of modern economies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Long Can a Government Safely Prosecute a Foreign War?

Leftward Attitude Shifts After Extended Conflicts

When animals abandon their habitats, they usually have a pretty good reason. The decision to leave home territories usually happens after extended periods of stress, resulting from overpopulation, conflict, or habitat depletion. In most species, constant competition and conflict result in sustained elevations of the stress hormones. Over the long run, this functions to decrease body mass, bone formation, sexual function, immune function, sexual maturation, lactation, and fertility.


Success Breeds Failure: Stress Levels and Territorial Abandonment

While short-term elevations of the stress hormones function to modulate physiology in stressful situations, long-term elevations trigger major behavioral changes, including abandonment of habitats. Different species seem to have varying time-dependent propensities to abandon habitats--but what about humans? Are humans neurologically wired to abandon stressed and conflict-riddled habitats after a certain passage of time? If so, how long?

The remarkable Republican success in 2004 was matched by an equally remarkable Democratic success in 2006. Iraq was a centerpiece in both elections, but with distinctively different political outcomes. In two short years, the Moderates and Libertarians had shifted against the war, while the Conservatives were left to hold the Iraqi fort.

The Republicans pursued a "conservative base" retention strategy, while in the red states, the Democrats quietly moved to the middle of the political spectrum. This political territorial annexation was a gift handed to them primarily by the Iraqi War, although other issues, such as the economy, rated highly in exit polls.

The Republicans would have lost the Presidency if it had been up for re-election, which would have been a remarkable reversal from their strong showing in 2004. The raises the question: how long does a government have to finish a foreign war before the electorate turns on it?

Asymmetric Erosion of Support for Warfare

The support for warfare among the Conservatives, Moderates, and Liberals erodes at different rates, and for different reasons. Liberal support for foreign wars is hard to obtain in the first place, as they have the lowest threat assessments and suspiciousness of outgroups. Indeed, Liberals appear to be more suspicious of Conservatives than outgroups.

Liberals have the strongest stress reaction to warfare, which coincides with their higher rates of general stress, anxiety, and depressive disorders. Their shift towards the stress-responsive right hemisphere not only makes them less likely to support foreign warfare--their support erodes more quickly.

As discussed in Who Killed JFK, the Liberals have the lowest tendency towards belief bias, or the ability to hold onto a belief over time. This is most likely the result of the greater influence of the right lateral prefrontal cortex, which readily accepts contradictory evidence that opposes one's own personal beliefs, and creates wider attitude swings in response to new information. Recent research implicates its large role in anti-religious beliefs. Liberals can change their attitudes about warfare very quickly, without the more extended social prodding that is typically required to modify Conservative beliefs.

On the other end of the political spectrum, when it comes to waging extended warfare, Conservatives are a government's best friend. The Conservative propensity to organize into hierarchical social groups, to achieve higher rates of ingroup bonding (see Nemesis), and their stability of their belief systems make them uniquely capable of supporting warfare for a very long time, even in foreign territories.

Of all the political cohorts, the Conservatives have the highest threat assessments and suspiciousness towards outgroups. As discussed in our How Liberals and Conservatives Organize Into Social Groups, the Conservatives consider the threat from al-Qaida to be much greater than Liberals.

Interestingly, we found that threat assessments from al-Qaida increase with total family income across all political cohorts, and the curious link between the more dominant members of primate groups and outgroup conflict seems to be impacting humans as well. In social primates, the more dominant members are more likely to engage in outgroup competition. Indeed, this is a primary survival value of the dominant members of social primates.

The Conservatives report the lowest rates of anxiety, stress, and depression among all the political cohorts, which coincides with their lower anxiety response to conflict. The Conservatives are also more likely to coordinate their behavior and attitudes within their social groups, which better serves the functions of warfare and outgroup competition.

The Conservatives are also more likely to assign "good" or "evil" valences to stimuli classes, which is highly influenced by their orientation towards left hemispheric cognition. This is readily seen in the strong usage of "good" and "evil" references in Conservative political rhetoric.

But Conservatives are also highly organized around reproduction, which is an important clue as to how they respond to extended warfare without meaningful payoffs. Birth rates typically drop in social species under stress, and humans follow the same pattern during periods of warfare.

In primate species evolving under population pressures and habitat depletion, conflict typically was engaged between neighboring populations with wider degrees of genetic variation. Genetically close populations are less likely to engage in conflict.

Social Glue - The Moderates

The Moderates are the great chameleons of any electorate, and form a political buffer zone between Conservatives and Liberals. This buffer zone facilitates social stability, and serves to reduce Conservative-Liberal intragroup conflict. It also positions the Moderates to quickly shift the political winds in either direction, as was evident in the 2006 U.S. general elections. The Liberals were already heavily mobilized against the Iraqi conflict in the 2004 election, and the Moderates joined them in 2006.

Interestingly, the Moderates also seem to be readily sharing their genes with both the Conservatives and Liberals, and are less likely to apply political and religious criteria in mate selection (see The Poligenic Wars). Conservatives and Liberals have low propensities to breed with each other, and are heavily using political and religious cues to determine suitability for mating.

The Moderates don't seem to get much attention from the popular media, but their social function within a population is just as important. In our hemisphericity testing, the Moderates exhibit a more balanced integration of left and right hemispheric cognition than the "left-brained" Conservatives or "right-brained" Liberals.

But the Moderates really distinguish themselves in how little they think about politics (see Political and Sexual Arousal in Conservatives and Liberals). Our results indicate that the greater one favors either the right or left hemisphere in cognition, the greater the tendency to focus on political issues, or be politically "aroused". The hemispherically balanced Moderates are no match for the Conservatives and Liberals when it comes to focusing on politics or promoting their own beliefs.

The Moderates also fall in between Conservatives and Liberals in their attitudes about warfare. They support warfare at a higher rate than the Liberals, but their support erodes more quickly than Conservatives. Let's take a look at the 2006 exit polls as they compared to 2004.

Political Cohort
2004 % Dem Vote
2004 % Rep Vote
2006 % Dem Vote
2006 % Rep Vote
Democratic Margin
Conservative
18
81
20
78
+5
Moderate
56
43
61
38
+10
Liberal
83
14
87
11
+7
Exit Poll Results for House of Representatives (Dem = Democrats, Rep = Republicans) Source: Pew Research Center and CNN

As can be seen in the above table, from 2004 to 2006, the Moderates had the highest erosion of support for Republicans, with a 10 percentage point swing. They eroded at twice the rate of the Conservatives (5 points). Since the Liberals are the quickest to turn against a foreign war, their high rate of anti-War sentiment occurred shortly after the fall of Baghdad, and well before the 2004 elections. Even still, they managed to squeeze out 7 more points in 2006.

Opinion Management in Wartime

Public opinion management in warfare not only preceded the invention of the first wheel, it also seems to occur in non-human primates engaging in inter and intragroup conflict. Managing Liberal opinions during foreign warfare has always been a problem, as Liberal opinions are hardest to "manage" in the first place. Their enhanced empathetic and anxiety responses and lower rates of belief bias negate the impact of socially-managed attitudes.

This would become a big problem in the first television war--Vietnam. The daily diet of burned villages and dead bodies were certainly playing heavily on the Liberal psyche, but the Conservatives were not as swayed, even after many years of bloody conflict. The Conservatives were more upset about the lack of meaningful results.

Conscription was further complicating the issue, and drafting Liberals was reducing the general public support for foreign wars. By eliminating the draft, the Conservatives were now fully in control of both the fighting (and dying), which improved discipline in the ranks and dampened antiwar sentiments among the Liberals.

As the Vietnam War was becoming a lost cause of public opinion, the Defense Department launched a number of studies to evaluate the rapid deterioration of public support, and the resultant OOTW (Operations Other Than War), or the psychological management of public opinion, would become as much a part of warfare as warfare itself.

The capital-intensive warfare strategy of Donald Rumsfeld played to both the Liberal desire for low troop commitments, with minimal "collateral" damage, and the Conservative desire for rapid victory. The initial successes of the American war machine were a public relations boon for the opinion managers, maximizing support from Liberals, Moderates, and Conservatives alike.

But after the fall of Baghdad, the psychological clock was ticking for the remaining Liberals and Moderates that still supported the war. The daily news reports of bombings, kidnappings, ambushed soldiers, and other atrocities were again weighing heavily on the Liberal psyche, and no doubt creating a detectable level of stress. Stress reactions in conflict scenarios are hard-wired into our genes, and built right into the highly reactive fight-or-flight decision neural networks centered around the amygdala.

In first fMRI study of Liberals and Conservatives, the Liberals exhibited greater amygdalar (stress) reactions to warfare images than Conservatives. Further, the amygdalae evoke cortisol secretion, which if sustained over time, will result in the desire to abandon habitats. And few habitats on earth were more stressed than Iraq.

When Moderates Become Liberals

The prosecution of warfare in foreign territories is usually promoted as defensive by the government waging it. Fighting truly defensive conflicts in foreign territories is unusual for animals, as they typically prefer to engage conflicts in their own territories, where they employ their habitat knowledge to their advantage. When animals invade the territories of others, they exhibit enhanced adrenocortical response and corresponding elevations in cortisol, and are prepared to make quick exits. Animals invading the territories of other animals experience high mortality rates.

Even when the rewards of conflict are high, animals are typically conflict-averse, and usually avoid dangerous adversaries unless they are faced with persistent hunger. Conflict-aversion is prominent in humans, even in the face of positive economic benefits or improved security. This presents quite a problem for a government that seeks to wage war in foreign territories.

Unless a population is under eminent attack, support for foreign warfare will usually only be acceptable to Conservatives, who coincidentally are the most reproductively expansive political cohort, and have the highest propensity to exploit and populate newly acquired territories.

Such an attack occurred on 9/11, and the Liberals were generally supportive of military actions in Afghanistan. But the rationale of the Iraqi War promoted by the Bush Administration would deeply divide the Liberals, at least initially. The Iraqi War Resolution of 2002 was passed by greater margins in the House and Senate than even the 1991 resolution, so it had a good deal of Liberal support.

But within one year, the Liberals were predominately against the war, and their rapid erosion of support was pretty much complete within 18 months after the fall of Baghdad. As the search for the weapons of mass destruction became more futile, the Bush Administration began to fall back on the Iraqi Freedom conflict justification model, which the freedom-loving Conservatives would readily accept (see Freedom's Just Another Word for the Dopaminergic Activation System) .

But the Liberals do not have the same propensities towards freedom as the Conservatives, so this approach would do little to undercut the Liberal base of antiwar sentiment. Some estimates put the Liberals at 18% of the U.S. adult population, but their social impact during wartime is much greater. They provide the initial base of antiwar sentiment that the Moderates adopt over time. Without the Liberal influence, the Moderates might actually emulate Conservatives with their tolerance for extended warfare.

A government can successfully wage warfare even if the Liberals oppose it, as estimates of American Conservatives are near 38% in some polls. But in America, the Moderates are nearly equal in number to the Conservatives, and when combined with the Libertarians, exceed them. The Moderates don't think about politics too much, and don't rate as highly in social empathy or anxiety as do the Liberals--but they certainly rate higher than the Conservatives.

The Moderate support for the war was not eroding as fast as the Liberal, and was still high enough in November 2004 to help the Republicans maintain power. While the Liberals were nearing their asymptotic limit of antiwar attitudes in the November 2004 election, the Moderates still had a long way to drop, as did the Libertarians.

Discussion

The Liberals were heavily against the Iraqi war (80%) within 12 months after the fall of Baghdad. The Moderates had also fallen substantially after 18 months, with about half no longer supporting the Iraqi occupation. However, given the low percentage of Liberals in the population, the erosion of Moderate support was not sufficient to undermine the Republicans in 2004.

However, from 2004 to 2006, the Moderates were slipping fast. They were closing in on the rate of Liberal antiwar sentiments, and were the greatest single factor in overturning the Conservative government in 2006. Four years of Iraqi-style conflict seems to be the period when American Moderates begin to predominately adopt Liberal antiwar attitudes.

Given the two year election cycle of national American politics, these sentiments are adapted quickly into national military policy. The Conservatives were holding on faithfully, showing signs of a slight weakening in support, but this was more likely to be due to the lack of meaningful results. More distressing to the Conservatives was the fact that the price of reproduction went up from 2004 to 2006. Maintaining low-yield war in foreign territories hurts reproduction, something that Conservatives will avoid.

As we discussed in Birth Rates, Warfare, Stress Disorders, and the Conservative-Liberal Ratio, military defeats of rightest regimes invariably lead to leftward shifts in political attitudes, and the subsequent ousting of rightest governments. Indeed, one of the primary social values of right-wing governments is their ability to wage intergroup competition, and if they are ineffective, they become politically insolvent.

Even in the case of military victory, a stressed population worn down by extended warfare will avoid rightest regimes, as evidenced by Winston Churchill's defeat in 1945. The Iraqi conflict provides an excellent opportunity to view the asymmetric erosion of support of foreign warfare by the various political cohorts.

Humans seem to be strongly averse to engaging in war after long periods of warfare. This characteristic allows for reproductive yields to be re-established to pre-war levels. Leftist shifts after extended conflict seem to be quite common in human history, and correlate with improved birth rates.

However, leftist shifts after unsuccessful warfare are usually short lived, and the Democratic successes of 2006 will likely be challenged in 2008, if indeed the Republicans manage to extricate themselves from Iraq. But the moderate shift of the red state Democrats will certainly help them hold onto this newly acquired territory in 2008.

This post-conflict aversive reaction is most evident in a recent Pew Research Center poll indicating a large shift in support for an overseas military presence to fight another terrorist attack. As seen below, from 2002 to 2006, there was a dramatic shift against preemptive military intervention.

Best Way to Reduce Threat of Another Attack
August 2002
August 2006
Increase military presence
48%
32%
Reduce military presence
29%
45%
No change
8%
10%
Don't know
15%
13%
Source: Pew Research Center

As we noted in The Ghost World of Conservatives and Liberals, large social groups produce large numbers of politically-focused "Conservatives" and "Liberals" positioned on opposite sides of the politically-unfocused "Moderates". Humans emulate the cognitive variations of all social vertebrates. This facilitates both food-seeking, sexual selection, intergroup conflict management, and the populational sustainability of habitats.

The Moderates are the drivers of the Conservative-Liberal evolutionary mystery tour, and this bus is headed out of Iraq.

_________________________________________

Brack and Zhang, December 2006

 

Email: Brack@neuropolitics.org
          Zhang@neuropolitics.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Genetic Variation and Political Affiliation

Caucasian Racial Preferences in Mate Selection

The theoretical limit of the number of offspring a human female can produce over her lifetime is around 35, while the theoretical male limit is in the neighborhood of 50,000. Practically, these numbers are much less, but this disparity has certainly had its impact on the reproductive strategies of the two genders.

Females are more oriented towards offspring quality, and males more towards quantity. Females are consequently more organized towards sexual relationships that involve a higher degree of male investment, that is, "romance".

Given this, we would expect that female mate selection is, on average, likely to apply more "criteria" than male. Of primary interest is how political affiliations correlate with interracial selection, and ultimately genetic variation.

Interracial Dating

Do Conservatives and Liberals have different orientations towards genetic variation in mate selection? We asked the 2,987 respondents to our Ethnic and Religious Attitudes Survey to indicate the races they have dated. From that group, we selected only those 18 or over and Caucasian.

This gave us 2,609 observations from which we computed the number of different races the average respondent has dated. We broke these results down into non-Caucasian and Caucasian groupings, which would provide an indicator of the relative propensity to date whites versus non-whites. Note that we only selected those respondents that had at least one date. Further, we summarized the population averages by political and gender cohorts, as seen in the table below.

 

Political Cohort
Sex
Mean Caucasian
Mean Non-Caucasian
Non-Political
Female
1.00
1.52
Very Liberal
Female
0.98
1.83
Liberal
Female
0.97
1.54
Moderate
Female
0.98
1.17
Libertarian
Female
0.99
1.41
Conservative
Female
0.98
0.99
Very Conservative
Female
1.00
1.02
Non-Political
Male
0.94
1.96
Very Liberal
Male
0.98
1.66
Liberal
Male
0.98
1.42
Moderate
Male
0.98
1.47
Libertarian
Male
0.98
1.79
Conservative
Male
0.99
1.32
Very Conservative
Male
0.99
1.13
Races Dated for Caucasians (18 and Older)

In the above table, the Caucasian Conservative and Very Conservative females had the lowest propensity to date non-Caucasians. The highest propensity for interracial dating, as expected, was with the Very Liberal and Liberal females. Closely behind were the Non-Political (those that are politically agnostic), and the Libertarians.

Among the Caucasian males, the Non-Political and Libertarians had the highest rates of dating non-Caucasians, followed by the Very Liberals, Moderates, and Liberals. Again, the Caucasian Very Conservatives and Conservatives had the lowest propensity to date non-Caucasians.

What Races are the Caucasians Dating?

Below are the percentages, by race, that the 18 and over Caucasians have dated. This is for those indicating that they have been on at least one date (regardless of race). In this table, we've combined the Very Conservatives into the Conservatives, and the Very Liberals into the Liberals.

 

Political
Cohort

Sex
Asian
Black

Hisp
anic

Ind ian
Mide East ern
Native Amer ican
NP
F
31%
42%
35%
15%
15%
13%
L
F
32%
43%
37%
14%
20%
20%
M
F
28%
30%
30%
8%
10%
12%
LB
F
27%
40%
33%
2%
16%
16%
C
F
15%
25%
29%
7%
11%
13%
NP
M
54%
38%
40%
19%
20%
25%
L
M
40%
33%
35%
16%
12%
15%
M
M
44%
29%
32%
14%
12%
16%
LB
M
49%
42%
40%
17%
16%
15%
C
M
36%
25%
36%
8%
7%
14%
Racial Groups Dated by Caucasians (18 and Over) by Political and Gender Cohorts (NP=Non-Political,L=Liberal,M=Moderate,
LB=Libertarian,C=Conservative) (F=Female,M=Male)

The above table shows some interesting trends. Overall, the Caucasian females preferred Blacks, followed by Hispanics, and in third place, Asians. The Caucasian males preferred Asians first, followed by Hispanics, and Blacks.

In the above table, the Caucasian Conservative females were lower than average across the board when it came to dating our sample of six racial groups. While they maintained near-average levels in dating Hispanics and Native Americans, they were significantly lower in dating Asians and Blacks.

The Moderate females were next behind the Conservatives when it came to limited racial dating, followed by the Libertarians and Non-Political.

The female Liberals had the highest rate of dating Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, Middle Easterners, and Native Americans, and second highest in Indians (Asian).

On the Caucasian male side, the Conservatives had nearly-average rates of dating Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans, but dropped off considerably for Blacks, Indians (Asian), and Middle Easterners.

Just like the Moderate females, the Moderate males were next after the Conservatives when it came to limited racial dating. Unlike the Liberal females, who were the most diverse in racial dating, the Liberal males were only third, behind the Libertarians and Non-Political. The Libertarians had high rates of dating Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics. The Non-Political were elevated across the board, and had the highest dating rates with the Asians, Middle Easterners, Indians (Asian), and Native Americans.

Race of Current Partners

Our results are not factored by the total number of dates, therefore, we are not sure how much time the respective Caucasian political cohorts have spent dating non-Caucasians. The race of the current partner is a better indicator of racial diversity in partner selection, and we captured this statistic in our latest survey. In the table below, we see the current partner percentages by political cohort, and have included both Caucasians (White), and Not Sure. In this table, we are only including people reporting that they currently have a partner.

 

 

Polit

Sex
Asian
Black

Hisp
anic

Ind ian
Mid East
Nat Amer
White Not Sure
NP
F
0%
0%
3.9%
0.8%
0%
1.7%
74%
19%
L
F
2%
3.2%
1.7%
0.6%
1.2%
0.3%
81%
9.9%
M
F
0%
1.8%
2.6%
0%
0%
0.9%
82%
12%
LB
F
4.3%
2.9%
0%
0%
1.4%
1.4%
83%
7.1%
C
F
1.2%
0.6%
3.6%
0.6%
1.2%
0.6%
84%
8.3%
NP
M
9.4%
0.8%
3.9%
0.8%
1.6%
1.6%
48%
34%
L
M
4.4%
0.7%
4.2%
0.2%
0.2%
0.2%
66%
24%
M
M
3.6%
1.1%
3.2%
0.4%
1.1%
1.4%
67%
22%
LB
M
6.9%
2.3%
2.6%
1%
0%
0.3%
64%
22%
C
M
3.7%
0.7%
4.4%
0.5%
0.3%
0.9%
80%
9.5%
Race of Current Partner for Caucasians (18 and Over) by Political and Gender Cohorts (NP=Non-Political,L=Liberal,M=Moderate,
LB=Libertarian,C=Conservative) (F=Female,M=Male)

The above table shows some very interesting trends. First, the females are more aware of their partner's race, and by a large margin. Due to the poor framing of this question, the percentage of not sure responses are a combination of both mixed race and ambiguity as to what their partner's race is.

But as can be seen, the females are far less ambiguous than the males, with the notable exception of the Conservative males. The females not sure of their partner's race range from a high of the Non-Political (19%), to a low of the Libertarians (7.1%). Even the Liberal females, normally rating towards the high-end in cognitive ambiguity, were low (9.9%) in their ratings of ambiguity of their partner's race.

Again, except for the Conservatives, the males were also more likely to select non-Caucasian partners than were females. The variation between Caucasian male and female preferences for Caucasian partners is substantial. While white females, in general, reported slightly higher rates of racial prejudice than males, their behavior paints a more restrictive picture when it comes to intermingling their genes.

Among the Caucasian females, the Non-Political reported the lowest percentage of Caucasian partners, at 74%. The rest of the females all exceeded 80%, with the Conservatives the highest, at 84%.

Among the Caucasian males, the Non-Political again reported the lowest percentage of Caucasian partners, at 48%. This low rate may indeed indicate an aversion that the Non-Political Caucasians have towards Caucasian partners. The Liberals (66%), Moderates (67%), and Libertarians (64%) were much higher than the Non-Political. The Caucasian Conservative males were indeed an anomaly, as they approached female levels of racial preference (80%).

Discussion

One of the more interesting results from our recent survey is the Caucasian Non-Political (i.e., politically agnostic) preferences for non-Caucasian partners. Why are people with few or no political opinions more likely to select partners that are the most racially variant? Indeed, the Non-Political males seem to be deliberately avoiding Caucasians, as their very low-rate of white partners implies.

After that, the Libertarian males exhibited the most racial diversity in mate selection. The Liberal males and Moderate males follow, which was contrary to our expectations. Prior to conducting this survey, we expected the Caucasian Liberal males to rate highest in mate diversity. The Caucasian Conservative males were an anomaly, as their preference for white partners was so elevated that it approached the females.

The Caucasian males reported both the highest percentages of dating Asians, and the highest current rate of Asian partners. After that, Hispanic partners were most popular. While they reported a substantial level of interracial dating with Blacks, the probability was lower that a Caucasian male would retain a Black partner (and/or vice-versa).

The Caucasian females preferred whites at a much higher rate than the males, and were also much more aware of their partner's race. This is interesting, as we had previously rated females slightly above males in racial preference and categorization.

But when it came to mixing genes, the white females were much more likely to apply racial criteria in selecting suitable mates, that is, they were more likely to be looking for white mates. Even more notable were the Liberal females, which rated very low in our racial preference and categorization scoring, yet maintained white partners at a rate comparable to the Conservative females.

Among the females, it is interesting to note the high rate of dating Blacks, except for the Conservatives. Like the Caucasian males, these had low retention rates relative to the rates of dating. Females dated Hispanics at lower rates, yet the overall retention rates were about equal.

Given the high rates of interracial dating, the survival rates of these prospective mating partnerships are not high, especially with white females. However, we can only speculate as to why these budding interracial relationships don't take. Cultural influences are most likely a strong deterrent, but we cannot disregard the influence of basic attraction mechanisms, such as those managed by the olfactory system.

Studies indicate that females may be using olfactory cues to determine immune system compatibility, that is, they are looking for mates with similar, but not too similar, immune systems. Females have elevated senses of smell, and it certainly seems plausible that they have a stronger olfactory orientation towards partner attraction.

This may explain, in part, the Caucasian female's preference for white partners. But the mechanisms of attraction involve all the sensory systems, and highly dependent both on innate attraction mechanisms and early childhood memory imprinting, which occurs from birth until about six years of age, and seems to be involving the left hippocampus and amygdala more than the right.

All in all, the leakage of the Caucasian gene pool is coming mainly from the males. The Caucasian females are holding firm across all the political cohorts, led by the Conservatives. The white Non-Political males seem to have an aversion to white females, while the Caucasian Conservative males are doing more than their fair share in retaining white genes.

Since political disposition is hereditary, the Conservative males seem to have a disproportionate influence in the Caucasian gene pool. ___________________________________________________

Santa Claus: Conservative or Liberal?


You Better Watch Out

Santa Claus is the composite of so many contradictory human behavioral attributes that one wonders if he is real, or simply constructed, like cigarettes, to optimize the impact of dopamine on the brain's reward circuits.

If he is indeed real, we should be able to resolve his political affiliation based on the plethora of direct and indirect observations of his behavior and social attitudes.

By most accounts, Santa seems to be very jolly, which implicates an elevation of dopamine in the left-hemisphere, which would imply that he was both Conservative and Religious. As we have reported, left-brained religious Conservatives report lower levels of depression than the right-brained secular Liberals. They also reported higher levels of "happiness" in a Pew Research Center survey.

However, it must be noted that there are no verifiable observations that Santa is actually happy, and Mrs. Claus has been suspiciously silent on this issue. We therefore must discount the "jolly" theory as being unreliable, and indeed, Santa seems to show high levels of irritability during the holidays.

Santa engages in remarkable acts of charity, which implies that he is either a Liberal or a Religious Conservative. We must rule out Secular Conservative, as they exhibit low rates of charity compared to their religious brethren or the Secular Liberals.

It seems that Santa maintains a large database on who is "naughty" and "nice", and engages in surveillance on a global scale (he sees you when you're sleeping). The application of binary morality models, that is, "good" or "evil" classifications of the behavior of others, is definitely a Conservative attribute.

Liberals have lower propensities to apply categorizations to stimuli classes in general--especially when it comes to viewing things as being unequivocally "good" or "bad". This is due to the polysemantic nature of the right-hemisphere, which tends to integrate information over wider networks than the more monosemantic left-hemisphere.

However, Santa is a night person, and this implicates that he is a Liberal. Liberal males report higher levels of mental focus in late evening, and seem to have a greater affinity towards processing aural stimuli. This would certainly help during the very long and dark winter nights at the North Pole.

Santa has been accused in a hit-and-run accident (Grandma got run over by a reindeer). While evidence for variations in Conservative and Liberal criminal behavior is almost non-existent, in one of our surveys, Conservatives reported more speeding tickets than Liberals. However, this hit-and-run accident was never officially reported to the authorities, and only served to reinforce Grandpa's belief in Santa.

Santa has also been accused of breaking-and-entering and sexual assault (I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus), however, these charges were dismissed due to contaminated DNA evidence, and appear to be the work of a probable police conspiracy. But we cannot discount the fact that Santa may no longer be attracted to Mrs. Claus, which would imply that he is a Liberal, as over time, they report lower partner attractiveness.

Is Santa real? If so, is he a Conservative or a Liberal? Santa's anointment to the status of a child-god and his adaptation as a behavioral inhibition mechanism for children has many corrollaries with adult gods. However, Santa has some very human failings, and we must therefore conclude that he is real and the rarest of political affiliations: he is a Conservative and a Liberal.

Political disposition in humans varies not only over one's lifespan, but we suspect that it even varies during the day. These changes are small and hard to detect, but nonetheless correspond to ordinary circadian and seasonal variations in the monoamine neurotransmitters and cortisol. Political disposition is not constant, especially in those that are less hemispherically polarized.

When Santa leaves on his great journey, late at night, he leaves as a Liberal, and after fulfilling the endless wishes of the gift-hungry humans, comes home a Conservative.

Ho...Ho...Ho....



Happy Holidays from Neuropolitics.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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