On the Neural Basis of Political Belief

by Dr Swaggins

Alt-rightists, neoreactionaries and so on pride themselves for dismissing vapid attributions of every known human phenomenon to culture. The most well known examples of this are the understandings that cognitive and behavioral differences between the races and sexes are the inevitable result of biological differences between the races and sexes. However, the neural basis for political belief is a topic that often slips under the radar in spite of its importance.

The clearest neural differences between liberals and conservatives are the amount of grey matter and neural activity in two brain structures, the anterior cingulate gyrus and the amygdala. In a 2011 study by Kanai, Feilden, Firth, and Rees, structural MRI scans and a political attitude test were used to determine that liberals typically had more grey matter in the anterior cingulate, but conservatives typically had more grey matter in the right amygdala. The authors also conjecture that since “one of the functions of the anterior cingulate cortex is to monitor uncertainty [16 and 17] and conflicts [18]… it is conceivable that individuals with a larger ACC have a higher capacity to tolerate uncertainty and conflicts, allowing them to accept more liberal views.” My (admittedly biased) conjecture as to how this works is that liberals simply have higher tolerance for inconsistent beliefs, but the implications of a bigger anterior cingulate aren’t clear, as “the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) monitors for processing or response conflict and recruits dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) to resolve these conflicts.” This means that the anterior cingulate may be more of a relay station than anything else.

The amygdala, however, is better understood. A thoroughly studied structure, the amygdala is well known for its association with fear and other phenomena such as long term memory. Be it a rat whose amygdalas were destroyed with a scalpel, a mouse whose amygdalas were destroyed using a localized electrical shock, or even humans whose amygdalas were destroyed by a rare disease, it’s been thoroughly shown that most fear responses won’t happen without the amygdala. Rats without functioning amygdalas won’t even respond to simulated predation. Someone with insufficient amygdala activity will not respond to potential threats, and someone with a hyperactive amygdala may end up paranoid.

It should come as no surprise, then, that conservatives with their well-endowed amygdalas show greater responses to negative stimuli including “disgust, fear, and anger.” Examples of this likely include “disgust arousal at homosexuality [being] connected with opposition to gay marriage,” “fear of crime [being connected] to… advocacy of strict policing,” and “anger system activation for crimes already committed [being connected] to… advocacy of harsh punishment.”

Scientists have nailed down political beliefs as an at least partially biological phenomenon instead of an entirely cultural one. Liberal newspapers often report these differences as a negativity bias on the conservatives’ part without mentioning that these studies have generally only used negative stimuli, which could give a false impression that conservatives have high negativity bias even though they may simply make stronger value judgments in general. Moreover, reports on this topic occasionally go so far as to portray conservatives as pathologically paranoid fear mongers.

Naturally, such claims ignore the fact that an organism is supposed to be fit in its environment. The fact that we have both conservatives and liberals means that both phenotypes (or underlying genotypes; a four repeat allele of the DRD4 gene has been shown to correlate with conservatism and identical twins raised apart generally share political beliefs) have helped our survival at some point. If one of these two phenotypes were less fit than the other, this would mean one of two things:

  1. We’re living in a potential multicultural paradise wherein different groups pose no significant threat to one another’s safety or prosperity, and to be concerned with an incalculably massive horde of illegals effortlessly crossing our southern border, rapists migrating to Europe and so on is tantamount to basing one’s worldview off of paranoid delusions, or
  2. There are people out there who outright lack the mental hardware necessary to understand these threats even after hearing about the Rape of Cologne, the Paris shootings, the San Bernardino shooting, the Boston bombings, the Rotherham rape ring, the attempted bombing at Hanover, and the Chattanooga shooting.

As I said earlier, liberals must have had their uses in the past. Indeed, while the 4-repeat allele of DRD4 correlates with conservatism, the 7-repeat copy correlates with both liberalism and personality traits which might benefit nomadic populations. There may be a time in the future when a liberal prevents us from getting into an unnecessary war or something, and I certainly wish they would actually get out and protest our absurd meddling in the Middle East. That said, if our side is correct in believing that these economic migrants passing into Europe pose a serious threat to the well being of ethnic Europeans, then it would seem as if the liberals who support mass immigration are biologically unfit. You won’t find a conservative mind behind absurdities such as attempting to politely request migrants to not rape your country’s women.

Fortunately, these traits are not entirely predicated on genetic differences, and therefore people’s views are liable to change. What a coincidence that Breitbart is reporting increased pepper spray sales on January 8th and Reuters is reporting nationalist protests and the growth of PEDIGA on January 9th. Notice that the population becomes more conservative when it has more reasons to be concerned, enraged, or outright afraid; while there are certainly genetic components that determine how prone someone is to conservatism, the perception of an outside threat seems to trigger conservatism as a response to danger. Perhaps we can imagine conservatism, and even more so nationalism, as a little voice in your amygdala which says, “Oh, crap, looks like we have to go fight for our civilization.” The liberals’ various schemes to scrub away this mechanism with accusations of racism might end up as an even bigger failure than their genius plans to beg migrants not to rape. You can take over the government, media, education and so on, but you can’t negotiate with conserved neural pathways.

Liberals have spent trillions of dollars attempting to improve blacks, but nothing changed due to the inevitability that biological differences will manifest as cognitive and behavioral differences. What do you think their odds are of convincing Europeans to watch their culture die in spite of the Europeans’ brains being structured in such a way as to achieve the opposite result?

On the Neural Basis of Political Belief

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