When did your politics change? 78



View Profile

Did you start your life as a youthful radical 20-something fighting for the good of the world and the rights of the people only to find yourself moderating as you got older? Today we want to talk about how your political stance may have changed over the years and what it was that might have made it change. Or perhaps whether you have even admitted to yourself it has changed.

We all know there are plenty of famous people and even politicians out there who have changed their stance after their early years taught them a thing or two. Kevin Rudd started out as a young Liberal before flipping teams, Peter Costello started out as a young Labor, and Peter Garrett was a greenie. Each grew up from their early years and changed teams, and no doubt have their own reasons for doing so as they have matured and discovered their own alignment with party visions and politics.

There’s a famous old saying adapted from French revolutionary politician Francois Guizot, “If you’re not a socialist at the age of 20 you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative at the age of 40, you have no brain.”
Have you seen your views shift more towards the right as time has gone on?
Back in 2010 there was a study done of how political allegiance changes over the years, usually around middle age. It showed that as people hit the mid points of their life their youthful radicalism tends to shifts towards more conservative thinking. And according to the study it all comes back to the people you hang around with.
Dr James Rockey, a lecturer in political economics at the University of Leicester back in 2010 said “Politics is social,” and that
“there are two main factors – the first is that people compare themselves not to the population as a whole but to the people they know; the second is that political preferences change over time”.

One can only imagine that this happens somewhere around the time when houses, marriages and children enter the picture changing people’s social circles perhaps making one much more accountable for their decisions in life.

Rockey’s study suggested that some people vote for left-of-centre parties “by mistake”, having failed to stop and recalibrate the fact that their idealism has indeed changed with time. He says that some people become ignorant of their own political interests and sympathies.
He says that one reason why “intellectuals” do not realise that they have shed their youthful liberalism is that they tend to socialise with people going through the same ideological shift. Detached from the broader electorate, the study showed they fail to notice that their views have become distinctly conservative.

His study captured the data from 136,000 people in 48 countries, from 1981 to 2008, asking them to rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 10 from left wing to right wing.
These perceptions were then compared with indicators of the respondents’ actual ideological position, which was established by asking them whether they believed wealth should be divided more equally.
Dr Rockey’s paper concluded: “Individuals either choose not to, or are unable to, locate their ideological positions reliably.”

Funnily enough over recent decades, politics in Australia has changed too. The Labor party has gradually shifted more and more to the right, the Greens too, and that leaves only minor parties at the true left of Australian politics.

Were you a young radical and have you gradually seen your political stance moderate?
Was there any particular thing that triggered your change?
Do you think you have a good idea of where you stand in the political spectrum right now?

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. I started as quite conservative and now most of my friends, and certainly my family, see me as quite radical!

  2. No, the reverse. Young Conservative, quite right-wing. Now, in old age, I have seen too much of the greed and selfishness of right wing thinking and actions, so, while still being critical of politicians, I am left of centre in my thinking. Radical .

  3. Once I stopped playing volleyball attending college I acquired fat much however in 2015 I lost weight 26 pounds using the diet that website here ROG9 .COM

  4. Teens and twenties – very left, thirties and forties – conservative, fifties and now early sixties I am left leaning. Agree with Zela have seen what right wing thinking has led to and hate it

  5. No I am more radical now as can see what we are told to believe is utter crap!!!!!!

    5 REPLY
  6. Always been left leaning, grew up going to Sunday school, teaching Sunday school. Became a public school teacher. Jesus was left thinking, associated with the poor and rejected. The more I see in current politics today the more disillusioned I become.

  7. I was too busy working to feed my family. I never took any notice until that redhead came to town, then i started to see all the corruption.

  8. They have never changed. I have always voted labor. I was always a union member. I appreciated what unions have done for the workers of this country. People who knock the unions forget that the pay and conditions they get are because of the unions. All the public holidays and annual leave and sick leave and superannuation and good pay and heating and cooling in the workplace and danger money and safety equipment etc etc.

    4 REPLY
    • And……..some of which has sent small businesses broke and unable to continue. There will be no small business soon and this country will be run by overseas corporate businesses……..who make mega bucks out of this country. If you think outside the square you may see a whole different picture…….everything in moderation!

    • Karen
      It’s the LNP who are letting foreign workers in. They have allowed the sell off of Australian land to overseas. They have signed a free trade agreement with China. They have allowed the big end of town to pay less tax and handed them big subsidises. And they have sold off Australian assets.

    • How many small businesses would have gone to the wall if Abbott had got his ppl through? Most can’t afford to pay to wages and only have one worker

  9. I always vote ALP my whole family did

    1 REPLY
    • Me too Libbi. Funny thing though, I dont know what party my other half votes for, he wont tell me. Married for 32 years and he says his vote is persona, so am assuming he is a lib voter 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *