Political prejudices, preferences, and creeds are often formulated in highly rational form, but they are grown in highly irrational ways. When they are seen against the developmental history of the person, they take on meanings which are quite different from the phrases in which they are put.
To begin, almost at random, with L. He believes that the United States ought to join the League of Nations and that our government ought to lead the world toward conciliation and peace. He is a Republican in party preference, and possesses well-rationalized judgments on a number of public questions. It is for none of these reasons that his history is of special value to the political scientist. What his intimate history does disclose is an exact parallelism between his political opinions and those of his father and mother, and, besides that, a conscious anxiety on his part to conform to the parental pattern of belief and occupation. He has a strange premonition that if he goes his own way something terrible will happen. Thus L is not only a simple conformer, but a compulsive conformer.
He is the youngest of four children. The next older member was a brother who was killed when L was eight and the brother was seventeen. Since L was so much younger than the other children, he was at first petted and spoiled. He slept around with all the members of the family, but mostly with his mother. A cousin of his own age with whom he visited provided the immediate point