Did We Move, Or Did The Scale Shift?

I don’t think most of us change our views much during the course of our lifetime.  Oh sure, as we age, as we learn new things, learn about history, about political and social ideologies, are exposed to new experiences, we may shift our viewpoints, but I don’t think we do much of a swing from the time we were young.  When I focus on young people in my ‘good people’ posts, I always have the feeling that these people, some as young as five or six years old, are going to grow up to be awesome adults with humanitarian values.  We are who we are, and while our views may shift, I don’t think the core of us changes much over time.  Cruel children grow into cruel adults, children who have compassion as children, typically grow into kind, compassionate adults.

I grew up in the 1950s, came of age in the 1960s during the Civil Rights movement, and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been appalled and disgusted by man’s inhumanity to man, by the depths of cruelty of which the human species is capable.  When I was very young, I asked questions … LOTS of questions!  Drove my parents to drink, I did!  I stopped asking questions about religion, for I figured out early on that there were no answers, but I continued to ask questions about other things, like why my best friend, whose skin just happened to be brown, couldn’t be in our family Christmas picture that would be sent to my grandmother.  She was, in my book, part of our family.  Or why certain people had to sit in one part of a restaurant while others sat in another.  I didn’t know the words ‘racism’ or ‘bigotry’, but I saw that different people were treated differently, and I didn’t like it, didn’t understand it.

So, if one must use labels, I suppose I’ve always been liberal-minded.  I don’t think that in the “land of milk and honey”, the “land of opportunity”, anybody should be homeless or have to put their children to bed hungry at night.  I think the more education we can give our young people, the better equipped they will be to deal with the challenges ahead and help make the world a better place.  And I think education through college should be affordable and available to every single person.  I think great wealth is the most useless waste of resources – resources that could be saving lives and benefitting far more people.  Those are, of course, liberal ideas, but no different than I’ve believed for all of my adult life.

However, while at one time I was just left of center in socio-political ideology, today I and my views are called “far left”.  I’ve wondered about this for some time, had a vague notion that it was the ‘right’ pushing the left further from the center, and last night I found this clip by Robert Reich that explains it perfectly and makes much sense.  Take a look … see what you think.

35 thoughts on “Did We Move, Or Did The Scale Shift?

  1. Certainly, Churchill believed that people do change, having famously said that if you aren’t a liberal when young, you have no heart, and a conservative when old, no brain. However, he was talking of the liberals and conservatives of his time, and they are far different from ours. I’ve met conservatives who can’t stomach today’s GOP. In their view, there’s traditional conservatism, and then there’s this ignorant populism which is trying to usurp the conservative label.

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  2. I must be an oddball, because over my lifetime I’ve changed from being a practicing Catholic to a ‘devout’ deist, and from being a respecter of accepted views to an open-minded questioner of all that is sacred. Kind of makes one wonder if believers in heaven and hell stop to think that logically, going to one place or the other may depend on what age someone like me dies.

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  3. Pingback: Did We Move, Or Did The Scale Shift? — Filosofa’s Word | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  4. I grew up during the ’70s and ’80s in the liberal minded Bay Area but in a Republican family so by the time I reached young adulthood I figured I was somewhere around the center. Then from the ’90s onward as the GOP went to the extreme and the Democrats went to the middle I found myself sliding toward progressive end of the spectrum almost involuntarily, even though my core beliefs have remained the same.

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    • I’m surprised that more aren’t saying the same, for the Republican Party, once a viable political organization, has indeed gone off the rails, but it seems that too few of their members can see it. I am an Independent, for a number of reasons, but lean more and more toward the Democratic views these days.

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  5. Most interesting subject Jill. I think people can change their views completely. As children we are highly influenced by the adults we interact with. What they do and say plays a primary role in our thought processing. For example, as a child from the Deep South I was influenced by racist traditions and all the other ugliness that people around me learned as children but did not escape indoctrination. Some like myself were fortunate enough to relearn and enlighten to what is behind racism and bigotry. hatred and fear. I enjoyed your article.

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    • You’re right … it IS an interesting subject, and I’m sure psychologists could shed some light that I cannot. I can only go by what I’ve seen in my years of observing human nature, and I’ve rarely seen a person completely change his spots. There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part it seems that a combination of DNA and early childhood experiences shape a person in ways that don’t easily come undone. I am glad that you managed to escape the racism and remained open to the more humanitarian voices. Some do, but I wish there were more who looked around and said, “This is wrong!”


  6. As a kid, Jill, I paid no attention to how the world worked. As I grew and learned, i was probably in the center somewhere. Politics did not affect my life in any real way. Socialism was taught in High School, but only as the devil. Capitalism wss God. It was after I dropped out that began to have some real discussions about politics, and gained real world experience. I moved to the left. And I am still moving left. I AM FAR LEFT now. And while the right is further right than they have ever been before, those just left of center seem right wing to me now. The more I learn, the more I see, the more I experience, I keep moving further and further left. I just wush I could drag some keft-leaning people in my direction. It’s lonely out here. But loneliness is far preferable to giving up my ideals as developed over the years.

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    • I was a political animal from birth, I think. I remember keeping tabs during the radio broadcast of the 1956 election … sitting in the floor using my marbles to keep a tally! That’s my earliest political memory, but there are many others from my childhood … even arguing politics on the playground in elementary school! Yes, you are further left than I am. I could easily lean toward socialism, but you are in favour, if I recall, of anarchy, and I think that would bring about the end of humans within five years!


      • Responsible anarchy! There is a HUGE difference. I believe that people, once they are allowed to be responsible citizens, can govern themselves. This has NEVER been tried, as far as I know. Right from the nuclear family units of cavemen on up, someone has always been in power over others. Humanity can never blossom if someone is telling someone else how to live their lives. We must be given that chance! I believe we will be successful, much more successful than we have ever been yet. This is true freedom!

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        • “Responsible anarchy” is an oxymoron. In order for it to exist, humans would have to be responsible, and while some are, there are more that aren’t. Anarchy would maybe work if ten people established a small colony on a deserted island and agreed to work together toward a common goal … survival. However, I think even then it would break down quickly when one man claimed he deserved more of the food because he’s bigger, or when people started having babies and thinning the resources even further. Humans are flawed by greed and arrogance. I’m actually surprised the human species has lasted this long, but until the last 100 years or so, they didn’t have the means to wipe out the entire planet. Now they do.

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  7. However, while at one time I was just left of center in socio-political ideology, today I and my views are called “far left”.

    Yes, I notice the same thing. It seems that the nations has moved far to the right. When the USA liberals seem further to the right than Canadian conservatives, something has shifted.

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    • Don’t let those Canadian Conservatives fool you, Neil. Alberta is a breeding ground for the far right. Being a Far Left kinda guy, I can see the truth about assholes like Jason Kenney, Danielle Smith, and the cronies in their cabinets.
      Health care in Alberta is on a serious decline, more serious than even in the rest of Canada. The story came out just yesterday that a hospital that was commissioned to be built by the NDP back in 2017 has not advanced since the UCP took over in 2019. The present Conservative Minister of Finance blames this on the NDP for not setting aside enough money in 2017 to build the hospital. Inflation has upped the cost of the hospital, according to him, to $440million. In 2017 when the hospital was being designed it was nowhere near that amount. Meanwhile, the Alberta government is projecting a $2,4billion surplus for 2023. That’s 6 times the amount needed to build the hospital, but they say they don’t have the money! Sounds like the Minister of Finance never passed Grade 1 arithmetic.
      It just so happens this new hospital was to be built in Edmonton, an NDP stronghold. Can we say politics? The UCP wants to privatize health care in Alberta — they have been trying for 50 years. Even with the extra billions they must conned out of the Federal government to improve health care, they are telling us they cannot afford to build a hospital in an area that has been overcrowded and underserved for 20 years now. They have cut healthcare funding for the past 4 years, including during the Covid pandemic. They don’t care about the health of their citizens. All they care about is making public health look unfeasible. I cannot understand how they think the public cannot see through their ridiculous plan.

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  8. Jill, many thanks. As well-regarded historian Jon Meacham wrote in “The Soul of America,” our country has moved forward by infrequent major steps to resolve issues that have festered for a long time. Our better angels have a tough time making progress, but they do eventually succeed. I do think we need to ask people more why questions and listen to what they say. Only then will we have a better chance of getting a few thoughtful answers heard. The Daryl Davis approach. Keith

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    • You’ve hit one point especially on the head … we need to ask the ‘why’ questions and LISTEN to the answers. I don’t think many of us actually listen anymore. Daryl Davis … the world needs thousands more like him!


      • Jill, as you know, it is so easy for a politician to criticize. The hard part is talking about what to do fix things. So, why, what, how,….are all fair questions. Keith

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