General Question

Siblinings's avatar

Is there some sort of cycle of people turning liberal to conservative?

Asked by Siblinings (136 points ) February 25th, 2010

Are there any sort of theories or studies showing that societies in certain countries change from liberal to conservative every so many years?

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24 Answers

noyesa's avatar

It’s called a re-alignment and it’s a political and social trend that happens quite reliably.

davidbetterman's avatar

Yes, it is a unicycle.

wilma's avatar

I’ve often thought that as young people we want to rebel against our parents and “the establishment”.
When I was growing up that meant you would want to be liberal.
Now I see young people rebelling against those grown up liberals who are now “the establishment”.
Hmmm…

Siblinings's avatar

@wilma
OMG that was the reason I was asking this question,

wilma's avatar

@Siblinings same page eh? ;)

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

I’d say that people don’t really change all that much. Liberal people are generally always liberal, Conservative people are generally always conservative… But there are enormous numbers of people in between that will shift with the winds.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

I think Liberal and Conservative are two of the most over used terms there are.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Personally I am beginning to think its to do with age.

ShiningToast's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre I agree with you more or less.

I do think that re-alignment like what @noyesa has said takes place quite often.

I also think that there are also groups that will stay with one political party. I know tons of young conservatives, and plenty of old liberals.

Siblinings's avatar

I’m actually want to know if there have been any sort of studies behind this not just people inclinations.

Jeruba's avatar

Hypothesis 1: Age.

At least, that’s the effect for many: the popular wisdom is that people get more conservative as they get older and have a bigger investment in the status quo.

Even we sixties rebels may have an eye on our retirement accounts now.

Then along comes a new generation and shakes things up. I am disappointed in any new generation that doesn’t.

Hypothesis 2: Newtonian physics.

We can see the classic “pendulum swing” in almost any field of focus, from politics to fashion to fads within professional fields: one extreme triggers a reaction that goes to the other extreme. Being human critters driven by emotions even at our most rational, we habitually overdo it and trigger the opposite reaction.

@Siblinings: if you are looking for serious research, Google is your friend. Try the phrase “pendulum swings” combined with “political,” and also try “psephology.”

SeventhSense's avatar

I agree with Russel. It’s time we retired these terms. They’re both used so much they provoke almost Pavlovian responses in people.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Anyone who spends too much time on those two terms is missing the point of it all.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Jeruba
What’s a retirement account?

mammal's avatar

i think young people rebel against parental influence, purely on gut feeling, i also happen to think they have an intuitive political point somewhere amongst all the hormonal fueled angst. Sadly that point is often smothered by family/social pressure, or directed by society toward any superficial social threat.

stevenelliottjr's avatar

When I was younger I thought that conservatives were staunch, crusty old dudes in suits. I thought liberals were all the cool guys that were totally open-minded and enlightened. I went on like this for some time and then started really earning, got married, had kids then all of a sudden things started annoying me. Things like redistribution of wealth, government programs, Barack Obama…. You know I realized that maybe I was leaning more centrist-right than left these days. I still think things like religion have no place in government and that a woman’s right to choose is important… I don’t know, maybe it is age. Maybe I’m morphing into a crusty old dude! :-O

SeventhSense's avatar

@stevenelliottjr
Maybe you just found you and your’s and lost track of real values. Remember some people are not so lucky. They can work longer and harder than you and still lose.

stevenelliottjr's avatar

Yeah well I don’t believe in luck. I worked my ass off to get where I am today. Working full-time (14 hour days) writing software and also going to school full-time getting a computer science degree 15 credits at a time ain’t great let me tell ya. I do this so that my family and I can be secure in the future. So it pisse me off when people complain that they don’t have it all or make enough. It’s called get off your ass and work… And by the way that never ends. Even though they made me some executive i still go to school to further my education and still work long hours. You don’t become successful by waiting for it to come to you. You have to go out and take what you want and be driven to succeed no matter what.

SeventhSense's avatar

@stevenelliottjr
Yeah well whether you believe in it or not luck is a huge part of it. Nothing’s black and white. Except for the GOP which is certainly white. Assuming that just because something worked for you and a corollary has been established that it will work for anyone is not logical but subjective and convenient. You imagine you’re the only one who has worked hard? You believe that anyone who works hard enough can change his station? That’s a myth perpetuated by smug people who have no concept of the benefit of their birth alone. Those born from low station, those born with mental illness, those born addicted to drugs from birth? Are you saying you are equivalent to these?

My youth was fractured by a broken home, alcoholism, addiction and mental, illness. I left school in my senior year under duress. I got sober at 19 got an equivalency diploma and started working many odd jobs and tried the best I could to heal. Years later, I graduated summa cum laude from probably the best of the CUNY schools-Queens College because it was more affordable than a private university. I still had to take out student loans worked and went to school at night. Got a Bachelors with a K-12 certification in education. Struggled through substitute teaching, teaching in private schools and finally got that job in the best county in New York state only to find this was just not a workable job for me and was just not emotionally capable of the job.

By this time I had allotted more debt and lost more time and was forced to do something I had abandoned years earlier. I eventually incorporated a business and then another to fill in down time. The economy tanked because of the greed of self absorbed individualists bent on making their nut regardless if it bankrupted the country and I saw business drop progressively over the last 5 years. I have a large pile of unsecured debt, I can’t begin to think about health insurance, retirement and own no home. I can’t even imagine owning a home and I am 42 with no children. And I work my ass off. I’m an excellent artist and have no capacity to pursue this because all I do is think about discharging debt of which I have nothing to show for it.

So when these rich pompous assholes serve the collective purpose or genuinely represent the interests of the middle class I will be glad to hop on their bandwagon. But while they drive the country to financial ruin, nearly bankrupt the country and then hand the mess to the next poor slob who is set up as a scapegoat for the historical racism and class prejudice of the GOP they can kiss my fucking white ass.

And no you were never liberal if all it took for you to change your tune was a fistful of dollars. Sure it’s one thing to espouse causes and another to be actually be part of the solution by contributing what was offered to you. You were just an opportunist. Bill Clinton who has an office in Harlem is a liberal. Barney Frank who is openly gay in a catholic state is a liberal You don’t understand the core of the liberal position. There’s a reason that compassionate people, intellectuals, those outside the mainstream and the disenfranchised are drawn to the ideas of the Democratic party. Because it is the only voice which represents their interests and has any concern whether they live or die.

DrMC's avatar

@SeventhSense wow!, that was a long response.

You’re not arming up for Bastille day are you?

It does seem as people are getting emotional and starting to lose their heads in a bipartisan kind of way.

No_Pay Monday is up and coming!.

It’s the end of February. The SGR bottom drops out March first on death panel monday. Do you know where your doctor is?

PacificRimjob's avatar

Human evolution.

SeventhSense's avatar

@DrMC
I’m insulted that you felt the need to link to Bastille Day. :o<

As per Ayn Rand I feel that there indeed may be parallels but it’s not due to the administration. As for me, I can still benefit from the tax benefits afforded me by having a corporation. I don’t have to pay taxes on the large loss I will claim this year and I can write off my car payments, business costs and rent etc. That’s a beneficial and excellent reason still to be an American citizen.

I just think we have progressively moved towards a world view which has placed people as only having utility in their contribution to GDP and their capacity to discharge debt. And it is true that in an escalating cycle of debt which overtakes a capacity to discharge it, people are apt to stop and say , “What exactly am I accomplishing here?” “I might as well fluther”... If you find yourself frantically digging and digging and are deeper in a hole every year you eventually say, “Hey, maybe I should stop digging”. This is the basis of the frustration and causes intelligent people to remove themselves from a lose/lose situation.

And if the money interest is so pervasive as to dismiss intellectuals in favor of the party sound byte, along with scientists and other thinkers then whether they act or not they are still not recognized. This is by correlation a strong sign of the decline of a civilization and maybe we’re we’re at in this country at present. Not by nature of any one party though, but by nature of ignorance and lack of true reckoning.

SeventhSense's avatar

@PacificRimjob
If you’re going to be a monkey at least get an organ grinder.

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