According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans identifying as environmentalists is about half of what it was a quarter century ago, when I was a young teenager. Yet the other polls show that Americans are more concerned with environmental issues than ever before.
This is similar to how fewer Americans identify as liberal precisely during this time when polls showing majority of Americans hold liberal positions on diverse issues. Older labels have lost their former meaning. They no longer resonate.
It isn’t as if Americans are becoming anti-environmentalist conservatives. Quite the opposite. It’s just that an increasing number of Americans, when given a choice, would rather identify as progressive, moderate, independent, or even socialist. In fact, the socialist label gets more favorable opinion than the Tea Party label, although libertarianism is gaining favor.
Young Americans are the most liberal of any age demographic, in terms of their politics. They are more liberal than even the supposed liberal class, despite the young not self-identifying as liberal. They are so liberal as to be leaning leftist.
Conservatives are mistaken when they put too much stock in ideological labels and too little stock in substance of views. Their confusion is understandable. Many pollsters have had a hard time keeping up with changing labels, not initially realizing they needed to offer choices beyond the standard binary of liberal or conservative.
Not all of this can be blamed on pollsters, though. There was enough polling data to show major shifts were afoot. Some pollsters were able to discern that Millennials had a majority positive opinion of the ‘socialism’. That interesting fact of public opinion began showing up about a decade ago, but apparently few in the mainstream were paying attention until Sanders’ candidacy came along.
The older generations are shocked. As children of Cold War propaganda, they unsurprisingly have a knee jerk reaction to the word ‘socialism’. More interesting is that these older Americans also dislike libertarianism. For the young, socialism and libertarianism are two expressions of their growing extremes of liberal-mindedness.
So, it’s more of a divide of generations than of ideology.
Central to this are environmental concerns. Most older Americans probably assume they will die before major environmental catastrophes happen, allowing them to shut these problems out of their minds and pretend they aren’t fully real. Younger Americans, on the other hand, realize they’ll be forced to deal with these problems they’re inheriting.
* * *
Americans’ Identification as “Environmentalists” Down to 42%
Americans’ Concerns About Water Pollution Edge Up
U.S. Concern About Global Warming at Eight-Year High
For First Time, Majority in U.S. Oppose Nuclear Energy
Opposition to Fracking Mounts in the U.S.
In U.S., 73% Now Prioritize Alternative Energy Over Oil, Gas
11 thoughts on “Non-Identifying Environmentalists And Liberals”
I think that people are abandoning labels in general.
The old frames of meaning no longer make sense. The problems we face can’t be solved by old ideological thinking. Labels to categorize people don’t seem all that relevant when the challenges before us threaten our entire society.
Ultimately, environmental problems aren’t a left vs right issue. Pollution, climate change, etc doesn’t care about one’s ideological label. The younger generation are environmentalists by default. Their concern isn’t to be perceived as good environmentalists. They simply want to deal with the problems before it all turns into a shit storm.
Just curious, but have you been visited by any pro-Clinton campaign attacks?
Apparently this has been gaining steam:
I’ve seen articles about it. I’ve even visited the site that boasts of their activities. For all the wealth and power Clinton and her cronies have, they can be amazingly tone deaf at times.
It’s not just any one thing. There were the pseudo-feminist attacks on Bernie Bros and female supporters as wanting the boys or else threats that they’d go to hell. Then there is Bill acting like a doddering old man, having lost his ability to charm. And of course there is Hillary pretending she is a normal human and not a soulless shapeshifting lizard alien. This Super PAC crap is just one more thing.
All of this discredits not just the Clinton campaign but also increasingly undermines the Democratic Party itself.