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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2007
    Southern Indiana

    Default What determines our political mindset?

    Politics is quite fascinating. I've noticed that two very intelligent, well educated and well meaning people can have the most vicious fights over politics. Why is that? Why are some people "conservative" and some people "liberal"? And some, of course, could care less? Nature/nurture? Do we all vote our pocketbooks? What enables us often to be blinded from truth and fact to support politicians who do likewise? Churchill remarked that a democracy was the worst form of government ever-except for any other. We, of course, are a representative republic but that statement still holds true.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by riderboy View Post
    Politics is quite fascinating. I've noticed that two very intelligent, well educated and well meaning people can have the most vicious fights over politics. Why is that? Why are some people "conservative" and some people "liberal"? And some, of course, could care less? Nature/nurture? Do we all vote our pocketbooks? What enables us often to be blinded from truth and fact to support politicians who do likewise? Churchill remarked that a democracy was the worst form of government ever-except for any other. We, of course, are a representative republic but that statement still holds true.
    Seems like some sciences, like nuclear physics and complexity, are pointing more and more at determinism, indicating that there truly is no free will.
    We can see chaos theories as a window into mechanisms for that.
    The problem, we have evolved with a brain that has a hard time accepting that, keeps forming it's own reality time and again, superimposed with what may be out there.
    We turn mental flips to try to believe we are masters of our destiny, or relegate that to some mythical being, if we decide that is too big a task for mere humans.

    Alas, it seems that every moment of space/time and other dimensions we can't quite access, but are still part of what our reality seems to be, are part of all that happens, previously, today and will happen ever, if where science is taking us today is right.

    My point, we are who we are meant to be, no matter how we explain to ourselves rationally how we got there and where we want to go.
    One example, cause and effect are being stood on their heads, when you consider time a non-directional whole.

    That could be one explanation to your question.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 11, 2004


    I think a lot has to do with nurture vs nature. Because many of us follow how we were raised. Until such time as a polition from the pov of this does something to really screw up those ideals we hold. Then we take another look at our position and maybe change maybe not.
    I also think it is our education our fav. teachers for example if their lectures lean left for example and we really like the way they taught us then we may tend to lean left.
    I mean think about it in your house hold your parents always scream at the POTUS calling him a jackass etc when on Tv, because they and him do not hold the same political views and you grow up hearing this .. Though as children before cable we didnt have a lot of choices but to be tortured by what seemed to be weekly tv addresses by the POTUS... But you grow up hearing this even though you were probably in your room or at least another room enteraining yourself while he is on tv you still ''heard'' it while it is going on. Then for a few days your parents ''discuss'' what na idiot the guy is, and how could hte coutry be so stupid to elect him in htefirst place. How many braindead people out there are there, and all the other arguments you nowsee on message boards like this one in recient years. then is school your taught ( for example) that we should care about ever human and that all humans should be equal in every aspect.. Or the oppsite that every human is given a chance to prove themselves to be the best they canbe in work, school etc and do not need the govt. to interfear etc. between the two your political views begin ot form to where one begins ot become your comfort zone in thissubject. IE do you believe ( extriem example) that the govt. owes every one housing, food, medical, education through college, employment and a good ''living wage'' though you did not have to ''work for it''. Or the other extriem That the govt. should stay as far away as possible out of the lives of the people. People will sink or swim as their skills /intel et al will allow. Only in very limite cases should he govt. porvide helath, housing etc.
    Every contact with either will shape what eventually become what I call your core values, what you believe is right until they become your political viewpoint.
    At least this is what I believe occures to determine political viewpoints. And education really doesnt play a part in it as ther are highly educated people on both sides of the fence as well as people who make a box of hair look intelegent. IQ wise.. But remember this even the mose educated person on the planet maybe ''dumb as a brick''.. And the mose uneducated can have the mid set of Enstine(sp). Education really has no play in intellegance though having some intellegence does help when becomming educated...
    Friend of bar .ka

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 11, 2006
    Cheesehead in Loudoun Co, VA


    Some scientists are trying to find out. They've got some fascinating theories. These are just a few: (This remarkable result does not necessarily imply that Liberals are right-brain dominant and Conservatives are left-brain dominant. This survey never intended to resolve left versus right brain dominance, nor even resolve what dominance means. This survey was focused on a set of mental attributes that have demonstrated hemispheric asymmetries.)


    My own politics are the opposite of my parents. The political discussions at holidays completely turned me off politics. I thought they were all nuts to get that worked up over things they couldn't change. I started paying attention as I got older and found one aunt made (in my mind) significantly more sensible arguments than the rest of my family. I also began to question WHY instead of just accepting what my elders said was gospel. I majored in history (& geography) in college and tend to see things in a larger, historical picture. My conclusions differ greatly from that of the rest of my family, aside from the one aunt (by marriage) and my son.

    My son is also interesting in that he thought my political views were nuts and his grandparents' were correct until he also grew old enough to question and research. I never pressured him or trashed the views of the rest of my family in front of him. As crazy as I think they are, they're still family and I love them!
    Last edited by HighFlyinBey++; Nov. 12, 2011 at 08:12 AM. Reason: hit reply too soon
    I'm not arguing, I'm just explaining why I'm right
    Violence doesn't end violence. It extends it. Break the cycle.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 9, 2007


    I was raised in the conservative (then Democratic) South but by parents who taught me to read everything and think for myself. Also, my father told me many times that all politicians are crooks.

    When I was in college, I went out to Berkeley and went to Cal for a while. There I had the revelation that while white male politicians in the South blamed every vice and social ill on blacks; white males in California blamed all vices and social issues on mexicans. Revelation: All politicians
    are crooks.

    So I choose my politicians by issues and by "face." A politician who is most likely to do the best for this country is one who can glad hand and get along with politicians from other countries while still being firm on social and moral issues. . Politicians who label every other country "evil" are not politicians that I vote for.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2009


    Try being self employed and you will become very political. While the vast majority of the United States work force has taxes taken right out of their checks, I have to write 8 checks a year to the Feds and State.

    It is PAINFUL, especially when I see generations of welfare recipients cheating our state, my money spent on stupid "wars', money given to failed companies...

    I was never political until I wrote that first check. Somehow they have dumbed us down by being able to seize it from us every two weeks before we even see it! It is like fake money. When you write those checks it becomes very real. Do I want more hay for. My horses or pay to compensate Freddie Mac execs??? OY!!!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2004
    Yonder, USA


    Quote Originally Posted by howardh View Post
    Try being self employed and you will become very political.
    It's a little different when it's not just a line on your W-2, isn't it? The spreadsheet where I tally up wages paid out versus checks cut to local, state, and federal government is pretty sobering.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 18, 2007


    I think a big part is from our parents, but not all. I disagree with Mom on a few things, but we could have the most interesting discussions on it. Intelligent, respectful discussions. I think that skill is being lost in the world today. For instance, somebody above mentioned parents screaming at the POTUS and calling him a jackass. I remember many POTUS's whom Mom vigorously, intensely disagreed with, people she probably would have voted for Mickey Mouse rather than. Never once did I hear her screaming at or about one or using derogatory names. Her objections were always based on points ("He has done thus and so"), not on name calling ("He is a jackass"), and they were always expressed intelligently, not as an emotional rant.

    But as said, I disagree with her on a few things. Which was fine, as she did always encourage us to evaluate things and come to our own decisions, too. She, by the way, was not strict party lines, and I have seen her vote for both Democrats and for Republicans as POTUS. She would take me with her to vote even before I was old enough, and she would explain on the top positions why she was voting for X rather than Y. Never once was it "he's this party" or "opponent is a jackass."

    I think there's some personality difference in there, too, as Mom was fanatically, intensely into politics. Before she lost it, she would spend a couple of hours a day, EVERY day, reading political stuff on the internet (again, not just one site, but looked for all sides of issues). I thought there were far better things to spend a couple of hours a day on, and it simply never mattered to me as much as to her. Most of our political discussions ended with me ending them simply because I didn't choose to spend more time on this. Not because I'd "lost," as such discussions were never framed on either side with a goal of "I win, you lose." They were certainly never framed in terms of another pet peeve of mine, "Anybody with the least bit of intelligence obviously would agree with me, so anybody who doesn't is either a moron or has not thought out their position." But I just had a limit for how much political discussion I could take. She would have gladly continued and discussed politics for hours on end.

    In short, a lot of things. But the one thing I value most from Mom is not my political convictions but the example of quiet, rational, thoughtful discussion on differences. That is rarely seen among people today, in my experience. Which is why among my acquaintances, Mom was just about the only person I ever had political discussions with. I'd avoid them with others, because they so often turned emotional and ugly.

    One of the only two bumper stickers I've ever had in my life, and it was a parental gift: "Ignore the media. Think for yourself."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2005
    Unionville, PA


    I own a company, but it certainly hasn't changed my politics. I am proud to pay my taxes! I feel it is my duty as a US citizen. Not that I wouldn't mind it they were lower! But if paying taxes changes your politics,it would not seem that your views were really part of your core values.

    My politics are also opposite from my parents. I am from TN, not exactly the land of the progressives. Interestingly, all 5 of my siblings (and myself) voted for Obama, although only 3 of us I would say are true progressives. The other three are fairly moderate.
    Delaware Park Canter Volunteer

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 12, 2000
    NE TN, USA


    I was apolitical until I filled out my first Form 1040 while in High School (I mowed lawns to make spending money). I was pushed further toward the right by a series of foaming-at-the-mouth Left-Wing college instructors. Running my own business made me a charter member of what Miz Hillr'y refers to as the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.
    The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
    Winston Churchill

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2007


    "Determinism" is bunk. What we get from early life gives us a starting point, not an ending point. If we never change our views as we go through life and have multiple experiences then we are either a zealot or quite stupid.

    Churchill is reputed to have said that a man at 20 who is not a liberal has no heart; a man at 40 who is not a conservative has no brain (or words to that effect). While we can argue the politics of the statement his observation that views can and should change is beyond a doubt.

    Much is made nowadays of brain chemistry and the like. These are valuable as they illustrate how things work and may give us tools to help make them work better, treat disease or dysfunction, etc. We cross a line, however, when we say that we don't really have "free will" as our brain chemistry is fixed. IMO the evidence presented for that position is completely inadequate.

    Humans are the most malleable species on the planet. That's why we are at the top of the food chain. This does not make us "better" or "worse" than any other species. There is no moral or ethical sign in front of "malleability." What we do with our abilities is purely our responsibility.

    To answer the original question, life determines our political mindset.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Lexington, KY


    I was a little right of center when I still lived in Baltimore. Husband was in upper management, daughter in private school, lived in a nice area, worked for a gymnastics center with a wealthy clientele. The only poverty I really saw was driving through parts of Baltimore. I didn't really pay too much attention to politics, my life didn't change too much one way or another. Liked my health insurance, liked my income, liked my living situation.

    Then I moved to Kentucky. We live in a very nice area. But, I meet, on a day to day basis, people who are unable to make ends meet. Clerks at the dollar store who are so underpaid they have to decided between medicine and food for their kids. People in the grocery store who have to put items back because they can't afford them. The clerk in Walmart who was crying because her asthmatic granddaughter lived with her, needed to go to a specialist and Walmart wouldn't give her time off because she wasn't a close enough relative. People who put $3 of gas in their car to get to work. Horrible cuts to education...but plenty of money for UK basketball. I see the coal companies raping the mountains for coal while polluting the environment. Our priorities are totally screwed up.

    Are there some who abuse the system? Sure. There always will be, poor and wealthy alike. You who scream about food stamp recipients buying soda and expensive snacks, what about the hedge fund managers with obscene bonuses after our tax dollars bailed them out? Why do you think sodas and snacks are allowed purchases with food stamps...ever think the soda and snack food lobby might have something to do with it? Our country is sinking into poverty and many of us don't care. Because we only care about ourselves.

    I've changed...simply by moving. Definitely left of center.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
    ~ John F. Kennedy

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov. 15, 2006
    Lexington, Kentucky


    I grew up very Republican in Idaho (I think it's almost illegal to be a Democrat there! ). Life experiences have moved me very much to the middle, I am now a registered Independent. Being an Independent is a little frustrating because I can not vote in the primaries. I feel like I should at least be able to choose a side and vote one time, but nope.
    Some friends who vote opposite of me can have great discussions and we usually find we are more similar than different. Some I avoid talking politics with like the plague, it's too emotional, too one-sided, no room for seeing a different viewpoint.
    I get pretty tired of the whole thing really. Until the electoral system is done away with, I feel the presidential election is almost pointless to vote in.
    We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2009
    North Carolina


    From what I have observed, there is not a lot of critical thinking involved. A whole lot of information among people who have lost the ability to check their fact and use the power of logic.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 30, 2008


    I grew up in a family where Right was right and Left was evil. I wasn't allowed to have posters on my walls of teen idols or bands, but no one objected to campaign posters for Senator Helms, etc. I was active in Young Republicans, President of College Republicans, but at the same time that I was "leading" that group, I was doing an independent study on a global perspective of capital punishment--a topic *I* chose. What I found there, concerned me as it didn't in any way mirror what I was brought up to believe and slowly, my eyes started opening one issue at a time. There was a period of several years that I was very confused and almost lost. I felt like I wasn't sure what my identity was anymore--except that of a RINO who could spout "lower taxes," "less regulation," etc.

    I kinda sorta (but not really) bumped along more or less contentedly until the race of 2008 began heating up. For the first time in my life, I had regular access to cable that wasn't only Fox News and I was watching and reading things from many different perspectives. I was intrigued by Obama, horrified by Hillary Clinton (after all, she'd been demonized my entire childhood and heaven forbid I let go of that completely), and baffled but indulgent of McCain. But then along came Sarah Palin. And every time she opened her mouth, she embarrassed me. As a (registered) Republican woman, she was NOTHING that I wanted to be associated with and I got in the habit of sending Obama $5-10 EVERY time she embarrassed me. So sometime after the primary, but before the general election, I made things official and have been a Democrat ever since. It felt like I was coming home.

    I'm still the odd woman out in my father's side of the family. My sister has aspirations of being the first woman governor of Mississippi (Republican of course). I have aspirations of local politics, maybe state office, but I prefer to remain in the legislature rather than the executive branch. I fully expect that my family will openly campaign against me if/when I do run and that's ok. Because I'm happy with who I am, what I believe, and the process that brought me to where I am.
    Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

    You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.

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