We're watching the so-called "genomics revolution" play out in real time. High-throughput sequencing and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are shaking up our knowledge about how humans work. I'm curious about the ideological impact. Most of us know various flavors of the old human nature debate have been a major culture war topic and left-right divide probably since the terms "left" and "right" were coined. We've got nurture-nature, person-situation, imperfectability-vs-perfectability, blank slate vs not blank slate, and so on. At the risk of creating caricatures, it seems leftists nearly always believe that humans are extremely "malleable" and that human behaviors and outcomes are almost entirely the result of particular situations. Therefore, if we just change the situations, we can make traits we dislike vanish entirely. As far as I know, this is a watered down version of Marx's opinion on the topic. Conservatives, on the other hand, deride all this as social engineering that will inevitably collide with the reality of the imperfectability of man. Meanwhile, today's little-l liberals are more stratified, but lean towards the blank slatist position, holding that differential outcomes are almost entirely caused by differential situations/upbringings/experiences. My basic question is just: does it have to be this way? And some related questions: what assumptions about human nature undergird your political views? Are any of these necessary? E.g., can you both (a) be a leftist and (b) think humans aren't all that malleable at the end of the day? Does leftism imply some kind of blank slatism and vice versa? Is the opposite true of conservatism? What about little-l liberalism? A few comments on my own opinions: Spoiler : I'm a relatively strong believer in "human nature" (based on how I interpret the term, anyway) and a strong believer that genetics explains many of the (relative) differences between people who find themselves in similar historical, cultural, and economic situations. I.e., intelligence and personalities are mostly inherited and those go a long way in explaining differences in outcomes among, say, white American men. Children are a strange mess of crap going on, but their behaviors and abilities stabilize as they get older in accordance with the idea that people "grow into their genes." As such, education is extremely important, but not because it increases intelligence much in the long run. I think malleability of beliefs and behavior are an inherent part of humanity, but that itself is part of human nature. This is basically the "human-nature-as-a-series-levers" idea. There is a lot of variation in human behavior, but you get that variation by tweaking innate genetic levers. E.g., people are naturally tribal and competitive and, depending on how you target or manipulate these tendencies, you can turn them into boy scouts or into fascists. But (1) you can't really make these instincts go away and (2) an individual's susceptibility to certain levers is well-predicted by their parents. If many leftists share these beliefs, this fact has escaped me. For the record, I'm not super interested in using this as a platform to argue about the object-level topic (though I assume that's going to happen). I'm more curious about the meta-level stuff: if x is true, what does it mean for ideology y?