Todays topic is yet another that one could say I took for granted at face value. It’s something i’ve heard at diffrent times in life, as well as a few times on youtube channels I no longer follow (The Rubin Report).
Though it’s a rule of thumb that caused me to raise an eyebrow over the years (I haven’t become less liberal over time), it’s never something I gave much thought to. Because:
a.) Why bother
b.) I tend to be an abboration to the norm. So my conclusions are not a good measure for . . . the nrom
And so it was, until todays find. An article arguing a far more sinister reason for the seeming shift in political views with age. It maybe less a case of liberals and progressives aging into conservative views than it is liberals and progressives dying off. Because conservatives tend to come at life from more privilaged backgrounds, and liberals and progressives tend to . . . not.
It’s easy to argue for the scaling back (or elimination entirly) of many social services when one never has a need for them. That said, lets get into the article.
One of the abiding realities of our political era is a major generational split anchored on the right by disproportionately conservative seniors and on the left by disproportionately progressive millennials and post-millennials. This is often thought of as a perfectly natural, even inevitable, phenomenon: Young people are adventurous, open to new ways of thinking, and not terribly invested in the status quo, while old folks have time-tested views, assets they want to protect, and a growing fear of the unknown and unfamiliar.
There is some truth in those stereotypes, though different cohorts of young people in the past have been far more conservative than today’s, and on non-cultural matters, seniors have sometimes been as or even more progressive than their children or grandchildren (e.g., the so-called Greatest Generation, which mostly came of age during the Great Depression, was persistently Democratic-leaning politically).
But it is important to note that some generational disjunctions in political behavior are driven by demography. It’s well understood that millennials are significantly more diverse than prior generations. But there is something else driving the relative homogeneity of seniors: Poorer people are often hobbled by chronic illness, and succumb to premature death. A new academic study featured at the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog explains:
Political participation of the poor is overall lower because of poverty, bad health and many other factors, but millions of impoverished Americans across the country also die prematurely. For instance, in 2015, research funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Social Security Administration revealed that, since 1990, among the bottom quarter of Americans with the least education, life expectancy has either stagnated or decreased. That’s for well over 40 million people.
Add to this negative trend the fact that mortality among the poor increases during middle age — which is when citizens generally get more involved in politics. The premature disappearance of the poor, then, occurs precisely at the moment when they would be expected to reach their “participatory peak” in society. But they don’t live long enough to achieve that milestone.
Interesting. And one can follow the logic fairly easily as well.
First, one has to consider voter supression. The very real effort of right wing intrests in keeping legitamite voter ballots out of election counts. Because they know they have a losing strategy. It’s easier to rig the system than to face any change in lifestyle that the commons-centered population may mandate. Even if this boils town to a tax that is a pittance in relation to their total net worth.
Voter disenfranchisment is a good part of this picture. But so is the lifestyle of the poor.
Lifestyle may be the wrong word here because lifestyle seems to indicate that there is a choice in the matter. Which is not always (rarly?) the case for the poor.
Limited incomes in combination with food deserts mandate the consumption of at best, sub standard food. In conbination with the hiddious state of health care in the United States (do you think these people can afford health insurance?), it’s no wonder that they don’t live past 50 on average.
Populations and generations don’t age into conservative views. The conservatives kill off the liberals. You can do a lot when you weild the levers of power. And it’s easy to sleep at night because after all, you didn’t do that. Everyone in America has a chance to have what you have. It’s not your fault they didn’t have the ambition of . . . Donald Trump.
Straw man? a little. None the less, fuck you.
Privilage may enable self deception, but the blood is still on your hands.
Since white people suffer proportionately less from poverty than nonwhite people, they do tend to live longer, and in better health, which is conducive to political and other civic activism. The most politically left-bent demographic racial group, African-Americans, has made progress recently in reducing the gap in life expectancy with white peers, but still lags in both lifespans and health, as a 2017 CDC study showed:
For blacks 18 to 64, the data showed that they were at a higher risk of early death than whites.
“These findings are generally consistent with previous reports that use the term ’weathering,’ which suggests that blacks experience premature aging and earlier health decline than whites and that this decline in health accumulates across the entire lifespan and potentially across generations. This happens as a consequence of psychosocial, economic and environmental stressors,” said Leandris Liburd, director of the CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity.
And as the authors of the new study discussed at the Monkey Cage note, age and lifespan disparities can become self-perpetuating:
Inequality in the U.S., in other words, is not solely the result of economic difference. Health, too, has considerable potential to stack the deck against the poor. Socioeconomics, longevity and political participation mutually reinforce each other, making it especially difficult for poor Americans to gain political clout.
Naturally, there is a racial component to this. Consider this next time you see some white privilaged nutjob shouting about the risk of white genocide in the streets.
So it’s not just a matter of people naturally growing more conservative as they grow older. It’s also a matter of the wealthier — and more conservative — people surviving more often, and for longer.
That is certainly a positive way to shape it. Too bad that 2 years of mainstream right wing fuckery has all but erased my civility in talking about these matters.
Civility. What an interesting concept. Those that wish for nothing more than the dismantaling of all that it stands for, demand it when they bring their evil ideals into the public discourse.
There is a time for measured conversation. And there is a time to say “Go fuck yourself!”.