Is Our Vote Determined By Our Biology?

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About Brandon Ferdig

Brandon Ferdig is writer from Minneapolis, MN. He shares his personal growth pieces, human interest stories, and commentary at his blog. He is currently writing a book titled New Plateaus in China, a compilation of travelogue, personal experience, human interest, and social observations from China. You can follow Brandon on Twitter @brandonferdig.


  1. AnonymousDog says:

    You try to connect “openness” with liberalism, but I would suggest that many people support liberal politicians because those voters are afraid, not open to, economic changes that they think would happen if government did not continue to exercise the same amount of control over the economy. Similarly, the ‘liberal’ side of many issues is about resisting certain changes, and the ‘conservative’ side is about promoting certain changes. I think your attempt to connect ‘openness’ to certain kinds of political affiliation is mostly cherry picking, and everybody has some kind of change which they are not ‘open’ to, regardless of their political affiliations.

  2. Brandon,

    I really enjoyed this Ted Talk, and I liked your article on it. Thank you for sharing both.

    My parents are very conservative, and I have disagreed with them since I was a teenager (that’s when most of us begin to disagree with our parents, isn’t it?). But I cannot deny that they are thoughtful and intelligent people. My father’s a chemical engineer for goodness sakes! How could I possibly make pretend that he’s ignorant?

    This led me to the undeniable conclusion that, just because I disagree with someone, that doesn’t mean their view isn’t based upon thoughtful, reasoned argument. It took me years to make this realization (I actually did think my father was a moron from when I was 15 until I was 22 or so, but this is all too common as well, isn’t it?), but it’s really changed my life ever since I got there.

    I’ve tried to share this with friends and colleagues, but I’ve had mixed success at best. Mr. Haidt’s descriptions are welcome for giving me a richer vocabulary to describe my views, and for helping me to share them with others. Hopefully, I’ll have more luck in the future.

  3. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    Maybe some of this is true. If so, it’s unfortunate. I score something like 89 on a scale of liberalness, but still believe in personal libertarianism as opposed to increasing social control around language, etc. My liberalness is about getting the rich out of the business of controlling the polity and economy.

    A couple of generations ago, I bet many of the change resisters were labor Democrats. It’s unfortunate that Republicans were able to split them away from the Democratic side because they felt that the Reps had more of their values. This is probably the main thing that allowed the economy to be killed by globalization. We liberals were to blame too– because we wanted to get away from these folks and work on race and gender only.

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  5. Interesting video.

    Marx was one fellow who tried to incorporate both visions with his famous phrase:

    “From each according to his ability to each according to his need”

    “… the genuine resolution of antagonism between man and nature and man and man; it is the true resolution of the conflict between existence and essence, objectification and self-affirmation, freedom and necessity, individuals and species. It is the riddle of history solved.”

    The tug of war between conservative “existence” and liberal “essence” is the PowerPoint version of modern politics. The new twist is that some of the leaning to one side or the other is more a personality trait than something that one adopts. Religion does not turn one more conservative. A conservative mind is drawn to the structure of religion to satisfy its own personality.

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