Rod Dreher

…because, says this surprisingly detailed analysis from the dating site (!) OkCupid, people swing wildly in their economic and social views depending on age. Excerpt:

» Both socially and economically, teenagers prefer an anything-goes type situation.
» But as these teenagers grow up a bit and enter the job market, they quickly develop progressive economic ideas: perhaps a bit of “levelling” seems pretty good when you’re staring up the professional ladder from the bottom rung. Meanwhile, their youthful live-and-let-live social philosophy begins to fade.
» In their late 20s, they start making real money. Economic progressivism goes out the window, preferably out the window of a building with a doorman. As the adult mind turns to more material matters, social views don’t change that much.
» Finally, after the mid-40s, retirement looms. Our former teenagers check their collective 401(k)s and think, you know what, let’s all get checks from the government. Social views take a hard turn for the more restrictive. At the end of the journey, economic and social views are again in agreement–only this time on the other side of the philosophical line!

It’s commonly understood that people are more permissive in their youth and more restrictive as they age, but what makes this analysis so interesting (to me) is how these sentiments whipsaw through middle age. It’s not like one day people are economically and socially permissive, and the next day they’re restrictive on both counts. See:
I was surprised to learn from this analysis that people in general care less about social issues and more about economics the older they get. In fact, the shift starts at right about the age I’m at now. That made me smile, because I’d thought the economic crash was the reason I think a lot more about economic stability and responsibility now than I did before, and I guess that’s true — but only a partial truth, if this data set is accurate. As my longtime readers know, I’ve been concerned for a while about how our economic arrangements undermine social stability, and have been bothered that many social conservatives don’t grasp that. In other words, I’m worried about economics for reasons that are essentially culturally and socially conservative. Anyway, read the whole post, which is full of colorful charts. Ultimately it’s a political analysis that helpfully illuminates why we have the parties that we do, and the settlement that we do.

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