I have a lot of theories. Some of them are well thought out and supported. Some are complete hooey. Some are just observations. Most are a work in progress.
That the true English accent is American and that Evolution and Creationism are not mutually exclusive are some of my best thought out and supported theories. The fact that male engineers require more than 4 years to get a degree (Footnote 1) and that all Equal Employment Officers in the civil service are all black females (Footnote 2) count more as observations than as theories but probably belong in the hooey pile anyway.
One theory I have is that people tend to want to be always right (Footnote 3) especially in religion and politics. This also fits nicely with my theory that people want to be able to label others accurately with one word while recognizing that they cannot be labeled in a similar manner. “Oh, you’re a _____. Well I’m a ___-loving, true to heart ____, who ___ when they ___.” (Footnote 4)
Disraeli said, “A man who is not a Liberal at sixteen has no heart; a man who is not a Conservative at sixty has no head.” (Footnote 5) Now I believe his capitalization refers to the British Political Parties and not just the ideological ideals most commonly associated with liberalism and conservatism. Many of the people who quote, or have been attributed as quoting, this change the ages, sometimes the parties and/or political thoughts. The basic idea is the same though, as we age our political beliefs mature and adjust with us.
Only I think that summary is not accurate. People tend to want to be right and adjust if needed, but when it comes to political beliefs I think it’s more precise to realize that we become more aware of our motives and that we may have been misrepresenting ourselves. It isn’t that we have changed from one side of the aisle to the other but rather that we realize more and more that the side we’re sitting on does not portray us as much as we previously thought. It isn’t that we no longer believe we were right, just that now we have put enough thought into it (or seen enough of the world) that we have a clearer understanding of what is right and good..
Whether this idea is right or not, my question is when does a personal belief become a “re-thought?” If you haven’t previously thought about a particular subject, especially where you might stand on that subject, when you do decide how to stand is it a re-thinking? Is that a change of mind or just a clarification?
Either way, is changing your mind a bad thing, especially in regards to politics? So often here lately we see people being beaten up, losing trust and supporters, or just generally being run out on a rail because of things they said long ago (even if long ago was last month instead of in the 80s). Is what someone said/believed before as important as what they say/believe right now?
Mind you, I’m not saying we should give David Duke a second chance (Footnote 6). I’m just saying it may not be the same position they had previously, it may not match up or even seem to match in any way, but regardless of if someone has changed their mine, their political affiliation, or just come to a better understanding of their own inner workings, if what they are advocating now seems different than what they used to support it’s less what they did and more of what they now do that makes all the difference.
And at the end of the day, Napoleon Bonaparte was right when he said, “In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.” (Footnote 7)
While writing this I found myself getting distracted and adding parts that didn’t really allow the rest of the piece to flow so I added them as footnotes instead.
1) I’ve met 3 males (excluding service academy graduates) who have gotten an engineering degree in 4 years. To a man they have all taken at least one extra semester (or quarter) to do it. This information may be slightly skewed because of the number of SEC school graduates I know that just wanted to get one more season of free football tickets. Females can easily do it, in fact I do not know very many females who took more than 4 years, one did it in less, and at least two didn’t do it in four also just wanting another season of football tickets.
2) I’ve heard of 2 EEO people who were not black females. One was Hispanic the other was a white person that sued to get the job. The real common thread is gender but I’m sticking to my theory and not revising it just yet.
3) People tending to want to be right can start a lot of arguments. Not because they argue they would rather be wrong though. The knowledge that they are right spurs them to argue with you if your statement contradicts theirs. Also, few things can end an argument quicker than simply saying, “You’re right.” And in this matter I am not simply pulling from my nearly 27 years of marriage though the statement has certainly helped to increase that number of years, too (sidetone this is not to say I just agree with Ginger to end arguments but would it be wrong if I did?). And yes, that’s a tangent in a tangent or a digression in a digression. Layers and layers of onion but at the end of it all it’s still an onion.
4) I recognize this explanation would be better if I filled in the blanks but it can go either way. If I say liberal and use conservative examples people will say, “Aha! So you’re a Republican.” If I say conservative and use liberal examples people will say, “Aha! So you’re a Democrat.” There is someone reading this right now trying to figure out which side of the aisle I am on and I just don’t want it to be that easy to discern—yet. It is very easy to look at where I grew up—inside my Comfort Bubble—and who taught me and put me into a classification bucket. Once a friend on Facebook’s wife did such a thing including literally calling me a white boy. The really funny part was that she said I would jump to conclusions without knowing anything about a subject or bothering to do any research. While she was busy doing what she convicted me of doing I had been busy researching the subject.
5) There are many different attributions and versions of the quote I’m about to use but I’m choosing to quote a quote investigator who quoted Laurence J. Peters quoting Benjamin Disraeli not because I believe it to be the first, or the most accurate, just that I like Peters. Also because that last sentence was fun grammatically to type.
6) Not that he doesn’t deserve a second chance, I hope he has changed his mind but also hope he is also smart enough to not ask to be in charge of anything any more.
7) I gave up before I could find a way to quote Groucho Marx “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” But good grief he’s accurate.