How Does Age Change One's Political View?

I think of being moderate at meaning that you don’t automatically discount what someone else says based only on their political affiliations. But that would make most people on this board moderates.

I think that makes them “considerate”, not “moderate”.

I think that makes them “considerate”, not “moderate”.[/quote]
or maybe rational.

I think of “moderation” in this context as being the necessary amount, not too much and not too little.

. . . Not too much food so as to become fat and not too little food so as to become undernourished.

. . . Not too much self-defense so as to become an aggressor and not too little self-defense so as to become vulnerable.

Is this a difficult concept? Am I spouting foolishness here?

Whatever you say, Goldilocks… :wink:

Nothing in the middle of the road but dead skunks.

“Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” - Barry M. Goldwater

I like this AUH2O quote as well.

To disagree, one doesn’t have to be disagreeable.

[quote=“The Magnificent Tigerman”]Taking the middle ground approach seems to me, to be like stopping some, but not all of the blood flow when treating a wound. Screw that. I want an approach taken that will stop all of the blood flowing from the wound.

Moderation is OK, I guess, in connection with eating and drinking… but when tackling problems, I want an absolute fix, or as near to one as is possible… not some moderate compromise.[/quote]
If I cut myself around you, I ain’t going to say anything. I’ll be looking for a bandage, you’ll pull out a blowtorch to cauterize it. :noway: No thanks.

The search for an absolute fix, for the “shining city on the hill” leads to all sorts of disasters, from the ever-failing “War on Drugs” and chastity-only sex-ed programs that lead to more pregnancies and stds, to the Great Leap Forward.

When you get a chance, read Aeschylus’s Oresteia–though as a lawyer, you already should have. Extreme measures abound. The revenge killing, of a husband (Agamemnon, in part for sacrificing his daughter, Iphigeneia), by his wife, Clytaemnestra, leads to her murder by their son, Orestes. Each character, Agamemnon, Clytaemnestra, and Orestes takes extreme measures in the service of what’s right… and each is right. But each ends up dead, save for Orestes, who is pursued by the Furies. He’s only saved by the intervention of Athena, in the first instance of institutionalize justice. But she doesn’t destroy the Furies, instead, they are transformed into the Eumenides (The Kindly Ones). Beyond the beauty of the poetry, there are pertinent lessons. Primarily, that troublesome elements aren’t eliminated, they are contained and transformed.

The middle of the road needn’t be the default ground of the luke-warm; often it is the chosen ground of the prudent.

Or you might try pursuing politics differently. Doesn’t always work, or work equally well in all contexts, but aggressive confrontation does significantly raise the costs of negotiations and lower the value of victory.

[quote=“Jaboney”]
Or you might try pursuing politics differently. Doesn’t always work, or work equally well in all contexts, but aggressive confrontation does significantly raise the costs of negotiations and lower the value of victory.[/quote]

Your’re right. I can think of several cases where it hasn’t worked too well.

[quote]"We are resolved that the method of consultation shall be the method adopted to deal with any other questions that may concern our two countries, and we are determined to continue our efforts to remove possible sources of difference, and thus to contribute to assure the peace of Europe.

My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time…
Go home and get a nice quiet sleep."- Neville Chamberlain, September 30, 1938[/quote]

How about a bi-cameral congress? That was a compromise. Of course, some people later didn’t like the way that was shaping the country, and decided to take a strong, no-compromise-stand. Was that the strong stand the better course, or the compromise? Or should there have been stronger stands and less compromise in Philadelphia? I wonder what the country would have looked like in that case.

I didn’t say that all compromises were undesirable. I said that if you start negotiating from a moderate position rather than demanding what it is that you want, you will likely end up with a moderate compromise.

I would rather negotiate from a position of strength and clarity of desire and then, if forced to compromise, seek to get the best deal possible.

Moreover, if a bandaid stopped the flow of blood from the wound, why would I seek to cauterize the wound? That isn’t what I am talking about.

[quote=“The Magnificent Tigerman”]I didn’t say that all compromises were undesirable. I said that if you start negotiating from a moderate position rather than demanding what it is that you want, you will likely end up with a moderate compromise.

I would rather negotiate from a position of strength and clarity of desire and then, if forced to compromise, seek to get the best deal possible.[/quote]
See, the realist in me keeps trying to work around this point, and keeps coming back to it: if you need others, or need to live with others, you either force and police them (which carries significant costs, then and afterwards), or you seek to convince them, come to an understanding and get the best deal possible on that basis (which carries slight initial costs, and significant benefits afterwards). shrug

[quote=“The Magnificent Tigerman”]I didn’t say that all compromises were undesirable. I said that if you start negotiating from a moderate position rather than demanding what it is that you want, you will likely end up with a moderate compromise.

I would rather negotiate from a position of strength and clarity of desire and then, if forced to compromise, seek to get the best deal possible.[/quote]

How would my way not be seeking to convince them, come to an understanding and get the best deal possible on that basis? That’s what I’m talking about.

The method you recommend is adversarial and doesn’t cultivate trust, a willingness to compromise, or respect beyond that due to an adversary. It creates issues that must be overcome afterwards, entails greater costs, and potentially a diminished payoff. Did you watch the NHL negotiations?


The usual caption on this one reads “Winner, Not My Job Award, Arizona D.O.T.”

By the way, that’s a possum. Them’s good eatin’.

Gotta love that possum picture! Truly a keeper.

In an attempt to honor the OP’s request …

It would be very interesting to see statistics on this question. I wonder if it’s ever been studied within the social sciences (yeah, I know Google exists). I would estimate that the majority of people become more liberal with age. Regardless, it would be fascinating to know the answer, and what other main factors correlate with one destination or the other.

As for me, in my youth I was quite black and white on issues, and on the conservative end of the scale. To add fuel to the stereotype fire, I was also in the military at the time. As years went by, experience and education increased, as did the amount of personal grief. You know, at 20 years old, I was certain that I was not the kind of person who could ever get divorced. That happens to those other people, who don’t really get it or don’t care or … Well, years later, I got divorced. I could give many other examples like that.

The point is perspective. It is pretty easy to be dead set against the circumstances of others when you have never experienced those circumstances. Once you do, and “they” becomes “you”, there is often a paradigm shift on the issue at hand. What was once unthinkable becomes understandable. Over the years, this process, coupled with more exposure to what is true and not true, has had a liberalizing effect on me.

As far as an appropriate label goes, that would be nearly impossible to assign. I’d have to examine every category of thought and determine if I was conservative or liberal in that category, add them all together, and get an average or something. Further complicating the matter is that I range up and down on a “conservative – 0 – liberal” scale within each of those categories.

So, what am I?

A person, with the most compassionate, understanding, and fair belief system that I can muster.

There may well be studies out there, as you say – but who knows how objective or well-executed they are (I tend to find most studies/surveys of this kind to be fairly biased in one direction or the other).

In my own experience, I have more often heard people say that they become more conservative as they get older. :idunno: Who knows.

For my own part, however, I’m much closer to your guess. I think I’ve become more liberal, or maybe more “moderate” – or perhaps more open to idea that some of the things I once believed were open-and-shut cases are actually largely dependent on empirical data that I can never truly know one way or the other. I can only use my judgment to come up with my best guess about what the facts really are.

This is something that strikes me more and more, as years go by: how astoundingly certain people seem to be of their policy positions on issues where disputed empirical data is plays a major role.

Take school vouchers, for example. This issue has been not infrequently discussed by others on various threads, and in the vast majority of cases it seems to me that the crux of the question boils down to “What are the actual data? How many dollars would go where under which proposal? To what extent are dollars spent actually corellated with positive educational results?” etc.

After all, pretty much everyone who’s arguing about it wants kids to have good educations. The question is how to get there. And there are mountains of data out there. Far more than any one person can read and understand, unless they do nothing else with their days… and possibly not even then. And a very large portion of the data on any given topic is produced by people/organizations who have a vested interest in showing the results to be one way or the other.

When I was younger I thought the issue was completely black and white:

[color=black]— School vouchers are supported by poor people, minorities, and those who want under-privileged kids to get a better education. You take, say, half the dollars-per-student from bad schools (and they, therefore, end up with more dollars per student then they had before – so the “it drains resources from public schools” argument was always a non-starter). Then you give this money to poor parents and let them spend it to put their kids in better schools (which accomplish far better results with less $/student because they can fire bad teachers and don’t spend 60% of the money on administrators).

— Vouchers are opposed by people who put their own political or economic self-interest ahead of the needs of children. Teachers unions, school district administrators and politicians do not want to see their tenure/guaranteed-funding-regardless-of-results “sweet deal” disturbed. “If a teacher has been there for 20 years then damnit he’s earned the right to slack-off and earn his paycheck, regardless if whether the kids learn anything.” And if it is the least fortunate in society who suffer so that these people can have their government guaranteed gravy train then so be it. [/color]

I no longer think the issue is necessarily this clearcut. As I said, there is a ton of data on this stuff – and I’ve read a lot on it, but I’ve still barely scratched the surface in terms of the total of what is out there. How can I take a hardline “I’m right and you are wrong, and if you disagree with me it must mean you just don’t care about educating kids” position when so much of the issue depends on facts that I can only know a fraction of --and that, mostly, by reading second-hand sources, most of which have an ideological axe to grind on one side or the other? Even if I try to read both sides I still won’t be 100% sure that I am right.

I strongly believe that a sense of humility, when it comes to having a firm handle on the empirical data, should be a part of virtually every political discussion that goes on. The Iraq war (what were the facts before the invasion? how much did people in power know? how many have died each month since the invasion? how many died each month under Saddam? what would have happened in the counterfactual?); the hurricane (who ordered what? when? what difference would have resulted from different decisions? what were the motivations involved?) and almost everything else.

I believe that everyone can (and perhaps even should) have rock-solid value beliefs that they cling to and defend with vigor and passion. I even believe that we can all form certain “default positions” on what the facts are likely to be … based on our prior experiences and knowledge.

But the idea that any of us can be 100% certain that our policy positions are the right ones – to the extent that these positions generally depend on both a value judgment and an undisputed set of empirical data that we almost never have… well this is a position of which I am more and more sceptical with each passing year.

Cheers to whoever started this thread, by the way.

-H

[quote=“Hobbes”]But the idea that any of us can be 100% certain that our policy positions are the right ones – to the extent that these positions generally depend on both a value judgment and an undisputed set of empirical data that we almost never have… well this is a position of which I am more and more sceptical with each passing year.

[/quote]

Great point, and one I was trying to make earlier, but you’ve put it more eloquently. The older I get, the less I’m sure I know. The more humble I become realizing how many other people in this world are so much smarter, wiser, and more experienced than I. When you’re a kid, you think you have all the answers. Ah, the sweet arrogance of youth - would I could be so naively arrogant again. But you get older and experience humbles you. So I’ve become not so much “moderate” but agnostic when it comes to politics, and most everything else. I know I don’t have the answers to anything. And I definitely know the fucking politicians and their political parties don’t know any more than I do.

There is nothing wrong with an adversarial approach, so long as all parties are honest and fair. If they are honest and fair there is nothing that would prevent trust from developing. Heck, in the most adversarial arena of all, European battlefields of old, there was trust between enemies that fair play and rules would be observed.

Why not?

Years ago, I was watching a hockey player being interviewed on television. The interviewer asked the player whether he “respected” a certain player from another team. The hockey player replied that he very much “respected” that other player. Then he laughed and explained that when a hockey player “respects” another player, it means he doesn’t want to get in a fight with the guy.

But seriously, I don’t see any reason that adversaries cannot respect each other in the best sense of the word. In fact, the US judicial system, as well as all common law jurisdictions, utilizes the adversarial method of trial. I think it is the norm actually to see attorneys for opposing parties treat each other with trust and respect, yet, they are willing to compromise whenever necessary.

That is not necessarily true of the adversarial method… and moreover, the same can sometimes be said of the moderate method.