@smokinghotgerman asked me this last night. I have some stock answers to that, but they shift as I hear myself say them, and something occurred to me…
An “outsider” (despite my class, gender, sexual orientation, skin colour) because of accidents of birth (long story), followed by being transplanted aged 7 and then transplanted back aged 9. This is not a criticism of my folks (one of whom is reading this) – it was a great adventure, formative and informative.
So, unlike the proverbial goldfish, I AM able to “see the water.” What seems normal/natural I am more likely to see as culturally specific.
Unstructured play in natural settings before the age of 11 (e.g. “Go off and play. Don’t get bitten by anything poisonous. Come back when you’re hungry.”) Got to see tadpoles become frogs, bugs, etc etc etc. Got to see that the web is far more complex than we can easily imagine. Hooked into this is time away at “camp” – my expensive-ish private school owned one – and being taught about ecosystems.
Seeing a teacher hit an 11 year old, and being the only person willing to testify, despite the fact that other teachers saw it happen (and I saw them see it). It does shake your trust in Authority Figures a bit.
Biggie – fear of nuclear war. Grew up in the late 70s and early 80s. When you realise that the clowns in charge think that playing nuclear roulette is “rational” it makes you think, “what else are they completely braindead about?” (And I was right to be shit-scared. Able Archer, anyone? I mean, really.)
And Chomsky, from age 24 onwards. Combined with seeing how the other 6/7ths live.
So; deep green, cynical and unwilling to say “yes sir/no sir/three bags full sir.” I fully expect to be one of the first tossed out of the helicopter over the North Sea when our Lords and Masters lose patience and reach for the Pinochet Option. So it goes.