According to a new study, liberals and conservatives have perceptibly different body odors, among other things:
The researchers, led by Brown University political scientist Rose McDermott, found that conservatives and liberals smell dissimilar. While the difference is small, it is apparently significant enough that we subconsciously prefer the scent of those who vote like we do. “It appears nature stacks the deck to make politically similar partners more attractive to each other in unconscious ways,” the researchers wrote.
Other differences have also been detected. Liberals are less willing to look at disturbing images, for one. Which explains why they can continue to vote for people like Obama. They just refuse to look at how ugly things have become. Conservatives are also more conscientious in general. And we also like brown liquor more than vodka and gin.
What these differences actually mean is less clear. The most mysterious thing of all is why anyone would spend time or money researching this stuff. It’s almost as if people want to believe political bends have some kind of natural, material source.
But, like many things determined by this kind of research, earmarks are notoriously susceptible to causal fallacies. Do conservatives like brown liquor because they are conservative? Or are they conservative because they like brown liquor? Or do most of them prefer brown liquor because the south has a higher percentage of conservatives and also happens to be the stronghold of bourbon? It’s hard to say. And frankly, it doesn’t much matter.
What are actually important, aside from all of these incidental markers, are the political and ideological choices that conservatives and liberals differ about. How we smell and what we drink are far less significant than what we believe and how we vote. But apparently, those kinds of temperaments of the will are less interesting to researchers than our body odor. Go figure.