Here is how we go from progressive to conservative in our values without changing a single idea.
Our influences and mentors die.
It’s that simple and yet that complicated.
As those we love and revere die, our natural tendency is to archive what they believed in. We want to hold those ideas in stasis without realizing that their ideas were always in motion, evolving toward some greater understanding of the world.
Our parents and siblings, closest friends, teachers, writers, and philosophers – all try to make sense of the world so we can stop wondering and worrying about it and LIVE. Once they are gone, the world continues and we have to think for ourselves again. More than that, we become the mentors, parents, teachers, and philosophers for the next generation.
And the world produces new ideas with progressives standing on the shoulders of those influences projecting the next step toward equality, peace, and freedom. They are younger, more educated, perhaps even more energetic and idealistic – just like we were at one time.
But their ideas are “radical” and go further than what we believed and what our influences would have supported (in our minds). We want to hold back the shift in culture that implies even demands that our ideas are obsolete in the new world.
At that moment we choose to embrace new ideas or hold on to what was a good idea for the time.
Eventually, one day, most of us will look at the world and find it unrecognizable from the one in which we grew up. If we felt our way was better, more comfortable – this new order will seem destructive and irresponsible. It makes us conservative. If we see how it makes life better for others, we retain those progressive ideals.
It is not an act of betrayal to embrace new ideas. The best mentors do and would expect you to see the world as it is rather than as it was.