|A man of heart and mind.|
It is a commonplace that people grow more politically conservative as they get older.
Some say this is the result of growing wisdom. This quote is often falsely attributed to Churchill: "If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain." Or, as Irving Kristol really did say, “A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality.”
This is one reason why right-wingers do not hate leftists the way leftists have right-wingers. Leftists assume rightists are either stupid or immoral. Rightists assume leftists are simply naïve.
However, it occurs to me that there may be another explanation for this rightward drift with age. The CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, was recently forced to resign for holding a position on gay marriage, six years ago, that the President of the United States still held two years ago, without any visible consequences.
|"The Radicals' Coat of Arms," Cruikshank, 1819.|
It seems to me that this illustrates the great difficulty of remaining a leftist over time. The revolution devours its own children. Many of the same views that were considered vaguely leftist in, say, the 1960s would now be considered so right wing as to be well beyond the pale of polite society. Conversely, many ideas that are now accepted left-wing positions would have, in the 1960s, been considered flatly insane. Accordingly, in order to remain on the left, you must have no abiding principles. If you have any abiding principles whatsoever, and are, moreover, sane, you inevitably end up on the right over time.