“If you’re not liberal when you’re young, you have no heart. If you’re not conservative when you’re older, you have no brain.” ~Winston Churchill
There is a lot of evidence supporting the theory that Liberalism is attractive to individuals with some degree of arrested social, emotional, or intellectual development. Let’s start with human brain development. Executive Functioning is centered in the prefrontal cortex of the brain and determines judgment, risk-taking behavior, selfishness vs. otherness, and higher thinking processes such as political and religious philosophy. These parts of the brain are not fully formed until age 25 in most people. Social, emotional and intellectual maturation can continues for years beyond the mechanical maturation of the brain, if the individual nurtures the process through learning and serious self-assessment.
Impulsiveness, emotionalism, selfishness and a lack of the ability to comprehend cause and effect result when when Executive Functioning is not developed. Emotional regulation is part of executive functioning. Crimes, especially violent crimes, are typically committed by young men.
The majority of residents in American prisons are young men aged 18-25. The majority of women in prison are also relatively young, aged 18-30. The brains of youth, especially those raised in a permissive or morally ambiguous atmosphere, are malleable and of lack self regulation. Liberalism seems has evolved to appeal to people whose brains are not fully actualized. Centralized command and control government is attractive to people who want an outside presence; a parent figure, to take charge of some basic functions of life, such as physical security, financial resources, public spaces and activities, etc. Liberalism, which is liberal with government power, but stingy with individual liberty and accountability, is the political philosophy of choice for people who are emotionally young–childish. That’s one reason why the best agitators–the “community organizers,”–always demanding goods and services from tax payer-funded government entities, are Liberals.
Erickson’s Stages of Psycho-social Development correlate observable behavior with certain, predictable stages of emotional growth. The characteristics displayed by political Liberals align quite well with these developmental stages:
School Age Children (6 to 12 years) Industry vs. Inferiority, in which children experience feelings of inadequacy and inferiority among their peers and, thus, seek ways to diminish the relative importance of others and increase their own power through tattle-telling, attention-seeking and bullying.
Erickson’s Adolescent Stage (12 to 18 years) Identity vs. Role Confusion, is also a stage in which some Liberals are stuck. This is the age of identity formulation, learning to negotiate, and developing moral sensibilities. The moral sensibilities in this stage are based largely upon what works for the individual. Children of this age can appear to be justice seekers, but the form of justice may be that which fits their own interests and ethical paradigm with little consideration for the well-being of others. They are unable to conceptualize that others who are unlike them can actually be good. It is the classic black and white thinking of a child; we are good so those who are different must be bad. They are limited in their comprehension of cause and effect and so act like children, accusing without cause and condemning without evidence, their ideological adversaries. These are prototypical attributes of arrested development. Through trauma, bad parenting, poor socialization, substance abuse, or simple biological pre-disposition, individuals are unable to grow and develop emotionally beyond the childish stage at which they are stuck.
- Emotional Awareness: This is the ability to understand emotions and their effect upon thoughts and performance. Liberals tend to act emotionally before reasoning through a given issue.
- Accurate Self-assessment: This is the honest evaluation of ones strengths and weaknesses. Liberals naturally lack the sense of humor and perspective about themselves and always attempt to diminish others so they may feel superior.
- Self-confidence, Self-control, and Trustworthiness: These are stages in which identity, temperance, and honesty and personal integrity are formed and practiced across all settings. Liberals come up with fallacies such as, “I need to find myself” because identity for them is fluid and largely driven by opinions coming from the leaders of their chosen mob.
- Conscientiousness: Personal accountability for one’s actions and the outcome of those actions is developed in this stage. Planning is established in this stage because the maturing mind understands the effect of actions. Liberals are tattle-tales, rarely taking responsibility for their destructiveness or political failures, always shifting blame to a force or person other than themselves.
- Optimism: A mature mind operates from the hope of success rather than the fear of failure. Liberals place all hope in outside forces; government, nature, the collective society, etc. and regard the individual as powerless and incompetent.
- Empathy: Liberals’ empathy and compassion are selective because they are not genuine responses, but rather manipulative efforts designed to bring about a political end. Suffering that goes against the grain of their political narrative–the pain suffered by babies undergoing abortion, for example–does not exist in the Liberal universe. Yet they will exaggerate the suffering and injustice suffered by “victim classes” who serve to bolster their socialist political goals.
Liberals’ lack of tolerance for debate, their destructive policies, opportunism, and their capacity to displace morality with political expediency, are largely attributable to delayed psycho-social development. There’s a multiplicity of explanations for this stunted maturation including early drug use, poor parenting models, environmental and biological influences, and generational government dependency. This places upon the Conservative movement the additional burden of fighting life-or-death political battles as well as, literally, being the adults in the room.