- Ian Weiss
- Newburgh, NY
- United States
Student , Bard College
This conversation is closed.
Have conservative values and behaviors been more fitness-enhancing than liberal ones over long stretches of evolutionary time?
It seems to me that the values and behaviosr of political conservatives match the predictions of evolutionary psychology (EP) far more than do those of liberals. Indeed, many liberals have noticed a connection between EP and conservatism, but they mistakenly conclude from this that the EPists must be conservatives who build their theories to justify conservative ideologies. This is simply not the case. However, I do think that there is a connection: I do think that a wide variety of conservative traits would have been far more fitness-enhancing throughout human evolution than liberal traits.
I could be wrong about a few of these claims, but I'm pretty sure that, compared to their liberal counterparts: 1) conservative men build more muscle; 2) conservative women care more about looking sexy; 3) conservatives tend to get hooked on fat and sugar more easily; 4) they're more competitive; 5) they're more weary of free-riders (non-reciprocators); 6) they prefer small, close knit communities that resemble "bands"; 7) They are more weary of foreigners; 8) They make greater attempts to behave in ways that are acceptable to their groups (eg. respecting taboos) so as to avoid being shunned; 9) they are more likely to reserve sex for committed relationships (which is important in order for males to know who their offspring are).
Could it be that conservatives are Neanderthals and liberals are freaks of nature? Could it be that there's a part of the brain that overrides a wide variety of evolved modules which produce "instinctive" behaviors, and that this part of the brain is more active in liberals than in conservatives? Could it be that the reason why conservatives are generally happier than liberals is because conservatives' lifestyles feature more of the things that humans evolved to enjoy, like membership in a close-knit group of like-minded people? Could it be that conservatives and liberals can learn from each other?