Forever Young… and Liberal: Why the Left Suffers from Incurable Romanticism

Tiberiu Dianu
5 min readSep 21, 2017


1. “If you are not a liberal by 20 you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by 40, you have no brain” (Winston Churchill)

From time to time, but particularly when I watch Family Ties reruns, I frequently find myself asking the question: why do some liberals refuse to grow up?

I am always amazed by liberals’ obsession to stay forever in their inner, younger selves. Liberalism is a political philosophy with many utopias that better fits younger generations’ enthusiasm. It is understandable that, when you are young, you believe that all that glitters is gold.

You can be an anarchist at 17, a socialist at 20, a liberal at 30, and turn into a conservative after 40.

This is fine. It is a normal course of evolution. Yet to watch old liberals in action — that is people who have not evolved in terms of rationale and common sense since their school years — is a perspective that can be both sad and painful. Everyone can picture a young hippie, but it is harder to picture why they would remain hippie-like past 40.

A possible explanation could be that all the radicals of the ’60s have advanced in age (which is not the same thing as having matured) in a world which they refuse to understand, and for which they do not accept responsibility.

Perhaps it is the complacency originating from utopian ideals that never materialize. This complacency is dangerous, at least for others, because we see that many of these complacent utopians work their way into positions of power as professors, media executives and politicians.

2. “If youth knew, if age could” (Sigmund Freud)

A much scarier perspective — that defies any logic — is offered by those who actually used to be younger conservatives and end up being old liberals, enriched capitalists with progressive agendas. Some famous examples include the (in)famous characters:

- the former high school teacher (and currently film director) Oliver Stone;

- the media executive (and businesswoman) Arianna Huffington;

- and the former politician (and currently MSNBC “cable news guy” host) Joe Scarborough.

Maybe this out-of-sync so-called evolvement offers an explanation for the correlation between the liberals’ lack of common sense and their notorious elitism and arrogance. In their vision, life should match their utopias, not the inconvenient factual truths.

That’s because they sit comfortably, with other fellow liberals, in their insulated areas and ivory towers, away from the simpletons, rednecks, and hillbillies. And this gives them total peace of mind and relaxation of conscience.

Watching the reruns of famous liberal sitcoms like Family Ties, All in the Family, and Golden Girls, I am always amused how the “bad guys” fit the conservative characters. Usually, there is one such character in every sitcom. They are always absent-minded, confused, goofy, or downright bigoted and mean-spirited. And all the adorable, super-smart, gorgeous, and charismatic characters who surround them are typically liberal “good guys.”

In 1984, a pop band called Alphaville sang: “Forever young, I want to be forever young. It’s so hard to get old without a cause.”

It was a catchy tune and a runaway smash hit. In 1986, the band “re-offended” with Afternoons in Utopia. At face value, can anything be more desirable and… liberal?

For the rest of us, the down-to-earth ones (realist conservatives by conviction or experience), such a perspective seems, well, immature really.

Sigmund Freud said “If youth knew, if age could.” Maybe he was on to something. At least the first half.





Tiberiu Dianu

TIBERIU DIANU is a Washington, DC author of articles and books of law and politics. See: