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Conservatives vs. liberals: Before you indoctrinate your kids, read this

Clinging to polarizing ideologies is comfortable, sometimes profitable. But you can find persuasive arguments on both sides of the divide. And, like me, you might find that some of your political opposites' ideas make sense.

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Without intending to, I've indoctrinated my kids.

I first realized it a few years ago. Seeing a bumper sticker that read "No Hope in Dope," my then-8-year-old asked, "Is that about Bush?"

It happened in the most natural way. They heard me groaning at every word and deed of that "misunderestimated" president, and absorbed my attitude until they could mimic it perfectly.

I'm glad my children share my political orientation, but it bothers me when I hear them unthinkingly mock and dismiss the other side – as when my son recently said, "If Republicans want smaller government, they should quit their jobs in Congress."

Lately, I've found myself in the odd position of explaining and even justifying the conservative point of view on taxes, abortion, and regulation of private enterprise, just so my children will understand that people have reasons for their beliefs, even if we disagree.

Related: Could TV's 'Mad Men' heal America's culture wars?

To my amazement, I've found that some of my political opposites' ideas make sense. This doesn't mean I've reversed my thinking, but it's eye-­opening. If you shut out the noise of talk radio and your own unshakable faith, you can find persuasive arguments on both sides of the divide. Here are a few that I came up with:

On the social safety net

The conservative view


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