There\’s an saying along these general lines \”If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.\” Who said it? One blessing of the web is that I can fiddle around with such questions without needing to spend three days in the library.
The earliest evidence located by QI appeared in an 1875 French book of contemporary biographical portraits by Jules Claretie. A section about a prominent jurist and academic named Anselme Polycarpe Batbie included the following passage [translated as] …
\”Mr. Batbie, in a much-celebrated letter, once quoted the Burke paradox in order to account for his bizarre political shifts: “He who is not a républicain at twenty compels one to doubt the generosity of his heart; but he who, after thirty, persists, compels one to doubt the soundness of his mind.”
Quote Investigator has not found an actual record of Mr. Batbie\’s \”much-celebrated letter.\” And although the \”Burke paradox\” seems mostly likely to apply to Edmund Burke, it isn\’t clear whether it\’s a reference to something not-yet-discovered that was written by Burke, or by a reference to a pattern purportedly revealed by Burke\’s life and writings.
\”In a conversation between Dr. Ewen and the President, the former said one of his sons was an aristocrat, the other a democrat. The President asked if it was not the youngest who was the democrat. Yes, said Ewen. Well, said the President, a boy of 15 who is not a democrat is good for nothing, and he is no better who is a democrat at 20. Ewen told Hurt, and Hurt told me.\”
\”An old saying goes that whoever is not a Socialist when young has no heart and whoever is still a Socialist when old has no head. I would say that whoever is not a liberal when young has no heart, whoever is not a conservative when middle-aged has no head, and whoever is still either a liberal or a conservative at age seventy-eight has no sense of humor. Obviously, orthodox certainty on matters about which there can be so little certitude must eventually be seen as only amusing.\”
If you can\’t learn from both liberals and conservatives, and also laugh at both liberals and conservatives, you might want to reconsider the vehemence of your partisan commitments.