Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Beckwith and Morris: Twin Studies of Political Behavior: Untenable Assumptions

Jon Beckwith and Corey A. Morris: Twin Studies of Political Behavior: Untenable Assumptions.

This article focuses on critiquing another article that says political ideologies are highly inheritable. That article was written by John Alford, Carolyn Funk and John Hibbing.

The Alford article relied on using the "twin studies" in order to make their determination. A twin study is when twins are used to study whether concepts are inheritable or influenced by environment. They are able to use this because there is an assumption, using twins, that the environments are equal, and so any differences are based on inheritability of things. This article found that political ideologies are highly inheritable.

The Beckwith article criticizes this approach - deeming it falible. They suggest that the twin environment concepts is wrong, and so it cannot be used to analyze complex human behavior - like political ideologies.

Can you imagine if political ideologies were inheritable? I think that common sense dictates that this isn't true. If it was, the Whig party wouldn't have dies out, and we wouldn't have the current structure of Democrats and Republicans that we have today. Instead our structure would resemble the parties of old - which today's parties do not resemble. Additionally, children wouldn't have different parties from their parents - which they do today. If political ideologies were inheritable, then it would take away some freedom of choice we have - or we feel we have. Doesn't that go against the grain of what American politics is all about?

So I am glad that people are debunking the myth that political characteristics are inheritable. It doesn't make any sense, from a common sense standpoint, and it doesn't make sense to base a political system on inheritable characteristics - that would be more like a monarchy - which Americans don't want.

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