Where Do Leftists Come From?

For a very long time now, I have been turning over this question in my mind: What is it that makes a leftist? Where do leftists come from? How is it possible that sentient human beings, endowed with reason, memory, and foresight by their Creator, or by the evolutionary demiurge, can zealously adopt a political position so contrary to both good sense and common sense — and what is more, remain glued to its premises in the face of all contradictory evidence? For despite the miserable failure of socialist experiments the world over and from time immemorial, the determined leftist does not budge from his ideological sanctum and will invent every conceivable, or rather inconceivable, excuse to validate the soundness of his principles and justify every subsequent social and political miscarriage these principles bring about.

Of course, there is the argument from nurture, but this only begs the question and moves the cause one notch back in an endless antecedent series. Who nurtured the nurturers? Then there is the argument from desire or what the ancients called conatus, often based on a faulty reading of the world. One recalls the philosophical debate that raged for centuries between Duns Scotus and his followers on the one side and the school of Thomas Aquinas on the other. Scotus postulated that the will conditions the reason, in other words, desire seeks its goal first and the mind subsequently proceeds to vindicate its decision. Aquinas contended that reason commands the will, that is, the faculty of purified intellect posits the good, and desire afterwards strives to achieve it. Leftists and liberals are, on this interpretation, earnest Scotists, wanting something very badly and then abusing their mental powers to defend their error.

Only slightly more convincing is the argument from nature. Researchers have discovered a “liberal gene,” a dopamine receptor tagged DRD4, that predisposes people to the left-liberal side of the ideological continuum. A study of 2000 subjects from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health showed that under certain favorable conditions “people with a specific variant of the DRD4 gene were more likely to be liberal as adults.” As this thesis is advanced by scientists from the University of California (San Diego) and Harvard University, a saving degree of skepticism would be in order, especially as these scientists correlate the liberal gene with a predilection for openness and novelty, two factors not markedly associated with the leftist mindset.

The answer to the enigma, however, may lie in the realm of molecular biology. A recent groundbreaking discovery suggests that there may well be a “second genesis” for life on earth, predicated on a microbe that has replaced the element of phosphorus necessary for life with the lethal element of arsenic in its structure, thus “break[ing] the unity of biochemistry.” Moreover, according to NASA astrobiologist Mary Voytek, the microbes “have the arsenic in the basic building blocks of their makeup,” implying the existence of a “shadow biosphere” on the planet.