Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Why do people vote? Genetic variation in political participation

This is only a small advance on what was already known. It is known that Left/Right orientation is strongly genetic and the study below shows that the strength of that orientation is also genetically inherited -- JR

A groundbreaking new study finds that genes significantly affect variation in voter turnout, shedding new light on the reasons why people vote and participate in the political system. The research, conducted by political scientists James H. Fowler, Christopher T. Dawes (of UC San Diego) and psychologist Laura A. Baker (of University of Southern California), appears in the May issue of the American Political Science Review, a journal of the American Political Science Association (APSA).

"Although we are not the first to suggest a link between genes and political participation," note the authors, "this study is the first attempt to test the idea empirically." They do so by conducting three tests of the claim that part of the variation in political participation can be attributed to genetic factors. The results suggest that individual genetic differences make up a large and significant portion of the variation in political participation, even after taking socialization and other environmental factors into account. They also suggest that, contrary to decades of conventional wisdom, family upbringing may have little or no effect on children's future participatory behavior.

In conducting their study, the authors examine the turnout patterns of identical and non-identical twins-including 396 twins in Los Angeles County and 806 twins in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Their findings suggest that 53% of the variation in turnout can be accounted for by genetic effects in the former, with similar outcomes in the latter.

Moreover, genetic-based differences extend to a broad class of acts of political participation, including donating to a campaign, contacting an official, running for office, and attending a rally. According to Fowler, "we expected to find that genes played some role in political behavior, but we were quite surprised by the size of the effect and how widely it applies to all kinds of participation." "The fact that we have found genetic variation in voting, and political participation in general, should not be surprising given the large numbers of behaviors that have already been found to be heritable," observe the authors.




A point that's so obvious that the MSM can't seem to comprehend it: "As dumb as this claim is, and it is stupid on it's face, the one that continues to bug me is when the Dems keep whinning that any additional drilling offshore or in ANWR wouldn't yield any oil for a number of years. Instead, they want to invest in unproven technologies such as electric cars and solar and wind which will cost significantly more, require a massive overhaul of supporting infrastructure and...wait for it...won't yield any results for even more years if ever. Yet, nobody points out this obvious yet inconvenient truth."

That wicked outsourcing to India is OK when the NYT does it: "Reciting the outsourcing mantra is a required ritual for any self-respecting Democrat office seeker this cycle. Obama and Clinton both took up the battle cry in the primaries to rally big labor bosses and agitate the rank and file. Assisted by their allies in the drive-by media like the New York Times and NBC News, the candidate's rhetoric was reinforced with strategically placed stories to amplify the propaganda. For observers interested in exposing media hipocrisy, the announcement that the New York Times is outsourcing their internet operations to a unit of Mumbai India Newspaper publisher Deccan Chronicle is a most delicious nugget."

The Anthrax Fiasco: "Steven Hatfill finally has his life back. Thanks to FBI incompetence, he also has $5.8 million. In a late Friday news dump, the Justice Department announced it had settled a lawsuit with Mr. Hatfill, a former military scientist whom then-Attorney General John Ashcroft publicly identified in 2002 as a "person of interest" in the investigation into the anthrax attacks in the aftermath of 9/11. Mr. Hatfill sued, claiming the FBI had libeled him in leaks to the media. Justice's mea culpa is a major embarrassment, exceeding even the Richard Jewell debacle. It's worse because it is a virtual confession that the anthrax case is cold. Throughout one of the largest investigations in law-enforcement history, agents were fixated on a "lone wolf" theory that Director Robert Mueller's FBI, for all intents and purposes, now admits was wrong."

Spitzer remembered: "In 2005, then-Attorney General Spitzer sued Mr. Grasso over his $190 million pay package from the exchange, which was then a private nonprofit. To make his case, he stretched to the breaking point several obscure state laws designed to protect nonprofits from self-dealing directors. The state's highest court has now ruled that the AG had no authority to bring four of the six claims, affirming a lower court's finding. Exceeding his authority was one of Mr. Spitzer's predilections. The question is whether his successor, Andrew Cuomo, wants to continue down that path after this latest setback. The two remaining claims require the AG to prove that Mr. Grasso breached his fiduciary duty to the exchange and knowingly engaged in wrongdoing. The judge in the case granted partial summary judgment last year on one of those counts, but that legally tenuous ruling is also under appeal."

Church of England clergy plan mass exit over women bishops: "More than 1,300 clergy, including 11 serving bishops, have written to the archbishops of Canterbury and York to say that they will defect from the Church of England if women are consecrated bishops. As the wider Anglican Communion fragments over homosexuality, England's established Church is moving towards its own crisis with a crucial vote on women bishops this weekend. In a letter to Rowan Williams and John Sentamu, seen by The Times, the signatories give warning that they will consider leaving the Church if two crucial votes are passed to introduce female bishops. The Church's moderate centre is being pressured as never before by evangelicals opposed to gays, and traditionalists opposed to women's ordination."

Another mad British priority: "Violent assaults and serious antisocial behaviour are lower priorities for councils than stopping people smoking, town hall targets showed yesterday. Despite a government poll showing community safety was voters' overwhelming priority, anti-crime initiatives will not be the main focus of authorities. Details published yesterday by Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary, set out the targets picked by each local authority - and agreed by her department - to be their future priorities. While performance will be measured across the whole range of 198 indicators, targets will be set only for the 35 chosen as top local concerns".

A good German: "There was another blow for the Lisbon treaty yesterday from Horst Koehler, the German President, who refused to complete his country's ratification. President Koehler decided not to sign the documents until a legal challenge is heard by the country's constitutional court, a process that could last until the autumn. Although the German head of state is a symbolic figure mainly, he has the power to delay legislation and can use that bought time to generate a national debate."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


No comments: