The Neuroscience of Politics

My favorite neurblogger, Jonah Lehrer over at Frontal Cortex had a really excellent post on the madness of identity politics. I was going too chime in with my opinion here, but I think this says it all:

If neuroscience and psychology can teach us anything about politics, it's that we should approach the sport with a sense of irony and an appreciation for contingency. Yes, crucial issues are at stake - let's not forget that - but the political process is rarely about these issues. Instead, it's about reaffirming an irrational identity and tickling those gut feelings that operate at a very subterranean level. After all, I can easily imagine an alternate childhood that would have tilted me towards conservative politics. (Fortunately, my parents were part of that coastal elite that sips lattes all day long and hates God. Or so Guiliani would have you believe.) As a result, I ended up with an identity that lets me relate to people like this (picture of enthusiastic Obama fans)

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