Well well well...science marches on, and we now find some answers to one of the most puzzling questions that has haunted us over these past seven years.
Remember how, no matter what facts come to light and no matter how often George W. Bush and friends are caught lying or committing other crimes, they are invariably, inexplicably supported by 25-30% of Americans? We now have an apparent explanation for this.
I'd pointed out earlier that Conservatism is considered, by a government report, to be basically a set of neuroses?
In short, today's Conservatives (and hence most of todays Conservative Republicans) are a disease upon the land. It may sound harsh, but even the US Government knows what ill now infests the nation: the government even produced a report3 concluding that "conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity."
As if that was not enough to get Republican blood boiling, the report's four authors linked Hitler, Mussolini, Ronald Reagan and the rightwing talkshow host, Rush Limbaugh, arguing they all suffered from the same affliction.
All of them "preached a return to an idealised past and condoned inequality".
That left us with the idea that the problems with crazies in the basement (and their stubborn supporters across the nation) were simply psychological. Now, however, a new report sheds more light on the source of their stubborn refusal to learn. It goes a lot deeper than a few mental screws twisted on too tightly in their heads -- it's genetic:
Tilmann Klein and Dr. Markus Ullsperger at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, believe they have found the genetic cause for this "stubbornness". They discovered that a single genetic mutation can determine whether people repeat their mistakes. This mutation, named the A1 mutation, is found in about one-third of the population and causes a reduction in the amount of D2 receptors in the brain, which are the docking sites for dopamine.
As for the rest of us -- those who learn from our mistakes, and realize that something isn't working or won't resolve a problem and change our minds in order to take corrective action -- we're just a little more fully developed, that's all. (Read that as "a little more highly evolved" if you will.)
The researchers theorized that the lower output of dopamine in people with fewer D2 receptors leads them to repeat their mistakes, while people with more D2 receptors comprehend that a certain action is a mistake the first time they carry it out and do not feel any desire to repeat it.
So, the next time you find yourself in a conversation with someone who is diehard Republican, don't fret -- that person obviously can't help him or herself. Their brain isn't as evolved or as capable as everyone else's.
Hat tip to ShawnGBR. I used the same two quotes blockquoted from his article, but please give his piece a read for a little more information and background.