Warning: Political blathering ahead.
For years, a popular saying has been something along the lines of:
If you are 20 and not a communist, you have not heart.
If you are 40 and still a communist, you have no brain.
Har-dee-har, very funny. But here’s the weird thing — even in its limited, stereotyped point of view, I don’t think it is true anymore. It might have been an amusing insight back in the 1960s or 1970s, in the age of The God That Failed.
These days, though, if anything the saying has reversed. It’s the young people who are the fanatic conservatives, and the middle-aged who look back in regret and realize life is more nuanced than they thought in the arrogance of youth.
Or, if you are Jonathan Krohn, you start as a conservative at 13 and get over it by 16.
In general, it seems to me that much of the world has flipped from when I was growing up. Back in the 1980s, American liberals were coasting on the memory of a popular, somewhat radical president from two decades earlier, reduced to a bunch of hyperventilating hysterics while the other side just tried to get things done. Today, the Republican Party is pretty much the same, just replace Kennedy for Reagan.
I care about what actually works, what makes people’s lives better. And good music. And books, movies, etc. So, for 2012, I propose:
If you are 20 and not a conservative, you have no guts.
If you are 40 and still a conservative, you have no brain.
(Note: just talking about American-style conservatism. Many other Western countries seem to have more rational conservatives).