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Why Do People Get More Conservative As They Get Older?

Bitterness? Idealistic outlook destroyed?

The older you get, the more conservative you are, has been reported for decades. So why do people head in that direction?

by Anonymousreply 6307/26/2013

Gee, I wonder if this has something to do with the fact that the essence of conservatism is fear of change.

by Anonymousreply 107/25/2013

Some people get more liberal though. They get a live and let live attitude but, yes, fear of change is reason so many people get more conservative.

by Anonymousreply 207/25/2013

Just the opposite for my father. He was never a far right winger but always voted pretty much straight GOP, including Nixon in 1968. However, he's an atheist & the religious freaks finally drove him away from the party -- he liked Bill Clinton (as Pres, not as a person), despised W, & supports Obama -- I'm sure he'll vote for Hillary if she runs & he survives that long. He says he's proud that all of his children turned out to be "liberals", though he's really a centrist -- he does think that gay people should have equal rights, just as he thought black people should in the '50s/'60s.

One of his neighbors recently died at 93 & she was a lifelong liberal -- religious & morally conservative herself (prim clothes & no swearing, smoking or drinking), but insistent that others are entitled to live as they please so long as they do no harm. She devoted much time & money to helping the needy & always voted for social welfare programs.

Both of these people came from academic backgrounds & were well-educated themselves, so that probably had a lot to do with their enlightened attitudes.

by Anonymousreply 307/25/2013

If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart.

If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain.

by Anonymousreply 407/25/2013

I'm 83 and have become more conservative on economic issues but more liberal on social issues.

I worry about the folks who want instant gratification for non-essentials and don't save for their senior years.

There is nothing worse than being old and poor.

by Anonymousreply 507/25/2013

I've become much more liberal as I've gotten older; indeed, in my 20s, I'd describe myself as liberal, now, in my 40s, I'd say I'm a radical socialist.

by Anonymousreply 607/25/2013

When I was younger, my needs were relatively simple and paying taxes wasn't a big deal. Now that I'm in my 30s, it sucks to work my ass off and see so much of it go to the government.

by Anonymousreply 707/25/2013

My dad got more and more liberal the older he got. And he was a Roosevelt Democrat to begin with!

by Anonymousreply 807/25/2013

Arianna Huffington got more liberal as she got older. She's the anti-Geraldo.

by Anonymousreply 907/25/2013

I'm a liberal who was never mugged.

by Anonymousreply 1007/25/2013

Because I didn't earn a 6 figure income or own my home until my 40s.

Actually, I had no real assets to protect at all until that age.

Now I have a 401K to worry about. And a mortgage. And a whopping tax bill.

by Anonymousreply 1107/25/2013

jealousy of the young

by Anonymousreply 1207/25/2013

Every radical becomes a conservative once they get what they want. I've noticed lots of my gay liberal friends in NYC suddenly becoming conservative and criticizing other minority groups for pushing for more rights. Gay liberals in NYC got what they wanted, now they criticize others for standing up to the majority.

by Anonymousreply 1307/25/2013

My dad was a hippie when I was growing up. But it seemed to me like his disdain for material things was an excuse for his inability to acquire them. One time, I bought myself a luxury car and he called me a "materialist." Fast Forward a couple of years, the old man got a few bucks, and went out and bought the same model car.

by Anonymousreply 1407/25/2013

Everyone is a liberal when they're young. It's when they start making money and have to pay for it that they become more conservative.

by Anonymousreply 1507/25/2013

You only get conservative when you have something to conserve.

by Anonymousreply 1607/25/2013

People say you get more conservative when you get older but is it really true. Is their a study that proves this?

by Anonymousreply 1707/25/2013

[quote]But it seemed to me like his disdain for material things was an excuse for his inability to acquire them.

As is so often true, R14. Even (especially?) on DL.

by Anonymousreply 1807/25/2013

Bunch of conservatives shits on here, but no, they were always conservative shits. They may not have been Republicans when they were younger, but they were always conservative shits.

Anyway, the stories saying people get more conservative are based on what people say of themselves. And people say that of themselves because they've been told that's how it is. But if you objectively measure their attitudes, well, it's bullshit.

When I was in college I was "politically conservative" because my parents were. Most of the others were "political liberals" because their parents were. I was actually far more liberal than they were, because it was really about openness to the world and facts. They pretended to be pro-gay but they persecuted any gays they knew. Several of them were heavily into professional charity activity, but they were singularly selfish in person and one spectacularly went to jail for stealing from his charity. They pretended to be tolerant of drugs and sex, but they were social climbing idiots. In short, they were conservative even though they called themselves Democrats. So if later their politics drifted right, it was not really a change.

Mine drifted left because I didn't start out feeling like I was holding on to "the right" social circles with my fingertips. I did not networking and kissing up to the rich or the Wall Street interns. When I befriended a homeless man, they acted like the NIMBYs and Bushite crackpots they would later become.

But it was always there.

by Anonymousreply 1907/25/2013

The short answer is it's not true. It's a conservative talking point.

They like to phrase it like "when you grow up you will understand"

In reality, as I have grown up, I have become more and more liberal. In my 20s I could see both sides if the argument. But back then, conservatives were not as far right as they are now. I am now in my late 40s.

If you continue to think and grow as you get older, you will realize that conservative ideology is in complete contrast with who you are as a gay person. To embrace that thinking is to ignore who you are and a form of self hate.

All anti-gay laws and view points come from conservatism. So when you vote that way, you literally vote against your own self interest.

It's like a Jew during the Holocaust saying, "I hate Hitler, but I like his fiscal policy"

by Anonymousreply 2007/25/2013

Jews aside, Democrats would vote for Hitler if he were on their ticket.

by Anonymousreply 2107/25/2013

r7,15,16 Amen!!!!!

by Anonymousreply 2207/25/2013

Huh, R21? That doesn't even make sense.

by Anonymousreply 2307/25/2013

[quote]The short answer is it's not true.

But it is true. Don't you read this very message board? It's full of uptight old conservatives.

by Anonymousreply 2407/25/2013

R20 is right.

by Anonymousreply 2507/25/2013


by Anonymousreply 2607/25/2013

Because they have something to conserve.

by Anonymousreply 2707/25/2013

The only actual study on this that I've ever seen said that men become more conservative as they get older, women become more liberal.

Obviously there are exceptions and many people have anecdotes to that effect. Nevertheless, that was the result of the study.

I can't link to it, I have no idea who did the study. It was years ago when I read about it.

by Anonymousreply 2807/25/2013

When you get older you start paying taxes. It sucks being jacked dry for generations of welfare recipients who hate us anyway. You want to say to the inner city people "Get a job!" or at least stop getting pregnant. Rachel Jeantel is the type of person I'm thinking about, if you know what I mean. ;)

by Anonymousreply 2907/25/2013

I would put it slightly differently. As you get older you realise how hard it is for people to cope with change. If you are a breadwinner, providing for a spouse and kids, trying to make provisions for the kids' education and for your own retirement, the last thing you want is dramatic changes in the tax laws or social provision or economic circumstances generally - you want continuity and predictability.

I am still a liberal, and in particular I am a fan of wealth redistribution, but now I realise these things have to be done gradually.

by Anonymousreply 3007/25/2013


But let it be said that I would still not consider myself A conservative, just more conservative/less liberal than I was as a younger person.

by Anonymousreply 3107/25/2013

I call this the "Why Dennis Miller turned into an asshole" theory. Men are liberal untill they have children. The it's all about keeping shit for their children. They get mean and only exist to provide for their own, not all of society. Their women go along for the security ride. Miller went from flaming liberal to flaming asshole when he became a dad.

by Anonymousreply 3207/25/2013

I've become more liberal because I've seen how stacked the deck is against simple playground fairness. American workers ate the most productive in the world, but American companies have pocketed the results of their labor. Elizabeth Warren was arguing a few days ago that, if wages had kept pace with inflation since 1960, minimum wage would be more than $10/hour. If it had kept pace with increases in productivity, it would be $22/hr. This transfer of wealth from workers to capitalists didn't just happen - Republicans led the battle, aided and abetted by moderate and conservative Democrats. And idiots like R29.

by Anonymousreply 3307/25/2013

My parents (78 and 80) have been divorced for more than 30 years and both independently have become more liberal with the years. They both voted for Nixon and Reagan, as well as Obama. They each consider Bush the younger an abomination as a president and hate him with a passion for getting us into a ridiculous war.

by Anonymousreply 3407/25/2013

They have more money and (sometimes) and don't want to givew it away.

by Anonymousreply 3507/25/2013

9-`11 turned Miller into an asshole- or at made him a worse asshole.

by Anonymousreply 3607/25/2013

It's not people, OP, it's MEN.

I figure, looking at the last 45 years, it's because men are losing and women are gaining. Men generally don't like to rock the boat, and since it was totally a man's world in 1968, they don't want to share it or give up power. Hence: more conservative.

by Anonymousreply 3707/25/2013

Intelligent people have been shown to groe more liberal with age. This has been shown in quite a few studies and anecdotally in my life. The dummies all spout Michael savage and rush Limbaugh. The smart people I know, engineers, surgeons, professors and all around brilliant folks have only gotten more liberal with age. Think about the people in your life and you'll see thus is true. The only smart person I know who got more conservative had dementia.

by Anonymousreply 3807/25/2013

I'm still socially liberal, but I get tired of feeling like I can't get ahead financially even though I make good money. It's a shame that you can't make $100,000 and still afford a mortgage (DC).

by Anonymousreply 3907/25/2013

[quote]If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain. by: Winston Churchill

But Winston: you were a morbidly obese manic-depressive who opposed Gandhi and helped defend the world's first concentration camps in the Boer Wars.

by Anonymousreply 4007/25/2013

Seems like a shallow talking point - for the study supposedly showing this (only for men, but not women?) how did it define conservative and liberal attitudes, both in the past and present? I'm sure many would disagree with its definitions.

A "conservative" today looks very different from what a "conservative" looked like in the 1980's, in the 1950's, etc., and the same goes for liberals. Many things that would have been considered flamingly liberal back in the day (re: women's rights, the environment, and even LGBT rights) are considered par for the course and mainstream now.

by Anonymousreply 4107/25/2013

They get cowardly. Or, they are openly cowardly. The ones I know that became conservative were never really gutsy or liberal/left to begin with.

by Anonymousreply 4207/25/2013


by Anonymousreply 4307/25/2013

My grandfather, father stayed as wonderfully Liberal in their late years as they did in their youth. I'm nearly 61 and I'm more Liberal than I've ever been.

by Anonymousreply 4407/25/2013

I vote liberal, thus I am older

by Anonymousreply 4507/25/2013

Because they lose hope

by Anonymousreply 4607/25/2013

R4, British Conservatives: Not Very Conservative By U.S. Standards

by Anonymousreply 4707/25/2013

Misery, they want to perpetuate their misery to the next generation.

by Anonymousreply 4807/25/2013

A few thoughts:

R5, you're 83, really? and you post here? THat's wonderful! I'm not being snotty - I just had no idea this board was much more than 20-30 somethings and some of us oldsters (55+). But I should know better; I live - unhappily - in a senior/disabled apt building (the latter in my case) and there are about 8-10 90+ people, men and women, and I admire them immensely. About the only difficulty some of them have is hearing problems;otherwise some of the drive; are out and about, do things - really wonderful.

(I should live so long.)

R30, you make an excellent point.

I wonder if I might add a thought: as people get older, perhaps they get more fearful? I saw this in my best friend's mother; she lived to be 80, and got increasingly fearful; my aunt - same thing. I wonder if some of that is "the law of the jungle" - the older, thus weaker (physically) animals fearing - with some good reason! - the younger?

Just a thought, and said best friend is a gerentologist and says he's seen this in aging people.

by Anonymousreply 4907/25/2013

Common sense.

by Anonymousreply 5007/25/2013

r37=angry lesbo still made at Daddy

by Anonymousreply 5107/25/2013

I think a lot of the supposed change isn't to the spirit of liberalism, but to the methodology by which to achieve liberal ends. I'm older, a lot more cynical, and look on all parties, right and left, with a jaundiced eye.

You certainly lose a lot of the romanticism of youth. This is the usual blessing and curse.

by Anonymousreply 5207/25/2013

Is this Cackle Cackle on the thread?

by Anonymousreply 5307/25/2013


by Anonymousreply 5407/25/2013

My parents say that of course it seems like common sense to become more conservative, but that one must fight against it.

Older means more frightened in a way, and for many people concerned for their children and grandchildren and their own comfort, it can mean letting go of, or changing values and allegiances.

A true liberal never crosses over, but in smaller ways they concede to some things that are common sense: Not everyone can be saved or protected, there are not unlimited funds or human resources, battles must be more carefully chosen with the knowledge that time and political patience runs out for some ideals, and there is not time to wait for some things to come back around.

Some causes are best suited for the young when time is moving so fast. It does not look promising, and some energy is conceded when no one even listens to you. It is not the way to spend your older years, unless you have the funds and connections that make a difference.

My sense of this subject is based on my parents being pretty much socialists. So I am not talking about party affiliation or simple money contributions. My parents took all kinds of action, within and outside the system. I have done a bit myself and with my partner we plan our own. Politics do not have to be regional, if that is not a satisfying place to practice.

My parents are wonderful people. I will not list their history or political contributions. I think they are more radical than I am, but they also live a very comfortably and avoid certain unpleasant aspects of life.

We are Canadians, so we are used to paying high premiums for the general welfare. My parents care about what seems fair to them, not about taking away from others. Good people.

by Anonymousreply 5507/25/2013

R51 = typical priss-pot threatened by any opinion not his own.

Women get more liberal as they age, sweetheart. This is not news to most people. Now go examine mommy and daddy.

by Anonymousreply 5607/26/2013

Old saying: Anyone under thirty who votes Republican has no heart. Anyone over thirty who votes Democratic has no brain.

by Anonymousreply 5707/26/2013

You start feeling taken advantage of. You get tired of giving people the benefit of the doubt only to be disappointed. You see how a lot of people will cheat and lie in order to get what they do not deserve.

But again I stress, that has made me more conservative to the point where I see myself as a pragmatic centrist, NOT a conservative.

by Anonymousreply 5807/26/2013

40 - Churchill was a Liberal MP for a period. For myself, I am ideologically a moderate Republican and would happily have voted for every Republican presidential candidate from 1944-1988 with the exception of 1960 and 1964 when I would have voted for JFK and Goldwater. Now, the GOP have moved so far to the right I would have supported every Democratic candidate at the presidential level since 1992, although in 2000 I would probably have voted for McCain

by Anonymousreply 5907/26/2013

I don't agree. I'm just as liberal today as I was when I was younger. Older people in my family have not gotten more conservative with age either.

Simply not true.

by Anonymousreply 6007/26/2013


Fox News has this figured out. They're on every TV in every nursing home in the US. Ad I believe 99.999% of Fox viewers live in Florida.

by Anonymousreply 6107/26/2013

[quote]Misery, they want to perpetuate their misery to the next generation.


by Anonymousreply 6207/26/2013

It's called growing up. The idealistic vision of the world a child or younger 20 something wants would take a frightening amount of control and oppression to carry out. Eventually, when everyone wants to be in the wagon instead of pulling it, someone will be forced to and people will do without. Which is why the countries that lean that way with any success are backed by capitalism, and those who don't end up running out of toilet paper.

On the social end, I don't know. The older people I know vary in their outlooks toward social issues, as do the younger.

by Anonymousreply 6307/26/2013
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