Posted by: bkivey | 11 March 2014

The Cool Kids Club

Since my mid-20’s I’ve thought that most people affiliated with the Democrat Party because of peer pressure. Most people form their political views in their teens and twenties, and nothing is more important to most young people than peer acceptance. If you look at what the Democratic Party has traditionally stood for, and the way prominent members comport themselves, it’s hard to make a case on the merits:

  • May 30, 1854 Democrat President Franklin Pierce signs Democrats’ Kansas-Nebraska Act, expanding slavery into U.S. territories.
  • May 22, 1856 For denouncing Democrats’ pro-slavery policy, Republican U.S. Senator Charles Sumner (R-MA) is beaten nearly to death on floor of Senate by U.S. Rep. Preston Brooks (D-SC), takes three years to recover.
  • October 13, 1858 During Lincoln-Douglas debates, U.S. Senator Stephen Douglas (D-IL) states: “I do not regard the Negro as my equal, and positively deny that he is my brother, or any kin to me whatever”; Douglas became Democratic Party’s 1860 presidential nominee.
  • April 16, 1862 President Lincoln signs bill abolishing slavery in District of Columbia; in Congress, 99% of Republicans vote yes, 83% of Democrats vote no.
  • April 8, 1865 13th Amendment banning slavery passed by U.S. Senate with 100% Republican support, 63% Democrat opposition.
  • April 3, 1944 U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Texas Democratic Party’s “whites only” primary election system.
  • November 6, 1956 African-American civil rights leaders Martin Luther King and Ralph Abernathy vote for Republican Dwight Eisenhower for President.
  • May 6, 1960 President Dwight Eisenhower signs Republicans’ Civil Rights Act of 1960, overcoming 125-hour, around-the-clock filibuster by 18 Senate Democrats.
  • The party most restrictive of free speech: Democrat
  • The party most restrictive of economic mobility, primarily through the enrollment of as many as possible in government programs: Democrat
  • The party most reliant on identity-politics and the Balkanization of America: Democrat
  • The party most likely to use children as political operatives: Democrat

If one looks at the evidence, it’s hard to believe that any sane person would support the party of oppression. But tens of millions do, including large blocs of those whom the party has treated in the worst possible way. How can this be?

My opinion is that Democrat supporters are mostly, if not entirely, teenagers. Perhaps not chronologically, but certainly emotionally. And nothing is more important to most teenagers than to be one of the Cool Kids.

The teenage years are when children really start to develop their own identities, and distance themselves from their parents. This is normal and healthy and necessary in the development of a well-adjusted human. During this period, the child looks for ways to rebel against their parents, but still wants the security provided by those same parents. This creates a bit of intellectual dissonance that the child must reconcile. Supporting the Democrat party provides and easy (and lazy) way to do that.

Democrats position themselves as advocates of the disenfranchised (my parents are always telling me what to do), champions of the downtrodden (they’ll make people be nice to me), providers of succor to the oppressed (free stuff!), and always emotion, emotion, emotion. It’s much easier to feel than to think, and like most organisms, people tend not to want to work too hard.

There’s also the ego-boost involved with being part of the club; a big attraction to the generally powerless teenager: “All my friends think this way, and I don’t want to be different. And, I get to tell people what to do!”

So people go through life thinking they’re special because they’re part of something that appeals to teenage sensibilities. Some people mature and realize that the adult world is far different from the insular and self-referential teenage one. These people are called ‘adults’, and understand that it’s not all about them. They understand that a successful free society involves self-sacrifice and a willingness to accommodate others, a modicum of personal responsibility, and that not every damn thing is their business.

There was a time not so long ago when American society valued the competent adult over the Cool Kid. Irreversible social changes have reversed the field, but as more people watch their role models cluelessly flounder from one crises to the next, and regularly outmaneuvered on the international stage, they may find themselves valuing the adults more.

Weather Watch

As we approach the vernal equinox, our weather has warmed considerably. Two weeks ago highs in the mid-40’s were the norm; now we’re seeing highs in the mid to upper 50’s. Trees are blooming and plants are showing new growth. We’ve still got three months of grey skies ahead, but it feels like winter is truly over. A month ago we had this:

Snow outside apt 1402.06

6 February 2014

Snow from apt 1402.08

8 February 2014

Icicles 1402.08

The icicle in the middle was over three feet long.

I Love Snow 1402.08

A sentiment not universally shared.


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