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Thread: "You'll grow out of it"

  1. #81

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    I'm 21, and no - I've never had anybody tell me that before. I've heard it said to other people, though, and I can imagine it's reasonably common.

    I used to be a hardcore free-market libertarian - for a while I was a market anarchist - and although I didn't like to identify as capitalist (because I preferred to encourage the proliferation of different economic systems), I did think that capitalism was probably best. That was my position from about 13-16. During this time, I had plenty of people (parents, teachers, even friends my own age) tell me that I didn't understand the world, and that once I grew up, I'd see the necessity for government intervention.

    Whenever I talk about my current political views - which are (unsurprisingly given my presence here) pretty far left - people seem to take me much more seriously, and many of them agree. Even those who disagree don't respond as though my comments are borderline delusional, and they don't give me crap about how I just need to wait until I grow up and then I'll change my mind.

    Which leads me to wonder if most people are perhaps rather more socialist than they might take themselves to be. Or maybe it's just ageism. I'd like to believe it's the former, but the latter is, unfortunately, extremely pervasive.


    As for why do so many radical leftists end up becoming more conservative later in life - well, some of them just change their minds of their own accord, some of them are, as you said, probably swayed by peer pressure and such... we also have to remember that I think some people view radical leftism as something like a fad or fashion statement. I had a few friends in school who called themselves "Marxists" or "communists", and maybe they had some basic idea of the theories and some knowledge of the major historical figures and events... but I really think it was just a fashion thing to them. It seemed to me that they never devoted much time to learning anything about it. And, indeed, within a few years they weren't at all interested anymore.

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome

    Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. victims essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness. The FBI’s Hostage Barricade Database System shows that roughly 27% of victims show evidence of Stockholm Syndrome.

    Stockholm syndrome can be seen as a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario, but which describes "strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other."

    Battered-wife syndrome is an example of activating the capture-bonding psychological mechanism, as are military basic training and fraternity bonding by hazing.


    When I left high school in 1991 (which would make me pretty old now unless you think I was some baby genius =) I considered myself a "general liberal" in the American Democratic Party sort of way - not super involved in politics.

    After I started discussing politics in internet forums, I switched to democratic socialism. That lasted for a few years until I got tired of the lack of progress and sick of the lack of ideas to bring about immediate change. That's probably what made my mind open to the idea of anarchism, and when I came across some of the different tactics in direct actions, it only served to radicalize me more.

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    Even if it was the case that you grow out of it, does it matter?
    Do we have to change what we think now because of what we may think in the future?
    I don't think we should.
    Is this resistance or a costume party?
    Either way I think black with bandanas is a boring theme.

    fka Creep

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  5. #84

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    My take on this is that when you're young, or maybe it's just when you first start adhering to ideas, is that you are really dogmatic about it, but as you get older and have more experiences your perspective is expanded. This leads a lot of people to drop revolutionary politics entirely, but I like to think that for me it gave me a wider perspective on it, to be less dogmatic about it, and to realize that it shouldn't be as life-consuming or mind-consuming as a lot of younger people are with it, as I was.

    It's a lot more refreshing to read Marx nowadays because I don't really put it into an inherent ideological framework, and it's a lot easier to assess what people are saying, I think.

    I'm 25, FWIW.

    EDIT: Also I think a lot of people develop and nurture revolutionary politics in uni, and when you graduate and leave uni to go into the real world that's a really big life change that changes all of your beliefs, including your political ones, which is probably another reason a lot of people drop rev politics or politics altogether when they get into the workforce and see what "real life" is like. Some people maintain their revolutionary ideas by just staying in uni, or in the academic system. Others manage to hold onto them in the "real world".

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    Fear.

    After "adults" go into the "real world" they are forced by the capitalist system to find jobs. Then they come to live in fear of losing their job, not being to find a new job, or not being able to get loans if capitalists run a background check.

    Of course nobody likes to call themselves a coward, so they rationalize it by saying "you gotta work within the system" or "more radical ideas are unrealisitc" or "it's not so bad I live under someone else's thumb for the rest of my life" (well, ok, they don't say that last part

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    Junior year my AP english teacher said this to me on the last day of school: "The key thing for the youth to remember about intellectual discourse is to never respect it when those older than you insult you and try to pass it off as wisdom."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ostrinski View Post
    Junior year my AP english teacher said this to me on the last day of school: "The key thing for the youth to remember about intellectual discourse is to never respect it when those older than you insult you and try to pass it off as wisdom."
    You're English teacher sounds awesome!

    Mine said something along the lines of 'The pope is always right'.
    'despite being a comedy, there's a lot of truth to this, black people always talking shit behind white peoples back. Blacks don't give a shit about white, why do whites give them so much "nice" attention?'

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    EARTH FOR THE EARTHLINGS - BULLETS FOR THE NATIVISTS

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    Quote Originally Posted by X5N View Post
    I've been wanting to ask this ever since I joined, but I never did for some reason.

    If you're a young leftist, you've probably heard this before -- that we don't understand the "real world," and that when we grow up and get out into this real world, we'll realize that radical leftism doesn't work, or something like that.

    And it's true, to some extent -- a lot of young leftists do later on turn away from that, and become "normal." But I contend that it isn't because they "realize" anything. But I've been trying to make sense of just what it is that does this.

    So, what is it that turns a freewheeling, marriage-rejecting, window-smashing, anti-capitalist anarchist eighteen year old into a suit-wearing, children-having, newspaper-reading thirty year old? I contend that it has to do with peer pressure and socialization -- for example, people who say they'll never have kids still have family and are interested in relationships, and people who subscribe to anti-capitalist ideas may be discouraged to express them if they get some sort of "real" job, or something.

    Any ideas?
    Largely this is a stereotype. I'd be curious if anyone knows when this became an idea - has it always been around?

    I wouldn't be surprized if it really didn't become "common sense" until the 1960s/70s because of the level and clear youthful character of rebellions and radicalization of that time. And of course because those young black power militants and counter-cultural left-wing rebels then had to deal with a major push-back from the ruling class many of them did either break or become part of the system: a new generation of Democratic party activists who then came of career age just as the whole country began shifting to the right. So yesterday's organizer became tomorrow's local Democratic party machine operative - the ex-Hippie "radical" group that runs Berkeley California (and has for about 20 or more years) is in the pocket of rich developers and just pushed a sit-lie law in the last election. So from sitting-in at People's Park to jailing homeless runaways who come to Berkeley hoping for a place where you can sleep in a park.

    But in general, annecdotally, it looks like there's some truth to the idea that young people are more likely to radicalize - but I think it may be the case that young people are more likely to radicalize quicker than other people. This could be because they have less at stake, less stress of daily work if they are just out of school or working part-time. But I think it's also because young people have less baggage - are less likely to be as demoralized by losses just for inexperience. People are also more fluid in their views when they are younger.

    As for becoming more conservative as they age - well I guess it depends on how you look at it. The baby boomers as a group definately went more conservative, but they also lived through a massive poltical attack from the top which demoralized everyone and turned all politics to the right. In fact, it also annecdotally seems like the New Right was also young for the most part. These are the people who came of age in the late 70s and early 80s - the whole tea-party age-group.

    So my best guess is that there seems to be a tendency for age-groups to generally respond slightly differently to the larger political and social situation, but that if a age-group becomes more conservative, liberal, or radical - it has more to do with the larger context, than their age group. So people growing up and seeing the civil rights movement and US hypocracy in forign policy, radicalized. While a generation later, 20-somethings growing up in an economic crisis and the collapse of Keynsianism and a massive push from the ruling class in both attacks on people and propaganda and adapted to more conservative ideas.

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