Most people surely have heard the aphorism, "If you aren't a liberal by the time you are 20, you don't have a heart....but if you aren't a conservative by the time you are 40, you don't have a brain."I have of course heard the quote about liberals not having a brain. It proves conservatives think they are smart and liberals are stupid. Public debate today is more about declaring yourself to be smart than about actually making good arguments. That is why we get so little charity and so little truth.
My father stated that aphorism to me when I spearheaded the local McGovern campaign effort in 1972, much to my father's chagrin.
The Motley Monk is beginning to wonder if this aphorism will continue to describe the state of nature. With the federal government increasingly extending its reach into the lives of most Americans since the 1960s, dependency upon government "largesse"---Medicare, Medicaid, and other social spending programs---will likely create a larger class of citizens 30+ years of age who won't possess the capital that normally would stimulate thought about capital and its preservation.
What I find interesting about this post is that it admits something that I have long suspected is true. That the change from liberal to conservative has more to do with getting richer and less to do with getting smarter. That having capital stimulates thought about capital and its preservation. That means people care about the poor, the sick, the elderly, etc. until they figure out that such care is costing them a lot. Then they become more focused on themselves. That is when they become conservatives.
Conservatives always claim their politics does not flow from a lack of concern for their fellow man. It is just a coincidence that the policies they favor lower taxes for themselves and less help for the needy in society. Those policies are based on logic and not on greed. The fact that they match up exactly with what a greedy person would do is no reason to question someone's motivation. It is like those people who bought Playboy just for the articles. They would get upset when you suggested their motives might not be pure.
But now we have a conservative predicting that these purely logical arguments will not work on people unless they have enough money. Money stimulates thought. Really? Money certainly stimulates greed and patterns of thinking that go with it. Greed is sin and sin makes you stupid. But does money stimulate noble and rational thinking? I don't see it.
I do think the premise is wrong. There are much deeper reasons why younger people are not working as hard on developing their careers and acquiring wealth. Social spending is a minor factor. I would say the lack of faith and the accompanying lack of motivation to serve God is a bigger factor. Related to that, promiscuity and pornography has made marriage less desirable for men. Women are not looking for men who can be long term providers. So fewer step up to that challenge. That is another topic but it does show how quickly one can connect dots based on conservative assumptions and ignore a bunch of other possibilities.