For our first Reader's Poll, reader RLancaster1234 asked a very interesting question. It's quite simple: which of your positions is most important to you? Your economic position or your social one? Please see and vote in the poll on the right.
After receiving his/her email about this poll, it made me think. I know which positions I view as most important, but I wonder what other people think. To me, I weigh economic positions with far greater importance than I weigh social ones. Economic positions (taxes, government spending, regulations, etc.), in my opinion, tie us all together and affect us all on the aggregate level, whereas social positions (gay marriage, abortion, capital punishment etc.) tend to affect people on an individual basis.
Of course, I couldn't stop there. I had to think more:
It seems to me, most people (this isn't scientific, and "most" means more than likely 51% and above) seem to be slightly more conservative fiscally and slightly more liberal socially. This is just my personal viewpoint, and it's not scientifically backed. I base this on the fact that it seems that most people desire and love freedom. This encompasses their desires to have the government out of our wallets, our bedrooms, our homes, our churches and so on. How strongly people view and hold these positions leads to how they self-label themselves as "conservative" or "liberal."
I'm going to try to take a stab at some demographics using age, for example. Again, this isn't scientific... it's just an attempt to put a little "meat" behind my view. This "stab" assumes the following key statement is correct: most people seem to be slightly more conservative fiscally and slightly more liberal socially.
For young people, I believe most self-identify themselves as "liberal." Why? Well, for the average 21 year old, life has been very "social." For his/her first 21 years, finances and fiscal thoughts more than likely weren't a big worry, but friends and friendship, love and relationships, and social life generally were. Issues such as gay marriage (which is viewed as a freedom to love issue by many young people), tend to be front-and-center issues with many high school and college students. This is why, again, assuming the above key statement that freedom-loving Americans tend to generally favor social freedom is true, to me, many young people identify themselves as liberal. They simply care about social issues more than they care about conservative ones.
As people get older, as many join the workforce, finish college, start a family, earn income, and of course, pay taxes, it seems they tend to become more "conservative." Did their views actually change? For most, no. How much they weigh and how important they view each issue did. As a young couple settles down and starts a family, purchases a home, has children, and has to regulate personal finances, fiscal issues are now more important than they were in their late teens and early twenties. If the average American favors economic freedom, their slightly more conservative fiscal view becomes more heavily weighted, and this seems to progress as someone ages. Again, this isn't scientific; it's more of a brief overview and opinion of the American political landscape. Sure, there are many young conservatives, and there are many elderly liberals, but to me, the general viewpoints discussed above hold true. Additionally, I understand it's not as simple as putting all views into these two categories, but for a high-level, surface debate, I think this is sufficient.
So, at this point in your life, which position do YOU view as most important? Please vote in the poll on the right, and tell a friend to vote, too. Thank you again to RLancaster1234 for this interesting poll and debate subject.
If you would like to post a poll question, check this out: http://loudmouthelephant.blogspot.com/2012/03/readers-polls-what-do-you-want-to-know.html