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Showing posts from September, 2019

The Genes of Left and Right

Our political attitudes may be written in our DNA

Scientists and laypeople alike have historically attributed political beliefs to upbringing and surroundings, yet recent research shows that our political inclinations have a large genetic component. The largest recent study of political beliefs, published in 2014 in Behavior Genetics, looked at a sample of more than 12,000 twin pairs from five countries, including the U.S. Some were identical and some fraternal; all were raised together. The study reveals that the development of political attitudes depends, on average, about 60 percent on the environment in which we grow up and live and 40 percent on our genes. “We inherit some part of how we process information, how we see the world and how we perceive threats—and these are expressed in a modern society as political attitudes,” explains Peter Hatemi, who is a genetic epidemiologist at the University of Sydney and lead author of the study. The genes involved in such complex traits are …

The Meritocrat Who Wants to Unwind the Meritocracy

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In 2015, Mr. Markovits delivered a commencement speech at Yale Law School laying out the themes of his book. “To promote your eliteness — to secure your caste — you must ruthlessly manage your training and labor,” he said.CreditWilliam K. Sacco/Yale University

Daniel Markovits, got onstage and told the students, more or less, that their lives were ruined.
“For your entire lives, you have studied, worked, practiced, trained and drilled,” he declared.
And that rat race was far from over, at least if graduates wanted to maintain their, and their children’s, place in the “new aristocracy” of merit.
“To promote your eliteness — to secure your caste — you must ruthlessly manage your training and labor,” he said.
“To live this way,” he continued, “is, quite literally, to use oneself up.”
The speech turned the audience at the most elite of elite law schools on its ear (even if it likely knocked few off their post-graduation paths). And now Mr. Markovits is taking his message to the masses, with a b…