Saturday, December 12, 2009

Should we try to "cure" conservatives?

A commenter to my post on the biological basis of political orientation said:
Thank you scientists for using science to conclusively associate unfavorable attributes with conservatives! Now our contempt for them has an even stronger foundation.
And mad props to CDRealist for suggesting that we can may someday hope to create a politically pure strain of mankind.
My first thought was this misrepresented what I said. But on reflection, it only misrepresents part of it. I do associate unfavorable attributes with conservatives (as does any liberal following the health care debate in the Senate), but only some types of conservatism. There are conservatives I respect, and I read them to keep myself honest. If someone as brilliantly wrong as Bill Buckley comes along again, I'll get a TiVo season pass for his or her show.

I suppose the difference between the sanes and the loonies consists of having different constellations of alleles and peer experiences, as is the difference in any personality point. But I don't think we should try to "cure" even the loonies. As I said in the previous post, we need some down-to-earth conservatives around to keep us airy-fairy liberals from getting killed by lions. It is not clear to me that modern society has the same needs as 200,000 years ago, but it might well be that we can substitute commies for lions and have the same dynamic.

So I don't want to cure conservatives. I just don't want them in charge of public policy. I want them on the outside calling bullshit on the liberals in charge and edging public policy back from the liberal brink.

But, just as it is fun for an atheist to play with pagan nature worship once in a while, it's fun for a liberal to imagine medication that would bring Michelle Bachman into our world.

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