I was raised in a conservative family, in a conservative town, in a very conservative district. It was the kind of Pleasant Valley Sunday suburb where the local elections were all settled during the republican primaries. Several times, I remember area politicians changing their listed party from “Democrat” to “Not quite as Republican as that guy, but still Republican” in order to have a shot at a town office.
This sort of upbringing shaped my young mind. Those willing to provide examples of how many liberal ideas were both crazy and foolish were always available, and ready to show evidence. I believe at some point during High School, when asked what my political leaning was, my father said, “I think Jeff is slightly to the right of Hitler.”
Over time, my horizons broadened and my views became more diverse. This came from actually listening and paying attention to individuals’ positions and statements. By focusing on what the right wing leaders were saying, I came to the conclusion that many conservative ideas were both crazy and foolish. This did not cause me to swing my ideological pendulum the other way; however, as paying attention to what the left was saying merely confirmed the previously suspected levels of crazy and foolish. Instead of moving left or staying right, I went up. (Example: I am in the camp of neither the greedy empty suits who work on Wall Street, nor the unwashed hippies that occupied it.)