growing out of it
May 29, 2003 12:54 PM

Why does it seem that no one who takes a conservative viewpoint on politics or a defeatist viewpoint about social change is told they'll "grow out of it"?

I'm serious here.

See. I've been pretty liberal for most of my life. Except, maybe, for the period right after I first discovered politics and decided I was a Libertarian. [In many ways I still am a libertarian, philosophically, but I am not going to associate with those people. I mean, eep.] And I've always been told by people slightly or more older than me that I will eventually have money and a family and I'll want to protect them and I won't be liberal anymore because liberal is somehow not about family and people having enough money.

Well, I have money and I sort of have a family, and I have to say. I don't feel a sudden wave of fiscal or social conservatism washing over me. You know what? The support of my family and the freedom afforded by that money just make me more radical. So, there.

When are you, annoying people who tell me idealism is for kids, going to grow out of being pompous, apathetic and powerless? When are those of you who don't even bother to vote going to grow up and start paying attention?

Rant aside, I don't recall any of the conservative kids I knew when I was younger being told they were young and idealistic and going to eventually grow out of it. That actually makes me feel an itty bit better - if every highly politicized youngish person got that kind of flak, it would be a sad, bitter commentary on the American political system and its reputation.

So, why this association of liberalism with youth and foolishness (why, for that matter, the association of youth with foolishness)?

I'm beginnning to think it's just another part of the lack of an American mythos. Lacking a collection of godlike archetypes and having a Puritan sense of order and organization, we categorize things. [I wrote a paper in middle school I think analogizing Piaget and some other child development guys' notions of adolescence to American culture and politics that tied into this as a reflection of that pre-adolescent fixation on magazine quizzes; it was actually pretty clever. I was reading a lot of fin de siecle German theory at the time.] So, when mass media kicked in the sixties, and everyone saw kids running around being liberal, maybe we decided that liberalism equaled kids and Ronald Reagan equaled normal, adult America.

I think it's about time we grew out of that.

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your wicked thoughts

brava! I went thru a period in hs when I thought I *would* grow out of it, so I tried to do more & more liberal stuff. Thank the goddess I realized that I won't.

(btw - you win the first comment from me in almost 3 weeks!)

these are the thoughts of Roni on May 29, 2003 01:20 PM

it's also adultist to assume that younger people are ignorant and will "learn better." You know? I think this derision for "idealism" even in adults might be adultist in nature, as idealism is so often associated with younger people.

these are the thoughts of drublood on May 30, 2003 10:54 AM

Yeah... a while ago, one of my uncles on my mom's side of the family (the wealthy side of the family, we call them) made that catchphrase about that (what is it again? "I was a Democrat once... and then I grew up"?) and I just sighed. Apparently, he was a moderate liberal when he was a kid, but "grew out of it" eventually, ostensibly when he got married and had children. The thing is, I've been progressive/liberal ever since I became aware of the state of the world and decided my parents weren't the authority on everything.

In fact, the more I grow up and have to deal with money and government and life, the more convinced I am of my political passions.

these are the thoughts of steph on June 1, 2003 11:50 PM

While I know people who have "grown out of it" and people who haven't, I think that the concept likely comes from the tendancy of people to collect *stuff* as they get older. You buy the house, the car, the furniture, the mutual funds, the whole rigamole, and suddenly the conservative ideas promoting asset protection sound a lot better than when you were a kid in an apartment with a futon and ten bucks in your pocket. So, yeah, I relate Reagan=grown up to rampant materialism.

these are the thoughts of Aldahlia on June 13, 2003 07:11 PM

I realize that I'm probably not quite knowledgable enough to distinguish whether I'm conservative or liberal [I know I'm liberal in the sense of pro choice/supporting gay rights], but I don't quite understand how liberalism is considered childish when our media's liberal and everything the democrats do is considered wonderful [not that I'm saying they're bad, I'm just confused]. I guess my question just is, who actually says that you'll grow out of this "idealism"? I've never heard anyone say that, I just hear about how bad conservatism / republicans are.

these are the thoughts of stephanie on July 2, 2003 07:08 AM

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