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I once wrote a diary that asked about peoples' High-School Experience and whether they felt it affected the formation of their political ideology. Does a persons experience of being the nerd picked last to play football or being the head cheerleader & popular affect a person's outlook on life & the ideology they adopt as an adult? Are there certain types of people who seem to always end up as cons & libs? Why does someone choose left over right or vice versa? What is the psychological foundation of it?

There is an old saying that "a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged." According to recent psychological research, that might not be too far from the truth. The findings seem to indicate that Death & Fear Of Death = Conservatism....

Among the childhood differences obsevered between liberals & conservatives....

In 1969, Berkeley professors Jack and Jeanne Block embarked on a study of childhood personality, asking nursery school teachers to rate children's temperaments. They weren't even thinking about political orientation.

Twenty years later, they decided to compare the subjects' childhood personalities with their political preferences as adults. They found arresting patterns. As kids, liberals had developed close relationships with peers and were rated by their teachers as self-reliant, energetic, impulsive, and resilient. People who were conservative at age 23 had been described by their teachers as easily victimized, easily offended, indecisive, fearful, rigid, inhibited, and vulnerable at age 3. The reason for the difference, the Blocks hypothesized, was that insecure kids most needed the reassurance of tradition and authority, and they found it in conservative politics.

Among the other differences observed between liberals & conservatives in psychological studies....

  • The more educated someone becomes, the more liberal they tend to be. However, once people progress toward certain types of graduate school (such as business school) this tends to be less true.
  • Liberals tend to have more books, and their books cover a greater variety of topics.
  • Liberals tend to be more optimistic.
  • Conservatives are more likely to be religious.
  • Liberals are more likely to like classical music and jazz, where conservatives tend to like country music.
  • Liberals are more likely to enjoy abstract art.
  • Conservative men are more likely than liberal men to prefer conventional forms of entertainment like TV and talk radio.
  • Liberal women are more likely than conservative women to enjoy books, poetry, writing in a diary, acting, and playing musical instruments.
  • Liberals are messier than conservatives, their rooms have more clutter and more color, and they tend to have more travel documents, maps of other countries, and flags from around the world. Conservatives are neater, and their rooms are cleaner, better organized, more brightly lit, and more conventional.

The last one is interesting when it comes to explaining the effect of 9/11 & the political effect it had in the years after. In the weeks after 9/11, Bush had a 90% approval rating that didn't come back down to the 50% level for 2 years. Why?

The most comprehensive review of personality and political orientation to date is a 2003 meta-analysis of 88 prior studies involving 22,000 participants. The researchers—John Jost of NYU, Arie Kruglanski of the University of Maryland, and Jack Glaser and Frank Sulloway of Berkeley—found that conservatives have a greater desire to reach a decision quickly and stick to it, and are higher on conscientiousness, which includes neatness, orderliness, duty, and rule-following. Liberals are higher on openness, which includes intellectual curiosity, excitement-seeking, novelty, creativity for its own sake, and a craving for stimulation like travel, color, art, music, and literature.

In this respect, liberals look at the world in greys where conservatives see black & white....

The reason thoughts of death make people more conservative, Jost says, is that they awaken a deep desire to see the world as fair and just, to believe that people get what they deserve, and to accept the existing social order as valid, rather than in need of change. When these natural desires are primed by thoughts of death and a barrage of mortal fear, people gravitate toward conservatism because it's more certain about the answers it provides—right vs. wrong, good vs. evil, us vs. them—and because conservative leaders are more likely to advocate a return to traditional values, allowing people to stick with what's familiar and known. "Conservatism is a more black and white ideology than liberalism," explains Jost. "It emphasizes tradition and authority, which are reassuring during periods of threat."

To test the theory, Jost prompted people to think about either pain—by looking at things like an ambulance, a dentist's chair, and a bee sting—or death, by looking at things like a funeral hearse, the grim reaper, and a dead-end sign. Across the political spectrum, people who had been primed to think about death were more conservative on issues like immigration, affirmative action, and same-sex marriage than those who had merely thought about pain, although the effect size was relatively small. The implication is clear: For liberals, conservatives, and independents alike, thinking about death actually makes people more conservative—at least temporarily.

I've always wondered about how many members of Daily Kos were part of that 90% that approved in the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the World Trade Center towers? I'm guessing it was most likely Iraq for most people, but I would love to know what was the straw that broke the camel's back?

Originally posted to 医生的宫殿 on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 03:11 PM PST.

Also republished by Psychology of Conservatives and Liberals.

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Comment Preferences

  •  interesting (10+ / 0-)

    I'm certainly less liberal than I was before:

    1. ...I was mugged.
    1. ...I met some murderers and child killers on Death Row
    1. ....9/11

    which certainly fits into this analysis.

    And, since I share qualities of both liberals and conservatives, I guess it's no surprise that I consider myself a centrist/moderate.

  •  It's hard enough to define "conservative". (8+ / 0-)

    The difference between the religious right, the neocons, the confused people who see being conservative as a form of masculinity and assertiveness, those who are looking for government contracts and lobbying handouts....face it, "conservative" is a confused hodgepodge of attitudes and policies and theologies as one can find.

    Ergo, my theory: adherence to conservatism is the ability to live happily with contradictory ideas, and to live one reality while spouting off another.

    It's the proto-fascism

    by Inland on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 03:13:13 PM PST

  •  While I see a lot of truth in the (6+ / 0-)

    generalities here, I think that constant emphasis on the differences (especially cultural ones) is problematic.  I used to hate Country Music, I mean, HATE and now I can listen to some, and even like some alternative country or old-school like Patsy Cline.  It has helped me to empathize with our conservative brethren.  Anyway...

  •  I sure qualify under the messy-room criterion (13+ / 0-)

    Though I've improved somewhat in recent years, going from a sedimentary filing system to a series of barely distinguishable piles.

    "Representative government and trial by jury are the heart and lungs of liberty."--John Adams.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 03:16:06 PM PST

  •  Currently reading (11+ / 0-)

    John Dean's Conservatives Without Conscience, and it's painting a scary - but necessary and informative - portrait of the authoritarian personality.

    It's interesting to speculate what it would take for me to have become one of them.  I'm not temperamentally suited to that behavior, but how did the neural networks in my brain develop to preclude that possibility?

    Some ruminations:

    • I was not raised in a religious household, and thus was never presented with a dogma or overarching authority figure;
    • obedience to adult authority figures was not the most important value in my parents' teaching arsenal.  In fact, my father, a onetime teacher and highschool principal, encouraged me to defend my ideas even if my teachers disagreed (and since he knew all of my teachers, even gave a few hints about those who could be safely ignored :)

    Developing critical thinking skills was the most important value.  Values were those of Plato,  Aristotle, and the scientific method, not Jesus.

    My two cents.

    The plural of anecdote is not data.

    by vernonlee on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 03:17:05 PM PST

    •  Reading it as well, right now. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rapala, myrealname, Allogenes

      And believe that, those on either the extreme right or extreme left are guided by genetics.  Authoratorianism is a principle which is either strongly rejected or strongly accepted based on genetics.

      I think many closer to the middle are influenced by genectics and environment.  Both have a say in their politics.  Which one wins out is in question.

      I do know that my 5 year old son is going to be a screaming liberal, he fights authority at every turn!

      Thank God!

      •  I don't think genetics play a more (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rage, Allogenes

        meaningful role in one becoming an extremist than in becoming a moderate, except maybe for cases of mental illness.  I believe an extreme environment can lead to extreme point of view (whether embracing the one you were raised with or in rebellion.)  Lifelong education and dogged persistance in trying to empathize with all others is the only way out of extremism, left or right.    

  •  Income, particularly people who live on (12+ / 0-)

    inherited income seems to factor in.  People that inherit income are scared to death of its being taken away since they don't have the skills or experience to replace it by, say, actually working.  Just my little slap at a wing-nut brother-in-law.  I became more liberal after 9/11, which I can't explain except to say that I couldn't trust Bush for one second on anything whatsoever (okay, maybe the do-not-call-list) and was highly suspicious of everything that came out of his mouth, especially all that patriotic stuff.

  •  When I read your diary title (8+ / 0-)

    my first intuitive response was "trauma."  I think a total rational response to trauma is a search for a constant, for security.  The very definition of conservativism is preservation of the status quo, avoidance of change.  Which is what makes the neocons so not conservative, but intensely radical, because they want nothing less than a total societal reset.

    We're all dirty hippies now.

    by lapin on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 03:22:01 PM PST

  •  I'd question the idea that conservatives are (16+ / 0-)

    more religious than liberals. If they had said "more conventionally religious" I would agree. Conservatives seems o like churches with black and white rules that make them feel special because theya re "saved" and all those annoying people who disagree with them are going to hell.. Liberals are more likely to belong to a liberal mainstream denom, to feel less required to attend every Sunday just cause, and to explore alternative religions and spirituality--religious but in a very different way that conservatives.

    On the messy room thing--sure works for me.  And the books...lots of them, in boxes, in the garage for the moment.  One every subject from politics to folklore to military science. I don't know a liberal who isn't like that.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 03:22:03 PM PST

  •  9-11 I thought bush either let it happen (6+ / 0-)

    or paid to have it happen.  That as I was watching the TV and trying to get my friend to wake up and answer the Phone.  Her sister lived near the twin towers.  I have to say that I had already read the PNAC's plans , so that might have influenced me.  I also believe that money plays into the Cons. and Liberal debate.   I have a friend that I went to Nursing school with.  At that time she was very Liberal.  Now 20 years later(now that she is making the big bucks) she is a raving conservative.  Makes no sense to me.

  •  Measuring yourself politically (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob, tryptamine, rapala, Allogenes, willb48

    this test has been around for quite a while

    http://www.politicalcompass.org/...

    the blobs look like something from the body. Brain? Lungs?

    Oh that we had the gift to see ourselves as others see us. Robbie Burns

    by ohcanada on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 03:22:33 PM PST

  •  Sorry. Can't help you. (9+ / 0-)

    I've always wondered about how many members of Daily Kos were part of that 90% that approved in the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the World Trade Center towers?

    5%er myself.

    •  Me too (7+ / 0-)

      I never liked Bush, I always thought he was an idiot.  I never supported the war, either.

      George Bush - the Torture President

      by myrealname on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 03:30:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yet another 5%er (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ek hornbeck, myrealname
        I started reading up on the politicos at realchange.org so I never liked Bush as far back as 1999. I was wondering how the hell this asshole could get 9% approval let alone 90%. Something to chew on: Bush was the most popular President ever as far back as approval ratings go.

        On the other hand, I supported the war against Iraq up until Bush was caught bugging the UN Security Council and he refused to let the second round of scheduled inspections take place. Then I knew something was up, and all the leaks from the intelligence agencies to the press clinched it.

        As for what makes people right wing (let's not call anyone who supports Bush "conservative"), simplicity and fear are a big part of it. In my run-ins with the maniacs on Digg, I've learned a few things. They like to assign motives to large swaths of people. Yes, they're bigots. One of the more open-minded of them admitted that there might be four or five Muslims worldwide who were not intent on killing all non-Muslims, this after I had offered the Shriners as a counterexample. Yes, they said the Shriners are America-hating terrorists intent on world domination.

        Along with the simplicity comes fear and paranoia. They think that the intention of liberal public works projects is to weaken the economy through taxation in order to destroy America. They think the separation of church and state is a plot to destroy America by encouraging criminal and antisocial activity. They honestly believe that liberal voters elected an al-Qaeda majority to Congress. And they are convinced that Mexican immigration is an attempt to annex the Southwest for Mexico and exterminate white American culture in the region.

        They can't tell the difference between communists and socialists, or between socialists and liberals, or between liberals and moderates, or between moderates and conservatives, or between any of these and whoever lands on their enemies list. They think Islamic fundamentalists are left wing. They think the Nazis -- the group that DEFINES THE RIGHT WING -- were left wing. To them, Fox News is too liberal and they wish somebody would fund a conservative news station that would tell the truth of what is really going on in the world, but the liberals controlling the money in this country would never allow it.

        Here's another significant item: They have a large base of factiods to draw on to support their arguments. Furthermore, their positions are logical if you accept their supporting statements. In fact, they make a lot of sense. It takes some effort to point out their errors and prove them wrong. Most of their opponents just insult and belittle them without producing anything to counter their position, and this only serves to prove them right.

        •  Factoids (0+ / 0-)

          You've got that right.  My one really right-wing relative seizes onto obscure, weird factoids that don't make any sense if you are reality based and then goes around spouting them, thinking she is far more informed and intelligent than anyone else.  

          George Bush's legacy - he was always wrong

          by myrealname on Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 05:54:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  There is a shade of grey (ha!) (7+ / 0-)

    that your question missed.  After 9/11, I supported the President, I didn't approve.  I thought he did a shitty job in the week afterwards and during the attack.  That said, if I had been asked in the weeks following 9/11, I would have said I supported him.

    Couldn't tell you exactly when I stopped.  It wasn't long, though.  Definately by the Axis of Evil speech.

    A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.

    by Webster on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 03:24:45 PM PST

    •  I felt, in the immediate aftermath, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cecrops Tangaroa, Webster

      that he was at least saying the right things, and I was willing for the first time to actually call him "President," and not "Resident of the White House." There was no point where I would have considered voting for him, but at least I thought he was trying to be President of all the people. And anyway, the country was attacked and that does tend to bring people together. (The way I'm sure even the most reformist Iranis would rally around Ahmedinajad if we attacked their country.)
      But he blew it. Big time.

      "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat." -- Will Rogers

      by Allogenes on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 04:15:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Heck, the way the Iranians had candlelight vigils (5+ / 0-)

        for America after the attacks.  It brought a lot of us together.  What happened to that anyw... oh, the corruption and indifference, right.

        A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.

        by Webster on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 04:22:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  My thoughts about W after 9/11 (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        latts, Cecrops Tangaroa, Allogenes

        were basically about those who seemed to think he was doing so great, viz., that they needed to believe this obvious numbskull putz was a great guy and leader because they were afraid to contemplate the awful fact that our country was in the hands of this so-called "man." As I told my students on 9/12, I was much more concerned about what Americans would now do to each other and to the rest of the world than I was about what "terrorists" would do to us.

        The name is not the thing named, the map is not the territory. -- Gregory Bateson

        by semiot on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 04:50:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I gave him some credit. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cecrops Tangaroa, Allogenes

        He did say some of the right things at the time. He could have called on Americans to lash out at Arabs in this country. Had he done so, there would have been a bloodbath here.

        But he stopped saying the right things pretty quickly. Every American wanted to know "what can I do?", and all he could do was tell us to shop. If he had made a serioous call on Americans to enlist, the military wouldn't be stretched so thin.

        Of course, if he had not invaded Iraq, and instead focused on rebuilding Afghanistan, the world would be a much better place.

        And anyway, the country was attacked and that does tend to bring people together. (The way I'm sure even the most reformist Iranis would rally around Ahmedinajad if we attacked their country.)

        America united ourselves, Bush sure didn't do it. But he divided us. One BIG problem is that people on the right don't consider how people in the countries we attack are going to attack. I'm not talking out touchy-feely sensitivity training, but understanding an enemy or potential enemy is vital - just ask General Custer.

        It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.

        by A Citizen on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 04:53:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Define "conservative" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob, rapala, FightTheFuture, awakenow

    Would full enforcement of the letter and spirit of the Bill of Rights constitute conservatism?  

    One would think so, by a dictionary definition.  Such action would constitute yearning for a prior situation, which is conservative by nature.

    Yet, in our modern times, it is the radicals on the left who personify freedom of association, who pursue freedom from unreasonable search, who defy the police state with demands of habeus corpus.

    Who are the conservatives?

    this message is intended to inform. any annoyance, abuse, threat, or harassment is solely in the perception of the reader, not the intention of the poster.

    by horsewithnoname on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 03:25:38 PM PST

    •  Who? (0+ / 0-)

      Those gripped by fear of "the other."

    •  Authoritarian is part of the definition. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cecrops Tangaroa, VA2CA

      Neo-aristocratic is another part of it. The right attacks the left for what the right itself is guilty of. If you believe that there is a special class of people who are inately fit to lead, and other that are born to follow, you're probably a conservative. Conservatives seem to believe in the "Great Chain of Being".

      I remember back in 1984, being taken somewhat by the fearmongers on the right. I remember hearing some nonsense back then that if Mondale won, he was going to appoint Supreme Court justices that would ban Christianity. Now that's loopy, of course, but there are people who eat that up. I nibbled at it. I didn't vote in 84 or 88 (yes, shame on me). I do remember that I would have voted for Mondale though (I shrugged off the wignut onslaught quickly). In 84 I was in college, and I didn't realize how easy it was to vote.

      It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.

      by A Citizen on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 05:00:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Who? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cecrops Tangaroa

      True conservatives are liberals, fighting to preserve the gains of previous generations.  The New Deal.  Trust-busting (has any anti-trust suit been pursued in the last 30 years?) and a social safety-net.  A "decent respect for the opinions of mankind."

      Today's self-styled "conservatives" advocate overthrowing the institutions of government without leaving anything to replace them.  Hmmm.  They're Yippies.  They even ran a pig for president.

  •  In my family of four siblings (9+ / 0-)

    one is a conservative.  He was the star of the football team, popular with girls and had a huge circle of friends.  The rest of us were - well - let's say nothing like that.  As for the other traits that differentiate liberals and conservatives, one of my liberal siblings is very religious but also loves books with a passion.  My most conservative relative is an absolute slob - my daughter is extremely liberal and fastidiously neat.  I don't think I'd buy into those generalities too much.  I know too many exceptions.

    George Bush - the Torture President

    by myrealname on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 03:27:00 PM PST

  •  So conservative I am liberal. (10+ / 0-)

    I am actually a strict conservative on the Constitution, but since part of our social contract is to help those who cannot help themselves, I find myself in liberal camps.

    Anyone under 18 deserves all the help the state can give them, from school lunches to actual functioning school systems.

    This also leads me to want to overhaul our old folks' home system, where there is little to no dignity left before dying. And people there can barely defend for themselves.

    Among other things, a strict conservative view of the Constitution is oddly liberal these days, which must have our Founding Fathers giggling, or rotating, in their graves.

  •  I'm actually a moderate, but (11+ / 0-)

    because the US has gone so far to the conservative right, I seem like a radical left liberal (to my conservative co-workers).

  •  1963 JFK; silly question for me. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anna M

    MLK's "I have a dream" speech in August 1963 tuned my mind in & I have been liberal progressive since JFK's assassination.

    It may have been the pot that I smoked or booze that freed my mind the summer of '63, or the KKK's murder of  Schwerner, Chaney & Goodman (a Queens College boy)  but, by November, I was "put a fork in it," done & out for justice.

    (-7.63,-6.21) Between Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama - Huh, and I'm a moderate Democrat with a VOTEBLUE tattoo.

    by ezdidit on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 03:48:30 PM PST

  •  Proud 10%-er. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob, willb48
    I never fell for BushCo's lies, ever.

    Now, I did fall for Naderism in 2000, which may be comprable to some folks. Oh well.

  •  I opposed the invasion of Afghanistan. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    keirdubois, hypersphere01

    My camel's back was broken long before 9/11.

    I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

    by UntimelyRippd on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 04:12:02 PM PST

    •  me too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      willb48

      i still feel we were lied to.

      i knew back in Dec of 1999 when Bush announced he was considering running for the Presidency, that he would be the next President. Proud Texan here and i pay attention.

      i declared shenanigans a long time ago.

      Don't fight it son. Confess quickly! If you hold out too long you could jeopardize your credit rating. --Brazil (1985)

      by hypersphere01 on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 05:23:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  lobotomy is what did it to me (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    keirdubois, semiot, Naniboujou, myrealname

    I used to think

    had a cerebral cortex.

    then I had a lobotomy and you know what?

    life is so much more comfortable when you have answers and no questions

    •  "my whole brain was out of tune..." (0+ / 0-)

      "...took it to a brain shop, and they said 'well, we're gonna have to rebuild the whole head.' I said 'well, do what you gotta do.' When I got my brain back, it didn't work right. Didn't have as many good ideas..."

      excerpt from "My Brain" by T.L.G. Mark Sandman of Morphine

  •  I had a very similar theory about makeup (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob, Anna M, mango, myrealname

    You can tell how far a woman went in school, or at least during what era she stopped, by looking at her makeup.  If it keeps evolving, so does she.  If she's frozen in time, so is her makeup.

    That's my theory and I'm stickin with it.  Oops - there's a Clinique sale - gotta go!

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 04:17:53 PM PST

  •  My inner liberal has finally landed... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ohcanada

    but I confess that throughout the decades, I have swung moderately from one side to the other.  I would say that, because I was not politically engaged at the time, nor well-versed in current events--the groups I hung around with influenced me (subconsciously) a great deal.

    Once I married a Democrat and he opened my eyes to how the political process works and that there really IS a difference between Republicans (conservative=it's all about me) and Democrats (liberal=we're in this together), I became firmly in the Democrat/liberal camp.

    We need to change the wind.

    by Naniboujou on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 04:24:08 PM PST

  •  can we say "stay the course"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Autarkh

    "..conservatives have a greater desire to reach a decision quickly and stick to it, "

  •  Never touched the kool-aid (4+ / 0-)

    First thought on 9-11 was that the chimp would use it in some way, second was that the gov't. might have been lying about who did it.  I made the mistake of saying so then and there on the bus, and was immediately denounced as a traitor. In Berkeley, on a bus headed for the campus.  

    I have never supported the Chimp or his war: on Day One I took a vacation day and marched in the front line in SF.

    My dad became conservative when he started making 50K (back when it was real money) and his ethnic group got promoted to "honorary" white.  My mother, non-white child of wealthy aristocratic leftists, remained radical and burned the roast to a crisp when she caught him voting for Reagan.

    What I see is an x-ray of a female lower abdomen and pelvis.  Guess that makes me a feminist first.

  •  Well (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob, TurkeyCreek

    I would say that people become more conservative when they finally have to start making a living for themselves. When they finally realize that a great deal of their paycheck goes to taxes they start to become more conservative.

    http://www.keen.com/jiacinto For DC related travel advice, please visit that link.

    by jiacinto on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 04:58:52 PM PST

  •  hmm (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob

    i don't necessarily think my support of the Afghan War in 2001 would make me a conservative....but yes, fear and traumatic events can push people one way or the other.

    It's a good thing that Bush is such an idiot (even flubbing his lines on 9/11, there was no way I was rallying around that after he did nothing to assuage my terror)...if he were actually chariasmatic we'd be in a lot more trouble.

  •  The ability to EMPATHIZE goes a long way (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    willb48

    to making a person Liberal or Conservative.  The ability to see another point of view--not to necessarily agree with it but to feel it. That takes a certain empathy.

    To walk a mile in your neighbor's shoes.

  •  Money...makes the neo-con (0+ / 0-)

    I'm sure it's not true in every situation.  I'm sure there are the well-to-do out there who have a little bit of compassion for those who go to bed hungry.  But my mother has become a neo-con monster over the past few years.  What changed her from the person who once told me she admired Al Gore?  A hefty divorce settlement.  She has money...therefore, she is neo-con.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dontvoteinthedark/

    by VA2CA on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 05:24:24 PM PST

  •  my change (0+ / 0-)

    in government class at the end of the year when we tallied up our scores from all the work we did that year, the teacher sat us according to which group we belong in. i was on the 'right' side. not just in the right but on the wing.

    the problem was..

    it wasn't my side. it was the side for cheerleaders, jocks and the business kids. which were almost all white.  the other side is where my friends were. i grew up poor and associated with minorities more than normal suburban white kids. i guess i was smart and expected everybody else to be just as smart. pull yourself up kind of attitude. all that changed, thanks to my government teacher, who in no way pushed us to one side or the other. she just made sure we understood the material. it was important to her.

    this is in Texas. we had a good mix at my school. the poorer school of the two in the same city. the other school was the rich school, mostly white btw.

    Don't fight it son. Confess quickly! If you hold out too long you could jeopardize your credit rating. --Brazil (1985)

    by hypersphere01 on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 05:34:24 PM PST

  •  The question is why do people become liberal? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cecrops Tangaroa, ohcanada, willb48

    I think most of us are more conservative by default.  It is the philosophy of preserving the status quo of the haves at the expense and exploitation of the have nots.  It's classic dog-eat-dog survival, really.  Can we evolve past it and see the bigger picture.  Many do, many don't.

    You learn about the world and hopefully you have good teachers that show reasons why people are the way they are; their history, their backgrounds.  They also show you that you do not have to agree with them, or respect them even.  Let's face it, we are all assholes in some ways!  HOWEVER, you should, you must, allow them to be.

    That understanding allows more liberal ideas and inclinations to flourish.  To live and let live.  From there, search for better answers on how to live.

    It's when the pinheads try to destroy you, your society, your country, your world, that you have to take a stand, and decide what you will defend and how far you will take your ideas.  Don't feel bad if you do not measure up to your most idealistic expectations of yourself.  You aren't Jesus, you are just human.  Try to remember that--HUMAN, as in HUMANITY!!

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    I keep these thoughts, and other in mind.  Really, I do not think there is any other way toward a future for mankind but to be liberal in your approach to life, to the world.  Everything else is simply... medieval, Hobbesean, Capitalist, etc.

    It's a sad reality once you understand, our current economics, much of our current laws on property rights, especially intellectual rights, will have to be upended if we are really to have a better society for the world.  

    Lots of hard choices coming, and peak oil, global warming, water shortages, overpopulation, pollution, etc. will push them to the fore as never before.    

    If we do not start thinking about these things now, we will get the leadership we deserve.  That is somewhat what Bush and the corrupt republican and lazy coporatized Democrats are.  The leadership we deserve unless we start to ask the really hard questions of ourselves and our system.

    Well... so much for flow of thought to the rant.

  •  Yup - the older you get the more... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    modchick65, ohcanada, willb48

    conservative you're supposed to get.  But not me...I started out in the 60's voting for Nixon (FORGIVE ME!) and now I'm a flaming liberal!!!

    Thank you, Tricky Dick!

    Daniel Craig...the BEST James Bond...ever!

    by ShaShaMae on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 05:42:02 PM PST

    •  I worked for Goldwater (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ShaShaMae

      Hell, I'd still vote for Barry.  When they nominated Nixon in 1968, I was long-gone.  I still wish Eugene McCarthy had won.  Stumping for him in "black" precincts in southern Indiana, I came to realize that Bobby was the guy.  And, that white college kids holding out McCarthy leaflets were pretty irrelevant.

      1968 was one of those years.  Everything changed.  Everything spiraled down the toilet of history.

      I still weep, when I think of it.

      I worked my ass off for Humphrey.

      That's the last time I donated time or money to any cause - until 2006.

      I hope I'm alive for 2008, because things are getting interesting.

  •  oh, my... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    willb48

    reading the genesis of a conservative portion of this diary, I was thinking, "Yep, that's me from my late teens to early 40s."  I don't know what triggered my social conscience, but one day I looked around and realized I was judging all others as though they had the same access to privilege that I did when I should have known better.

    I voted repug from Nixon in 1968 until 1992 when I voted for Clinton because GHW Bush had proposed a plan to allow subsidized foreign airlines the right to pick up and drop off passengers within the US.  As a good union pilot, I voted against Bush.  I've been a flaming liberal ever since.

  •  Behaviorial problem. (0+ / 0-)

    People become conservative for the same reason people fall for "The Chocolate Diet" or pedophiles join NAMBLA: it provides a rationale for their unacceptable desires.

    Nobody wants to dress in a sharp suit and proclaim "I'm a greedy fuck and I'd rather see your kid suffer a disease than have to take the 60 month financing instead of 48 on my fuckin' SUV.

    National Health? Good schools? Alleviation of suffering on the other side of the globe? Fuck that shit, and I got a shiny leather bound book of "political philosophy" that makes me sound smart for being a greedy pig. And I got snazzy geopolitical rationales for policies that basically say "Fuck those nig-nogs and sand monkeys" and I have pious "religious family values" that help me sound good when what I really want is to say "Get the fags out of my sight" because my stereotyped image of them feeds my own priapic shame.

    Fear of the other is a limbic survival reflex, and when it carries on to an unnecessary degree in a modern human you get greed, acquisitiveness, and gluttony. When the intake from the gluttony is not enough to make them happy, they want the rest of their taxes cut so they can afford health club membership and liposuction and have silicone tits and abs jammed in and still keep on being unbridled lizards that they are.

    Conservatism puts a suit and a suntan on these pigs. It puts their name in the church bulletin and puts their jugs up and out front, chisels their jaws like    marbled frozen meat.

    It makes them feel clever and polished and better than you, as they grab a fistful of your food off of your plate.

    When both they and their prey realize what bastards they are, and their stinkin' jig is almost up, Conservatism spiffs up the structures in our society that protects these fucks, and finally, when worse comes to worst, Conservatism keeps the grass cut on the tennis court at White Collar Corrections facilities like Lewisburg, so what if the cost is little kids in orange jumpsuits at America's proud, privatized 21st century concentration camps.

    It's not wealth that makes you Conservative, it's a sociopathic reaction to the idea of wealth, and the misguided belief that it will slake your uncontrollable desires that makes you such a fucked bastard, and a Conservative.

    Uhhh... did I say that out loud?

    I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

    by labradog on Tue Jan 09, 2007 at 07:59:04 PM PST

  •  poppycock (0+ / 0-)

    this is just a self loving diary.  ok there is another term but come on.  If you think political philosophy comes from your childhood, then you are discounting intelligence, knowledge, and learning.

    we both know that conservatives and liberals have pretty equal shares of geniuses and highly educated people.  I am not saying conservatives as a whole are as intelligent as liberals but both sides have a good percentage of the unusually intelligent.

    I think politics is similar to religion.  The reality is if your parents are of a certain belief, and one belief dominates the area in which you were reared, then you are likely going to end up with that persuasion.  

    of course there is is the rebellion thing, and university.  My guess is more conservative kids rebel and go lib than the other way around.  Yes, I know it works both ways, and anecdotal proof is just that, anecdotal.  Since this is a liberal blog, I am sure there are hundreds that can say well their parents were ultra righties.  But then again, that is what i said was more likely.

  •  I was a liberal. (0+ / 0-)

    Then I was mugged.

    I'm still a liberal.

    Imagine that.

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