From Steve’s recent post highlighting an attempt by the Global Party Survey to map out all the parties in OECD countries on a graph where the vertical axis stands for sociopolitical liberalism (bottom) vs. conservatism (top), and the horizontal axis stands for economic leftism (left) vs. free markets (right).
Notice something? About the V4 in particular: Czechia; Hungary; Poland; Slovakia?
That’s right, there, liberalism tends to go with free markets, while conservatism goes with economic leftism. This is actually a long observed phenomenon that includes Russia, e.g. see Regt, Sabrina de, Dimitri Mortelmans, and Tim Smits. 2011. “Left-Wing Authoritarianism Is Not a Myth, but a Worrisome Reality. Evidence from 13 Eastern European Countries.” Communist and Post-Communist Studies 44 (4): 299–308.
Now the HBD people have made a great deal of it, ascribing hereditary characteristics to this “left-wing authoritarianism” in Eastern Europe.
However, in this case, they would also have to explain how come it’s more or less the same picture in China. You would have the same sort of graph there, if the Chinese had party politics, e.g. see Pan, Jennifer, and Yiqing Xu. 2018. “China’s Ideological Spectrum.” The Journal of Politics 80 (1): 254–73.
More banal explanation: “Conservatism”, due to its extreme normative nature, is not really an ideology as such – unlike liberalism, Communism, or nationalism, which actually stand for more context-independent values and priorities – but a state of mind that’s formed by the national context, like a sort of ideological center of gravity. So even as 1980s conservatism in the Anglosphere came to be represented by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, in 1990s Russia it was the Communist Party that was the “conservative” electoral choice. Even today, from Warsaw to Beijing, conservatism “loads” on more socialistic outlooks, while liberalism presupposes further intensification of market reforms. You don’t need (heritable) behavioral traits specific to EE (and China) to explain it; their history is more than sufficient.