Conservatives Are Neanderthals (And so is your mom)



cavemanThat’s supposedly what a new study says, and some liberals are getting pretty excited about it.

According to liberal outlet Mother Jones, the study claims that your political views, rather than being shaped by what you learned in school or through life experience, are determined by an inherent genetic predisposition to see things a certain way.

In short, you’re a conservative or a liberal because you’re wired that way, and that’s it.

Eh, maybe.

But what really has the Left giggling is the apparent discovery of a “negativity bias” on the part of political conservatives.

Uh-oh.  Sounds scary.  As the Mother Jones article puts it:

[The authors of the study] marshal a large body of evidence, including their own experiments using eye trackers and other devices to measure the involuntary responses of political partisans to different types of images. One finding? That conservatives respond much more rapidly to threatening and aversive stimuli (for instance, images of “a very large spider on the face of a frightened person, a dazed individual with a bloody face, and an open wound with maggots in it,” as one of their papers put it).

Okay, just so I’m clear:

If I jump when I see a large spider, a person with a bloody face, or an open wound with maggots, then I must be…a conservative?  Wow, they have me pegged.  But I don’t know, I guess I always assumed the response to these things would be pretty much universal regardless of political leanings, at least among those of us who aren’t criminally insane.

But now I have to ask – if my tendency to give a little “whoa!” makes me a conservative, then how the hell does a liberal react to those things?  Not being born to such privilege, I can only guess –  “Can we find a way to tax the spider until it dies?…That bloody face needs more funding, then maybe a bandage, but only if approved by the proper bureaucracy of course…Hmm, open wound with maggots – George Bush and the Catholic Church must have caused that.”

In any event, the authors conclude that the conservative “negativity bias,” which we are told accounts for the commitment to a strong military and gun rights, is likely a genetic holdover from the Pleistocene, when it would have come in handy to avoid being killed.

And there you have it:  Conservative = caveman.

It’s good for giving the Left a smug little snort, but it’s pretty old copy.  This has been the liberal narrative for years – conservatives are paranoid, frightened, evolutionary sophomores who see threats at every turn and seek refuge within the confines of their narrow minds.  Guns and religion, anyone?

Liberals on the other hand…Well, as we all know by now, we’re lucky to bask in the glow of their dazzling intellects.  They are wise, compassionate, and oh so reasonable.  And while the typical conservative cowers behind his Remington and his Bible, a pathetic reject of natural selection hopelessly incapable of appreciating the onward march of progress, your average liberal is the very picture of reason and empathy, seeing every issue from every viewpoint, making the tough decisions for the rest of humanity, and bestowing his benevolence upon us in cool, measured doses in between sips from his kale smoothie.

Don’t like it?  Take it up with the scientists.

Or better yet, blame your parents.


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John White lives in the Chicago area with his wife and seven children.

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