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July 2, 2012 2:34 PM   Subscribe

Who could forget young Jonathan Krohn (previously), who dazzled the crowd at CPAC 2009 with his finely wrought rhetoric? Or perhaps you remember his classic tome Defining Conservatism. It will come as no surprise that he's still making waves at the grand old age of 17... by swinging left. "I think it was naive."
posted by Madamina (53 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
He sounds like me at 19 - I'm glad I wasn't privileged enough to get on a national stage at 13 and air out my warped conception of the world.

Also, possibly the dumbest sentence ever written in a profile about a 17-year-old, and that's saying something:
Krohn is bucking the received wisdom that people become more conservative as they get older, a shift he attributes partly to philosophy.
He's 17! Not 67! It's completely and utterly typical for kids from more conservative families to get more liberal as they graduate high school and go to college! Because they become exposed to way more people and viewpoints than just their parents!
posted by muddgirl at 2:43 PM on July 2, 2012 [20 favorites]


Krohn is bucking the received wisdom that people become more conservative as they get older

Yeah, erm, I don't think ages 13 to 17 are exactly the high-water mark for this sort of reversal...
posted by mykescipark at 2:44 PM on July 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


This isn't terribly interesting at all. The vast majority of young adults in this country engage in a progress of ideology in their late teens and early 20's. As they get older, their ideas continue to evolve. Sometimes these changes are more dramatic, but mostly everyone will move within some range over their lifetime. In fact, I would be more surprised and find it deeply depressing to know anyone who believes the same thing at 45 that they believed at 15. It would show a lack of curiosity about the world.

So as a story about Jonathan Krohn--whom I don't recall every hearing of before just now--this is more about the fact that he is older than he was then; not terribly interesting. If anything, it suggests that people criticizing or holding up young people as rational big-idea thinkers is foolish and wrong. Hopefully that's the point of this post and not some suggestion that this kid's movement between two ideological points is any way reflective of the propriety or value of either point. To do would be making the same mistake.
posted by dios at 2:47 PM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, I only post to annoy people.
posted by Madamina at 2:49 PM on July 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


Heh - when I was like 15 or 16 (92 election) - I voted for Bo fuckin' Gritz in our school election. I knew of one other kid who voted for him. I was a kid who listened to Guns and Roses and Dead Kennedys. I said "love the sinner hate the sin" (and I meant it). I believed in Freedom of Speech! I thought we should END THE FED and GOLD STANDARD, blah blah blah. Then I became a libertarian when I was old enough to vote (my first vote in 96 was Harry Browne), then I moved to a liberal city (shortly after starting to lose my religion) and then got into anarchism and learning about that, and became a mild lefty, and voted Nader in 2000, even though in my heart I was an anarchist (of the post left variety) and then after 4 years of Bush held my nose and voted for Kerry. Then held my nose and voted for Obama and will do so again. But I am hella more radically left than I've ever been. And that's what you call a left turn.

The funny thing is that this kid just seems like a centrist. It sounds like some of the things my friend says (about not being too extreme -- It kind of annoys me at times, because it's a bit wishy washy, but whatevs)... So I guess it's "swinging left" but it's not like a huge radical change. He's just probably becoming what Republicans used to be. If we had a Republican Party that followed in the footsteps of Ike, I'd be much less terrified for the future. Shit, maybe it's these kinds of kids who CAN change the Republican party, but I doubt it. As it is now the whole thing is built upon spite and anger and hate and I have no clue how it can end without exploding or burning out. I don't think there can be a voice of sanity in the right-wing today.
posted by symbioid at 2:52 PM on July 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was a big right wing talk radio listener from age 12-18. Read the National Review and Rush Limbaugh books. Sometime around the Bush nomination in 2000, I switched dramatically eventually settling near the leftish side of the middle.
posted by drezdn at 2:55 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


His acute embarrassment at his oblivious, know-it-all 13 year-old self is awfully familiar.
posted by eugenen at 2:56 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


His acute embarrassment at his oblivious, know-it-all 13 year-old self is awfully familiar.

it reminds me of my acute embarrassment at my oblivious, know-it-all 13 year-old self, my oblivious, know-it-all 17 year-old self, my oblivious, know-it-all 21 year-old self, my oblivious, know-it-all 28 year-old self, my oblivious, know-it-all 35 year-old self, and my oblivious, know-it-all 41 year-old self.

Fortunately, now at 44, I really do know it all.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:59 PM on July 2, 2012 [60 favorites]


My first "political" memory is when I found out that the cute boy in my children's theater troupe was a Bill Clinton 'supporter'. This was in 1992 and I must have been 7 years old - he was probably 8. My parents were Bush supporters and it seemed inconceivable to me that anyone would think differently.
posted by muddgirl at 3:00 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


He's headed to NYU. He'd better turn left. His alternative is this.
posted by gurple at 3:02 PM on July 2, 2012


Yes, a thirteen year old twerking in front of the world is bound to become an embarrassment at some point later on.
posted by 2N2222 at 3:15 PM on July 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


His alternative is this.

They said I could become anything, so I became an eagle with a face tattoo.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:15 PM on July 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


I think Bill Maher nailed it, actually:

“When 14-year-old boys sound exactly like you do and can produce radio shows and books and speeches that sound exactly like yours, maybe you should rethink the shit that comes out of your mouth.

Remember the Republican debates we had this year? They applauded for the idea of letting a sick man without insurance die. Herman Cain got cheers for saying he’d electrify the border fence. They booed a gay man serving his country in the military. No wonder 14-year-old boys can do your act, you act exactly like 14-year-old boys. There’s no ideology here. It’s just about being a dick.”

posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:20 PM on July 2, 2012 [44 favorites]


I am so glad I did not post anything derogatory about that boy on the previous thread. Kids grow up and change their minds often.
posted by Renoroc at 3:37 PM on July 2, 2012


Blah.

I couldn't find the text of his previous speech, but there's no way it could be as content-free as his current statements.

He doesn't actually talk about politics at all. He's asked about his political beliefs as though they were his favorite movies - and he just checks them off, "I believe in gay marriage and Obamacare".
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:49 PM on July 2, 2012


Imagine how liberal this guy will be by 21 if he keeps up this pace! He is on track to be the most liberal guy ever. Hell, by 50 he will probably believe things that nobody every thought before, we are talking bleeding edge liberalism. Pushing the envelope on liberalism like some sort of political test pilot.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:50 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember reading about this kid in 2009. The only remarkable thing about it then -- and now -- is that CPAC would seriously put forward a 13-year-old as some kind of figurehead for the intellectual future of conservatism. No matter where his ideology goes in the future, his 2009 performance would still be the political equivalent of "Toddlers and Tiaras."

Unless...this is some kind of James O'Keefe long con. OMG LOOK OUT, NYU SOCIOLOGY DEPARTMENT RECEPTIONISTS!
posted by PlusDistance at 4:06 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I couldn't find the text of his previous speech, but there's no way it could be as content-free as his current statements.

Christ on a sidecar HE IS ONLY SEVENTEEN YEARS OLD what kind of content could he be producing yet?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:11 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


This kid is sooooo getting dumped by the cute hippy girl from California he met the first week of freshman orientation as soon as she Googles him.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:17 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Remember the good old days when children were to be seen and not heard? What a kindness even before there was TV and the internet to broadcast adolescent spew.
posted by Cranberry at 4:17 PM on July 2, 2012


checks old thread...

I hope he gets laid, smokes pot, has fun in college. Only life experience will teach him the folly of his ways.

Yeah, called it.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 4:55 PM on July 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Why do people get inevitably get more conservative as they get older? I'm as liberal now (45) as I ever have been. Most of my good friends who are my age or older are not conservative, either, and don't seem less so than they were when they were in their 20s.

Is "conservative" code for "hide-bound", "incurious" or "scared"? I guess I could understand all of those.
posted by maxwelton at 5:03 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Christ on a sidecar HE IS ONLY SEVENTEEN YEARS OLD what kind of content could he be producing yet?

Have you talked to any intelligent seventeen-year-olds recently? I've had interesting discussions about politics with them. I've known many seventeen-year-olds who can at least justify their political beliefs, not just state them. In particular, from what I can gather, his thirteen-year-old self was able to make a speech with content - aren't we talking about him precisely because he's a boy wonder?

But I think you're assuming I'm somehow blaming him because his content-free statements have been blasted all over the net. Not at all - I'm blaming the "press", in this case Gawker, for pushing his empty statements everywhere. The correct headline should be, "Teen has poorly thought-out views on politics" but then it would be obvious that this isn't newsworthy.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:25 PM on July 2, 2012


Heh - when I was like 15 or 16 (92 election) - I voted for Bo fuckin' Gritz in our school election. I knew of one other kid who voted for him.

I also voted for Bo Gritz in a school election. I had seen a Xeroxed campaign flyer on the grocery store bulletin board--I thought it was some kind of prank, and was totally surprised to actually see his name on the ballot. Also, I thought it was pronounced like 'grits.'
posted by box at 5:35 PM on July 2, 2012


I remember how, back when I was a preteen, politics seemed like this musty, remote, -adult- topic discussed by very serious people in very serious suits all convening over spreadsheets in an austere board room somewhere. Naturally I wanted to have something to say about it to impress the grown-ups with my precocity, but I didn't have any meaningful point-of-entry resources by which to even understand what it was, let alone to help me come up with opinions on its finer points.

When I chanced on Rush Limbaugh on television (who the hell was syndicating that on Canadian TV in the '94?), I felt attracted to the show because I could very easily follow what he was talking about. Suddenly I felt like I had some foundational insight into politics and social issues, all thanks to this man who didn't at all seem to be talking down to ten-year-old me! I was listening along to an "adult" discussion and understanding all the nuanced points - did I ever feel smart to be able to do that!

At this time in my life I didn't understand the distinction between right- and left-wing ideology, nor would I have been able to indicate where my parents or any other adults I knew stood on any of "the issues". All I knew was that Rush was talking about "politics" (my first mistake), and that I could gain insight into this once-18A realm if I continued to pay attention. I was basically playing house.

Thankfully, my attraction to the show didn't last long. I'd like to think that I rejected the program after a month or two because it didn't gel with the values I was absorbing from my community, but more likely I just got tired of pretending, couldn't get a rise out of anybody, and realized Animaniacs was on during the same time slot.

Anyway, even though Krohn and I were prepubescent during our phases, I think this anecdote helps illustrate one of the more insidious forms of propaganda present in my culture that targets people of all ages. There's no ministry in Canada forcing neocon tenets on us with besloganed Soviet-style posters, but there is this everpresent sense that to be a real functional respectable Grown-Up it's imperative to have a defined, defensible Opinion about certain things -- you're no better than a child if you don't! And for everyone who doesn't have the time or energy to weigh the points or who hasn't had enough experience with the thing in question to know how they feel about it, but who nevertheless don't want to betray themselves: there are prefab opinion kits complete with talking points, assertions implied and questions begged, all freely available for our personal adoption, all in extremely conspicuous places.
posted by metaman livingblog at 5:35 PM on July 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Why do people get inevitably get more conservative as they get older? I'm as liberal now (45) as I ever have been. Most of my good friends who are my age or older are not conservative, either, and don't seem less so than they were when they were in their 20s.
Well, it actually seems like people's views just get relatively more "conservative" compared to the current crop of younger people, simply meaning more relatively out of date. Obviously younger people have more modern views which are usually more "liberal". As various cohorts die off the spectrum sifts. Conservatives are no longer openly white supremacist. They're no longer for making killing off or imprisoning gays; they're no longer against Medicare. But it goes in the other direction as younger people are more likely to call themselves "pro life" (except many people say they are pro life without wanting to make abortion illegal, they just disapprove of it)
Have you talked to any intelligent seventeen-year-olds recently? I've had interesting discussions about politics with them. I've known many seventeen-year-olds who can at least justify their political beliefs, not just state them. In particular, from what I can gather, his thirteen-year-old self was able to make a speech with content - aren't we talking about him precisely because he's a boy wonder?
Why are you assuming his initial speech had any content? It was at CPAC. I remember some people saying it was just warmed over talking points. He wasn't saying anything nuanced, just repeating what he'd heard.

Of course, it's also possible that his new "position" is that he just doesn't really care anymore, just wants people to like him and is just saying what he thinks other people that he interacts with think, which is how most people approach politics anyway.
posted by delmoi at 5:46 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Have you talked to any intelligent seventeen-year-olds recently?

I've had that misfortune, yes, and learned all about the wonders of Ron Paul and the gold standard.
posted by Sangermaine at 5:55 PM on July 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


I wonder how long before Rush Limbaugh denounces him as a queer pothead commie brat.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:21 PM on July 2, 2012


Well to be fair, for all the adulation and fame CPAC gave this kid three years ago, when he turns 18 he probably owes them at least a sex tape.
posted by hincandenza at 6:29 PM on July 2, 2012


Hmm, reading this doesn't seem too content free:
“One of the first things that changed was that I stopped being a social conservative,” said Krohn. “It just didn’t seem right to me anymore. From there, it branched into other issues, everything from health care to economic issues.… I think I’ve changed a lot, and it’s not because I’ve become a liberal from being a conservative — it’s just that I thought about it more. The issues are so complex, you can’t just go with some ideological mantra for each substantive issue.”



“I started reflecting on a lot of what I wrote, just thinking about what I had said and what I had done and started reading a lot of other stuff, and not just political stuff,” Krohn said. “I started getting into philosophy — Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Kant and lots of other German philosophers. And then into present philosophers — Saul Kripke, David Chalmers. It was really reading philosophy that didn’t have anything to do with politics that gave me a breather and made me realize that a lot of what I said was ideological blather that really wasn’t meaningful. It wasn’t me thinking. It was just me saying things I had heard so long from people I thought were interesting and just came to believe for some reason, without really understanding it. I understood it enough to talk about it but not really enough to have a conversation about it.
So he's actually saying that he wasn't really saying anything in his old speeches, just remixing memes he'd heard growing up as a social conservative. He's not really saying he has all the answers in this article but rather explaining how he came to change his mind, and still he's only 17 so that's probably the most interesting thing to him personally.

He isn't claiming to have become a liberal policy wonk, but rather no longer a conservative (and now a person who "reads German philosophers", which can still be annoying, but much less malign)
posted by delmoi at 6:29 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


[I realized] that a lot of what I said was ideological blather that really wasn’t meaningful. It wasn’t me thinking. It was just me saying things I had heard so long from people I thought were interesting and just came to believe for some reason, without really understanding it. I understood it enough to talk about it but not really enough to have a conversation about it.”
I meet a lot of people who simply live their lives hearing things from other people and believe it and can talk about it but can't really converse about it.

Good on him for choosing paths in his life which are growing him out of his condition. And by the age of 17, that's awesome. I now wonder how to get the 50 year olds I meet with this condition to undergo a similar change.
posted by hippybear at 6:32 PM on July 2, 2012


Have you talked to any intelligent seventeen-year-olds recently?

I've had that misfortune, yes, and learned all about the wonders of Ron Paul and the gold standard.


I was an intelligent 17-year-old, and I would have loved to chat your ear off about AI-assisted anarchic revolutions (I'm sure I had just read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress).
posted by muddgirl at 6:33 PM on July 2, 2012


gurple: "He's headed to NYU. He'd better turn left. His alternative is this."

Holy Shit, it's like The Ultimate Warrior Eagle.
posted by symbioid at 7:50 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


T.D. Strange: "This kid is sooooo getting dumped by the cute hippy girl from California he met the first week of freshman orientation as soon as she Googles him."

Nah - cute hippie girl is totally gonna turn him on to Ron Paul cuz weed n shit.
posted by symbioid at 7:52 PM on July 2, 2012


I started reflecting on a lot of what I wrote, just thinking about what I had said and what I had done and started reading a lot of other stuff, and not just political stuff,” Krohn said. “I started getting into philosophy — Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Kant and lots of other German philosophers. And then into present philosophers — Saul Kripke, David Chalmers. It was really reading philosophy that didn’t have anything to do with politics that gave me a breather and made me realize that a lot of what I said was ideological blather that really wasn’t meaningful. It wasn’t me thinking. It was just me saying things I had heard so long from people I thought were interesting and just came to believe for some reason, without really understanding it. I understood it enough to talk about it but not really enough to have a conversation about it.

For god's sake, THIS. That's what led me away from the mindless parroted attitudes that were around me when I went to that Christian school, not so much philosophers but just life, that shows you a world that isn't narrowly defined by where you stand along a trench. Conservative thinkers tend to identify themselves that way, as conservatives, but there's a universe of thought out there and those neocon ideas tend to stand opposed to most of them. That, more than anything else I think, is why kids who self-identify as conservative upon entering college tend to leave it looking more like liberals unless they're thoroughly indoctrinated, generally clueless, or business majors.
posted by JHarris at 8:00 PM on July 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Remember the good old days when children were to be seen and not heard? What a kindness even before there was TV and the internet to broadcast adolescent spew.

So the kid did it because he was thirteen. What's your excuse?

dios: This isn't terribly interesting at all. The vast majority of young adults in this country engage in a progress of ideology in their late teens and early 20's. As they get older, their ideas continue to evolve. Sometimes these changes are more dramatic, but mostly everyone will move within some range over their lifetime. In fact, I would be more surprised and find it deeply depressing to know anyone who believes the same thing at 45 that they believed at 15. It would show a lack of curiosity about the world.

Speaking as someone who could name right this second folks in my personal experience who would never have made the logical leap Krohn did, at any age: many more people than you think lack that basic curosity. And saying "everyone does it when they're a kid" is basically depriving Krohn of his voice by saying "he's still ignorant," when really we're all ignorant, all of us, and we would still be if we lived to be a thousand. It still matters the most what we think now.
posted by JHarris at 8:21 PM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why do people get inevitably get more conservative as they get older? I'm as liberal now (45) as I ever have been. Most of my good friends who are my age or older are not conservative, either, and don't seem less so than they were when they were in their 20s.
I've become a lot more liberal over the last 20 years. I considered myself a libertarian in the 90s and I even voted for Ron Paul when he ran as the Libertarian candidate.

That changed when I realized their dishonesty and the real meaning of what they were saying and I didn't like it. "States Rights" is nothing more than a coded way of saying people should be allowed to fly a confederate flag and allow segregation if that's what they want in their state.

Their "free market" ideal does nothing to help small businesses, and just like their Republican brothers, they only care about major corporations, who would be the only ones to benefit when they eliminate all environmental protections aimed at curbing pollution.
posted by mike3k at 10:58 PM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Me too. I used to just parrot what my friends and neighbors said. That was last year, when I was a kid.

Hang on, i want get my gta uploads, so, yo bitches, don't wait up.

peaceout.
posted by mule98J at 11:41 PM on July 2, 2012


In the 20 years I have been voting the main change for me has been realising there are 4 axes (at least?) rather than just left or right, so I ended up a social democrat with libertarian (individual freedom) leanings. But I don't have anybody to vote for, because the left looks after the disadvantaged but at the expense of a nanny state, while the right can (but often does not) skip the nanny state while putting the weak to the sword.
Find me a fiscally responsible, soft-hearted candidate who will keep out of my personal business and not push church or ideology on me and they can have my vote.
It remains a mystery to me that such a combination remains elusive.
posted by bystander at 3:27 AM on July 3, 2012


Surely there's money to be made by setting up a reality show where he dates one of the former members of Prussian Blue? Lynx or Lamb, I think either one would be okay.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:17 AM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Speaking as someone who could name right this second folks in my personal experience who would never have made the logical leap Krohn did, at any age: many more people than you think lack that basic curosity.

I do not think that is correct. Everyone's ideas progress in some regard. Granted, the spectrum might be narrow, but they change all the same. I cannot comprehend the idea of someone who maintains the same beliefs at 45 as 15 and for the same reasons. Perhaps you are speaking in a binary sense, thinking that someone was on the left or right and remain there. I am speaking of something different; people's ideas will change as they age for a number of reasons. The primary factor being the independence and responsibility that comes with getting older, but it can also be effected by change of social circumstances, finding and pursuing love, education, or hard knocks of life. All of these things effect people. If you really think you know people like this, I'd be interested in hearing an anecdote because that is unknown to me.

And saying "everyone does it when they're a kid" is basically depriving Krohn of his voice by saying "he's still ignorant," when really we're all ignorant


He can have the voice all he wants. In fact, I encourage him to organically find it instead of being pressured into it. I did not judge him as ignorant. What I would call ignorant is two things: (1) putting forward a 13 year old kid to talk about politics and governing principles as someone worth listening to, and (2) putting forward a 17 year old kid as someone who has learned the errors of his thinking and received grand truth and wisdom that has caused him to move to the light. And I think both of those things are ignorant regardless of the starting point and the ideological direction the kid moved. Doing either of those things says more about the views of the person doing so than anything else--"this kid has it all figured out (because he agrees with me)". Publicly complimenting a child for his/her political views at 13 or 17 strikes me as equally foolish.

All that is--or should be--going on here is that a child is going through the natural process of discovery and maturation as he moves into adulthood. Using points on that journey and judging him and his views (which is done merely in relation to the view of the judge) is a foolish thing to do, in my opinion. He's just a kid that should find his own course instead of being burdened by expectations of partisan purists, which is what I see occurring on the comments I saw at Politico and elsewhere.
posted by dios at 9:20 AM on July 3, 2012


Find me a fiscally responsible, soft-hearted candidate who will keep out of my personal business and not push church or ideology on me and they can have my vote.
It remains a mystery to me that such a combination remains elusive.
posted by bystander at 5:27 AM on July 3


We had a damn good one. Until recently, there was even an organization for them. It remains a mystery to me why his way was abandoned despite its clear success.
posted by dios at 9:29 AM on July 3, 2012


I was a Democrat so early that I am now fairly sure that most people's party affiliation is tribal*.

That said, my actual politics, the nuanced stuff that is all happening in my brain as I reach for the "D" lever? That's fluctuated WILDLY. I was always to the left of the Randians (thank god), but I definitely remember trotting out a lot of BS about how "...I'm not a feminist, but...." and "the Civil War wasn't really about slavery" and other namby-pamby crap.

Then, in college, I swung hard left, radical feminist Chomskian left. Actually considered joining the Communist Party left.

Now I'm somewhere in between. Still very much a leftist but not in favor of propaganda of the deed or anything. Still very much a feminist but I think it's fine if transgendered people want to go to the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. I think, mostly, though, in my thirties I'm OK with the unknown. In my twenties everything needed to have an answer. If in doubt, pick the answer furthest to the left. Now, if in doubt, maybe go read more about it, or just let it lie.

*Well, sort of. Obviously I also think that we're shaped by upbringing to have the base-level political and cultural values that we have, and that probably speaks to who swings Dem and who swings GOP. But it's not lost on my that my mom is a Republican like her dad, and I'm a Democrat like my dad. Which is sort of weird, when you think about it. I wonder how many people are the party of their more politically dominant parent?
posted by Sara C. at 2:27 PM on July 3, 2012


except many people say they are pro life without wanting to make abortion illegal, they just disapprove of it

Oh, ha, that was another one of my teenage political gems!

I believe I said, in my ninth grade civics class, "I'm pro-life for myself, and pro-choice for everyone else."

Bahahahaha.

(Then again, I was the only pro-choice person in the class; that was amount to openly calling myself a Stalinist, for a Catholic high school in Louisiana in the 90's.)
posted by Sara C. at 2:34 PM on July 3, 2012


If you have an opinion about transgender people attending the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, you're a feminist.
posted by box at 2:43 PM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


My dad is a generally-politically-apatethic pro-science small-government borderline-libertarian Republican and my mom is a Rush Limbaugh Republican. I suppose I did turn out more like my dad than my mom on some political axis, but in most ways that politics are expressed, I am 100% like my mom (save for our opinions on nearly every issue).

I believe I said, in my ninth grade civics class, "I'm pro-life for myself, and pro-choice for everyone else." Bahahahaha.

Based on my personal experience, I do think maybe kids/teens should wait to form a personal opinion on abortion until they are actually in a position to have one. I believed the whole "pro-life for me" thing up until the moment I had my first pregnancy scare in college and thought, "Oh my god I can't have a baby!"
posted by muddgirl at 2:48 PM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


My thing about tribal politics and family and the like is by no means axiomatic. Obviously lots of people have nothing in common with either parent, politically speaking. Or maybe have commonalities in different ways, like expressing themselves similarly but having different beliefs.

But I just sort of wonder what percentage of people vote the same party as at least one of their parents. And how often the alignment is with one's father vs. one's mother.
posted by Sara C. at 3:10 PM on July 3, 2012


I was a libertarian in high school, because I was against the drug war, felt that the local Dems were hopelessly corrupt and machine, and liked the idea of being "independent."

Then I actually studied political science and saw a bunch of what I believed was, at best, woefully incomplete and simplistic. Now I recognize there are tough questions that I still don't know the answer to (even though I'm generally frustrated by the amount of bullshit that surrounds a lot of the tough questions).
posted by klangklangston at 3:23 PM on July 3, 2012


IME it's more true that people who stay in the same class or same cultural environment as their parents (as they reach adult-hood) tend to share their parents views, while people who change classes are obviously more likely to adapt a new outlook. Neither of my parents graduated from college and they live in a rural, "Red" county - they are borderline working class (although my mom has a white collar job). I went to a more-liberal private college on scholarship and am on my way to being upper-middle class, depending on luck and how you define it. Not that being UMC makes one more liberal, but it definitely leads to different life experiences (and upper-level educational attainment certainly tends to trend with more liberal outlooks).

So I guess I agree political affiliation is tribal, but with a much wider definition of what a tribe is. My friends and Metafilter have a greater impact on my current opinions than my parents do.
posted by muddgirl at 3:29 PM on July 3, 2012


dios:
Thank you for the thoughtful reply! Nicely put, or I think anyway.

On holding this guy up as an exemplar of either conservative or liberal ideals, either for reasons of age or arbitrary labels, is probably not the best idea, true. But it's a matter of scale. There are some unnaturally wise young people out there, and there are some adults who seem not to have learned a thing. A 13-year-old is unlikely to be an expert, but his voice still matters, even if his words are not tempered by experience. A 17-year-old is a little further along the scale. I strongly suspect that not a one of us human beings can be considered objectively wise, regardless of age.

On an anecdote regarding people without a natural curiosity, well, I have to speak carefully, for some of the people I know and have known in "real life" know I'm a Metafilter member, and I've gotten a little grief for things I've said here before. But here in Brunswick, GA, it sometimes seems like natural curiosity is quite an uncommon thing. That might be just from my observation of people, I have no magic scope that allows me to look into people's souls, but at least I don't often see signs of it. Maybe it's something in the water.
posted by JHarris at 3:50 PM on July 3, 2012


Teabagger media reacts completely predictably
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:01 AM on July 4, 2012


So, you want twerking - Grind [NSFW]
posted by unliteral at 10:17 PM on July 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was a right-wing child star: At 13, I gave a speech at CPAC. Four years later, I renounced conservatives -- and they attacked me for it
posted by homunculus at 11:41 AM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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