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View Diary: Rep. Paul Ryan is a very stupid man (251 comments)

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  •  Environmental factors? Almost certainly (4+ / 0-)

    However, it's probably unnecessary to posit anything nearly so indirect.

    The people in the reddest states are essentially raised in a bubble, a la The Truman Show. It is no coincidence or happenstance that their preferred news sources disparage all others. Some few manage to break out anyway. But as for the others, well, epistemic closure isn't just a buzzword.

    Conservatives elsewhere are more exposed to differing points of view, so whether they wish it or not they and their children are more likely to moderate or change their attitudes.

    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
    --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

    by leftist vegetarian patriot on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 03:46:59 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  No, seriously - conservative brains are different (2+ / 0-)

      They've done studies which show that conservative brains have a larger medulla, which leads to there being more fear guiding their actions. Add that to the drop in serious crime and the lead levels in water pipes from the 1960s to today, and it really makes you wonder. I'm not going to go all conspiracy-theorist fluoride brain control, but it's ironic that the states that are most red have the worst oversight of regulations like lead levels in water, formadelhyde in water, etc. And it goes some way toward explaining why the red states stay red.

      I see you drivin' 'round town with the girl I love / And I'm like / Please proceed, Governor. - Dave Itzkoff

      by Jensequitur on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 07:01:04 PM PST

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      •  I grant the different brain structures (1+ / 0-)
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        Jensequitur

        I've read about that too. That different structure does--has to--affect all aspects of their lives, including political orientation. Further, I concede that grossly elevated levels of pollutants contaminating the physical environment would probably lead to some degree of impairment of brain function in people living in the polluted areas. Our mental health isn't independent of our bodily health.

        However, look at the differences in ideological outlook between rural and urban demographics. Acknowledging that no group is monolithic and also that some areas in rural America are heavily polluted and some cities are relatively clean, on average city dwellers will be exposed to greater levels of physical pollutants than country dwellers, regardless of state or region. And yet, city dwellers tend to be considerably more liberal than their rural counterparts.

        My best guess is that most of the differences in brains of people living in regions that have widely different ideological biases aren't due to genetic variability across regions or to physical environmental factors, but to emotional environmental factors. We know the wiring of our brains is not set at birth but changes according to life experience. We know this. We also know that genes and environment interact, that identical organisms grow and develop differently depending on all sorts of factors. Well, growing up around fearful authoritarians is a long series of formative life experiences.

        My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
        --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

        by leftist vegetarian patriot on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 08:23:28 AM PST

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        •  Those are good points - (1+ / 0-)
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          leftist vegetarian patriot

          exposure to different cultures does result in a broader outlook. And growing up around fear and poverty can cripple a person before they've even begun. Sounds like another nature vs. nurture argument!

          I see you drivin' 'round town with the girl I love / And I'm like / Please proceed, Governor. - Dave Itzkoff

          by Jensequitur on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 10:49:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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