An article in today’s NY Times reveals that our genes have a strong influence on our political beliefs. This isn’t news to me, but it’s news to the NY Times which, until not too long ago, avoided running any articles about how variation in behavior and intelligence are genetically influenced.
I really wish that more people would truly try to comprehend the importance of this point. Your political beliefs, which you cherish and defend, are not based on logic but on an accident of biology. Most people, instead of using their intelligence to logically determine the best policies (such as school vouchers for example), use their intelligence to try to justify the conclusion already reached based on illogical emotion genetically programmed into their brains.
Taking a huge leap away from anything written in the article, my own theory is that there are two significant personality factors that influence our political beliefs. The first is what might be called “the tendency towards liberalism,” or perhaps “the preference for distributive justice over procedural justice.” The more liberal you are, the more concerned you are with inequality of outcomes, and the more guilt you feel (if well off) about all the poor people of the world. (But poor people are usually too busy worrying about their own poverty to feel much guilt about other people’s poverty.)
The second important personality factor is religiosity. This is the emotional tendency to illogically adhere to a religion. For people born in the United States, religiosity almost always results in a strong adherence to Christianity. And of course, people who strongly adhere to Christianity also strongly support political views that promote “Christian values.”
Christianity and liberalism tend to be at odds with each other because many of the Christian values are opposite to liberalism. Many people who are strongly liberal but also have a high amount of religiosity will channel their religiosity into weird non-Christian religious-like beliefs such as vegetarianism or UFOs.
Because liberals have fewer babies than non-liberals, future generations will be less liberal. That’s good news. But the bad news is that because smarter people have fewer babies, future generations will be stupider.