Is Liberalism genetic? A new study from James H. Fowler of the University of California San Diego and Harvard University’s Nicholas A. Christakis claims researchers have identified the dopamine receptor, DRD4, as the Liberal Gene. The new issue of the Journal of Politics, published by Cambridge University, carries the study that says political ideology may be caused by genetic predisposition. The study involved 2,000 participants from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and focused on their social networks and other background information, such as having an active social life as a teenager. Those with a variant of the gene DRD4 were found to be liberal as adults.

U.S. President Barack Obama walks back into the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, October 27, 2010.   REUTERS/Jim Young   (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)

The researchers, including Jaime E. Settle and Christopher Dawkes from UC San Diego, concluded that one’s DNA may have more to do with ideology than other factors. James Fowler says “We hypothesize that individuals with a genetic predisposition toward seeking out new experiences will tend to be more liberal, but only if they are embedded in a social context that provides them with multiple points of view.” He adds “These findings suggest that political affiliation is not based solely on the kind of social environment people experience”.

The DRD4 ‘Liberal’ gene has a variant which seems to cause novelty-seeking behavior. As a dopamine receptor, DRD4 acts as a neurotransmitter. This affects the cerebral processes in the brain that control or influence movement and emotional responses. They also affect the ability of an individual to experience pain and pleasure.

Perhaps most relevant here is this connection between ‘novelty-seeking behavior’ and becoming a Liberal as an adult. Coupled with a pattern of an active social network as an adolescent, the Liberal gene makes the adult a Liberal, which fits, given how attracted such are to novelty and irrational emotions. Just look at people like Joy Behar, Keith Olbermann or Alan Grayson. They never seem happy or satisfied, and they blow with the fads of the moment, having no structure in their values or lives.

So the DRD4 Liberal gene is the cause of a genetic predisposition to political Liberalism according to James H. Fowler of the University of California San Diego. Along with Nicholas A. Christakis of Harvard University along with Jaime E. Settle and Christopher Dawkes, also from UC San Diego, the new study has been published in the Journal of Politics by Cambridge University. The study concerning the dopamine receptor DRD4 Liberal Gene involved 2,000 subjects from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and focused on the social networks and social activities of the subjects as teenagers. Those who were socially active as teens, have the DRD4 Liberal Gene and continue an extensive social network as adults tend to be Liberals politically.

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Vice President Joe Biden after they made remarks about Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the East Room of the White House in Washington on October 27, 2010.  UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg Photo via Newscom

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