Politics and the gifted kid
Though it's only early 2007, the 2008 political cycle is in full swing in this country, which is no doubt causing some interesting discussions in some families of gifted kids. First, gifted kids tend to be more aware of "adult" subjects like politics and current events (and find it very frustrating that their peers are more into TV shows and toys). Second, gifted kids tend to have a profound desire for justice, and sensitivity to injustices. While I think neither the conservative nor the liberal side of the American political spectrum has a lock on just causes, my experience is that a number of gifted kids learn toward the left.
I certainly did for a long time. For starters, I've always liked to be contrarian, and many of my fellow Hoosiers were unthinkingly conservative. I didn't realize that it was just as possible to be unthinkingly liberal, since the "smart" people I knew with advanced degrees and the like overwhelmingly leaned left (a fact that demographic/political surveys back up). Eventually, I studied economics and decided that big government didn't protect the little guy. My interest in justice took on a decidedly free market slant and, before I knew it, I was voting that way, and was engaging in dorm room arguments on the opposite side that were every bit as obnoxious as they were before.
My experiences around gifted kids these days, though, lead me to believe that most more naturally align themselves with the liberal side of the political spectrum. Liberals talk in a narrative of injustices (poverty, environmental devastation) that can then be remedied with government solutions. Conservative interest groups are only just now starting to adopt this narrative (the hassled small business owner, the home owner subject to eminent domain, the urban child locked in failing schools) with free market or limited government solutions. Plenty of gifted children feel like outsiders, and the Democratic party often comes across as more sympathetic to outsiders. Plus, it's easy to believe government should "do more" when you don't personally have to deal with much red tape, and you don't pay much in the way of taxes. All of these mean that an election conducted in a self-contained gifted class might not come out the same way as one conducted in the nation at large.
I'm curious if other people have found this to be the case. Given that gifted kids often like to argue, too, I'm sure homes with split political affiliations turn into battlegrounds every few years!