The GOP’s Electoral Generation Gap

October 23rd, 2010 at 7:33 am David Frum | 119 Comments |

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Republicans are poised to win a big victory in the Nov. 2 U.S. congressional elections. Why?

Republicans tell this story: A basically conservative country is rejecting a too-liberal president. Democrats tell another story: Americans are voting against the recession. When the economy recovers, so will the Democratic party.

Let me advance a third and more accurate explanation: It’s about the generation gap.

In 2008, Barack Obama and the Democrats benefited from a huge turnout of young voters. Young voters still like President Obama and still prefer Democrats. Voters under 30 give Obama a 58% approval rating. Young voters prefer Democrats over Republicans by 20 points.

The young are the only group that likes the Obama health plan. They think his economic policies are working. Almost two-thirds of them believe that recovery has already begun (as compared to barely one-third of over-65s).

So, question: If young voters like Obama so much, why is the President’s party about to be hammered? Answer: Because young voters will not be showing up in November.

Older Americans are always more likely to vote than younger Americans. In 2006, for example, voters over 45 made up 53% of the population — but cast 63% of the votes.

Older Americans outvote younger voters for many reasons, including:

-America’s single biggest social welfare program, Medicare, covers over 65s. America’s second-biggest social welfare program, Social Security, pays pensions to over 65s. Unsurprisingly, over 65s vote to keep the money flowing.

-Younger Americans move more often, and so are more likely to drop off the registration roll.

-Younger Americans are more likely to belong to ethnic minorities, especially the fast-growing Hispanic minority, and minority voters have lower turnout at all ages.

The very youngest voters, the under 30s, are the least likely to vote of all, and they are especially unlikely to vote if unemployment is high. The last time a non-presidential election coincided with a year of elevated unemployment was 1994. That year, voters under 30 made up only 13% of the electorate — and Republicans of course won in a massive landslide.

But as sure as dinner follows lunch, presidential years follow congressional years– and the big electorate reappears: 49.1% turnout in 1996, 51.3% turnout in 2000, 55.3% turnout in 2004, 56.8% turnout in 2008.

Political scientists argue about why U.S. voter turnout has been rising. An important part of the story seems to be that today’s under 30s — the so-called Millennial generation — are more politically interested than their predecessors, Generation X.

Millennials take a very different view of politics from older cohorts of Americans. For example, offered a choice between a government that offers higher taxes and more services, or fewer services and lower taxes, older Americans choose the lower-tax alternative.

Sixty-two percent of over 65s prefer the lower tax alternative, as do 58% of voters in the 50-64 group, and 56% of voters aged 30-49.

Under 30s prefer bigger government by a margin of 53-43.

Under 30s are more socially liberal too, and less nationalistic than over 30s.

All these numbers suggest two conclusions:

-Be very careful about projecting forward from the 2010 congressional results to the 2012 presidential vote. These elections almost occur in two different countries.

-Be very careful about assuming that Republican success in 2010 signifies that Republicans have overcome the longer-term problems that I’ve been writing about these past five years. If Republicans cannot connect better to the huge new Millennial generation, next month’s success will only be a happy interval before 2012′s grim challenges.

Originally published in the National Post.

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119 Comments so far ↓

  • Xunzi Washington

    This is getting tiresome. I’ll just pick one, “pwn-master”:

    “read about the development of ego – support your claims with data – or expect to be pwn’d for making such ageist claims.”

    Pwn-master, we’re not talking about 6 years olds, we’re talking about young adults. And why do I need data? I’m pointing to the criticism that you conservatives always employ – -are you denying that young people are often accosted by conservatives for their ‘starry-eyed idealism’ and how they are too motivated by the care for plants, bugs, animals, starving children, etc. etc? Seems to me that this is the definition of _non_ self-indulgence.

    After all, this is the “meme” isn’t it? That young people are idealistic because they haven’t yet been hardened by the roughness of reality. Hard to run the “they are idealistically benevolent” charge while at the same time slamming them for their self-indulgence.

    Pick one, pwn-master.

  • Xunzi Washington

    Aw hell, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. I’ll take one more:

    “I advise you to read about production and production capacity as described by Covey. Normal development of ego and production capacity takes steps. Older people not only are concerned for their own kids but the communities that they and their children live in. I guess you don’t believe in the concept of “work locally”. Older people are generally more suspicious of global perspectives getting misused for political gain.”

    Not sure where to begin with this. Liberal policies are almost always directed in part at the care of those whom you don’t know, which is the extension of benevolence from what you know and are familiar with to what you don’t know and are not familiar with. If you are claiming that moral development “takes steps” well of course it does. It begins with yourself, moves to the family, then to the community, and then outward to those you don’t know.

    I guess that means that liberal folks are a tad bit more morally developed, wouldn’t it? Claiming that you are going to “work local” is just fine — if that’s not the end of your caring. Otherwise it just sounds like an excuse for caring for what is beneficial to yourself and those immediately around you.

    Claiming that old people are scared of “being used for political gain” is a lot of crap, by the way. Let me whip out my tiny violin now and start strumming along. The big bad world is so rough.

    Back to our subject, though – if young people are idealistic and have very widely defined targets of their own benevolence, it would seem that their moral development looks just fine, now doesn’t it? If you are saying “the big bad world doesn’t fare well for benevolent people” well then just say that ethics is for the stupid, that old people have learned to use their practical wisdom to look out for #1, and be done with it.

  • Rabiner

    nhthinker:

    ““Even when age and education were taken into account, the people who learned about the campaigns through the Internet were still found to be the most informed, while those who learned from comedy shows were the least informed.””

    Define ‘comedy shows’ in this context. And as the Pew Survey showed, Daily Show watchers were better informed which contradicts this statement if ‘comedy show’ is directly related to the Daily Show.

  • nhthinker

    As to the value of wisdom of age, how about words of Xunzi:

    “”where does learning begin and where does it end? I say that as to program, learning begins with the recitation of the Classics and ends with the reading of the ritual texts; and as to objective, it begins with learning to be a man of breeding and ends with learning to be a sage” …
    “In learning, nothing is more profitable than to associate with those who are learned. Ritual and music present us with models but no explanations; the Odes and Documents deal with ancient matters and are always pertinent; the Spring and the Autumn Annals is terse and cannot be quickly understood. But if you make use of the erudition of others and the explanations of gentleman, then you become honored and make your way anywhere in the world. Therefore i say that learning nothing is more profitable than to associate with those who are learned, and of the roads of learning, none is quicker than to love such men. ”

    Are you going to argue that such men tend to be very young, rather than older and wiser?

    Some college age persons can be very wise. But it is generally held by study after study that the wisdom of elders have value to family and larger social groups.

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding you- Maybe you did not mean to disparage a great swatch of older Americans. Maybe you are only holding your ire to persons that would actual watch FNC for a few hours a week or more. If that is the case, do you have evidence to cite or are we just going to talk about personal anecdotes?

  • nhthinker

    Rabiner

    Define ‘comedy shows’ in this context. And as the Pew Survey showed, Daily Show watchers were better informed which contradicts this statement if ‘comedy show’ is directly related to the Daily Show.

    link from wiki article I cited…

    http://people-press.org/report/200/cable-and-internet-loom-large-in-fragmented-political-news-universe

    Comedy Shows *

    * – like Saturday Night Live or the Daily Show

    As I’ve demonstrated there is ABSOLUTELY NO contradiction here! (What there is is people making illogical conclusions),

    Being in the set of people that are both a watcher of the DAILY SHOW and a person that is politically informed is NOT equivalent to being in the set of people that are informed by ONLY watching comedy shows for political information.

  • Xunzi Washington

    nh,

    Cutting and pasting from a 2500 year old text you’ve never read is not generally a good idea — it’s not “wise”. Xunzi himself (the real one) would agree. Secondly, the fact that I’ve named myself after Xunzi does not mean that I am accountable in my arguments here at FF to things he has said.

    That to the side, I am not disparaging old people. You were the one who implied that young people were not all that bright, were self-indulgent, and so on, and so if they were liberal minded it was understandable — after all, they were just babes of experience and needed to grow up. I am offering a counter narrative to that claim. Like I said, based on the complaints of conservatives, young people are just too benevolent. PErhaps that means that they are stupid — if so, then say so. Or perhaps it means that benevolence is self-indulgence. If so, explain how.

    Moreover, you should know better than to make silly connections like “experience” = “wisdom”. Wisdom is — as Xunzi and many other dead old people knew — a tracker of value, not a tracker of experience or life on earth.

    It is for these reasons that I find silly claims like “as people get older and wiser they become more conservative” as if it means the same thing as “as people get older, they get taller” or “as they get older, they get sicker.” If you are a conservative, sure you think they get wiser, given that “wise” has a certain value-laden connotation for you. If you are not conservative, you’ll think of wisdom differently, and from that perspective getting older surely doesn’t entail getting wiser.

    As for data, I am not interested in being a “Googologist” or a “Wikipert”. If my failure to properly cite Google searches bothers you, don’t read what I write.

  • nhthinker

    Xunzi,

    You don’t seem to cite anything but your own experience- you are welcome to it.

    Youth have been studied just at older Americans have been studied- and many times, by clinicians that try to take an objective view.

    Here are your statements:
    “There is absolutely no reason to say that older voters are smarter than younger voters if the target of the wisdom is their reasons for voting one way or another. Are older voters more experienced? Of course, by definition. But experience does not entail political wisdom. ”

    The study first brought here by CD-Host is indicative that older voters are more informed than younger voters.
    You have not provided any counter-evidence. Are you trying to argue that being more informed is not a indicator of political wisdom?

    “Older people have more stuff, generally, and so are more driven by selfish desires to keep all that stuff. Does that mean they are wise when they vote conservative? No, it means they want to keep as much of their stuff as they can. ”

    Completely unsupported. Please name a single clinician or study that agrees with your assertions and conclusions.
    Many older people believe they earned all the benefits that they receive from the government. The Democrats and the Republicans re-enforce this misinformation. Or are you saying the old should be separated from their earned stuff through the use of the government instead of the old deciding on their own what to do with their stuff?

    “Older people are, well, old. That means that they have come to long identify with the ritual practices of the past that continue into the present.”

    Your moniker indicates you respect Xunzi as a thinker: the real Xunzi truly respected elders and rituals.
    Are you respectful of rituals and elders or are you on the a la carte version of Xunzi? In either case, the passage from the real Xunzi is relevant to this discussion.

    If you have enhanced knowledge of the teachings of Xunzi that indicate the the passage I quoted is not relevant to this discussion and that there are more appropriate passages to this discussion, then please clue us all in- we are here to learn.

    ====

    Older liberals and older conservatives both tend to be wiser- if from nothing else, at least a fair number of people actually do learn from their mistakes if they live long enough and experience enough of life.

    Liberals can be full of good intentions- some actually learn that their attempts at social engineering are not effective despite their good intentions.

    Conservatives can be full of good intentions like Bush using military to free people from oppression.- some conservatives actually learn that some wars’ costs are greater than the benefits to the world.

    It’s your choice to try to make objective citations or not. You can choose to try to argue from only your point of view- But for claims of generalizing characteristics of groups, typically objective people at least try to cite something relatively objective to support their POV. I was working under the assumption that you were trying to be objective.

  • pnumi2

    Xunzi
    nh

    Take it from one who knows: as people get older, they don’t get wiser. The lucky ones get less ignorant.

    The absence of ignorance is not the presence of wisdom.

  • Xunzi Washington

    nh,

    “You have not provided any counter-evidence. Are you trying to argue that being more informed is not a indicator of political wisdom?”

    I think being informed is a component of what can go into political wisdom, but no I do not think it reduces to it. The farmer out in the field who has firm convictions about what is right and wrong does not need to be informed about current politics for those convictions to be wise. To argue otherwise is elitist.

    I don’t need to do the Google Walk to support “people like to keep their stuff” because it is as supported as the constantly used claim by conservatives that “human nature is bad” or “people on government programs will want to stay on them because they want to keep the benefits for free.” Same reasoning. Don’t like it? Too bad. When I say something wildly counter-intuitive, let me know.

    “Many older people believe they earned all the benefits that they receive from the government. The Democrats and the Republicans re-enforce this misinformation. Or are you saying the old should be separated from their earned stuff through the use of the government instead of the old deciding on their own what to do with their stuff?”

    So this government run program works? That’s good news.

    “Are you respectful of rituals and elders or are you on the a la carte version of Xunzi? In either case, the passage from the real Xunzi is relevant to this discussion.”

    Stop trying to be an armchair classicist, you are embarrassing yourself (knowledge of a thinker extends past Wikipedia). There actually are mountains of studies in social psychology to support the point about the desire to retain one’s conceptual scheme over time, and how this leads to the rejection of counter-data, but I’m not inclined to do the Google Walk. Go look yourself.

    “If you have enhanced knowledge of the teachings of Xunzi that indicate the the passage I quoted is not relevant to this discussion and that there are more appropriate passages to this discussion, then please clue us all in- we are here to learn.”

    I obviously do, but I’m not interested. All that matters here is the claim — that a conservative should like — that wisdom is about more than pragmatics. Wisdom tracks value. If you aren’t pursuing the good, then you aren’t practically wise. You’re a value-neutral calculator. This is an old conservative point. Go Google it yourself.

    “Older liberals and older conservatives both tend to be wiser- if from nothing else, at least a fair number of people actually do learn from their mistakes if they live long enough and experience enough of life.”

    Well then political wisdom can’t be experiential, since wisdom aims at the good, not simply expedience or practicality. Both have competing views of the good. Practical wisdom is not simply about being a good calculator device. Moreover, experience can harden a person, making them dull to what is right — not a sign in the young, as I’ve repeatedly pointed out (remember, again, young people are hammered for being idealistic, not self-indulgent). Experiential hardening is not a component of practical wisdom.

    “Liberals can be full of good intentions- some actually learn that their attempts at social engineering are not effective despite their good intentions.”

    I have no idea what “is not effective” means in this context, nor have I any idea what you seem to think the intentions of liberals are. There are plenty of things that are “not effective” in one sense, but yet just or moral at the same time. At some point, belief in human rights can be seen as impractical, but I’m not sure that says anything damning about the drive for human rights. I would think a conservative would understand that — well, a neo-con anyway.

    “It’s your choice to try to make objective citations or not.”

    I’ll say it again, maybe you aren’t getting it. I was creating a counter-narrative to the claims argued, not shooting from the hip about old and young people. This counter-narrative still has not been dislodged, and it has nothing to do with lack of Google links. Again, if you don’t want to read what I write, don’t read it. Read someone who provides lots of Wiki links. I’m busy.

  • nhthinker

    Washington,

    Your attempt to argue that someone somewhere must of wrote something in support of your assertions seems very feeble. But you are welcome to it. I use this forum as a place to share the most objective data I can find and try to provide good references when I can.

    I read and learn much more than from Google. But Google and Wiki are easy places to call up references to the learning I’ve had through the years and because others here can access it.

    You chose to say nothing on the point of the search for objectivity and objective data and studies.
    (Seems similar to your unwillingness to say whether skepticism needs to be part of a scientific discussion in order to stay consistent with scientific principles).

    I think we can agree that those that continue to try to learn with an open mind generally become more wise as they age and those that use only personal bias in their quest for learning but only to reinforce their point of view, do not become more wise.

    Its consistent with my personal experience that the average 60+ person is politically more informed than the typical 20-something- and overwhelmingly when local and state politics are included. The study from Pew reinforces my experience- I’m again asking for counter evidence beyond your personal observations to support your assertions that are in conflict with the data already presented.

    As to self-indulgence: play is how most younger folks like to spend as much of their time as possible. It is the older folks that work not only to support themselves but also voluntarily to support the younger folks well into their 20s.
    How many older folks are being supported by younger folks? Self-indulgence coincides with the independence stage of personal development. Young are known for both being idealist (with other peoples stuff) and self-indulgent- I guess you have totally ignored the concept of “failure to launch” of our youth and how it is getting worse, not better.

    For persons that have worked all their lives, the Dems, the Repubs and the AARP have convinced most older Americans that they have already paid in enough to cover all the SS and Medicare benefits that they will ever receive.

    Next time you call bullshit, expect resistance unless you have some semblance of objective data to back it up.

    Have a nice day.

  • Slide

    Younger voters more knowledgeable than older voters in the last election cycle according to Pew Research:

    One pattern that differs from previous surveys of political knowledge is that younger voters are significantly more knowledgeable about the candidates’ positions than are older voters. For example, 60% of voters 18-29 correctly say that Obama is pro-abortion, compared with just 51% of those ages 50-64 and just 41% of those ages 65 and older.

    http://www.lifenews.com/nat4043.html

    and about the Daily Show viewers?

    In a 2004 Annenberg study, researchers found that viewers of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart had more campaign knowledge than regular news watchers and readers of newspapers. The study’s author, Dannagal Goldthwate Young, claims that viewers of The Daily Show are more likely to know about current issues and the backgrounds of presidential candidates than people who do not watch late-night comedy television. Goldthwate Young’s revelation shatters the belief that hard news shows are the only places to become informed with relevant news.

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:lEudS6yZg8EJ:uwf.edu/english/2010-1-Bell.doc+%22jon+stewart%22+views+more+knowledgeable+politics&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

  • Slide

    oh, and as someone that is rapidly approaching my 60′s this is somewhat disturbing, but counters the argument that older is wiser meme:

    Political science professors Richard R. Lau of Rutgers University and David P. Redlawsk of the University of Iowa say voters in their mid-to-late 60s start to lose their grip on evaluating political candidates. In simulated presidential campaigns, Lau and Redlawsk found that older voters both seek out and recall less information about candidates. As a result, seniors have overall lower rates of what Lau and Redlawsk call “correct voting” — a measure they developed to test how well voters select the candidates who share their positions and ideologies.

    The age effects start showing up in the mid-to-late 60s. As people age, two things are happening. One is that they have a harder time processing new information, so they are learning less quickly than they used to. But as people age, they also have more overall knowledge to draw on. This means they have more established intuitive shortcuts, which means they actually need less information to make a good decision because they better know what information to look for in the first place.

    For the first 50 years of one’s voting-age life, then, these two forces tend to balance each other out. But increasing reserves of experience can compensate for declining mental sharpness only until about the mid-to-late 60s. After that, the decline picks up steam. By the time voters turn 90, the scholars’ models predict their correct level of voting will be roughly half of what it was when they were 20.

    http://www.miller-mccune.com/politics/older-voters-are-not-always-wiser-voters-4489/

  • easton

    nhthinker, I noticed you completely evaded my points, simply put you couldn’t answer any of my questions, could you? Hence, most assuredly you live in a closed mindset universe.

  • nhthinker

    “nhthinker, I noticed you completely evaded my points, simply put you couldn’t answer any of my questions, could you? Hence, most assuredly you live in a closed mindset universe.”

    If you are talking about …
    easton // Oct 24, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    …where you try to argue that your knowledge of international politics is more relevant than political topics in the US…
    I pretty much laughed that off.

    It was your personal bias coming through without a single attempt to relate it to a single bit of objective data.

    Your approach and Xunzi’s approach was totally different than Slide’s. Slide presented data. It proves he is interested in data.
    Maybe it’s because he is older and wiser and understands what it takes to make a rational argument.
    You are more than welcome to learn from him.

    As to your conclusions, how important is it to you to have a data driven, or at least, data supported argument?
    Then explain to me how it relates to determining if a person belongs to a a closed mindset universe.

  • Xunzi Washington

    Pwn-master (it seems that you deeply desire this title),

    “Your attempt to argue that someone somewhere must of wrote something in support of your assertions seems very feeble. But you are welcome to it. I use this forum as a place to share the most objective data I can find and try to provide good references when I can.”

    LOL! No, I said that people have written about it, quite a bit actually, but I’m not your instructor, so I have no obligation to dig up references for you. Nor are we writing a scholarly article where I need to add footnotes to my comments on blog posts. If you don’t want to believe it, go for it.

    “I read and learn much more than from Google. But Google and Wiki are easy places to call up references to the learning I’ve had through the years and because others here can access it.”

    Google and Wiki are BS knowledge, because they contribute to people talking in snippets about stuff they know little about. Again, if you think being a Wikipert makes you knowledgeable, have at it.

    “You chose to say nothing on the point of the search for objectivity and objective data and studies.(Seems similar to your unwillingness to say whether skepticism needs to be part of a scientific discussion in order to stay consistent with scientific principles).”

    To be honest, your discussion of the evolution subject was sub-par, but you’re a Wikipert, so what can you do. You enjoy moving the goalposts every post because pwn-ing people is your object, not the matter under discussion. So you shuffle around, which frankly gets tiresome.

    “I think we can agree that those that continue to try to learn with an open mind generally become more wise as they age and those that use only personal bias in their quest for learning but only to reinforce their point of view, do not become more wise.”

    We can agree on that, yes. And it is for that reason that experience or age is no guarantee of practical wisdom. Young people are naturally open, yet lack experience. Older people can, as a result of their experience, narrow down considerably, losing openness. As a result, neither side has a lock of wisdom, which was my original point, but you turned it into something else.

    “Its consistent with my personal experience that the average 60+ person is politically more informed than the typical 20-something- and overwhelmingly when local and state politics are included. The study from Pew reinforces my experience- I’m again asking for counter evidence beyond your personal observations to support your assertions that are in conflict with the data already presented.”

    Again, I’m not talking about political knowledge of local issues. Knowledge of local issues is not the definition of practical wisdom. I’ve said this numerous times.

    “As to self-indulgence: play is how most younger folks like to spend as much of their time as possible. It is the older folks that work not only to support themselves but also voluntarily to support the younger folks well into their 20s.”

    I know many young people with responsibilities way beyond their years. You short cut the young, which is ageist. I also know many old people who are bitter, self-serving and narrow. We could go on and on with this one.

    “How many older folks are being supported by younger folks? Self-indulgence coincides with the independence stage of personal development. Young are known for both being idealist (with other peoples stuff) and self-indulgent- I guess you have totally ignored the concept of “failure to launch” of our youth and how it is getting worse, not better”

    If ‘self-indulgence’ = ‘supported by parent’ then you have an unbelievably narrow definition of self-indulgence. As I said, conservatives go on and on and on and on about the ‘idealism of youth’. They care _too_ much about others, and haven’t yet ‘woken up’ to the harsh realities of life (when they get bitter, I suppose). Many young people I know are fired up about injustice, benevolence, and care.

    “For persons that have worked all their lives, the Dems, the Repubs and the AARP have convinced most older Americans that they have already paid in enough to cover all the SS and Medicare benefits that they will ever receive.”

    So? Is the system working or not?

    “Next time you call bullshit, expect resistance unless you have some semblance of objective data to back it up.”

    You can resist all you want, and I’ll respond. However, I’ll respond as I decide to respond, and if you don’t like it, tough. I will also call bullshit on your narrow definitions and ways of seeing things, as well as your ageism, never ending goalpost moving and your strange desire to ‘pwn’ people as opposed to argue in a sensible way. There’s plenty of room on the dance floor, and it seems they are continually playing our song.

    “Have a nice day.”

    You too.

  • easton

    nhthinker, maybe it is because I have a job that I don’t have time, nor the inclination, to research data about Daily Show viewers. I hate to say it, and it is not meant to bust on Slide, but who the hell really cares. Talk about being anal.
    And of course getting information from Wiki is weak. Fundamentally you are relying on the most superficial analysis of whatever information is there.
    I would like to ask you a question, who is more likely to know more about Afghanistan tribal politics, someone who lived there for years, or someone who wiki’s information quickly and then makes superficial judgments? You are the definition of a wiki man.

    As to serious analysis. You are aware that this is a comment section on a blog, not a damn research paper. Previous to being a University Professor I used to be an editor. All of your blatherings here would be rejected automatically at any respectable university since it is not well thought out, etc. Do you even know what the MLA is? Quick google it and find out.

    Again, you seemed to have zero understanding of my point and you avoided answering my questions as to where you get YOUR information? You daily make pronouncements about international events when I know full well you know the barest possible minimum about them. The same is true about this here, you quickly google information that confirms your already pre-determined notion of what is and take the huge plethora of information out there as evidence of your correctness. But your predetermined notion is all so much horseshit of overgeneralizations. Of course, I do the same but I ain’t serious since on a topic like this there is no definitive answer. We will only know what will be when it plays out.

    Xunzi, I hate to piggyback on what you said, he kind of reminds me of people I meet who had a two week vacation in China and then imagine that they are experts on the people and culture.
    Look, I come here to vent and bust some chops, and yeah, to learn and express my own opinion. I think this guy comes here because he thinks he can prove to the world how smart he is.

  • nhthinker

    Easton,

    This whole conversation about 50 posts ago turned to a shouting match on who was politically wiser: the young or the old.
    I made some generalizations that I did not support with data as did others. What is the appropriate direction for the conversation to turn at that point? How about a search for objective data or expert opinion that both sides could come to respectful disagreement that attempts to be fact based or expert based? CD-Host brought in a piece of data. I read CD-Host data and found its context. Others here made illogical conclusion on what CD-Host’s data implied-it was contradicted by the data in the study.

    You and Xunzi seem to be asking the question- “why should I provide objective data when it is much more convenient for me to tell you about just my personal experiences and personal biases?”

    That would take energy and discipline, and after all, on other posting here you told us you work a grueling 14 hours a week and had time to lurk here. But I guess sharing objective data on this forum is of no interest to you.
    By the way, I have kids in college and high school, work 45+ hours a week and volunteered at a local school 15 hours this weekend.

    I come here to find people that are interested in data driven arguments or expert supported arguments and to point out when others are making clearly biased arguments and have no interest in finding nor discussing relatively objective data related to the subject.

    I like Frum Forum because there are a reasonable number of posters in order for a thread to stay followable.
    When challenged, I support my positions with data in a manner of an academic debate: that you are annoyed by the approach- fine with me- you are many times disrespectful and seemingly admit you are not here to provide any objective data nor learn from any.

    That is your choice.

  • nhthinker

    Xunzi (I like to be referred to with my chosen moniker, not your attempts for a new one)

    “LOL! No, I said that people have written about it, quite a bit actually, but I’m not your instructor, so I have no obligation to dig up references for you. Nor are we writing a scholarly article where I need to add footnotes to my comments on blog posts. If you don’t want to believe it, go for it.”

    I know of no respected expert that identifies younger Americans as more wise than older Americans – it is a very counter-intuitive point of view, that is inconsistent with the general accepted time frames it takes to develop a mind. A person is expected in a rational conservation to support their points with data or typically be seen as losing the argument. You make assertions on Fox news audience without and attempts for objective data to support it.
    In your own mind, I’m sure you think you are winning without any data. And after all, it’s only your mind and the people that already agree with you that matters right?

    “Google and Wiki are BS knowledge, because they contribute to people talking in snippets about stuff they know little about. Again, if you think being a Wikipert makes you knowledgeable, have at it.”

    Knock down your strawman if it feels good to you, but that is not what I said.
    Google organizes data in a manner that can be called up. I’ve got plenty of college study and reading and life experience to draw on and I do- but objective data and expert opinion are much more convincing to people that are not dead set in their biases- at least, the real Xunzi would agree with that.

    You chose to say nothing on the point of the search for objectivity and objective data and studies.(Seems similar to your unwillingness to say whether skepticism needs to be part of a scientific discussion in order to stay consistent with scientific principles).

    “To be honest, your discussion of the evolution subject was sub-par, but you’re a Wikipert, so what can you do. You enjoy moving the goalposts every post because pwn-ing people is your object, not the matter under discussion. So you shuffle around, which frankly gets tiresome.”

    You still totally avoid answering a direct question on the use of objective data- I’m sure in your own mind the avoidance through ad hominem attack was so subtle that no one who matters noticed. (that being you)

    I think we can agree that those that continue to try to learn with an open mind generally become more wise as they age and those that use only personal bias in their quest for learning but only to reinforce their point of view, do not become more wise.</i.

    "We can agree on that, yes. And it is for that reason that experience or age is no guarantee of practical wisdom. "
    No one said it was.

    "Young people are naturally open, yet lack experience. Older people can, as a result of their experience, narrow down considerably, losing openness. As a result, neither side has a lock of wisdom, which was my original point, but you turned it into something else."

    Actually you are very much lowering the bar on your original point which was mpolito originally claimed <i?“Young voters are more ignorant than older voters. The reason is that knowledge comes from actually experiencing the world as it is, and older people have experienced the world considerably more than younger voters.”

    “I call bullshit, There is absolutely no reason to say that older voters are smarter than younger voters if the target of the wisdom is their reasons for voting one way or another. Are older voters more experienced? Of course, by definition. But experience does not entail political wisdom.”

    I followed with expert opinion on the development of the mind that certainly pointed to older persons being more wise than younger persons, in part due to their life experiences.

    Its consistent with my personal experience that the average 60+ person is politically more informed than the typical 20-something- and overwhelmingly when local and state politics are included. The study from Pew reinforces my experience- I’m again asking for counter evidence beyond your personal observations to support your assertions that are in conflict with the data already presented.

    “Again, I’m not talking about political knowledge of local issues. Knowledge of local issues is not the definition of practical wisdom. I’ve said this numerous times.”

    Your original contention was about political wisdom- now you are retreating to “practical wisdom”- This ENTIRE thread has been focused on political wisdom. Of what relevance are your views on practical wisdom?

    As to self-indulgence: play is how most younger folks like to spend as much of their time as possible. It is the older folks that work not only to support themselves but also voluntarily to support the younger folks well into their 20s.

    “I know many young people with responsibilities way beyond their years. You short cut the young, which is ageist. I also know many old people who are bitter, self-serving and narrow. We could go on and on with this one.”

    I know plenty of people outside the norms of both older and younger populations- but that has never been a point of contention. The issue was one of whether useful generalizations can be made. Are older persons,on average, politically wiser than their younger counterparts? (The assertion you called bullshit on).
    That you are now contending that is not the issue under discussion is a bit hard for me to believe.

    How many older folks are being supported by younger folks? Self-indulgence coincides with the independence stage of personal development. Young are known for both being idealist (with other peoples stuff) and self-indulgent- I guess you have totally ignored the concept of “failure to launch” of our youth and how it is getting worse, not better

    “If ’self-indulgence’ = ’supported by parent’ then you have an unbelievably narrow definition of self-indulgence. As I said, conservatives go on and on and on and on about the ‘idealism of youth’. They care _too_ much about others, and haven’t yet ‘woken up’ to the harsh realities of life (when they get bitter, I suppose). Many young people I know are fired up about injustice, benevolence, and care.”

    You start with making an equation that is not supported by what I said. And you are again talking only personal anecdotes and not generalized results of supported by clinical nor “survey” analysis. It is a weak form of argument that is not convincing.

    For persons that have worked all their lives, the Dems, the Repubs and the AARP have convinced most older Americans that they have already paid in enough to cover all the SS and Medicare benefits that they will ever receive.

    “So? Is the system working or not?”

    No, the system is not working if rational people are being intentionally convinced that they are not taking unearned benefits but are only taking earned benefits.

    Next time you call bullshit, expect resistance unless you have some semblance of objective data to back it up.

    “You can resist all you want, and I’ll respond. However, I’ll respond as I decide to respond, and if you don’t like it, tough. I will also call bullshit on your narrow definitions and ways of seeing things, as well as your ageism, never ending goalpost moving and your strange desire to ‘pwn’ people as opposed to argue in a sensible way. There’s plenty of room on the dance floor, and it seems they are continually playing our song.”

    I’m sure you may someday learn to be willing to try to persuade people with objective data as the real Xunzi suggests to approach conversations. If you purpose here is only to dance and not to persuade or to learn- well then, feel free to self-indulge and boogie down to your hearts content.

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