So, how did you get your political beliefs?

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Well, it's that time again; origin story time!

So, fellow Escapists, we all have our own political ideologies, sometimes these are in line with how we were raised; other times they're drastically different from what we were told to believe when we were younger. So, I'm here to ask you what caused you to support what you currently support?

I suppose the reason I became a Social Democrat is rather simple. I was raised by rather liberal parents, and even though my father's side of the family is more heavily conservative, I've never shied away from my from my "left-wing" beliefs... Although, in a rather ironic way, I've become more left wing then the rest of my family. My parents are much more classical democrats then anything else, however I was going through a phase where I was looking for much more "definable" beliefs to support.

I looked up Libertarianism, but my family's been screwed over one too many times by businesses (I'd honestly say my father's company has begun to make his work life utterly terrible) for me to honestly support the idea. Granted, I'm not saying this as an insult to Libertarians, overall I tend to think of them in a rather positive light; so long as they're in the "maximize everyone's freedoms" camp and not the "run our government as the tea party wants it" camp (though granted, the Tea Party is more like a zealous and strange mix of Christian Fundamentalism, Objectivism, and Vitrol).

For a while, I flirted with Anarchism of all things. Though it was only briefly, and it was mostly during that debt ceiling crisis.

Eventually, I learned about Social Democracy, and decided it was right for me. Growing up with the Catholic Church being a major influence in my life, I felt that it sort of mirrored some of the church's teachings (though it's much more liberal socially), and I've almost always felt that with proper reforms the government could become a major source of good for the people... ESPECIALLY if those reforms involve cracking down on big businesses.

So far, I've been rather proud of my choice. So, everyone else, how did you come to your beliefs?

I get most of my political opinions from fortune cookies and the magic 8-ball. So far they have served me well.

I was born with excessive curiosity and raised by overcritical parents who, in turn, instilled excessive criticism in me. So I grew up criticising society. The more society tried to assure me that the status quo was good, that traditions and conservative views were ideal, and that I should shut up and be a good little conformist, the more I distrusted it and rebelled. So, basically, they're born of distrust, rebellion, cynicism and an overcritical nature.

By paying attention to what's going on and digging up information on the background goings-on.

I didn't really "get" my political beliefs from any person or authority. My parents? Both conservative. My state and thus a large portion of my peer group? Conservative, or uninformed with conservative parents. My school I went to at a young age (ended up leaving for public school, thankfully) was fundamentalist Christian, so...not really received from an authority figure needless to say. My political beliefs (liberal with libertarian views in regards to human rights and freedoms) were largely formed by me looking at each view and making pro's and con's about them. So, I guess logic gave them to me, if you wanted to look at it in an anthropomorphic sort of way.

Started out moderate, became fairly libertarian, then went left when I realized that libertarianism is a "throw the baby out with the bathwater" philosophy. Just because government can be corrupt and wasteful doesn't mean that it will always be or has to be or that the private sector isn't. I'd rather fight against the corruption and waste rather than throw my arms up in defeat.

I try to take a little bit from everything because it rarely seems that one side is wholesomely "right" while the other side is wholesomely "wrong". I think generally speaking, both sides mean well, even if they don't convey it.

Also, I grow weary of political parties portraying the other as "the enemy".

LetalisK:
Started out moderate, became fairly libertarian, then went left when I realized that libertarianism is a "throw the baby out with the bathwater" philosophy. Just because government can be corrupt and wasteful doesn't mean that it will always be or has to be or that the private sector isn't. I'd rather fight against the corruption and waste rather than throw my arms up in defeat.

Personally, I always thought of Libertarianism in the same way I thought of Communism. They mean well and ideally they might work, but they both seem to want to overlook human nature and how it could "corrupt" these two political philosophies.

Interestingly enough, when I first read about Libertarianism, I immediately thought of Lao Tzu and the idea of a government that modeled itself after the teachings of Taoism.

I guess a combination of curiosity, my upbringing and my environment. (friends, other family, school, etc.) Are there ever just one or two things that really shaped your political beliefs? Isn't it pretty much always just a combination of everything you experienced up until now?

I'm a conservative. I can say that my opinions and world view came from my parents and some people I consider to be my best friends (My Uncle and my guardian).

Probably from my parents. What made me keep, disregard and/or adapt them was observation, education, news etc., I'd say.

I ask myself, "What would dear, sweet Blabikins say?" and adopt the opposing position.

A mixture of my own personal curiosity, independent reading, and what I've learned in University. My family didn't instill any beliefs in me at all because they never really taught me any, they let me decide on my own. I choose to become an atheist in highschool, along with becoming a Marxist. Now being in university and drifted a bit away from Marxism but I'm still on the far left. Right now I'm still kinda deciding what my full view is as I'm still learning about various philosophers. I do know though the policies I hate mainly being Fascism, objectivism, Libertarianism, and anarchists.

I grew up.

In the 90s, I was a bit of an activist. I started by attending a World Trade Organization demonstration that turned into a riot in Cinci. After I got to experience the police state first hand- (I escaped unharmed but I watched them beat a young teen and spray mace directly down his throat and his screams turned to gargles... rubber bullets everywhere... 4 city blocks filled with tear gas...) I became more involved in organizing and planning various demonstrations.

I was in Freedom Plaza on January 20th, 2001- a demonstrator during George W. Bush's first inauguration. I've posted pictures of the event before. Basically, I believed in a utopian fantasy world where we could beat back all the greedy corporate scum and political puppets and reclaim society from the globalists who wanted us all to be slaves.

Even in the late 90s, I was one of the few teenagers worried about the world's grim future. I would discuss the threat of Global Terrorism, and how people like Osama bin Laden were spurned by the military imperialism of the United States into action... and how combating such a threat, a threat with no borders, could destabilize the middle east and lead to WWIII. That was my job as a teenager, predicting WWIII and fighting the power.

Last year, I voted for Mitt Romney. I don't believe in Utopia anymore. I believe in cover your own ass. The great recession reinforced that outlook. When I perceive threats, I don't bother with words that fall on deaf ears, I don't attend demonstrations. I buy guns, ammo, body armor and stock up on supplies. I have a mortgage, I am a slave. Now, the world ending wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen to me.

It didn't happen overnight, and most of the time I noticed the gradual shift in my attitude over the years. Many times I felt conflicted, but ultimately self-preservation and family wins out over the plight of society.

So in short, I grew up during one of the most prosperous periods in US history, watched all turn to shit, all the bubbles burst- and now I realize I can only afford to worry about myself. While I don't consider myself affiliated with any party, I will vote for anyone who is willing to put economic liberty above civil liberty. Get ahead while you can folks, because we are all going to be cashing out sooner than you think. There's a couple more bubbles left to burst yet.

I read a lot of books, and discerned my political beliefs from an amalgamation of them combined with my personal opinions on how the world should work. In other words I made an educated guess.

Andrewtheeviscerator:
A mixture of my own personal curiosity, independent reading, and what I've learned in University. My family didn't instill any beliefs in me at all because they never really taught me any, they let me decide on my own. I choose to become an atheist in highschool, along with becoming a Marxist. Now being in university and drifted a bit away from Marxism but I'm still on the far left. Right now I'm still kinda deciding what my full view is as I'm still learning about various philosophers. I do know though the policies I hate mainly being Fascism, objectivism, Libertarianism, and anarchists.

High-Five on the anti-objectivism part, dude.

Anyways, if you haven't done so already, I recommend reading some stuff about Eduard Bernstein; he isn't really "far left", but he still rejected marxism and is pretty much the father of evolutionary socialism/social democracy.

http://www.netplaces.com/understanding-socialism/chapter-10/eduard-bernstein-and-marxist-revisionism.htm

xDarc:
snip

Rather ironic because I was born just before this crappy economy hit and raised during most of it, and I've adopted the completely opposite philosophy.

Witty Name Here:

Rather ironic because I was born just before this crappy economy hit and raised during most of it, and I've adopted the completely opposite philosophy.

What's ironic is that it doesn't seem to dawn on you that somebody who was out to save the world when he was young is now mostly concerned with saving himself, and probably believed that this could not or would not happen to him.

By always fighting for whatever I feel like.

Rationalizing what ultimately comes down to personal interests, sympathies, expiriences, and preferences - in reaction to select sets of facts one is interested in and prioritize as important - is a waste of time and energy. Which could instead be spent fighting to promote it, and make those who oppose it suffer for their evil.

As for which ways my fancies blow, culturally I strongly favour the plurality of Classical Liberalism (largely the same as Libertarianism, only not critical of government initiatives, so long as they are voluntary). Economically I'm not really that interested in ideology, but favours some sort of pragmatic socially liberal welfare state. It works quite well, though I have no trouble sacrificing it if its existance is used as an argument against individual negative rights and freedoms.

xDarc:

What's ironic is that it doesn't seem to dawn on you that somebody who was out to save the world when he was young is now mostly concerned with saving himself, and probably believed that this could not or would not happen to him.

Not really, it's easy for someone to talk about "saving the world" and stuff like that when things are all fine and dandy; though a true crisis has ways of sorting out honesty. I have no real doubt that maybe you wanted to be "the good guy" when being "the good guy" only involved complaining about the president being a sleaze ball and going to a few rallies, I suppose this recession is just showing "what you're really like in the dark".

The fact is that I have no misconceptions about the problem we're facing, I just realize the quickest way to solve it is to get people like you; people who think "America is doomed" and that we just need to cut the government out and save ourselves out of office, keep them out of office, and then do the exact opposite of what they desire. The only reason we have these issues is because there are those people who want there to be a problem because they believe, mistakenly, that the government isn't capable of doing anything.

In my opinion, it's true insanity to give someone who hates the government and desires to prove it useless a position in the government.

Witty Name Here:
Not really, it's easy for someone to talk about "saving the world" and stuff like that when things are all fine and dandy; though a true crisis has ways of sorting out honesty.

Things weren't fine. I was the only 17 year old kid I knew in 1999 warning people about the globalists, about global terrorism, about destabilization of nations and war. Do you know the looks I got from people when I told them there was a man in a cave in Afghanistan who was going to change the world?

We were fighting ignorance and we lost. Now you're fighting poverty, and you will lose too.

So good luck with that.

I didn't form my political beliefs from political experience/influence. My beliefs came from sitting alone in my room playing video games all day. I realized how great life is when you are left alone to enjoy yourself in peace. This led me to becoming a Libertarian, and somewhat Objectivist. I don't care what goes on in the world, as long as I am left alone. Anything that doesn't come into my room is of no concern of mine.

Well, my family lineage is a bit odd:

Midly conservative mother who votes Labour.
Old-school, pre-Blair Labour father.
Brother who is the reincarnation of Marx.

I myself basically want the world to run like Scandinavia is. It seems to work, so lets try that.

cthulhuspawn82:
I realized how great life is when you are left alone to enjoy yourself in peace. This led me to becoming a Libertarian, and somewhat Objectivist. I don't care what goes on in the world, as long as I am left alone. Anything that doesn't come into my room is of no concern of mine.

See, I'm the opposite despite the similar video-games incubator. I concluded that it was rather a waste of a life to simply indulge myself. Being left alone in peace made me very depressed.

I grew up in a generally conservative household. My dad swears he doesn't vote a straight ticket, but the way he talks you'll swear he does. I actually watched Bill O'Reilly pretty regularly in my teens.

It was in Bush's second term that I really started to change. I got tired of all the bullshit the Republicans pushed through in that 8-year span: the No Child Left Behind act, still trying to continue the war without even making plans to pass the baton back to Iraq, their growing passion in regard to social conservatism (abortion started to get big just before 2008).

After 2008, I decided how I felt about gay marriage (that I supported it) so that drove yet another stake between us. And the thinly-veiled racism that came spewing out of the 2008 race didn't help me retain much respect for them, either. Then the tea party hit their stride in about 2010, hijacked the party, and has made me adamant to not touch the national GOP with a 39.5 foot pole until they're gotten rid of. I still judge the local politicians by their own merits, but the GOP on the national level is totally wrapped around the tea party's finger.

I think my favorite thing has been watching my dad change, though. He's also loosened up on the social conservatism stuff as of late. I distinctly remember a few years ago him doing the whole "Marriage is between a man and a woman" thing and now he is not opposed to gay marriage. I'm relatively sure he was very leery about abortion in the past, but now he feels it's a woman's choice (except he still thinks hospitals should be allowed to not do the procedure for religious reasons, where I feel if they have a problem doing the procedure they should either get over it or shouldn't be a hospital at all).

My parents had a huge influence on my politics. It'd be impossible to say how much, because even after I started being aware of events myself and drawing my own conclusions, its been through the prism of a view on morality and justice I inherited from them.

To be clear, they didn't go: 'son, the Tory's are evil, only the Labour party can run the county properly'. It's just that all the things they taught growing up about sharing, doing your share of the chores, and generally how to behave, as well as how they taught me those things built up a view of ethics, justice and responsibility which when applied to politics sees left of centre politics more favourably than more right wing politics.

I got my reading a history book, and studying what all the genocides, and dictators have in common with each other. However the parties in 2004-2008 were full of radicals, I decide independent until people in the libertarian, and constitutional parties were becoming more, and more known. I dislike social republicans, just as much as social democrats since they both were hypocrites in their own rights, and had lots of double standards. Most of my beliefs are practical not emotion based.

I grew up in an athiest, single mothered, liberal, left wing household. My mother would indoctrinate me to believe that Labour party is best party and that anyone who is right wing is sick in the head. I kept these beliefs religiously and was a militant left wing athiest until, I went to /pol/. There I learned a lot of things. I learned about how degenerate the left wing really is. I learned about society and peoples role in them. I grew Authoritarian as I realised that society needs rules and people cannot be trusted to enforce it without the government. I became agnostic. I learned to hate the left wing. I learned about Fascism and National Socialism. I knew about how bad multiculturalism. I learned about JIDF. I became Fiscally Central. I realised that if I didn't go to /pol/ I would be Social Marxist scum.

Mr.BadExample:
I ask myself, "What would dear, sweet Blabikins say?" and adopt the opposing position.

You win. Go and teach the world of your brilliant method of determining reasonable political beliefs. The world must know.

OT- The values instilled in me by my father mostly. It is strange that we reached such incredibly different conclusions based on those values, but honestly, I am a left leaning Libertarian because my ridiculously conservative father taught me to be. He taught me to question everything I am taught, so I wound up questioning his social views. Turns out I decided he was wrong. He hated the structure of the private medical system, that private insurance was destroying everything, but still decided that the government would be worse. I agreed with him on everything but the last part. He taught me to respect our soldiers. I decided it was disrespectful to them to have them fight pointless wars in the worst possible manner. We still agree on a variety of issues, mostly economic though I still strongly disagree with him on many of those issues as well, but I know I believe what I do because he taught me to. Also I have some of you guys to thank for many of my beliefs as well (mostly on abortion, surprisingly). A couple of my teachers have also made a bit of an influence, as well as the circumstances of my community and my family history regarding fascism and communism.

King of the Hill, mostly. And my mother.

It's why I'm religion-neutral but pro-belief.

GriffinStallion:
I grew up in an athiest, single mothered, liberal, left wing household. My mother would indoctrinate me to believe that Labour party is best party and that anyone who is right wing is sick in the head. I kept these beliefs religiously and was a militant left wing athiest until, I went to /pol/. There I learned a lot of things. I learned about how degenerate the left wing really is. I learned about society and peoples role in them. I grew Authoritarian as I realised that society needs rules and people cannot be trusted to enforce it without the government. I became agnostic. I learned to hate the left wing. I learned about Fascism and National Socialism. I knew about how bad multiculturalism. I learned about JIDF. I became Fiscally Central. I realised that if I didn't go to /pol/ I would be Social Marxist scum.

Really? /pol/ of 4chan? Don't take that crap seriously. /pol/ was designed as a containment board to stop that crap from spilling out onto the other boards. The majority of posts there are nothing but a vain attempt at humour. If some shitposting and poorly made .jpegs are enough to change your outlook on life then you are no better then the "indoctrinated" scum you hate.

I think I got most of my political beliefs from a combination of reading discussions on the Internet (including this site) and also thinking myself about what I would personally prefer. My opinions have been largely coloured by my personality: I dislike authority and rules in general, so I tend towards minimum government restrictions on individuals. I am fairly compassionate however so I also support limited assistance from the government to those who need it.

lfielding02:

GriffinStallion:
I grew up in an athiest, single mothered, liberal, left wing household. My mother would indoctrinate me to believe that Labour party is best party and that anyone who is right wing is sick in the head. I kept these beliefs religiously and was a militant left wing athiest until, I went to /pol/. There I learned a lot of things. I learned about how degenerate the left wing really is. I learned about society and peoples role in them. I grew Authoritarian as I realised that society needs rules and people cannot be trusted to enforce it without the government. I became agnostic. I learned to hate the left wing. I learned about Fascism and National Socialism. I knew about how bad multiculturalism. I learned about JIDF. I became Fiscally Central. I realised that if I didn't go to /pol/ I would be Social Marxist scum.

Really? /pol/ of 4chan? Don't take that crap seriously. /pol/ was designed as a containment board to stop that crap from spilling out onto the other boards. The majority of posts there are nothing but a vain attempt at humour. If some shitposting and poorly made .jpegs are enough to change your outlook on life then you are no better then the "indoctrinated" scum you hate.

hey, if he was able to be indoctrinated into being an extreme Marxist, as he claimed, then what's stopping him from drinking the kool-aid on National Socialism as well?

then again, if I hadn't gone to /pol/, then I would have never learned about the Jewish conspiracy to end the white race, quite a wake up call.
/sarcasm

I didn't get my political beliefs from any one place.
However if I had to pick my most influential........influence. I would have to say satire.
Shows like "Have I Got News for You" and publications like "Private Eye." (both of which gain greatly from the involvement of Ian Hislop) are entertaining, funny and when they have to be, brutally honest. Satire encourages the "question everything" attitude. And skepticism is what this world is missing most.
That and compassion.

I'm a Conservative on mostly rational grounds. Of course this sounds cold (which it is), but I believe that growth for an economy is in the long run more beneficial to a nation than welfare. For instance, America, a nation currently built on free market ideals (not completely true, corn subsidies, etc.) has generally higher growth than its European competitors. This is in spite of a the recession American Suffered (impacts were global, American just bounced back faster). In a sense, I feel that the argument supporting free market ideas are more articulate and supported.

For instance, Japan, a nation which most would attest to being a good nation, is running a 9.something trillion dollar debt, or a little over two times their gdp. This nation is grounded primarily in services and has a fairly low unemployment rate of 4.6%. Most would see that 4.6% number and think its ideal. The issue comes down to the welfare systems and government employment. Japan has a large number of people employed in the government and the welfare systems may have a part in that, as it would drive employers from hiring, thus the government in an effort to keep employment high hires much of the population. This obviously causes issues economically.

Another prime example is France, a nation running almost 20% unemployment (may be lower, haven't checked recently, but it is definitely double digits), in large part to all the job security laws they have. This causes huge numbers of people to be unemployed as companies are unwilling to take the risk of hiring a potentially unproductive worker, and then spend huge amounts of money to fire them.

A common trend in both these nations is very low growth, something I find very harmful to a nation. America is suffering from a similar problem, mostly tied to the Federal Reserve's insistence on artificially keeping inflation low (economic theorists, including Keynes, believe that inflation is a natural part of economics that occurs simultaneously with growth and low unemployment, low unemployment meaning that more people are making money and prices will adjust upward to account for that, then wages adjust upwards and the cycle continues). This of course harms an economy.

That's my 2 cents, feel free to disagree, the basis ultimately comes down to growth, and knowing that what I do is for the most part for me to own up to and accept, whether right or wrong.

When I was young my sister basically told me what was right and what was wrong. So I just vote for whatever parties hold those interests.

If no political party holds all the options, I make my vote invalid.

I got them the same way i got all my important beliefs. By trying not to be a dick.

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