Monday, July 19, 2010

Little Hitler

Two young women - sisters - chatting in the kitchen of a suburban house. One sister - the visitor - unscrews the lid of a jar of boiled candies and helps herself to one or two.

A little boy, about three years old, wanders into the kitchen, his eyes fixed on the open jar. The candies were his and he had a strict, self-imposed regime of two per day.

"No more lids are to be taken off in this house!" he thunders.

The sisters laugh.

"And there is to be no more laughing in this house!" he orders.

The sisters laugh uncontrollably.


The child was me, and the incident raises the issue of the early formation of psychological characteristics, and also the link with an eventual social philosophy.

It is generally accepted that a person's basic character traits are determined within the first couple of years of life. And clearly one's personality and character affect one's views of social arrangements and ultimately one's (implicit or explicit) social philosophy.

A conservative tendency? The incident suggests - let's be honest - a leaning towards something a little closer to fascism!


  1. Mark,
    What a charming entry.
    Don't be too hard on yourself. You were a child.
    All's well that ends well. I'm assuming you grew out of it. :)

  2. I think I've grown out of it - but who knows what lurks beneath the surface???

    I guess the serious side to what I'm saying is that if our genes and early experiences help determine our political views then we should be aware of this (and perhaps it would make us more tolerant of people on the other side of the political fence and less certain of our own position - no bad thing).

  3. That was my first question too ... did you mellow? I read a study lately (trying to find it again) that shows the psych profile of avowed conservatives differs from the profile of liberals at a fundamental level. There were I think five values rated in order of importance, and liberals ranked the values differently from conservatives. Something about orderliness vs. fairness, more or less. We all agree that fairness is a good thing, and that order is a good thing, but some would rank them differently -- which one trumps the other? It was fascinating. Almost a "how liberal (or conservative) ARE you" test. I think I flunked them both. LOL.

  4. Sounds very interesting, GC - I'd like to have a look at it if you come across it again. I must admit that order still ranks high for me, but I'd like to think I've mellowed as you put it from those early days - and I've certainly given up trying to impose order on others!