They didn’t suddenly get converted

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We have this perception that young people are more liberal or left leaning. And more open to equality and diversity. But where do you think all the older people who aren’t that way come from? They didn’t suddenly get converted. Maybe what they thought or felt didn’t always show when they were young, but it was there.

Why? Many reasons. Parents’ influence would be a big one. Regardless of how rebellious teens are, parents’ influence in the early years rarely goes away. Environment growing up, other than parents. Genetics? I have no idea how beliefs affect heredity or are affected by heredity. That would be a fascinating study except that it would probably be considered totally politically incorrect. Bob

I have often wondered why so many of the older generation, particularly pensioners become so right-wing and I still haven’t figured it out. You can see the traits early on, but it seems that they become very strong in later life. To be fair, this happens to left-wing people as well.

2 thoughts on “They didn’t suddenly get converted

  1. The following is my opinion based on observation and has no basis in anything else that I know of.

    It’s not necessarily right wing, but more fixed in your ways. As you gets older, you’re is less prone to wanting change. And enforced change is that much worse. Also, the real you comes out more because you’re now more comfortable with yourself and probably care less about what others think. If you were right leaning before, it becomes more so. If you were left leaning before, it may well become more so, but in my experience, this applies only to the most liberal people. Those who would have been out protesting when they were young. Those who were quietly liberal, those who, for example, believed in equality regardless of race, gender, religion, etc, etc, are still that way.

    One factor is that as you get older, you become more aware of the realities of the world and its limits. So, for example, as a young person, you might be all for unlimited immigration. But as an older person, you realize that limits must be imposed or everyone suffers. In other words, the country can only absorb so many before there’s a real impact on everyone. Of course there are some that take that to extreme and say that any immigration will affect the country and everyone’s well being. It’s always a balance and a compromise between what’s right and what’s practical.

    Something interesting happens when young liberals become older and more practical. The new young liberals look at the now older ones as conservative or right wing or sellouts. In some cases that may be true, but in most it’s simply a matter of practicality and survival. Where before we might make waves, now we need our jobs and to get along, so we’re quieter. But we haven’t lost our beliefs.

  2. I read a pretty good book “Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences” that says these differences are pretty low level.

    Probably the hardest part to accept is nature vs nurture; there the sharpest argument has to do with a few “swapped at the baby nursery” anecdotes where each swapped baby was kind of the blacksheep of the family, politically speaking.

    I made an online version of a quiz from the appendix of the book (including the 5 questions from the song “Hardwired”)…
    http://kirk.is/features/leftrightquiz/

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