I often think about changing my political ideology: turning conservative. I wonder if I will ever become conservative. And I actively think about it. I go through what they think and try to imagine myself thinking the same things.
Of course, it’s hard in modern America. The truth is that the Republican Party and the conservative movement itself are so delusional that I can’t imagine ever becoming one. But I suppose I can imagine myself being the kind of person who writes or reads The American Conservative. Those are reasonable people who I already agree with a lot of the time.
Thoughtless Ideological Orientation
But whenever I hear about some conservative who has turned liberal or some liberal who has turned conservative I always think it’s the same thing. These people have not changed their beliefs. Instead, they have made up their minds. These are people who were only liberal or conservative in the most facile of ways.
They got their political ideology from where they grew up, the people they hung around with, their parents, or whatnot. It is extremely unusual that someone has read all three volumes of Das Kapital and then decides the Milton Friedman was right all along.
Why My Political Ideology Won’t Change
As a result, I don’t think that my political ideology will ever change. The truth is that even though I’m a liberal, most liberals annoying me. I find that they have not thought very clearly about their belief system. They’re often extremely ignorant about the issues of the day. And I find I need to educate them as much as I do conservative. The only difference is that it actually does some good with liberals.
For Most, Politics Is Tribal
Most politics is tribal. So when someone supposedly changes from Liberal to conservative it is more likely the case that they used to hang out with liberals and now they’re hanging out with conservatives. And vice versa.
So we really shouldn’t make much of the fact that people change political ideologies and parties. The only thing I will say is that when someone changes a party they are more likely to take the new political ideology more seriously. That’s not always true. In fact, that’s not usually true. But it is true often enough to be interesting.
Change Leading to Seriousness
Sometimes people who do take the new ideology seriously annoy they’re new friends. Because their old friends are just tribal about it too. They don’t like to be around someone who takes their political ideology seriously. Such people often get shunned and find themselves in a political realm of one.
The truth is that I would love to be conservative. I think of myself as personally conservative. Of course, even the most cursory look at how I act and what I think and so on shows that I’m a liberal.
The Difference Between Real Liberals and Real (Non-American) Conservatives
I’ve come to see the fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives as being determined by whether they value mercy or justice more. That’s not American conservatives, of course. People of both types are in the Democratic party now. It’s just the loons who are in the Republican Party.
You can tell this because there are about 30 percent Republicans. And the truth is that there are always 30 percent of Americans who will believe any wacky thing you can mention. The Earth is flat? 30 percent. Part of the population is actually lizards living inside of human suits? 30 percent. Trump is doing a good job? 30 percent!
I’m Stuck Being Me
So I will die a liberal. Even if liberalism goes on to hold opinions that would today make me a conservative. I will always be a liberal because I’ve thought about it a lot. And that’s true of people who are conservative or liberal. In general, I don’t like hearing that people have changed ideologies because it just reminds me that they had no political ideology to begin with.
But I might very well stop being a Democrat. There’s no telling what the Democratic party will become. I already like the Democratic Party far less then I did 40 years ago. It’s possible that the Republican Party will start living up to its propaganda. And it’s possible that the Republican party will become populist. It’s even possible that the Republican party will become the party of working people, instead of the party of the rich.
I can easily change parties because parties change. But I’m afraid that changing my political ideology in a substantial way is out of the question.