Why You Are a [insert political affiliation]

By: hawkgrrrl
July 3, 2012

How do people form their political views?  Many people assume it’s based on how you are raised (e.g. Democrats raise Democrats), your life experiences (e.g. a factory closed in your home town), or which party serves your interests (e.g. rich people are Republicans).  

Would you be surprised to find that there is a genetic link to political views?  Identical twins raised apart have been shown to have nearly identical political views despite personal experiences and the views and circumstances of their adoptive families.  I’ve said before that I believe people change religions more easily than they change political parties.  It seems our politics are hard wired, or at least we lean a certain way.

The role of nature

Let’s see about your wiring.

Which statement most closely fits you?

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Even as babies, these tendencies have been found to exist; some babies seek new experiences and react with pleasure to them while not minding a noisy environment.  Other babies have a marked dislike for noise and are more sensitive to an unstable environment.

conservatives react more strongly than liberals to signs of danger, including the threat of germs and contamination, and even low-level threats such as sudden blasts of white noise.  Other studies have implicated genes related to receptors for the neurotransmitter dopamine, which has long been tied to sensation-seeking and openness to experience, which are among the best-established correlates of liberalism.
Haidt, Jonathan (2012-03-13). The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (p. 279). Random House, Inc.
Personally, I can’t claim to love either clutter or loud noise (definitely not a “damn dirty hippie”), but we moved an awful lot when I was growing up, and I became adept at dealing with changing environments, and even restless to get on to the next place.  The one thing that irritates me more than clutter and noise:  provincialism!

The role of nurture

So we all have a natural tendency, whether it is a marked preference or a slight one – we lean in one direction or the other.  What happens as we gain experiences in life?  Let’s hear about how you interacted with your environment.

Growing up . . .

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From the same source, we learn of fraternal twins, entering school age, each with a different tendency.  The girl prefers new experiences and likes to question authority (not frightened of instability), whereas the boy is deferential to authority and creates stability to his environment by not questioning authority.  Depending on the environment and individuals they encounter, they may receive different responses from teachers and parents.  Those experiences will then shape their feelings about themselves, authority, and how stimulating or supportive their environment is.

For the girl, encountering a supportive environment where she is praised for her questioning may result in less resistance to her surroundings whereas being opposed by people in authority may create a stronger sense of rebellion and rightness in her as she seeks the fringe for like-minded people with whom to band together.  For the boy, encountering a supportive environment may result in even more entrenchment, less questioning, and more sense of personal rightness.

they gradually create different worlds for themselves. Even in nursery school, their behavior causes adults to treat them differently. One study found that women who called themselves liberals as adults had been rated by their nursery school teachers as having traits consistent with threat insensitivity and novelty-seeking.  Future liberals were described as being more curious, verbal, and self-reliant, but also more assertive and aggressive, less obedient and neat. So if we could observe our fraternal twins in their first years of schooling, we’d find teachers responding differently to them. Some teachers might be drawn to the creative but rebellious little girl; others would crack down on her as an unruly brat, while praising her brother as a model student.

Ibid, (p. 280).

While my parents are pretty conservative, my best friend’s mother was very liberal and feminist, and many of my friends parents were liberal college professors.  But I also encountered enough teachers who praised me for being unconventional that I didn’t feel the need to seek out like-minded peers.  In grade 5, as we prepared for the class play, I pointed out that there were no decent female roles in A Christmas Carol.  It seemed unfair that the largest female role was a complete throwaway part, Belle, Ebenezer’s ex-girlfriend (who only had about 3 lines).  My teacher supported me, and cast me in the role even though the boys in class were adamantly opposed to a girl playing the male lead.

The grand narratives

Lastly, as we become adults, our experiences begin to crystallize into one of two narratives that describe our view of the world. Although the below narratives are written from an American perspective, the narratives are based on shared morality that crosses national geographies.  See which narrative sounds most like your view.

Narrative A

Once upon a time, the vast majority of human persons suffered in societies and social institutions that were unjust, unhealthy, repressive, and oppressive. These traditional societies were reprehensible because of their deep-rooted deep-rooted inequality, exploitation, and irrational traditionalism.… But the noble human aspiration for autonomy, equality, and prosperity struggled mightily against the forces of misery and oppression, and eventually succeeded in establishing modern, liberal, democratic, capitalist, welfare societies. While modern social conditions hold the potential to maximize the individual freedom and pleasure of all, there is much work to be done to dismantle the powerful vestiges of inequality, exploitation, and repression. This struggle for the good society in which individuals are equal and free to pursue their self-defined happiness is the one mission truly worth dedicating one’s life to achieving.

ibid (p. 284)

Narrative B

Once upon a time, America was a shining beacon. Then liberals came along and erected an enormous federal bureaucracy that handcuffed the invisible hand of the free market. They subverted our traditional American values and opposed God and faith at every step of the way.… Instead of requiring that people work for a living, they siphoned money from hardworking Americans and gave it to Cadillac-driving drug addicts and welfare queens. Instead of punishing criminals, they tried to “understand” them. Instead of worrying about the victims of crime, they worried about the rights of criminals.… Instead of adhering to traditional American values of family, fidelity, and personal responsibility, they preached promiscuity, premarital sex, and the gay lifestyle … and they encouraged a feminist agenda that undermined traditional family roles.… Instead of projecting strength to those who would do evil around the world, they cut military budgets, disrespected our soldiers in uniform, burned our flag, and chose negotiation and multilateralism.… Then Americans decided to take their country back from those who sought to undermine it.

ibid (p. 285).

Which narrative resonated the most for you?

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Narrative A is a heroic liberal story:  it’s a story of liberation from authority, hierarchy, power and tradition – the chains that oppress victims from attaining their noblest aims.  Narrative B is a heroic conservative story about the defense of liberty (from government constraint).  It also touches on the values (fairness, tradition, loyalty, authority and purity) that are either absent from the liberal story or are viewed as a threat to caring for the downtrodden.

Interestingly, Haidt found that while conservatives found much to commend in the liberal narrative, liberals had a hard time comprehending the conservative narrative because they not only didn’t value loyalty, authority, and purity but they often rejected them as oppressive and harmful.  While there are liberal versions of loyalty, authority and purity, they differ from what conservatives are loyal to, consider an authority, or view as sacred.  For example, liberals have their own heroes and authorities they would be loyal to or show respect for – usually people who (like them) have a heightened sense of care and a desire to liberate people from oppression.  And one need only look at the green movement to find a shining example of the value liberals place on purity.  However, for liberals these values are still in a back seat to the protection of the downtrodden, whereas conservatives place a similar value on all moral foundations equally.

Generally speaking, those who are independents or moderate have been exposed to a greater diversity of views throughout their lives, leading them to question their own assumptions and natural tendencies and to be more empathetic toward differing views.  In a sense, that makes them moral relativists by contrast to those who are firmly liberal or conservative.  Those who are surrounded by people whose views are more homogeneous tended to embrace one of the two narratives more strongly, regardless of whether the prevailing surrounding views matched or differed from their own because a person’s own narrative is always heroic – either standing with the crowd or against it.

  • How likely are you to change your political views in the future?  What would cause such a change?
  • Were you born to be a conservative or liberal?
  • What impact did your formative years have on your political views?
  • Do most of your friends share your political views or differ from yours? I did a Facebook app a few years ago that showed my friends were a near perfect split between Democrat and Republican – not surprising since I’m an independent.
  • Do you feel an unbridgeable divide between your views and that of others?  What would it take to bridge that divide?

Discuss.

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23 Responses to Why You Are a [insert political affiliation]

  1. ajax on July 3, 2012 at 7:49 AM

    libertarian(small l), with the idea that liberty should be our highest political goal.

    My parents influenced me more by example(hard work, self reliance), than by ideology(they are Republicans).

    I don’t believe in the welfare state. I don’t believe in the warfare state. Since D’s and R’s are both bed with the welfare and warfare agenda(please keep in mind reality over rhetoric), I really have no interest in supporting either party.

    My friends and family are all over the map politically: liberals, conservatives, progressives etc. It makes for interesting family gatherings at times. As a libertarian, I am able to find common ground with all. I was with my liberal sister in denouncing Bush’s crazy foreign policy. I was with my conservative parents in combating Govt’s crazy expansion in everything domestic. I was all by myself in arguing against the Federal Reserve(nobody really cares to understand it.)

    Works that have influenced my thinking:
    The Law – Frederic Bastiat
    Actual Ethics – James Otteson
    A Humane Economy – Wilhelm Ropke
    ABC Theory – Austian(economics)Business Cycle Theory

    I voted for Ron Paul in the Texas primary. I won’t be voting in the general election.

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  2. Stephen Marsh on July 3, 2012 at 7:56 AM

    I’m a libertarian communist. I’ll have to post more on that later, when I have time.

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  3. Howard on July 3, 2012 at 8:18 AM

    Biology and political orientation:  Persons judged by both themselves and others as being more fearful, even in nursery school, are more likely to have, or to have in the future, more conservative views…What is familiar may be less threatening than what is unfamiliar, which has been argued to explain why conservatives are more suspicious of change than liberals…Conservatism is associated with being more sensitive to disgust…Liberal participants were better able to accept changes or conflicts in established patterns…The tendency of conservatives to block distracting information could be a good thing depending on the situation.

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  4. hawkgrrrl on July 3, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    I was watching Jon Stewart last night, and he was skewering both the liberal media narrative and then showed Fox News poring over the same clip of Putin and Obama. This line from Narrative B was practically the same thing they were saying on Fox News about Pres. Obama: “Instead of projecting strength to those who would do evil around the world.” Fox News was saying Putin didn’t respect Obama, that you could see that Putin thought he was a weak adolescent, not to be treated with respect. So, I’m not sure these narratives are complete exaggerations – well, any more than Fox News is a complete exaggeration that is!

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  5. Julia on July 3, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    Oftentimes I wished I lived in a country where we didn’t pretend that liberals and conservatives were two ends of a spectrum without any other real choices.

    Even libertarians who go fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Why don’t we have the option of a fiscally liberal and socially conservative option? I think that would be closer to Christ’s teachings than any of the political parties in the US.

    So, I am lucky I live in Oregon where I can register non-affiliated with any political party. Occasionally I find a candidate that I connect with enough to volunteer for. It has been a while since I have found someone running for an office that isn’t at the state or local level that I could legitimately get behind.

    I grew up in a household that was split politically, one parent a Dem and the other a Rep. After their divorce my mom registered non-affiliated after I told her that was an option. Most of my friends are affiliated with one of the two major parties, but none of them seem particularly excited by the candidates from their party, especially at the state and local level, but on the national level too.

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  6. salt h2o on July 3, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    I’m sorry you lost me @ “which party serves your interests (e.g. rich people are Republicans).”

    Funny that you chose “e.g. rich people are Republicans” and not “poor people are Democrats” nor “lazy people are democrats”

    John Kerry anyone? Sarah Jessica Parker? The CEO of Vogue Magazine? What about the left’s champion of higher taxes on the rich- Warren Buffet? How about all of Hollywood? And those Green Energy Cronies getting tons of our tax dollars for their failed companies…

    I have my fair share of lazy Democrats in my family who are working the system. I also have a distant relative who was milking the system while getting his Stanford PhD. while in school had 4 kids, now makes over 150k, and those poor suckers working 9-5 jobs making 40k their taxes paid for his family’s food, housing and children’s health care while he was full time student. He was the king of saying he was a democrat because it financially favored his family.

    Republicans favor the rich…bull.

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  7. salt h2o on July 3, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    Last comment (can you tell you hit a nerve?)

    The rich and the poor are the only ones who can survive democrat’s entitlement spending and the mass inflation that will come with the debt- it’s the middle and small businesses that are screwed by liberal policies.

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  8. Frank Pellett on July 3, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    Wierd, I don’t recall voting in the polls, but they seem to be closed already.

    Anyway, I’m registered as a non-partisal voter, and have been since I could vote. My parents are definately republican, but as a family we’ve rarely spoke about politics at all, when I was growing up or even now. My parents did their research seperately, and came to their own conclusions on who and what to vote for.

    To me, political parties get in the way of people trying to do what they feel is best for each situation. Instead, you get blanket statements about one side or the other (usually about how THEY are getting in the way), and all your time spent on working the system. Parties may have been helpful in the part to discern what your candidate believes generally, but in these times you get far more information directly from the source than you did before.

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  9. prometheus on July 3, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    I am a Canadian, so the liberal / conservative divide doesn’t quite play out the way it does in the states, but here goes.

    I once was quite conservative, but I have grown more and more liberal as time goes on. I have found that my attachment to tradition and purity has diminished to almost non-existent whereas my attachment to fairness and harm/care has grown proportionally.

    In fact, I am quite dumbfounded by Narrative B to some extent because I don’t even remotely value the things that are so problematic. I can’t even formulate a response other than to ask why some of those things even matter.

    As to why this has happened? A closer examination of scripture has led me in that direction, certainly. Getting a liberal arts education helped. Working with a wide variety of people has helped. Having a liberal feminist mother helped (although I don’t think she would have classified herself as such).

    As to friends, it depends on where they live or have ties to. The stronger the ties to Utah, the more conservative in general, the more homegrown Canadian, the more liberal in general. Probably an even split fiscally, and more socially liberal friends than conservative.

    Hmm. Bridging the divide is an enormous topic. One book that addresses it well is Unclean, by Richard Beck. Fantastic book that talks about the psychology of disgust, which is directly relevant to the different valuation of purity between conservatives and liberals. I also like Ray’s analogy of settlers and explorers, which shows up an inherent tension, but also an inherent interdependence.

    I think that bridging the divide requires humility and a willingness to work together to either find compromises or create new solutions. As soon as we assume that we are right and the other side is wrong, that can’t happen, though. The difficulty of course comes when two values go head to head. When tradition causes harm, for example. Even if it is impossible to really bridge the divide, I think it is essential that we keep trying – quitting is just building walls.

    Done rambling now… :D

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  10. hawkgrrrl on July 3, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    Prometheus – I’ll have to check out that book. The concept of disgust (and its moral foundation – purity) is related to the Haidt book I quoted in the OP.

    What I find interesting the more I read about these things is that regardless of the two party system in the US, the moral foundations do apply fairly universally, and there seem to be people who cluster together in these ways. Both have moral reasons for doing so, but often despise the morality of the opposition.

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  11. Troth Everyman on July 3, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    I have heard it said (from a friend of mine) that the republican party is made up of individuals who believe in one (or more) of the following ideas:

    1). Individuals who want the morality of their children to be protected.
    2). Individuals who want their nation to be protected from foreign nations.
    3). Individuals who want their freedom to be protected from “big government”.
    4). Individuals who want their bank account to be protected from taxes.
    5). Individuals who are wealthy and selfish and/or lazy and don’t want to have to work or give anyone anything else.

    I have heard it said (from that same friend of mine) that the democratic party is made up of individuals who believe in one (or more) of the following ideas:

    1). Individuals who feel that freedom of expression/personal decision is worth protecting at any cost.
    2). Individuals who don’t want the world to be ruled by violence.
    3). Individuals who don’t want the world to be ruled by the rich and want the poor to be provided for.
    4). Individuals who believe that with the ridiculous wealth that some people and big businesses have, there is no reason that everyone ought not to have their basic necessities of health and food provided for if they find themselves unable to do so.
    5). Individuals who are poor and selfish and/or lazy and don’t want to have to work or give anyone anything else.

    While I don’t necessarily believe these are the best descriptors of either party, I do see a problem arising from both liberals and democrats characterizing everyone in the other party as “category #5′s”. These type of blanket statements and characterizations get in the way of real empathy and understanding.

    In both my personal life and in my professional life I have found that when I truly understand someone’s intentions, even if I disagree with their actions, it is easier to come to understanding and mutual agreement. Not that it solves all problems, just that it is easier than not doing so. I don’t think we will ever bridge the divide between the political camps, but I do think it is possible to come closer to mutual understanding and come closer to bipartisan decision making. The first step in doing so may be to attempt to forgo the “category 5″ stereotypes as described above and trying to understand the other political party’s underlying intentions.

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  12. Troth Everyman on July 3, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Transparency: I was raised Republican by a father who stated he was independent (but wasn’t really). And a mother who declined to participate in political conversations because she believed that they were to contentious. I started with republican leanings, until late high school when I came into contact with greater diversity of thought. This was exacerbated by serving a two year mission and coming into contact with even more diverse people and thoughts. Also, coming into contact with severe poverty led to the recognition that “hard work” and “self reliance” alone wasn’t enough to rid the world of poverty. I met many individuals in deep poverty who worked harder (by far) and were more self-reliant than the majority of middle class and upper class people I know. Structures are often rigged for the rich with the deck often stacked against the poor. I developed the opinion that, in addition to hard work and persistence, there also needed to be structural, systemic, and environmental changes in order to succeed against poverty. In that regard serving a mission really opened my eyes. From these experiences and others I would now classify myself as moderately liberal. Serving a mission was a positive experience for me in many ways. But even without the other positive experiences, learning the things I described here was worth it.

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  13. Will on July 3, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    I am conservative. Largely due to my LDS faith and my family who I grew up with. My parents were wealthy and abhorred idleness of any kind. My father would get us up before school to do chores and we were on our own economically from about the time we were 16 –clothes, food, entertainment and higher education. If we wanted it, we earned it. We were required to have a job by 16. If we were failing a class it was our responsibility to figure out how to pass. We absolutely never, under any circumstances, got help with a school assignment. We did however have winter homes in southern Utah, Arizona and Hawaii which we were allowed to use. They paid the way along with other vacation spots.

    This method of raising kids seems to have worked. All of us are financially stable with 7 of 8 owning their own business; all the boy served successful missions; all boys have served in leadership positions in the church; and, all are still married in the temple.

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  14. Howard on July 3, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Political movements have more to do with hatred than with compassion…Hate is what motivates tribes to form alliances, it is the unrestrained joy of the anticipated battle with neighboring tribes, it is blood lust, it is the fear that is covered up in an excitement of final conquest, and it can be kept alive over very long periods of time. It is only released or put aside when the enemy has been vanquished and the threat is no longer present. Hatred can last for a few minutes or a lifetime…Hatred is our innate motivator to fight back, and it is not activated unless we experience the emotion of fear or disgust…hate resides in the old reptilian brain, and how fear can flood the brain with neurotransmitters that heighten the state of aggression and hate, until it becomes learned and internalized. Once we come to hate the other, however that hate was activated, it will not go away easily…Hate is a deep emotion, molded by evolution to keep us from harm. It can only be activated if a real harm or a perceived harm activates the system – whether through individual experience or mass-media propaganda – and the feelings are internalized for varying lengths of tenure…We can’t just reason away disgust, our pattern recognition minds find meaning in how others behave and how they appear. And these emotions existed before language, science or even before postmodernism. We are still just apes with an enlarged neocortex…humans are not very inquisitive, do not think for themselves, but rather follow tradition, including accepting what is currently hated and feared. Intelligence has not transformed us into scientifically empirically based explorers of the truth – most people are tied to the status quo.  http://www.euvolution.com/neoeugenics/evolutionary_emotions.htm

    I think the problem is liberals and conservatives are different tribes.

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  15. Stan Beale on July 3, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    I am aperson who was a teenager of the “Happy Days” of the 1950′s. I was a complacent, self satisified Republican. Then I began to read, I began to witness racism and prejudice and I began to see how the poor were exploited.

    Here is a simple list of some things that were prevalent: racial exclusion clauses in deeds, redlining, “if you are brown, stick around; if you are black, get back,” use of police to keep “minorities in line,” African American girls in high school assigned to Home Ec classes because all they will be are domestics, racial exclusion by employers and labor unions, supposed literacy tests to determine who could vote, and the dumping of chemical waste in poor areas or towns.

    We all had variations of three choices to make. We could choose to do nothing (Ostrich Option). We could join the majority of Republicans, many Democrats and most conservatives and try to maintain the unjust society. We could seek change through various methods, some of which could be extreme.

    It was a simple choice for me–I became a Berkeley Radical (a bit on the mild side, however) and eventually a Democrat as it became possible to make reforms through the political process.

    One of the reasons I could never vote for Romney is that in the 60′s he never took a stand for the victims of prejudice and poverty (If he did, he certainly is not bringing it up). Except for one incident of supporting the Viet Nam war and some gay bashing at prep school, he stayed part of the complacent, self satisfied “rich kid” youth on their way to become part of what C. Wright Mills called the power elite.

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  16. John Roberts on July 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    I definitely dislike loud noises and new experiences. My parents were hard-core republicans, my grandmother “voted for Eisenhower because Lincoln won the war”. I worked for the Nixon campaign in college.

    However, as I became more aware, I saw the Republicans were wrong on civil rights, period.

    From a selfish point of view, my wife and I worked hard for years; never made more than $50,000 in a year. I was bright, productive, and loyal to my employers, but they were ready to fire me in a second if they thought they could make a net nickel in doing so.

    One of my weak points was I was never good at selling- either myself, or anything else.

    So I asked myself, if I, with a good education and an upper-middle-class background, cannot get ahead in this world, what chance do people less fortunate than myself have? Somehow, there needs to be a balance that allows the have-nots a chance to move up. Obviously, private industry is not going to provide that. Maybe “Democratic” liberalism?

    Turns out the Democrats are as much in the pocket of the Military-Industrial Complex and Wall Street as the Republicans…

    I guess I am some sort of liberal; I would like to see more equality of opportunity in this country, fewer barriers to entry into the small business market, less military expenditure, more responsible fiscal policy…

    But at my age I have pretty much despaired at our two-party system of government, and am just waiting for the train-wreck.

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  17. Howard on July 4, 2012 at 6:00 AM

    Conservative orthodoxy is pharisaical in nature replacing the spirit of the gospel and facilitating one’s personal relationship with God with enforced outward behavioral signs of conformity to the spirit of the law and to cultural (tribal) markers and a brokered relationship with God.  Some call them the “faithful” but if the research referred to in my two comments above regarding instinctual behavior is true they may more accurately be called the fearful and sometimes even the hateful!  Fear and disgust of other beliefs and behaviors (tribes) motivates them to exclude and defend.

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  18. Bonnie on July 4, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    I just wasn’t feeling political when this post first went up, so I waited until today to read it (not because of the Fourth but because of other issues that needed more attention.) I’m glad it’s less about politics than it is about perception.

    I have to say that both my nature and nuture have been a mix of profound concern for purity and loyalty and for care and harm, and I balk at labeling it so diametrically. I’ve always felt sort of like an a la carte eater. I began life politically as a conservative, but focused on causes, so I was a staunch Republican whose childhood dream was to join the Peace Corps.

    For me, it’s always been individual issues that have motivated me and I find no home in the large parties with their multi-issue platforms. So I define myself according to issues with a strong libertarian sensibility and no patience for the party. Voting is a personal matter, meaning that I vote for the person based on my belief that they will act with integrity regarding their beliefs and search for honest people whose beliefs as closely match mine as possible.

    Anymore, I see more power in personal action than in policy, so I support the freedom of personal action as much as possible and ignore large-scale politics more and more (which is a dramatic change from my level of PAC activity a decade ago.) For me, my faith has changed my politics more than any other single nurture factor.

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  19. Henry on July 4, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Liberal orthodoxy is pharisaical in nature replacing the spirit of the gospel and facilitating one’s personal relationship with God with enforced outward behavioral signs of conformity to the spirit of the law and to cultural (tribal) markers and a brokered relationship with God. Some call them the “faithful” but if the research referred to in my two comments above regarding instinctual behavior is true they may more accurately be called the fearful and sometimes even the hateful! Fear and disgust of other beliefs and behaviors (tribes) motivates them to exclude and defend.

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  20. Jettboy on July 4, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    If you were to talk to me live, I don’t think you could tell if I was liberal or conservative all that easily in casual conversation. This isn’t blowing smoke. People have actually asked me if I was one or the other. Not that a prolonged talking with me would lead one to believe I was liberal, just that I hate poor arguments on either side. There are times I have argued against the conservative viewpoint just to make someone form a better argument or rethink themselves. You don’t see that at all with me online because “conservative” and “liberal” is relative, and I believe that I am fighting in a lopsided world.

    As an example, I love loud noises and I love new experiences (so am I liberal?)

    The Second question is basically combined in me: I was obedient, and neat, a model student. I didn’t rock the boat, but I was NEVER the teacher’s pet. I was creative and had views that were unique, but never spoke up out of self preservation (does this make me liberal or conservative?)

    The first narrative is a gross mixture of life realities and utopian dreaming that can only be “achieved” by Tyranny.

    Ok, I admit that B sounds to me like Truth to Power, but that last sentence seems improbable if not impossible at this point. I don’t think enough “Americans” exist anymore to save it from the destructive path. I guess that makes me conservative, but why don’t I answer the “correct” first questions that is supposed to “out” me?

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  21. el oso on July 5, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    Hawk,
    Conservatives are mostly teacher’s pets? You even included Bart Simpson saying otherwise.
    In my experience around the country it was mostly liberal teachers who encouraged or rewarded teacher’s pets. I had many math and science classes and rarely knew the politics of the teacher and they usually did not encourage the suck-ups. They encouraged all smart students, even rowdy ones. Teachers in other subjects covered more politics in the lectures/discussions and the liberals seemed the most prone to favoritism.
    There were plenty of fair overtly liberal or conservative professors, especially in history, philosophy and political science.

    Your grand narratives are constructed to define conservatives as against liberals. Most American conservatives would argue that their values predate liberalism. Just look at their reading lists. (Locke, Burke, the founders, etc.)

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  22. [...] pronounced liberal or conservative tendencies as a combination of both genetics and experience (see here). I also wrote about Haidt’s ideas about how liberals and conservatives define fairness [...]

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  23. Glass Ceiling on July 27, 2012 at 3:30 AM

    France, a nation the size of Texas, has seven parties. George Washington said that party politics would be the death of us. Zero parties may be best… but seven is better than two.

    And similar to MH, I am a Socialist Libertarian. States’ rights with benefits run on a State level sounds simple enough for me.

    There is no party for me in this country that resembles what I just mentioned. I bet there’s one in France, though . Now that I mention it, they ARE, after all, the size of one of our States; and many if not most of their decision-making is achieved from Paris…not somewhere far, far away from over two -thirds of the national population.

    I bet they know at least as much as we do about what is wrong with America as we do. How could they not? It should seem obvious to them that we lack choice. I wonder when WE will get the memo.

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