Shawna Bound

Just because we're born into a conservative social family does not mean that is the camp we stay in. I and several other friends have very different religious and political views than our parents.


It's an interesting concept but I don't think it's as simple as this article makes it sound.

For one thing conservative views are not uniform, immigrants from less wealthy nations tend to have high fertility rates for their first few generations and have some view-points that correspond with conservatism but others that are more likely to be traditionally liberal


What Shawna Bound said. I was raised by ultra-conservatives, and look at me now! I'm a conservative's worst nightmare.


Interesting post. I must admit that I was a bit taken aback to see the equation of Enlightenment Values with Feminism and to have them set against Traditional Values. Why bring in Enlightenment values where they most certainly don't belong? The case is just as strong pitting Feminist values against Traditionalist values. Enlightenment values imply a respect for reason and when we compare Feminist and Traditionalist value systems we're not making a comparison on an axis of reason. I can point out many Traditionalist positions which are aligned with Reason and many Feminist positions which are aligned against Reason. Enlightenment values don't belong to one side or the other.

That minor point aside though, the problem that Longman is pointing out is already playing out today. For instance, we see that the majority of married women are now voting Republican, same with Catholics, and that the Democratic Party is becoming a grouping of special interest minority groups and predominantly childless or one child, professional, white people. The education cleavage shows Democrats have a noticeable advantage in people with a post-graduate degree and with high school drop-outs and that the Republicans dominate amongst those with HS and college educations. This matters because the policies that flow from gov't have an effect upon citizens and it's harder to craft policy that is acceptable to the smartest and dumbest of our citizens than it is to craft policy for the large middle grouping. Most liberals believe that gov't can be used as a mechanism to shape values and that young people exposed to liberal values transmitted through gov't sponsored institutions and forums will see the light and become liberals. The problem becomes when gov't policy starts being shaped to further conservative values. Take the evolution vs. ID debate. If the ID forces win and start teaching ID in schools then those students who will never in the future take a biology class will never get the chance to see the argument for evolution and "convert." The road to conversion for many students is thus cut off.

Shawna and drumgirl bring up good points - people can switch political allegiance as they develop their own political identities. The problem is that the conversion rate of those born into conservative values has to be half of the demographic difference in order to maintain a balance, and that's accounting for no defections towards conservatism (which is exactly what we see happening with married women) therefore the amount of churn has to be even larger and we don't really see evidence of that much political churning. It is hard to abandon values into which you were immersed through your formative years - there is a residue that remains and often pulls people back after they experience the period of exploration that is their 20s-30s. As with the Evolution vs. ID example above, the chance of conversion decreases as the exposure to the idea decreases.


I'm also a liberal raised by conservative parents.


If I had to argue the other side I would take the position that what matters most is the values of the person who is alive today and one should live their life as they see best. The concerns of the future should be left to those who live in the future. There's no sense in dreaming about the Handmaid's Tale if that future won't touch you. Let the women of the future decide how to deal with their lives when they confront the Handmaid Tale's world.

The Happy Feminist

As I have said, I am no scholar of feminist theory or feminist history, but I have always viewed feminism as naturally flowing from Enlightenment values. I think you may be confusing feminism with post-modern questioning of the notion of objective truth. I am not in much of a position to critique post-modernism because I don't know much about it. I will observe, however, that while there may be an association between post-modernism and feminism in academe, they are not the same thing.

Your thoughts on evolution versus intelligent design makes me think of ideas I have been pondering about whether the debate even matters. Malcolm Gladwell commented in Time Magazine a few months ago that he didn't think it really mattered whether 4th graders learn intelligent design. The problem is not with exposure to the concept of intelligent design but rather with confusing it with a scientific theory. The problem is that our citizenry are less and less familiar with rudimentary epistemology which in turn may affect political decision making.

The Happy Feminist

If I had to argue the other side I would take the position that what matters most is the values of the person who is alive today and one should live their life as they see best. The concerns of the future should be left to those who live in the future . . .

The problem is that I do feel an obligation to future generations. I do worry about human suffering and loss of liberty both now and in the future. I just don't think that having ten babies is going to do the next generation of women any favors. It would simply be a capitulation to the idea that women should be primarily concerned with making babies. (I think you can be a feminist and the mother of ten children but to feel you have to have ten children is not feminist and makes it much more challenging to aspire to independence and to other types of achievement.)


The problem is that I do feel an obligation to future generations.

That certainly puts people like you in a bit of a quandry, doesn't it? I suppose that you could devote your time to creating cultural enrichment. I'd say that the author of a popular book has far more aggregrate influence that do one set of parents. So if the book is very popular and captures the imaginations of kids, presto, you've done a lot to insure that the ideas that are important to you live long after you pass on. Case in point - Robert Heinlein. No kids, yet his libertarian musings have influenced millions of kids, either a wee bit, or right around the bend.

If it's the ideas that matter then I suppose that there are ways that folks like you can propogate the ideas without having your own kids be your lab rats :)

The Happy Feminist

This is quite close to my exact reasoning for wanting to be a writer when I was growing up. Then I read "Great Expectations" and realized I definitely had no shot at being the next Charles Dickens.

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