We’ve all heard of the stages of grief:
The Kübler-Ross model, commonly referred to as the “five stages of grief”, is a hypothesis introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and says that when a person is faced with the reality of impending death or other extreme, awful fate, he or she will experience a series of emotional stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance (in no specific sequence). (red highlight added)
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Political maturity has stages also, as time goes on, and as people learn more about other people, about reality, and about the world around them. As, really: if, people mature, they can tend to oscillate between leftist and rightist thought tendencies. This is what allows people, who for years, or decades, have supported one political tendency or another, to “convert” to the other side.
The thing is, as one becomes more politically mature, which comes only from steady research and learning, one gravitates more steadily rightward, confirming the pithy axiom: “If you’re young and not a liberal, you have no heart; if you’re an adult and not a Conservative, you have no brain.” (attributed, most frequently and probably incorrectly, to Winston Churchill) Furthermore, as Margaret Thatcher did say, “The facts of life are Conservative.” It simply takes time and effort actually to learn the facts of life.
As a result, those with greater political maturity tend: (1) to be more Conservative, and (2) most importantly, to be able to understand how the other side thinks…They’ve been there! It’s why you very, very rarely hear the invective or the vitriol or the vituperation from the right that you hear from the left. Have you ever heard a major Conservative figure call liberals or Democrats “Nazis,” or “racists,” or “sexists,” or anything else even remotely ungentlemanly? Nope.
Oops: Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut…but, really, only after she had pretty much labeled herself that way. Thaaaaat’s about it. Still…it does happen. Just, it’s so rare that those instances where it does happen stand out in the memory.
Conversely, read it well: The major reason the left acts so immaturely in political discussions, is because they are immature. They could be old and doddering, but if they’ve decided to arrest their political maturity, they’ve usually arrested their social maturity as well. Typically the two go hand-in-hand.
To re-pose the above question: Can you think of a major Liberal political figure who has not called Conservatives or Republicans “Nazis,” or “racists,” or “sexists,” or the whole litany of leftist slurs? I can’t name a major leftist or Democrat Party figure ever who has not engaged in such open slander and dirty tricks. Oh, I’m sure there are some, I just can’t name them, and I can name a lot of major American leftist figures!
If you look at the stages that I’ve tried to describe below, then you’ll understand what I’m talking about. And, here’s a broad generalization: most Democrat voters are stuck in Stage 1. Why? They choose to be stuck in Stage 1. The leadership of the American left and of the Democrat Party engage in their constant name-calling, because they are trying to cater to this same group of low-information people.
If you successfully demonize your opponent, then there is a dramatically lower chance that the low-information voters, who, let’s face it, are the majority of voters, will vote for your opponent. They may even prefer the opponent’s ideas, but since he’s a racist or a sexist or a homophobe, they believe they’re voting for nobility over self-interest. Everyone wants to think that he’s “improving the planet.”
Below, I’ve described the Eight Stages of Political Maturity using a kind of “debate,” raging in one person, between a little Liberal on the person’s left shoulder, and a little Conservative on the person’s right shoulder. The little Liberal on the left shoulder begins the “debate” at Stage 1.
Here are the eight Stages of Political Maturity:
Stage 1 (little Liberal guy on the left shoulder): There are poor people. There are rich people. The rich people should give to the poor people.
If they don’t the government should use taxation and public policy to force them to. Note: this is often the way a person believes even before he is eligible to vote. It’s also a stage that many people inhabit for the rest of their lives. Why? They simply choose to. They never have an interest in politics, civics or current events, and simply vote either as their parents voted, or in rebellion against their parents. Most who remain here their entire lives are leftists. And it’s easy to stay here. It takes some effort and thought to move on…and up. Many are unwilling to make that effort. That’s the main undercurrent for each stop on the left-side of this dialogue.
These people call themselves “idealists,” and, they insist, they “care” about others, and “like people,” and if you disagree, then you just don’t “care,” and you’re “heartless” and “cold” and “cruel.”
People who are convinced by this “logic,” and never challenge it, thereby remaining in Stage 1, are Democrat voters. They never even give the little Conservative on their right shoulder a chance to speak. Since, it’s so easy to stay here and to justify staying here, there is a strong temptation to remain in this infantile stage.
Stage 2 (little Conservative guy on the right shoulder): If you simply give to poor people, they have no incentive to escape from their poverty. You make a certain (possibly large) percentage into “permanent poor,” or “willing poor.”
Many people arrive at this stage, and just stop also. Note: the first two stages comprise a large percentage of today’s voting population. People at this stage frequently call themselves “pragmatists,” and “practical,” and often will say, “I used to be like that (Stage 1), but then I grew up and started paying taxes!” Many shut down their internal debate at this point. Those who do, remain Republican voters for the rest of their lives. Note, a significant segment of the voting population remains in Stage 1 or 2 all their lives.
Stage 3 (little Liberal guy on the left shoulder): “But government can help and therefore should. Just because their results have been less than satisfactory, doesn’t mean they should stop trying. They should try even harder.”
People in this group often have skipped right past Stage 2 to get here. I call this “Stage-hopping.” They’ve heard the Stage 2 argument and rejected it out-of-hand, without consideration. This is as a result of a very dangerous tendency in Stage 1, and throughout the leftist progression of thinking: the filtering of information to exclude opposing or challenging points of view. This is made clear by the sneering accusation: “You watch FOX News!” Not realizing that in thereby asserting that the leftist does not watch FOX News, he indicts himself.
If there is enough interest in politics and public policy to arrive at this thinking, then the person frequently has locked himself into an echo chamber of leftist thinking that brought him here. Important Note: “Stage-hopping” is vastly more prevalent on the Democrat-leftist side of things because the messages that dominate the media, pop culture and academia are overwhelmingly on the left. No American can avoid hearing all the messages of the left. People in this stage are Democrat voters. Stage-hopping happens almost exclusively on the left.
Stage 4 (little Conservative guy on the right shoulder): The government has no actual incentive to solve the problems it purports to tackle. No bureaucrat ever tried to work himself out of a job.
This is a natural outgrowth of Stage 2. Republican voters can “Stage-hop” too, but do so much more rarely due to the reason stated above in the Stage 3 section. Most, if not all, Conservatives or Republicans who have arrived at this stage have heard, understand and even sympathize with the arguments of Stages 1 and 3. However, they are, in this stage, Republican voters.
Stage 5 (little Liberal guy on the left shoulder): We can’t afford to wait for people to evolve to a better place. People are suffering now! The government can be transformative; it can force people to be better than they are…for their own, and society’s, good. If people refuse to transform themselves, then government at least can minimize the damage they do to others.
In this stage, the person has decided that the outcome to society is more important than the individual’s right to act or think for himself. If, thinks this good leftist person, someone’s activities could be harmful to himself or others, then he should be prevented from doing those activities. At the very least, the activities themselves should be heavily regulated. The person who has arrived at this stage has prioritized removing risks over permitting upward (but not downward) financial and social mobility.
This thinking is the main reason for what I call: “Social and Economic Sclerosis.” This person can “Stage-hop” directly from Stage 3 to this point. Again, he has no need even to consider the thinking in Stages 2 and 4 to be here. This person still can vilify ideological opponents as bad people without questioning why that vilification doesn’t seem to return to him. The person at this stage simply believes he is smarter and better than his ideological opponents. These are Democrat voters.
Stage 6 (little Conservative guy on the right shoulder): Forced compliance is neither real compliance, nor redemptive. The problem doesn’t just go away if you force people to conform to your idea of what’s good or not good. Worse, the problem tends to go underground where it is harder to root out with education. Still worse, education in the context of forced conformity smacks of indoctrination.
This statement of the problem indicates that the person sees himself as more idealistic even than when he was young. This is because he has retained his desire for all to prosper, but has a greater understanding of human nature. These are Republican voters, because their emphasis is on the individual’s making the effort to better himself economically, socially, physically, intellectually and morally. This thinking stands in firm opposition to the idea that indoctrination can improve people. Republican Voters.
Stage 7 (little Liberal guy on the left shoulder): If neither coercion, nor education, nor indoctrination will sway people to be better, then the government has an objective imperative to prevent people from acting badly, in the interest of those whom the unenlightened might victimize.
Likely without even realizing it this person has arrived at the mindset that produces bloody, tyrannical, totalitarian societies. If you have a critical mass of people with this state of mind, and a charismatic leader, you have a recipe for disaster.
These people believe that “the ends justify the means,” and that “the people are their own worst enemy,” and “the people need to be protected from themselves by any means necessary.” In this tendency are hyper-dangerous thought patterns that produce nonsense phrases like “Zero tolerance.” All Americans, who have arrived at this stage are Democrats, or at least vote Democrat. Some small minority — Like the Lowell Weicker’s of the world — may call themselves Republicans for a while, but they’re not, and eventually they drift out of the party.
Note: It is also possible to Stage-hop to get here. A leftist can go all the way to the pinnacle of leftist political maturity without ever having had to give more than a wink and a nod to opposing thought. Democrat Voters
Stage 8 (little Conservative guy on the right shoulder) The very meaning, nature, structure and raison d’être of “government” prevent it from being helpful. It goes against its own nature in trying to help. It is most decidedly not a charitable organization. It’s not there to help; it’s there to be the boss. To dominate, to limit your activities and impulses, to prevent you from misbehaving, to get in your way, to hinder you, rule you…to govern. It is the guard doberman that you unleash at night to patrol your yard. You should be glad that it is there, but you also have a strong need to rein it in, to fear it, to keep it away from the women and children.
The person who arrives at this stage has done a critical piece of analysis that the others haven’t: What is the nature of government itself? The other stages have as a general characteristic, the baseline assumption that, fundamentally, government is a benevolent entity.
The thinking at Stage 8 has a more realistic, more rounded, deeper understanding of the government, and of the very word “govern” itself. One who “governs” is, really, the “boss”…someone who has a significant level of control over your activities, your movements, your money, your life. We can say all we want, that “Democracy” means “rule by the people,” but the key word is still “rule.” Those people who populate the government are still our “bosses,” to a great extent. The person at this stage has understood what has made America different from all other countries throughout history: a healthy skepticism regarding government and those in a position of authority; a firm belief that government must be limited, or the leaders will abuse their power. These are Republican voters
It’s important to know why there are so many people in the odd number stages, where they support and vote for left-wing people and issues: because it’s easy to be there. If the leftist so chooses, he can sail through life never having exposed himself to any external challenges to his ideas. Because, read this well: while the facts of life are Conservative, society’s white noise is liberal.
For a leftist to challenge his view of reality, he must first challenge himself, carrying on internal debates all the time to test the strength of his beliefs. Then, he has to seek out alternative sources of information. They’re out there, these alternatives, but the leftist must seek them out, then read them with an open mind. This is already a difficult thing for the liberal to accomplish.
Note: Conservatives have no choice but to test their ideas. In America, Conservatives marinate 24/7/365 in a warm bath of leftist spittle. Conservatives can’t help but exercise and challenge and test their ideas.
Remember, the liberal needs only to turn around to receive not only validation of his belief system, but assurances that despite the fact that his political confrères have run most of the world, and most of the United States, for most if not all his lifetime, he is in the avant garde; one of the noble, courageous forward thinkers remaking society in a new and better way. That means that some very large percentage of the liberal population is little more than a herd animal, in terms of their thinking. Did you ever see those National Geographic specials with schools of fish — thousands and thousands of fish — all of whom zig and zag at precisely the same instant, as if they’re all single cells in a big, diffuse brain? That’s a significant part of the liberal voting population. They’re waiting only for their orders to zig this way, or zag that way.
One last thing. You’ll notice that even those liberals who have arrived at Stage 7 — frequently college professors, mid- and high-level government bureaucrats — still demean and demonize political opposition. However at Stage 7, the demonization frequently takes on a “more from sorrow than anger” tone. These liberals will say things like: “He probably doesn’t even know he’s a racist…but the results of his policy preferences would have a disproportionately negative impact on minority populations and women and children.” At this stage, they demonize with a rapier rather than with a sledgehammer.
Demonization is a key component of the liberal arsenal. As mentioned above, the American leftist can arrive at the very pinnacle of leftist thought while having successfully avoided any and all challenging or opposing thought. Hence his reactionary belief system ends up full of old, fat, flaccid, weak, flimsy, soft, tired, impotent ideas and thoughts. When faced with a challenge, if the leftist doesn’t have insult or invective, he is completely unarmed, and his thoughts and ideas can be taken apart in leisurely fashion.
Conservatives who arrive at Stage 8, do not demean their political opponents, because they’ve frequently passed through all the preceding seven stages, stopping by only to challenge and test their thinking at each stage, and then move on to more sophisticated thoughts. As a matter of fact, Conservatives in any of the eight stages don’t demean their political opponents, again, because they’ve frequently been there. To demean the people at any of the previous stages is to demean themselves, and they probably consider themselves to be, in general, pretty good people.
You can also summarize these eight stages into four opposing topics
- Stages 1 and 2 are the “Someone needs to do something“ stages.
- Stages 3 and 4 could be called the “Government should do something — or not.” stages.
- Stages 5 and 6 could be called the “Government should force society to be better — or not” stages.
- Stages 7 and 8 are the “Government unleashed or government constrained” stages.
Important Note: How society is distributed along the above-described political maturity continuum determines the outcome of the vast majority of American elections. How society is distributed within Congressional districts and states determines Congressional, Senate and statewide elections. The inner-city is full of “Obama-phone” ladies; chronologically mature adults, enmired deep in Stage 1.
By definition, little Stage 1’ers, are being born all the time, or come into the country illegally, while a certain number of Stage 8’ers die off. If nationwide the ranks of the Stage 1’s, 3’s, 5’s and 7’s swell, while the Stage 2’s, 4’s, 6’s and 8’s diminish, then the country is doomed. Moreover, how rapidly people achieve political maturity — if they do — will be decisive in determining whether America thrives, survives or dies.