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etc. - a little of this, a little of that - by Oliver Del Signore

Archive for June 26th, 2011


Researchers solve mystery of why cities are mostly liberal – mental illness

Sunday, June 26th, 2011


It’s common knowledge that cities tend to contain more Democrats and other lefties than suburban and rural areas.

I’ve long thought it had to do with city dwellers living in close quarters and having to rely on others to provide nearly everything they need and want. As a result, most become primed to accept the idea that government can and should take care of them as adults as their mommies and daddies did when they were young.

It turns out I was wrong. It turns out those partisan slogans about liberalism being a mental illness may be correct, according to the results of some German researchers.

City Life Could Change Your Brain for the Worse

A study of German college students suggests that urbanite brains are more susceptible to stress, particularly social stress, than those of country dwellers. The findings don’t indicate which aspects of city life had changed the students’ brains, but provide a framework for future investigations.

“Whether people are exposed to noise, live near a park, have a big group of friends or not — you can do those experiments, and tease apart which parts of urban living are associated with these changes,” said Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, a psychiatrist at German’s Central Institute of Mental Health.

Meyer-Lindenberg’s findings, published June 23 in Nature, are a neurological investigation into the underpinnings of a disturbing social trend: As a rule, city life seems to generate mental illness.

Compared to their rural counterparts, city dwellers have higher levels of anxiety and mood disorders. The schizophrenia risk of people raised in cities is almost double. Literature on the effect is so thorough that researchers say it’s not just correlation, as might be expected if anxious people preferred to live in cities. Neither is it a result of heredity. It’s a cause-and-effect relationship between environment and mind.

What those causes are is unknown, but many researchers have speculated that urban social environments are partly responsible. After all, cities are hyper-social places, in which residents must be constantly on guard, and have mathematically more opportunity to experience stressful interaction. Too much stress may ultimately alter the brain, leaving it ill-equipped to handle further stress and prone to mental illness.

Click Here to read the rest of the article.

Conservatives and libertarians have long scratched their heads at the insanity of programs and proposals coming from the Pelosis, Reids, Franks, and Obamas of our nation. Now we can understand.

This study also explains why folks who enter politics with great intentions are so easily turned to the dark side once they arrive in Washington or their state capitols — the anxiety and stress of living and working in the city environment alters their brains.

If further studies confirm the findings, as I expect they will, it may be time to rethink our trend toward centralization of everything from living quarters to government itself; to spread out more, to pare the Federal and state governments down to their constitutional essentials and return the governing of people to their local cities and towns.

I’m not sure how such a plan can be implemented, but it’s clear we, as a nation and as a people, must do something to help our sick neighbors and friends return to the peace and sanity of logic and reason.

Suggestions anyone?



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