How does that old saying go: If you are young and not liberal you have no heart. If you are old(er) and not a conservative you have no brain. Is that how it is? I am too lazy to google it. Anyway, this has been on my mind lately, or at least in a thematic way. It all stems from my Facebook feed.
Like most of us on the 'Book, we friended all the people who (whom?) we did not really know in high school but now pretend we are and were good buds. And that has led to some actual interesting friendships, so good for the 'Book. But what I notice most, from a political standpoint, is that I am apparently one of only a handful of actual liberals who went to my high school (in Iowa.) My newsfeed is virtually spammed with the latest right wing outrage and talking points (the latest is some variation of "screw you France, you suck and will fail" As a surprise to me, lots of righties on my Facebook were really invested in Sarkozy. Didn't know they cared.) I pop in and comment occasionally, if I am feeling especially feisty or have some zinger to lay down, or if I see something really, really stupid that I feel needs to be corrected. But I try to leave it alone mostly, because I don't really have time to get that aggravated at people who aren't even really friends in any real sense (do people still say meatspace?)
Anyway, my point, it approaches. The question that comes to mind, after "how did my entire high school turn out to be Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter?", is did they start this way, or did they drift as the saying goes? A huge data point is that this was Iowa, generally a somewhat religious, right leaning state. But how did I turn out like did, and how did my two younger brothers turn out even further to the left than I am, considering that my dad is quite the FoxNews fan?
I can remember as far back as, I think, second grade during Ford/Carter and our class actually held a class vote and I was for Carter, for reasons totally unknown. In the 80's, in high school, I was anti-Reagan, as any good punk was. I thought a right to housing and food were good ideas we could learn from the Soviets (I was a bit naive, but weren't we all). At some point in my late teens I got introduced to Ayn Rand (yeah, I know...). It was intriguing and fascinating, and seemed to make some sense. I was young and single and this whole individualism thing sounded great! So I drifted rightward. For a long time, during my single days in the '90's, I considered myself a left-leaning libertarian. I voted for Harry Browne! Then I met my Norwegian wife...and since then, since moving to Norway, I have drifted ever leftward. When I first got here I considered myself one of the farthest right people here. The mainstream right party here is probably to the left of the Democrats, in reality. But these days, I vote (I am allowed to vote for local elections, but since I am not a Norwegian citizen I cannot vote in the national elections) solidly Arbeiderpartiet (workers party, the party that Breivik tried to wipe out) and even occasionally SV - Sosialistisk Venstreparti (Socialist Left). I even once voted Rød (The Commies) for two reasons: one, just to say I voted commie once and two, because the local Rød representative is awesome to have in the local council as a foil.
Obviously, moving where I did had an effect on me. Living in the type of Scandinavian socialism that exists here gives one a different point of view. And while I still maintain that free market solutions to problems should be the first choice, my list of items that I feel are not solved in that way and require government regulation or intervention is larger than it was before. I have a diary percolating in my head about just that, where I feel the free market is inadequate. But that is another diary.
And I have drifted from the point of even posting this. The point I had in mind was to spark discussion. Have you drifted? Which way? Is your Facebook feed as weird as mine, whether liberal or conservative (my Norwegian part of my Facebook feed is uniformly liberal. Shocker, I know)? Do you think we get more conservative as we get older, or are there other forces at work that pull us in different directions, like Norway has tugged on me? Where are you, where did you drift?