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Do Fat Women Produce Conservative Offspring?

- October 22, 2008


I’ll begin with an assertion that as far as I know is substantiated by nothing more than my own casual observation: Conservatives, on average, outweigh liberals. Maybe it’s just a regional thing, as conservatives tend to congregate in parts of the country where the daily diet consists of fried food, meat and potatoes, and that sort of stuff (my own preferred cuisine, I confess). But maybe, just maybe, there’s more to the weight-political ideology link than cultural geography.

At least that’s the implication of a piece in today’s New York Times by Olivia Judson. Judson’s argument runs as follows:

bq. –Thanks to studies by geneticists, cognitive psychologists, and others, we’re learning about all sorts of linkages between genes and behavior.

bq. –Thanks to studies by social scientists like James Fowler, John Hibbing, John Alford, and Cary Funk, we’re also learning about all sorts of linkages between genes and political attitudes and behavior.

bq. –And thanks to more research by genetiicists, we’re learning that obesity in mothers is related to genetic differences in children. Women who are proportioned like the x-rayed image on (ironically) the left seem to have babies that differ genetically from those born to those who are shaped like the image on the right.

Put those links together into a pretty long and still speculatve chain, and you’ve got a new independent variable for the genetics-and-poliitics folks to ponder.

All of which leads me to a speculation about the medium- to long-term future of American politics:

IF (a big if) this linkage were to be confirmed, it could have large-scale implications for electoral politics in this country. Rates of obesity are soaring, and the U.S. is turning into a nation of fat parents begetting super-sized babies. Could it be that, as bleak as the Republicans’ prospects are this year, happy days lie ahead in an emerging , corpulent era of conservative dominance? If in politics size matters, bigger should definiely be better for the GOP.

To read the Judson article for yourself, click here.

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