Political Orientation and Heredity

There's an interesting paper discussed a bit in the blogosphere that is basically twin studies done on political positions. Politics: complex; must be environmental, right? Wrong. It's heritable, about as much as most other traits. Best discussion I've seen on the web is not the NYTimes piece, which was pretty ignorant, but this one:
The authors do not argue that genetics makes one a Republican or Democrat. Indeed, people like me who are Libertarian with Republican leanings may not fit at all into the study if such were the assertion. Rather, they base the study on the notion that certain character traits are to some extent inherited. Character traits such as openness in turn are translated into social attitudes. These social attitudes are then transformed, to some extent, into political attitudes and later into political behavior. The genetic component, they predict, should be an important factor but certainly not the only one or even the most important one.
Well, it's quite important for at least some traits, i.e., American's position on school prayer.

Not really that new or unexpected if you keep up with what modern science is discovering about heredity. One of the reasons I love Sailer is he keeps up with this stuff religiously so I don't have to.

The wisest remark I've seen on this thus far: the Derb:
The subtext here is the assertion of determinism -- that what we are, WHAT I AM, is not as much a product of my free will as I should prefer to think it is. All the science on human nature is tugging in that direction, the determinist direction; all our instincts and preferences and faith tug in the other direction.

Science will win, of course -- it always does. We shall find out that our cherished beliefs about the Self are largely illusions, and we shall come to terms with that somehow -- but we'll protest every inch of the way there.

Science is cold.

I thought of that paper when I saw an item on a new libertarian blog, hosted by the Catallarchy guys. One of the liberty belles ("Lea") is taking up the old chestnut, why are there so few libertarian women?

I posted briefly there, and thought I would expand a bit here. My theory is by no means a total explanation, but partial. It's very simple: libertarianism is an ideology that appeals primarily to high IQ people. As Larry Summers won't tell you openly any more, there are more high-IQ men than women. This is a result of higher variability in the normal distributions of male IQ as versus female. More stupid men, more smart men. As a logical consequence, we should expect a disproportion in the number of libertarian men vs women.

The size of the imbalance depends on several things: the difference in average IQs for men and women (if any), the difference in the standard deviation of these two populations, and the correlation between IQ and libertarianism. From observation, I'd guess the ratio of male:female libertarians is something like 4:1.

Here's some more predictions from this theory. First, there should be relatively few libertarians. Imagine a simple model where everyone above a certain IQ has a N% chance to be a libertarian, while everyone below the cutoff has none. To get a 4:1 difference in men:women with two bell curves that are very similar, we'll need to go out a standard deviation or so. But this means the total number of people who might possibly be libertarians is only ~15% of the population. If we imagine N to be perhaps 20% we get a pretty good estimate of the number of libertarians as registered in opinion polling and voting.

Next: we should expect to see disproportionately many Jews in the movement. (See the previous post.) We should expect to see very few black or hispanic libertarians until those populations close the IQ gap.

Finally, and back to the paper mentioned at the beginning, we should expect that libertarianism is quite heritable. A great example of that is the great Friedman line: Milton, David, and now Patri.

What if I'm right? Well, here's one consequence: engaging in majoritarian politics is largely a waste of time for us. We'll never get more than perfect saturation of those able to grasp the ideas, say, 15% or so. At least until we engineer humanity to all be higher-IQ. The only hope here is intentional concentration, ala the Free State Project.

Second, we need to focus efforts to recruit that 15%: high IQ people. Right now I'd say the left still dominates there (look at the universities), but there's no reason why we can't fight for that demographic and win it. As socialism continues to fail, as it will, and capitalism keeps rolling, we'll see continued success in converting people.

Ashkenazi Jewish IQ and disease

Here are two curious facts about the Ashkenazi (European-derived) Jews. As a group, the Ashkenazim:
  • average higher IQs than the European norm, by a standard deviation
  • have much higher incidence of certain nasty genetic diseases. The persistence of these diseases in the population is something of a puzzle due to their simple genetic character but drastic effect on fitness. For example, Tay sachs, happens in homozygotes for a single damaged gene, and kills all of them by age 5. The incidence of a damaged copy of this gene in the Ashkenazi population is something on the order of 3%.
Are these two facts related somehow?

Yes, according to a new paper by Greg Cochran, Jason Harper, and Henry Harpending:
Our general hypothesis is that high IQ test scores of Ashkenazim, along with their unusual pattern of abilities, are a product of natural selection, stemming from their occupation of an unusual social niche. All the required preconditions low inward gene flow and unusually high reproductive reward for certain cognitive skills, over a longenough period did exist. These preconditions are both necessary and sufficient, so such a selective process would almost inevitably have this kind of result. The pattern of high achievement among Ashkenazi Jews and the observed psychometric results are certainly consistent with this hypothesis.

Our more specific prediction is that some or most of the characteristic Ashkenazi genetic diseases are by-byproducts of this strong selection for IQ. ... We predict that heterozygotes for the sphingolipid storage mutations should have higher scores on psychometric tests of verbal and mathematical abilities than their non-carrier sibs.
It appears the internet is breaking the logjam in the popular press in discussing politically incorrect ideas like this one. The NYT, to its credit, ran with this story. However it is not getting wide coverage in the MSM, which is a pity since it is solid science, fascinating history, relevant to our lives, and even better if it turns out to be correct.

Not only that, but important for the general populace to understand the truth here. Groups are not all the same. This contradicts the "uniformatism" of the PC worldview, where all groups are the same. No group is any smarter than any other group, nor does any group excel in any way that might result in differential "success", however defined.

Within the uniformatist worldview, there can be no explanation for underrepresentation of a group in any particular profession, other than chance (which is not believable if the group and profession size is large), prejudice, or conspiracy. But the same must also be true of overrepresentation. It must be chance, prejudice (favoratism), or conspiracy.

Well, Jews in the USA are almost all Ashkenazim. They are smarter, on average, than the average American. Jews are overrepresented in practically every high-visibility profession there is: doctors, academics, lawyers, money men, hollywood, you name it. How can Jews be 10% or 20% of the top professionals when they are only 3% of the population?

To a person who knows the truth about IQ, the answer is simple enough. The top professions require high IQs, and a disproportionate number of the really high-IQ people in America are Jews. That is, the Jewish representation is merited.

To a uniformatist, it can't be merit. So, it's a CONSPIRACY! This is the genesis of at least some antisemitism.


I turned them on a while ago, but did not put them into my template. Well, now they're on. Have fun. Usenet recreated small.