August 24, 2004
We are the young
This article by The Christian Science Monitor talks about the growing trend of young adults to be more conservative than the previous generation. This is not an unknown trend (as most social and political observers have been commenting on the steady advancement of conservative ideology for almost the last decade) but what is surprising is the numbers of students. The article cites a UC Berkeley study that found 60-70 percent of college students and teenagers support conservative social initiatives (like prayer in schools and limits on abortion.) Some of the reasons cited for this conservative “groundswell” are rejection of baby boomer generation social excesses and reaction from excessive campus liberalism.
I can certainly empathize with the students interviewed in the article. I strongly believe that the liberal political excesses of the 60′s and 70′s are responsible (in large part) to negative social stresses in our culture. Currently, I am of the opinion that progressive social change is a good thing, but it must be done is relation to the current state of a given society. I also firmly believe that social progressiveness is (in the long run) a good thing; but political progressiveness it ultimately the single most corrosive element to a free society.
In an semi-related story a study by UCLA analyzed the neural activity of Republicans and Democrats. What they found was the (in general) democrats had a more active amygdala gland compared to their Republican counterparts. Amygdala gland activity is a indicator for our brains gut response mechanism, generally operating below conscious control. This would seem to reflect some commonly held stereotypes about liberal vs. conservatives, i.e liberals have a tendency to be more “feeling” and less “thinking” than conservatives. What the study really does is show that feeling is as much a mental facility as thinking. The study also points out that amygdala gland development is influenced equally by environment and as well as by genes.