Tag Archives: brainwashing

Conservative Brainwashing

Someone recently told my mom that I am that way I am because she brainwashed me while she was raising me. My lovely mother, who has received criticism about my politicking on more than one occasion :-), laughed it off…as did I since I tend to be even more ‘right-leaning’ than she is. Said person who described my childhood of going to church to learn moral values as ‘brainwashing’ is of course a liberal, and one lacking any faith as well.

This got me thinking. How do parental political beliefs relate to those of their children? Naturally, I took to Facebook and asked 50 of my friends the following questions (49 people across different age groups answered, 35 conservatives or libertarians and 14 liberals (simply because I have more conservative friends!)
1) Are your parents affiliated with the same political party as you?
42 of 49 friends say they vote the same way their parents vote.
2) Would you say that your parents influenced your direction in the political arena? Very influential? Moderately? Not at all/established your own opinion with no influence at all.
36 of 49 friends said their parents influenced their direction in the political arena and added comments to their response (see below)
3) If you’re a parent, what are your plans with your own children? Force it down their throats…moderate direction based on other values…no help at all?
35 of 49 do, or plan to discuss political choices with their children.
Please include any other pertinent comments.

A few notes about my friendly experiment: Almost everyone who answered that their parents had influence on their political choice was a conservative. But they all included notes like “It tied into my upbringing with religion and morals” or “Politics was never forced, but understood because I was raised in a family of ‘you make it for yourself”.

Some other more extensive comments included:
“I am a parent. My goal is to provide teaching moments. I want my child, a gifted child… to think . . . for himself.” (conservative)
“We don’t tell them how to vote, but we certainly let them know how we vote. We try to instill strongly the importance of voting in EVERY election, primaries and general. I sit here trying to say “I don’t care if they vote for Obama and the Democrats, as long as they vote.” But the truth is I would care. I’m not sure I would try to talk them out of it, but I’d be thinking “Sheesh, where did I go wrong with you people?” (conservative)
and my favorite:
“No kids {yet}, but my kids will be brought up to interact with the world in a way similar to my interactions with it. I’ll teach them about grace, love, and peace. I’ll teach them about prioritizing simple reliance on Christ and prioritizing the well-being of the tired, poor, and hungry, especially children. I’ll teach them about the work ethic espoused in the new testament. I’ll teach them about love. I guess that aligns with moderate direction based on other values. That’s how I arrived at my particular set of conservative values.”

Now back to my mom. I tried to think of one instance where she told me something about politics, something about how the world should be, ANYTHING about a social or fiscal issue and how that “has to be”. I could think of none. (I did, however, recall my 3rd grade vote for Ross Perot in our mock-presidential election. I was the only one who voted for him and THAT was absolutely 100% from the chatter I heard at home :-)) But when I think about my upbringing, I think about going to church and learning about God, CHARITY, tithing, hard work, prayer and faith. I think about my single mom who worked her ass off to take care of me with no help from anyone and I remember being able to recognize her hard work, even as a little girl. That’s just how it was and you didn’t take help from anyone, especially not the government. Heck, I didn’t even know the government offered ‘help’! I remember learning what a tax was and knowing, without being told, that it was not a good thing.

So you see, conservatives don’t brainwash their children. They teach them about morals, ethics, faith and freedom. They lead their day to day activities with conviction and faith, so it comes naturally. My mom didn’t force any beliefs on me. She never sat me down and said ‘Our family votes Republican and so will you!” The Bible taught me to be pro-life. The Bible taught me about loving my neighbor and respecting others. The Constitution taught me to respect a whole other set of beliefs and guidelines. But these are legitimate morals that dictate our daily actions. I took a lot of heat when I posted Paul Ryan’s quote about his faith driving his every action. By who, you ask? Take a guess. But it’s true. Faith and morals drive us and if we aren’t raised with any, we end up as grumpy, system-draining redistributionists with no drive. Assess your liberal friends, if you have any left.

And a simple note, the ‘official’ definition of brainwashing  is “(verb) To make (someone) adopt radically different beliefs by using systematic and often forcible pressure”. Seems to me the only place this is taking place is in the classroom.