My Brain Makes Me Do It

I can’t help it that I’m an unrepentant liberal. My brain makes me liberal. I just have a large anterior cingulate cortex. Odd, though. I always thought it was my superior reasoning powers. Ah, well.

An article in the Science Daily said that some researchers discovered unexpected structural differences between liberals and conservatives on MRI. Liberals have larger anterior cingulate cortexes; conservatives have larger amygdalas. People with larger cingulate cortexes are better able to deal with conflicting information. Those with larger amygdalas more readily recognize a threat. Aha! So that’s it.

Actually, as the researchers said, it’s a bit premature to make anything of this. In fact, my inclination is to say So? If anything, it would seem that liberals are more adept at recognizing the severe threat in conservative Republicans’ noble quest to slash government to less than the bare necessities.

All seriousness aside, as Steve Allen used to say, the research does suggest that there are real, physical differences that may incline a person in one direction or the other, and one day we’ll probably know more.

I have to wonder whether there is something in the conservative brain that urges a person to accumulate cash. Even though the pandits of conservatism say that conservatives are not so much concerned with the accumulation of great wealth, my prediction is that anyone guessing the party affiliation of a random group of people would come out ahead by sorting solely on the basis of bank balance, and their Republican classification in the case of people with a lot of money would be accurate more than 95% of the time.

I and many other liberals are very concerned about the direction we could take, thanks to the economic disaster brought about by the conservative removal of restraints on the Magic Market. This created the perfect storm for conservatives, a disastrous economy, so they can claim we must pare government to the bone. Unfortunately, they have no interest in actually doing anything about the economy. I say this because they have no serious and workable proposals for increasing tax revenue for running the country. Nor will their proposals reduce government cost enough to balance the budget. What they say will work is nothing better than wishful thinking that has never worked in the past, and there is grave danger in what they propose.

Proof that the economic mess is not actually on the Republican agenda is that they are making no proposals to remove the real cause (inadequate regulation) or the real effect (high unemployment). What is on the agenda is their best shot at bringing about the holy conservative grail—teeny government.

The problem is that they can present no evidence that the little government they envision would actually be a good idea. As I said elsewhere, most liberals would probably agree that waste does exist, and should be eliminated as much as possible, but that’s not the same as wholesale destruction of government programs that are the only thing between millions of people and utter destitution, even death.

If it were possible for conservatives to prove that the skinny government they envision would somehow create enough wealth among ordinary people to avoid this destitution, perhaps it would be workable. But they have no such evidence. People whose entire existence depends on their tiny Social Security check will be literally penniless if Social Security is simply done away with. The efficacy of small government is purely a matter of faith, nothing more.


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