Streams

Open Phones: Youth, Middle Age, and Personal Politics

Monday, February 20, 2012

Churchill and others have said, "If you are not a liberal at twenty you have no heart; if you are not a conservative at forty you have no brain." We asked listeners: how true has that been for you?

Comments [10]

Byron Avilan from Circleville NY

If you get to 40 and you are not longer a liberal, that only means that you were a rebel by heart and only by heart and never put any brains into it.
At twenty, yes I was a rebel, and now at 40 I believe myself a Liberal!

Feb. 20 2012 04:18 PM

I disagree with Churchill. I was never interested in politics until Obama ran for president. Now, I live, sleep and eat politics. I was a registered Independent but I am now a registered Democrat because it allows me to vote in the primaries and now that I have witnessed the current Republican party in action I have moved futher to the left. Bottom line, I'm in my 60's, a liberal and I used my brain to get a bachelor's degree @ 50. I collect Social Security, I care about health care for All, education and improving our infrastructure, especially the decaying TZ Bridge, that Republicans now vote against. My grown children, now in their 40s, are also Democrats. Contrary to Churchill's belief that "if you are not a conservative at forty you have no brain", I believe that you may "have no brain" if you support those who don't want to educate our children, allow so many to suffer without healthcare(we're the only modern society that does), repair bridges that are in danger of collapsing and as a senior citizen you vote for the party that wants to make changes to your Social Security as you know it.
My daughter, a sceintist who resides in Canada, had a rare life threathening complication during childbirth. She received excellent medical care through the Canadian National Healthcare System including 1:1 24 hour nursing care for 3 days. As a registered nurse, I was impressed with the care she received, both in the hospital and follow up care after discharge.

Feb. 20 2012 01:24 PM
Irvin Barnett from Flushing, NY

I knew I was middle-aged when:
1) My petite, grown-up daughter insisted on carrying my luggage for me, and
2) A twenty-year-old woman offered me her seat on an airport tram.

Feb. 20 2012 11:56 AM

I'm 54, and I've moved from moderate liberal to low-key radical. I was raised as a small-town Jewish democrat who thought that she'd change the system from the inside. I went to an Ivy League school, came out, and worked on Wall St, all the while volunteering and donating to non-profits. The more experience I had, and the more I've learned about the nature of government, economics, and culture, the more radicalized I have become.

Feb. 20 2012 11:30 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

Well...the likelihood is STILL that Romney will be the nominee but it is VERY clear that LOTS and LOTS of Republicans don't want him. They see him as too wishy-washy and (shudder) moderate. The GOP's only hope is to drive the number of voters that approve of BHO (last measured at 50%) down below the number that can't stand Obama (33% in the same poll). And then use negative campaign ads so HEAVILY that the Independents and Moderates mostly stay home. God bless America.

Feb. 20 2012 11:30 AM
Gerald Fnord from Palls Verdes, Ca

There are good reasons and bad to get more conservative. A good reason is that you understand the difficulty and energy necessary to maintain a system which works decently, despite it's flaws, and might be easily broken. A bad reason is that you're more bought-into a system that works well for _you_, or your spirit has been so bromen that you can't allow yourself to believe that things could be better.

Note that Churchill, as an aristo, was in some ways _born_ bought-in...let us greatly appreciate his being right about Hitler, but not worshipfully forget Gallipoli, Suez, and his attitude toward Indian independence---in each of those latter cases, his attachment to a system that had done very well by him and reïnforced his belief in his own essential rightness led him astray. Well, at least he didn't try to destroy the N.H.S..

I am more conservative in some ways than I was because I know better how difficult it can be to maintain civilisation, and how far we could fall; I am less so in some ways because I know better just how barbarous we still are, and that progress is not as guarantied as it seemed in my youth.

Feb. 20 2012 11:26 AM
Mike from Inwood

I'm 53. I don't think the 'liberal becomes conservative' transition quite has it right. I would say that as people age, their sense of time changes. When they are young, life seems long and lofty ideas about how to fundamentally change the world around them (in either a conservative or a liberal direction) have a lot of appeal. As they age, their time frame changes and they become more focused on realistic changes that can be accomplished in the short run.

Feb. 20 2012 11:25 AM
jaime from ellenville,ny

What your really saying is "When I was young, I wanted to save the world, but now that I am older, I want to save myself"

Feb. 20 2012 11:20 AM
Glen from Manhattan

“Your liberals and radicals all want to govern. They want to try it their way-- to show that people will be happier if the power is wielded in a different way or for different purposes. But how do they know? Have they ever tried it? No, it's merely their guess.”
― B.F. Skinner, Walden Two

Feb. 20 2012 11:14 AM
Glen from Manhattan

It used to be thirty, now it takes until 40 to grow up?

Feb. 20 2012 11:03 AM

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