Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences (Hardcover)

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Buried in many people and operating largely outside the realm of conscious thought are forces inclining us toward liberal or conservative political convictions. Our biology predisposes us to see and understand the world in different ways, not always reason and the careful consideration of facts. These predispositions are in turn responsible for a significant portion of the political and ideological conflict that marks human history.

With verve and wit, renowned social scientists John Hibbing, Kevin Smith, and John Alford pioneers in the field of biopolitics present overwhelming evidence that people differ politically not just because they grew up in different cultures or were presented with different information. Despite the oft-heard longing for consensus, unity, and peace, the universal rift between conservatives and liberals endures because people have diverse psychological, physiological, and genetic traits. These biological differences influence much of what makes people who they are, including their orientations to politics.

Political disputes typically spring from the assumption that those who do not agree with us are shallow, misguided, uninformed, and ignorant. "Predisposed" suggests instead that political opponents simply experience, process, and respond to the world differently. It follows, then, that the key to getting along politically is not the ability of one side to persuade the other side to see the error of its ways but rather the ability of each side to see that the other is different, not just politically, but "physically." "Predisposed" will change the way you think about politics and partisan conflict.

As a bonus, the book includes a "Left/Right 20 Questions" game to test whether your predispositions lean liberal or conservative.

About the Author

Hibbing is Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska.

Kevin B. Smith is professor and chair of the political science department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has been studying and teaching state politics and policy for more than twenty years. He has authored or co-authored nine books and dozens of scholarly articles, and is a former associate editor of "State Politics & Policy Quarterly". Prior to becoming an academic he covered state and local politics as a newspaper reporter.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780415535878
ISBN-10: 0415535875
Publisher: Routledge
Publication Date: September 16th, 2013
Pages: 288
Language: English