Have you heard the following phrase?
If you’re not a liberal when you’re young, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative when you’re old, you have no brain.
People falsely attribute this phrase to Winston Churchill. He never said this. Nobody knows who did. I’ve come to believe … it’s a phrase born from a common understanding people gain as they age. People, no matter how liberal when young, become more conservative as they age.
I was once liberal myself – ‘liberal’ in this context meaning ‘tribally left-wing,’ but also liberal in a literal sense. I used to believe right-wingers, especially traditionalists, were ignorant, held archaic beliefs, and that many were even evil. I believed women have better character and morals than men. I believed it was better to be sensitive than to be strong. Perhaps the only trap I never fell into was the common belief among liberals that feelings are superior to rationality.
Most youth are activists in their own regard. Most youth are outspoken about the same things: Protect the environment, treat animals well, let people be free to be themselves… Who isn’t an activist when they’re young? Who doesn’t believe at that age that they have the right answers, and that nearly everybody else doesn’t care as much as they do?
There’s one problem all youth have, which all elders remind them of, but they still refuse to acknowledge. That problem is: Young people aren’t very smart. And they’re not very smart, because they’re not very experienced. Honestly, I don’t think that’s the worst problem youth suffer from. I think the worst problem that has always plagued the young is: They’re arrogant.
That arrogance manifests most when it comes to their activism. How is it arrogant to stand up for what you believe is right when you’re young? It’s not. At least, it’s not arrogant in and of itself. It’s not arrogant to say we need to protect and give back to the environment, or to treat animals humanely, or to let people be free to be themselves. The arrogance is that young people … tend to believe they’re the first ones to stand up for these things. They tend to believe … they’re the only ones who care.
Young people, it’s not that older adults don’t care, it’s that they have far greater understanding of how the world works. They tried to change the world when they were young, too. You’re not the first ones to try. You’re not the first ones to be rebellious. You’re not the only ones who care.
Millennials like to hate on Boomers. We think of them as bitter and selfish old people. In fact, a lot of Millennials seem to think that ‘Boomer’ is just another word for ‘old.’ The Boomers are an actual generation. Most people place their birth years from 1946 to 1964. They were named after the post-WWII baby boom. Truth is, when Boomers were young, they were equally as liberal as today’s Millennials. They were calling for socialism, they were protesting for women’s rights… The Civil Rights movement was a Boomer movement. The sexual revolution of the 1960s was a Boomer movement. Hippies were almost exclusively Boomers…
So, to believe that Grandma and Grandpa were never young and never shared your ultra-liberal beliefs … that’s not just wrong, it’s immensely ignorant. They were so left-wing, you’d be tempted to say they invented left-wing politics.
But the 1960s ended. The Boomers got older. Time happened to the Boomers. Don’t get me wrong, many of them still vote left, but a whole lot of them don’t anymore. Because that’s what time does to people. It matures them. It opens their eyes. An ounce of experience can negate a pound of ideology any day of the week.
It’s easy to believe rich people hoard most of the country’s money, like Scrooge McDuck, and that they take a dive into their mountains of gold coins every night before bed … until you learn that most wealth is not in the bank, it’s just net worth, and most billionaires’ net worth is in stock. Then you realize the money you think they’re hoarding is actually in the possession of businesses, and other stockholders. Another thing you learn is that anybody can own stock.
As you get older, you take on responsibilities. You have bills to pay, you have homes to maintain, you have declining health. And speaking of health, the older you get, the more you understand your own mortality. It’s not that old people are sticklers for fun, they just know better, and you like to push your luck. You may have a child or two, or three, or four, all of whom need to be watched nearly every minute of the day (yes, including teenagers). When you’re an adult, and you don’t have mommy and daddy doing everything for you, you realize just how much you have to do on your own. You have to earn money or you lose what you have, you have to protect your home (a good reason to own a gun or two)…
These things merely scratch the surface of all you come to realize with age. You learn just how complicated life is. You have to deal with people who all have different perspectives to your own, and you have to learn how to coexist with these different perspectives. (That’s one of the reasons adults seek out people of their own faith, or political affiliation … or race. Helps reduce life complications to have things in common with those around you.)
The older you get, the more you realize that life’s problems cannot be solved with your feelings. Resources are scarce, space is limited, the elements are ever-present, pros and cons to every decision you make, compromise with every deal you make…
I can understand being emotionally driven not to eat animals, and to refuse because you think it’s cruel. But not only are there many benefits to eating animals (and other products [milk] from animals), but life experience will show you: Mother Nature is far more cruel to animals than humans could ever be. And most other animals won’t hesitate for one second to be cruel to you. You may care about nature, but nature doesn’t care at all about you. Lions shred cubs that don’t belong to them, bird chicks kill their siblings if they hatch first, viruses eat you from the inside out… Vegans, nobody enjoys the slaughter of animals, but they’re willing to allow it because most people understand all life consumes other life to survive, and most of it is not humane.
Or, let’s take an extremely controversial subject that inevitably gets emotions riled up: Women. Ever since the left took control of society, it’s taboo, even worse than taboo, to criticize women, even if you’re a woman. I used to be among the majority of the population that believes women are superior to men. But as time went on, I couldn’t help but notice how false that is. I noticed it’s okay to openly hate on men, but not women. I noticed women frequently rob fathers of their children, and their money, and their house and car, when the father did nothing wrong (or severely wrong). I came to notice … that the people I’ve been screwed over most by in my life have all been women, from my mother when I was an infant, to my ex-wife very recently. Maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t worship women. Maybe, just maybe, women are just as human and flawed and capable of evil just as much as men are. In my opinion, women are more capable of evil, but that’s for another time.
Can you fault liberals for blindly fighting for what they feel is right? Universal basic income, affirmative action, medicare for all… Is it wrong that liberals are motivated to demand these policies from raw emotion? At least they demand it because they care, right? Even if they’re misguided and misinformed, surely it can’t be wrong because it comes from the heart, right? Well, I’m afraid … it is wrong. I think Bernie Sanders perfectly exemplifies the immorality of this. Simply saying “not everyone can afford healthcare” doesn’t make the problem any less complicated. Simply saying “college tuition should be free” doesn’t make it true, or even preferable in the long-term. Simply saying “healthcare is a human right” doesn’t change the fact healthcare is a service – a service that is provided by people, of which there are not an infinite number – a service that is not within walking distance of every square inch of the country – a service that does not possess infinite resources. Calling something a ‘right’ does not change the facts of the subject at hand. What makes this evil, in my mind and the minds of other right-wingers, is the fact that the left is willing to implement reckless policies that would in fact be unsustainable, and even oftentimes evil.
Bernie Sanders proves with his rhetoric that not everyone learns or improves as they grow older. He is no less communist now than he was in the 1960s. He even justifies the evils of communist regimes and justifies their authoritarian nature. He speaks against the perceived evil of the system which he lives in, even though he has been in the government for decades, which would prove without a doubt he is part of the problems he complains about. Bernie Sanders does not have much experience from which to grow, and learn, and change. His lifestyle has always been one of laziness and expecting the government to solve all problems. He was against millionaires and billionaires, until he became a millionaire, then suddenly, it was just the billionaires that were the problem.
I’m not saying time always improves people, but it certainly tends to. Ultimately, people don’t improve, they don’t grow wiser, and they don’t grow in knowledge, if they don’t want to.
There’s a divide for a reason. There are two sides for a reason. There will always be people driven by emotions, and there will always be people driven by rationality and experience. Both sides carry their own curse. The left is cursed with ignorance and inexperience, while the right is cursed with knowledge and experience. It’s not that right-wingers don’t care. Most have the same heart liberals do, but they know the world’s problems can’t be solved by just wishing it really badly.