Have you always been a Conservative/Moderate/Liberal?

I for most of my life have been a moderate. But I know so many people who are one point in their life they were say Very Liberal and now are Very Conservative. I find that fascinating that viewpoints would swing that much. In general I am moderate but as I get older I tend to be more liberal then conservative. But I don’t believe my core values have changed all that much, just little adjustments along the way based on my life experiences.

age 20: Moderate but more conservative.
age 30: Moderate, pretty much right in the middle.
age 40: Moderate but moving to the liberal side.
age 50: About the same as age 40, more on the liberal side then I used to be.

In general I find that I tend to be fairly liberal on social issues and moderate on fiscal issues, more moderate on some social/fiscal issues. I honestly believe more people are in this spectrum then is represented, but the edges get the attention since they are so vocal and extreme on their views. I do find political discussions difficult here on the Dope since they get derailed almost immediately by one or the other extremist sides. So it isn’t worth participating for the most part–do other moderates feel the same way? When I lived in Seattle I often felt like my positions made me out to be very conservative, yet when I moved out here to Kitsap County (navy base area) suddenly I feel like a liberal hippy! :slight_smile:

Based on what I have read on threads here, I would venture to say my net worth is one of the higher ones on this board, and President Obama’s fiscal approach impacts me probably more then most posters here, yet I voted for him and so far am happy with that vote. I do find it ironic that when I had no money I was more conservative then I am now when I have money! I came from a very poor background and would not have the successes I have in life now without government programs so I can’t say I am against them. I guess we are all products of our environments, but my core values have stayed the same over the last 50 years it seems to me.

So my question is where are you on the Conservative/Moderate/Liberal spectrum and have you always been there? And if you have changed—why? Was it money or the unfairness you saw in society or what?

I have been a liberal since the day I was born. When I became a fundamentalist Christian at the age of 10, I still somehow managed to be a liberal. I couldn’t get enough of diversity whether it was race or sexual orientation or just a different life perspective. I didn’t understand the meaning of politics but I understood the meaning of social inequality, and I wanted to do something to change it. I was a volunteering, tree-hugging goody two-shoes. I used to have political arguments with my parents without realizing I was arguing about politics. I was bored by politics, but would argue passionately against war, racism, homophobia, poverty, etc.

When I was 18 I became politically liberal, in part because 9-11 scared the shit out of me enough to bother paying attention to U.S. foreign policy and start thinking about the role individuals play in government. It’s not that I became more liberal, I just began to frame it in the traditional political sense, and to develop a more nuanced understanding of how government impacts human experience.

I am both more and less liberal now that I am 26. I am more liberal in the sense that I believe true positive change would come from a radical overhaul of our government. In terms of what I actually believe to be moral and right, I am extremely left of center. I have made career decisions that reflect this orientation. ‘‘Liberal’’ and ‘‘socialist’’ have been used inaccurately to imply they are interchangeable, but I could honestly say insofar as I understand socialism, I’m probably a socialist. In the very least, I would have no problem with socialized medicine, transfer programs, or taxing the shit out of people. Spain, France, and Canada are ideal systems from my perspective.

I am less liberal in the sense that I understand and respect the conservative argument more than I used to, and I view compromise and consensus as more helpful to fostering actual change than trying to wrench control from any one demographic group. So I would rather have everyone agree on a moderate plan for healthcare than implement any radical policy in such a way that conservatives would feel trampled on, ignored, afraid and disempowered. I realize that’s a courtesy that has never been granted to me as a liberal, but that’s partly why I feel the way I do.

Remember what Winston Churchill once said: Any young man who isn’t a liberal doesn’t have a heart; any mature man who isn’t a conservative doesn’t have a brain.

As a child, I was thoroughly indoctrinated with the Conservative cause (U.K. - read Democrat in America) during my youth. I can still play the upper class twit. At university, I broke free. I attended many political meetings, including the SWSS (where I played ‘Spot the Spook’). I didn’t turn socialist, but I was exposed to more and learned enough to start my own way. My views encompass bits of many. I’m me and my views are my own.

Hakuna, could it be reasonably said that now you can afford to be liberal?

What happened to me was that in college, I was exposed to such a huge amount of new ideas, that I had trouble sorting them out. As I got older, I was able to think for myself and pick and choose which beliefs I supported. What ended up was that some of my views would be considered liberal, others would be considered conservative. Imho, I think this is the natural state and the label “moderate” is a misnomer. If you believe a liberal view on one issue, and the conservative view on another issue, that’s perfectly fine.

One argument that often comes up is that if a person espouses both liberal and conservative views, that is hypocritical. My counter argument is that hypocrisy is a natural condition of humanity. We love dogs but eat cows. Killing whales is cruel, yet using nerve gas on roaches is not. Forcing someone to accept all views if they accept one is the wrong action, imho.

I thought I was liberal when I was young, but didn’t really understand much about much.

In my twenties I moved more towards a conservative view.

In my late 30s and now I view myself as moderate. I used to say just right of center, now I tend to say just left of center.

I was raised very conservative and stayed that way into my mid teens. From then until now (mid 30’s) I would say I’m moderate to left. It’s hard to pin down, since I have viewpoints that go all over the political map.

Possibly but then again my sense is that most people in my particular financial situation would tend to be conservative. And I am very conservative on many issues including many fiscal ones. But given the role that government has played in getting me to this point in my life I do not find myself in the typical conservative role that seems to indicate that little or no government is the goal. I strongly believe that government has a role in our lives.

I have heard the snippet that **Ronald C Semone **stated and I feel I have a brain, in fact the last MRI I had confirmed it! But that saying doesn’t seem to apply to real life as Warren Buffet is very liberal and I would venture to say he has quite the brain (or tremendous luck or both). And Glenn Beck is an idiot and he is very conservative, but then again Michael Moore is just as big of an idiot and he is very liberal. So I don’t think intelligence has much to do with it regardless of what Mr. Churchill stated.

I used to be very conservative and as time went on I’ve been moving more and more towards the center both socially and economically.

I use to listen to right wing talk radio on a regular basis, but quit after Air-America came on. I thought to myself that it would be cool to hear what the opposition has to say, but instead of well reasoned arguments all I heard was hatred and name calling and jumping all over any republican who did anything wrong, while ignoring, minimizing, or even justifying whenever a Democrat did anything wrong. But then I started to notice the same thing with right wing radio and eventually I gave it all up. That probably helped to move me closer to the center than I already was.

I was apolitical growing up. In my late teens/early 20s, I first read and was extremely affected by Atlas Shrugged, so I took a turn towards being hyper-conservative (in the Libertarian vein).

Then I put more thought into things and made a fairly nice recovery. Now, close on 20 years later, I’m fiscally moderate-to-liberal, and socially liberal (leaning Libertarian).

In college I was *extremely *liberal. Borderline socialist/communist.

After college I did a 180 and became a right-wing conservative.

Long story short, but it dawned on me that both are wrong. Socialists and right-wingers desire power and control over people, and I don’t want power control over people. I am now a libertarian.


18: Democratic Socialist
20: Randroid
30: Questioning Objectivist
40: Recovering Objectivist
50: Clinton Democrat, though I really knew better
60: Obama Democrat, though he sucks at economics

Yep. My parents have always been liberal (my dad more so than my mom*). My dad has always been your basic FDR/LBJ type, and he was my political influence. And believe it or not, being in Catholic school during the 80s, when we still had the hippie-guitar Mass types, and were all about “you have to help the poor, don’t be so selfish, that’s your duty,” blah blah blah. I guess it sort of sticks to you.

Then in college, one of my professors was very involved in Latin American history, and I learned a lot of the crap that has gone on there – and I guess it’s made me MORE likely to vote leftist. So unlike a lot of young people who talk about being liberal with conservative parents, I’m lucky – I have my liberal dad, and we often talk politics and current events. It’s great.

*Mom and I used to get annoyed when I was really little and it seemed like Reagan was constantly butting into our tv shows. Didn’t someone here say it was usually The Muppet Show? :wink: [sub]Psst – conservatives, that’s a JOKE, btw[/sub]

In my late teens and early 20s, I was very conservative. I mean, a Rush-Limbaugh-Sean-Hannity-listening, Fox-News-Watching, the-liberals-are-attacking-Christianity type of conservative. I stayed that way until I moved out of town to go to graduate school. Now I am a left-leaning libertarian in the vein of Bill Maher (I enjoy “Real Time”). Almost a complete 180.

But why did you people who change from liberal to conservative or vice-versa: why did you change? What caused this shift? That is what is interesting to me. My shift has been so little in the middle spectrum and I know for me it is that I feel I owe a debt to the liberal side as that is how I was able to afford my education. Without the student loan and grant programs I would not be the success I am today. But my core values have remained the same, so I am curious as to how one goes from conservative to liberal, or liberal to conservative. What caused your change of view?

In that sense, I’ve never changed. I went from nothing to feminist, and then nothing to pro-choice, without any waffling.

Maybe the one view I changed on was social welfare. When I was young, I thought it was a great idea, and when I got older, I could see what damage it caused and how people took advantage of it.

Thinking about it, I think the reason I went from very conservative to almost centrist was that for years I was wrapped up in rhetoric and sound bites and emotion, and focusing on the negative of liberals and democrats and ignoring the positives (and likewise only focused on the positive of conservatives and republicans and ignoring the negatives).

But then somewhere along the line I started thinking deeper about the issues and trying to look past the surface and started noticing that there were some liberal ways of thinking and ideologies that were good and some conservative that were bad.

I have always been a left-leaning moderate. I try to keep an open mind about things and realize my original posisition may be based on emotion or assumption. I can see horseshit in the arguments from pundits on both sides.

Started Liberal, voting for Jesse Jackson in 1988

Now small-l libertarian

Have been a liberal my entire life, and being the only one in a family of hard core Republicans, I guess they just pushed me off the edge to become a screaming liberal.

The eight years of Dubya turned me pretty much into a foaming-at-the-mouth, screaming liberal.

Now I feel my blood pressure returning to normal, so I waver between screaming liberal and just liberal. The whole hoopla about Obama speaking to kids in school, and the asshat dildos yelling at Town Hall meeting caused a few sporadic spittles of foam, but I am doing better. Thanks for asking.