Are politics genetic?

By: Cristen Conger

Author's Note

As for the question of whether parents pass along their political viewpoints to their children, it seems like political scientists must've been stunned by the events of the late 1960s and 1970s. Scholarly literature before that point assumed that political values and party affiliations were handed down consistently from parents to children -- and prior to 1920 and the 19th Amendment, only to the sons. But certainly the counterculture movements that reached a fever pitch in 1968 offered some startling proof that kids might not fall in line with mom and dad's political allegiances. Since then, scholars still haven't been able to calculate just how much influence parents wield over their kids' political loyalties likely because so many other environmental factors contribute to them. Not only that, just as political scientists were throwing up their hands in surrender at the sheer magnitude of "nurture" variables that contribute to personal politics, nature and behavioral genetics had to come along and stick in another layer of complexity.

With this in mind, I nominate political science as one of the most perplexing fields in academia. Rocket science has to be far more concrete than unraveling why and for whom people vote.


Lots More Information


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