February 13, 2004
THIS RIGHT-WING LIFE
Mark Steyn on the romantic allure of brutish conservatism:
Personally, I've always found there's a certain proportion of ferocious left-wing gals who find the idea of right-wing men strangely attractive in a disgusting kind of way - like Lady Chatterley and Mellors the gamekeeper, after you've been with these earnest dessicated socialist chappies so long the notion of some unreconstructed conservative neanderthal is not without its appeal, though they'll hate themselves in the morning.
A socialist ex-girlfriend -- waaay back in the ‘80s -- once described a commie former bedpal as “scrawny, but also flabby”. Judging by the types at last year’s anti-war demonstrations, the flab-scrawn demographic is still over-represented among lefty youth.
But, hey, who wasn’t a lefty when they were young and stu ... idealistic? I was; and so was James Lileks:
I held contrary positions when I was Young and Idealistic, and thought that those were attributes that lent some sort of moral weight to what I thought. (Hah!) I believed:
Ronald Reagan had the IQ of a Sea-Monkey, and not only wanted nuclear war but was completely unaware of the consequences of such an event, because he hadn’t read that New Yorker article by Jonathan Schell!
All people in the military were either brainwashed killbots, or generals who saw weapons as phallic substitutes, playthings whose lethality they could not possibly comprehend (The phrase “Boys and their toys” was the height of insight in our circle)
The Soviets could be best deterred by signing agreements that spelled out exactly how many thousand ICBMs we could point at one another, and the more we showed we desperately wanted peace the more they would want to be our friends, and while the USSR was possibly, maybe, perhaps an evil empire, it was extremely unhelpful to say such a thing out loud
It was better to let all of Latin America fall to Soviet-friendly regimes than to support governments that did not resemble North Dakota school boards
Europe had it all figured out
Rich people suck
Anyone who was socially conservative was probably repressing a vast amount of perversity, and your average Republican spent his private moments panting over the bra section in the Sears catalog
Religious people were okay as long as they didn’t seem to take it all that seriously
People who opposed unrestricted abortion rights wanted women to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen
Lileks subsequently went through what he describes as a “mid-30s polar realignment”. Mine began earlier and was largely complete by my mid-20s, after I’d endured and observed a gulag-load of left-wing hypocrisy, illogic, and outright wrongness. There’s only so many times you can be told that 2 + 2 = Walrus before this thought strikes: “You know, maybe these people don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.”
Posted by Tim Blair at February 13, 2004 01:50 AM
I would have thought that Australian lefties were telling you that 2 + 2 = Kangaroo. That even rhymes which would have appealed to the artistic instincts of the left -- the same instincts that enjoy the artistic stylings of Gordon Hookey and photographs of suicide bombers attached to a toy boat.
Before my ideological shift, I was of the opinion that most conservatives were bigoted, one-toothed gun nuts or arrogant twits like Alex Keaton from "Family Ties." It unfortunately took September 11 for me to gradually re-examine my ideas, especially after many left-leaning folks I knew somehow thought the terrorist attacks were the fault of the United States.
That said, I haven't traded in one rigid ideology for another. But like Lileks said, it's better to have ideas that survive contact with the real world.
I began my re-alignment after reading an article about Nicolae Ceaucescu when I was 14.
And I haven't looked back since.
OK, I'll confess: when I was in college in the early Seventies, I was an indignant feminist. In my own defense I can only say that I was tired and depressed and thought that shutting my brain off for a while, and talking like everyone else, would be helpful. It wasn't. The brain, like any other body part, tends to atrophy if not used properly.
Other than that lapse, I've always been Right. I was brought up in a ferociously anti-Communist household (my mother is Ukrainian), was reading National Review at age 15, voted for Reagan in 1980 and like Mr. Penny, haven't looked back since. It was pretty lonely out there for a while - so glad to see the Lilekses and the Blairs coming aboard :)
Mine was my first P J O'rouke book. Given to me by a now favorite uncle. I pride myself on trying to be the Australian version of the Republican Party Reptile.
Its probably no wonder your average active lefty is a bit 'scrawny and flabby'. They really don't get much exercise do they. Either at work or playing sport. Being ravished by a rugby forward I would think would come as a refreshing change after having to put up with all those whinny weedy men.
Like most students, I was a liberal in college, although reading Solzhenitsyn's "The Gulag Archipelego" kept me from drifting too far down the path of the far left.
After a few years in the real world I became mostly apolitical, although I continued to vote for Democrats largely out of habit. 9/11 woke me up again and made me start re-examining my old beliefs. It was the reaction of the left to that event and its eagerness to place the blame on America that disgusted me the most. I've abandoned most of my old beliefs and haven't looked back.
My turn came at--surprise!--the University of California at Berkeley, when I was active with a group of students who were organizing a "Take Back the Night" event on campus after a young female student was abducted, raped and murdered.
When this horrible event happened, initial suspicion fell upon her estraged boyfriend, a fraternity idiot. We were all so outraged.
Then, Berkeley police arrested two Black men who confessed to the crime (in fact, they hadn't done a very good job of covering their tracks and finding them was comparatively easy).
To my shock, and the beginning of my Second Thoughts, the "Take Back the Night" event was quietly sheleved, outrage turned into shrugs and the dead girl's political utility was judged nil.
I was a conservative at 10. Yes, I was a very boring teenager.
In fact, I am probably less conservative now than then.
My enlightenment came as freshman in High School. My family was living in Holland in 1968 and we were assigned to read “Animal Farm” by George Orwell. A few weeks later the worker’s paradise of the Soviet Union crushed the “Prague Spring” in Czechoslovakia. Orwell’s phrase from Animal Farm: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others,” pretty well sums up the core leftist philosophy.
i'm probably in the same boat as you bsc; i've certainly mellowed
I was nearly 40 by the time the scales fell from my eyes. A combination of many discussions with a conservative workmate, the fall of the USSR, re-reading Ayn Rand and realizing the Democrats had gone off the deep end. Life is good.
Like many (most?) students, I was liberal and "open-minded". How could I not be when I attended a Quaker college and received, shall we say, "instruction" from a variety of Marxist, radical feminist, anti-Western professors. I think I started questioning these teachings and my beliefs at one of the monthly protests held at the local post office. I asked other students why we were there and most answered that they weren't sure but it couldn't hurt in getting an A in their courses.
Personally I think the problem for most left/liberal/anti-war types is that many (most?)
of us went through what they going through now and know how much a farce it all is.
A quip by President Reagan seem somewhat appropriate to Steyn's response:
Those protestors hold up signs that read "Make Love, Not War." But they don't seem to be capable of doing either.
I can go along with BSC. I never had a leftie period. I grew up in Wilson Tuckey country and was a National Party fanboy. If anything, I've become less conservative as I age, and even more right-wing economically speaking. I still love Wilson though.
Growing up, I was fairly Conservative -- you know, the annoying Alex Keaton type who disagreed with everyone in AP History. Actually no that boring, since it was usually 8 to 1 with these two other guys sitting it out except to goad me on.
Then, college came along, and I was treated to a full range of opinion on a variety of subjects (full range being defined as the spectrum from radical Leftist to outright Communist). No more knee-jerk Conservatism for me! I realized in those four years that maybe my degree of Conservatism was inappropriate -- I needed to move MUCH farther to the Right, just so as to make sure no one ever cofused me with these pretenious, pseudo-intellectual lunatics who had opinions on everything but knew nothing real.
Finally, the coup de grace, graduate school. Had to ignore significant amounts of lectures, classes, lessons, etc. in order to ensure I would become a competent psychologist. Which is actually too bad, as psychology and politics really had little need to overlap too much (aside from public policy), unless you are a relatively useless member of society who has nothing better to do than try and cram your views, unrelated as they are to anything we were spending $100s of dollars per credit to learn about. The harder they tried, the more comfortable with myself I became, though I admit I did drift far more to the libertarian side of conservatism than the Social side.
September 11 crystallized things for me, the denouement at the end of a 12-year rightward drift. Throughout the 90s, I called myself left-wing, and usually voted for the leftest party around. I thought people on the right were either stupid or unconcerned about the less fortunate. On the other hand, I had increasingly little patience for the red-faced shrieking leftbots that ran the student union at my university, so in retrospect, I was already off the reservation.
Then my graduate research took me deep into empirical data regarding globalization, the environmental movement, and capitalism, and I began to realize that my old beliefs were, uh, unsustainable. I went back and forth, until the day that I saw those planes hit the towers, and heard the Left trying to argue that we asked for it. That made it an easy choice.
"Mine was my first P J O'rouke book"
Same here - I was totally a-political until I read RPR. Thank God I went straight from being drunk to being right-wing.
Am I the only one who's shocked beyond belief that Tim Blair used to be a lefty?
"Am I the only one who's shocked beyond belief that Tim Blair used to be a lefty?"
Not I. I find that those who discover, in person, how hypocritical and downright factually wrong some of the policies held by the left are, tend to be of the "angrier," snarkier breed of righties.
Me, I drifted from entirely apolitical towards the left while in college, but kept rebounding wildly from statments made by PETA, the luddites who picketed my college (anti-animal testing, when the "testing" being done was all behavorial), and the local enviromental activist group whose primary work involved sidewalk chalk. Eventually I got tired of recoiling in horror or confusion when I was told things that couldn't POSSIBLY be true (and turned out later not to be), and started drifting right.
What's so shocking about it? Read the thread: Lots of us used to be lefties, and we're probably a lot more outspoken than those who've always been on the right, since we've actually had to think our way out of our previous, idiotic beliefs.
When I was just, I was a hard-core right winger. But, over the years, I've gradually drifted .... to the right.
I'm just 19 and i've never been a leftist. My change from not giving a damn about politics/bash the US everytime you can, we're talking about Europe here, to right wing deathbeast with this little thing that happened in the 11th of September of 2001.
forgot to add a "happened" after "right wing deathbeast".
Preview is your friend.
I used to be one of those soft-left, make jokes about dumb Merickans, blame US imperialism yada yada.
Then I went to a uni with an extreme left-wing SRC and thought, "Oh my god these people are insane."
I was mugged by reality. Repeatedly. As were most of my friends from the same uni. I wonder if those dickheads knew how many people they were turning off their "cause".
I don't know if there was a specific thing that changed me from left to right...I do remember finding a love of history after a poly-sci class and deciding that Edmund Burke was the most brilliant mind in history. And I'm pretty sure that I was officially more right than left during the Hainan Island incident in which an American "spy plane" was forced to land in Chinese hands (remember? Seems like everyone forgets Bush keeping us out of war then), although my shift to the right had nothing to do with that incident.
I think it was just debating a big time Republican friend of mine all the time and losing every debate. Leftism and reality are simply at odds, I suppose.
It is rather amusing to know how many right of centers there are that are ex-leftists and how few leftists there are that are ex-rightists....
I was thinking the same thing, Matt. The Left makes a big deal every time it makes a convert, but most of the time they just seem to get someone the Right didn't really want anyway:
Um, anyone else? I can't think of any.
Hmmm... I think it was right after Johnson lied to me (Gulf of Tonkin was signed two weeks before I went active).
I remembered his party affiliation.
My political conversion came about my 2nd year of college - as the Blue Dog Democrat product of political party parents (Hey! Check out the alliteration!), and being fearful that Ronald Raygun would take us to nuclear war with Iran, reality stepped in....later a stray copy of National Review (who IS this Buckley guy, anyway?) sealed my political fate.
May liberals flee before me.
Yes. And you are ALL dead wrong. This is my last post on the topic.
Dead wrong I say. Dead. Wrong.
I can thank Barbara Amiel for helping me see the light. When I came back to Canada from Germany in 1981 (Armed Forces) I subscribed to MacLeans magazine, a weekly. Her column only ran once a month, but it was a ship of common sense in an ocean of left wing drivel.
Shouldn't we be discussing this thread over LUNCH? Perhaps with some EXPENSIVE WINE?
On the subject of the relative merits of conservative and liberal boyfriends - here's a great quote from a play I saw late last year:
I think all men should be Republicans. It's good for their prostate.
I was a conservative of the protectionist interventionist line till the mid seventies. I came across a book called Rip Van Australia by John Singleton that gave me a whole new perspective on applicable principles rather than pragmatism.
The most memorable phrase in the book went something like this:
"Malcolm Fraser admires Ayn Rand and Ayn Rand admires Malcolm Fraser - which just goes to show that neither knows what the other is talking about".
How right Singleton was!! It embarked me on a journey of discovery now over 25 years which is still ongoing.
It was when I was faced with the shock and realisation of what my social awareness and concern for equity was costing me personally through the tax system that sent me to the dark side (plus the fact that while leftist women bang like buggered tappets, they tend to look (and sound) like Margo Kingston). I also had a severe addiction to using large amounts of petroleum products and didn't quite see why soviet communism or fundamentalist islamofascism were desirable blocs to control large parts of the planet- independent thought and fun being alien concepts to the fundamentalist left.
I think mainly I just sobered up- but not for long; anyone with a history of leftist activism and a functional brain has to drink to blot out the horrific memories.
Maybe the ALP owes me compensation for post traumatic shock disorder; anyone know Slater and Gordon's phone number?
I always have had a thing for big strong conservative men, i.e., those big burly NYC police officers and firemen who booed Hitlery off the stage after 9/11.
I remember when right wingers had strict language codes, no sense of humour, took their orders from a cultural elite, patronised minorities, promoted and protected their idealogical peers and with entirely no justification and few exceptions were insufferable intellectual snobs.
I GULP! admit it...as a lad I used to skulk off with me mum's Sears (and Joske's and Dillard's) catalogs and sales circulars in order to ogle the lingerie models.
Reckon that makes me a No-Epiphanies-True-Believer. So be it.
I independently came up with the idea of communism at around age 8 or 9 after spending an excessive amount of time at my hippy uncle and aunt's place. "Wouldn't it be a great idea if everyone got paid the same amount for doing different jobs?" I didn't know it took the better part of a decade of hard work to do well in the higher paid professions.
One of the funniest things about that time (although I didn't know it at the time) was when I showed an astrology book I had bought to my aunt, who read part of it and declared that they had got it all wrong. She had far better astrology books of her own. These were "right".
Another amusing anecdote: I used to be regaled with tales of my aunt's friend's kids who lived in an alternative lifestyle village. How healthy they were... they were so healthy that their farts didn't stink. I am not making this up. She tried to make us feel guilty for all the junk food we ate and normal lifestyles we led.
We finally went there a year later. These boys had massive boils all over their bodies. Which were quite curable, I might add, but their mother insisted on using naturopathic remedies instead of going to a regular GP and getting some antibiotics. And any chance they could, they would sneak off to the local milk bar and play double dragon and eat junk food.
Later on I saw the animated version of Animal Farm, and read that book and 1984 when I was 13. By that time I was well and truly capitalist. Fortunately my early exposure to the idiocies of the left had well and truly innoculated me.
I shifted right in university in response to the inescapableness of all the leftist dogma. A couple years later I am more centrist. If a government solution works as well or better than a private one, I don't have a problem with it. Will probably mellow further as I age.
Hmm. Okay, let's start by pointing out I was born in 1978.
By age nine I was only vaugely political, of course, but I knew where I stood: I was a Republican because the Democrats thought there shouldn't be a defense system between me and a Soviet ICBM with my name on it.
I was a precocious reader (among other things, I read Chuck Yeager's autobiography that year), and I'd read in the local newspaper that the the U.S. government's list of sites it expected the Soviets to hit in a first strike included a target a mere quarter-mile from my house.
I'd also read the book After the Bomb, which perhaps over-sensitized me to the dangers of an accidental nuclear launch. But it left me with a firm conviction I needed something between me and that Soviet ICBM targetted right at me. Sure, a lot of people said SDI wouldn't work, but I was of the firm opinion that a system that might not work was better than one that didn't exist. After all, seat belts didn't always save lives, but they improved the odds.
Anyway, that was my equivalent of a September 11th moment.
There are a lot of other formative events, including several times when I finally saw through beguilling ideologies that held me for a few months, when I actually thought through the logic of some of the arguments. But those were libertarian/right ideologies, like Ayn Rand. (Ever notice that symphonic music, though treated as an art in the Romantic Manifesto, doesn't conform to the definition of art given in the Romantic Manifesto? That was the flag that got me looking over everytthing else with a more critical eye.)
Socialism (central planning) never attracted me; first for raw emperical reasons, like the Soviet Bloc collapsing, and the failure of the Japanese and European centralized HDTV projects in favor of a private American venture (The U.S. government having refused to set up its own centalized HDTV development project). Later I read Hayek and Rand and had several mutually-reinforcing explanations as to why government by experts can't work.
Anyway, that's the story of this never-Left.
My best friend throughout high school came from a family of strong socialists. I held no real political views at that stage, and they all seemed fairly smart to me (hold your stones!) at the time. As a result, I was heavily under the influence of these people.
By the end of high school, I was quickly shifting to the right, as I started to look at things with my own two eyes.
Right now I'm pretty far to the right on economic issues, but socially I'm probably closer to the centre. I wouldn't call myself a social conservative or a libertarian...
I suppose my rightist coming out, so to speak, was a long and drawn out process, originally being a soft leftist during high school and early university. Majoring in a “hard” science course, I learned to appreciate the importance of empirical evidence and the application of reason and logic and questioned much of my leftist views.
Later exposure and run ins with militant unionism in the work force really turned me around, as well as reading P J O’Rourke, recommended from a friend who was majoring in political science and was one of those rare creatures in his course that wasn’t a raving moonbat.
Later working for Wilson Tuckey during his tenure as Minister for Forestry and Conservation exposed me to what passed for debate and reason with the green left, which served to galvanise my views. I haven’t looked back since.
PJ O'Rourke for me too. (And if you've read PJ you know he was a leftist hippy in the '60s, right?)
To rescue an otherwise interesting thread, I've deleted all Mork's posts and all Mork-related posts.
Please get your own site, Mork. You're boring me to death here.
I'm actually a little unnerved by people who weren't former lefties turned conservative. (Maybe because of the old saw: If you weren't a liberal before you hit 30 you have no heart, if you aren't a conservative after 30 you have no brain. Prepare for 50 different versions in upcoming comments on this blog: "It was George Bernard Shaw." "I heard it was Churchill." "Blah blah blah.")
I figure I'm a little (heh.) older than the average here, but I come from strong hillbilly stock and we develop BS detectors pretty early. I became anti-idiot very early on. Up through the middle '60's the idiot ratio was about equal liberal/conservative and actually not all that high, in retrospect. Then came the late 60's and the Summer of Love.
Now, I gotta admit, free sex was a glorious thing. However, a great deal of the rest (and probably some of the sex) was idiocy. Over the years, the liberal idiocy ratio has been climbing pretty rapidly, while the conservative ratio seems pretty stable. I'm a philosophical anarchist (can't see how to get to my society from here) and a practical hard core libertarian.
Look at the right. Name the idiots. Well, Pat Buchanan, Pat Robertson, a few like that. Couple of Congresscritters.
Look at the left. Name the idiots. Well, just about everybody to the left of Joe Lieberman, and he almost got sucked in.
My turn to the right began, I think, when I realized that "idiot", Ronald Reagan, actually won the Cold War!
By the way...
I can't really recall when I began the gradual change from kewl-gothchick leftwing wannabe who joined in the sneers and groans at Reagan et al. I had been a Florence King fan since the early eighties, when the library still carried copies of Wasp, Where is Thy Sting? I found myself agreeing with the articles in Reason and the National Review more and more. I was reading some other conservative authors whose names escape me now. And of course, I was getting older and less interested in impressing people (read: cute young men). Of course I went through the obligatory Randian phase. The two final nails in the coffin of any remaining leftish sentiments were, of course, September 11th, and the Contemporary Multiculturalism (or whatever) class I happened to be taking that semester.
I attended an extreme left-wing, govt-funded university in the Great State of California. Our regents were so well left that they could pull President Clinton, for whom I actually admit voting during first term, as a graduation speaker. We had an organic farm, a co-op store and a "Che Cafe", complete with the communist grand vision mural. We had talking eucalyptus trees. Really. The only A+ I received in uni was for Women's Studies 101, during which we discussed the concept that the entire existence of male and female is not a biological thing, but a social construct (just look concerned at all the injustice in the world, nod and be sure the TA knows your name). I had friends who wouldn't watch the original Star Trek because Captain Kirk was sexist (never mind that it was a ground-breaking program for its time). I dropped a class in Contempory Gay Politics(I am *not* making this up. Thought it might be good for the ol' gpa) on day one when, during the Q&A period, a student stood and made public protest that the course would not cover cross-dressing and "the beauty of a man creating the illusion of woman." Whatever. That was just too much. When the LA Riots went off, I was not one to smash windows or block freeways in protest of racial injustice, but it's safe to say that I was a product of my environment and, mostly, listed to port.
I spent my junior year abroad in Japan as a starry-eyed "internationalist". They say travel opens you to new ideas, and that time in Japan was the true start of my conversion. The Japan Defense Force was deploying overseas for the first time since WWII on a UN mission to support free elections in Cambodia. Because of Japan's pacificist constitution, there were protests in Tokyo denouncing the deployment. In a letter (pre email days) to my grandfather, who was part of the post-war occupation force, I told him about these. I believe he replied something to the effect, "about time the Japs help out." I replied with a bunch of sap about all wars are bad and blah blah blah. There was no response, but when I went home for Christmas and was showing off photos, my grandad went into the next room and returned with a shoebox. "Here are some photos of my time in Japan," he said. There were pics of him and a buddy next to a jeep and waving beside a pile of rubble; pics of destitute peasants, etc. I thought he was a narrow-minded old sod then.
My time in Tokyo was the first time I recall being discriminated against as a white male (other than at UC, of course ;-). I had been refused entry into bars and taxis, told I must have AIDS, asked if my manhood was of the extra-large variety (some myths one wants to encourage), etc. At the beginning of my stay, I probably thought that of course they’re this way, this is what oppression does to a people. By the end of my stay, when I understood the language, I just came to realize that jerks exist everywhere and stereotypes exist for a reason. The real turning point was when I visited the A-Bomb Museum in Hiroshima. There is a political slant there, and it is “Japan as Victim”. “What of Nanking?” I thought, “What of the Philippines and Pearl Harbor and comfort women and Korean slaves and the promise of 100 million dying as one?” The fact was, at the time, every Japanese person I knew could tell you all about Hiroshima and Nagasaki and what happened at Pearl Harbor, but they couldn’t tell you anything that happened before or between. It was like this black hole of history conveniently forgotten. That has changed in the past 10 years, (thanks to the like of Iris Chang, James Bradley, and elderly vets who talk publicly these days about what went on).
Like a plant blasted with weed killer, the last bit of bleeding-heart liberal in me (I still believed in gun control as late as 2001) shrivelled away and died shortly after those idiots ran planes into our buildings. Even at the time, when a friend shocked me by wondering allowed what “pissant country ain’t gonna be around this time next month”, I favored an even-handed response. Research and logic and debates with friends of all faiths & nationalities and completed the journey around the time UN R-1441 passed. I firmly believe now that we can no longer sit on our hands and try to be friends with everyone and hope the bad men go away. The results of the last two years clearly show that guaranteeing our safety depends upon choosing our friends carefully and giving our enemies no quarter.
I don't think that I was ever really left; however I did have a period when I was deeply concerned for animal rights. I became a vegetarian. But then I started drifting away from that when I realised just how insane PETA and animal rights people are.
I'm liberal when it comes to some things, such as gay marriage, etc. These days I'm still a semi-vegetarian, though still right wing in most respects.
I became firmly conservative after I entered university and came face to face with 'academics' and fellow students. I joined the young liberals after an afternoon arguing with idiots in my sociology tutorial.
I used to argue that the US was the evil empire. remember the 'Stop the Drop' marches? I was in quite a few of them.
Started turning right after reading Chesterton and Santamaria (never been given the credit he deserves), Scruton, O'Rourke and George McDonald Fraser.
I ended up with the same political beliefs as my friends that hadn't read a book in their lives. There's a lesson in there somewhere.
I'm a Tom Clancy fan and would like to see Jack Ryan become Prime Minister of Australia.
The left convince me daily of why I lost interest in them and continue to gravitate to the right. Consider this column from Mark Day. This endless bleating, I'm sure they are trying to bore us into submission. And if you happen to disagree with them, that makes me worse than Hitler.
Ask a leftie what the problem with State Rail is and the obvious answer is that they don't have enough women drivers. Gee why didn't I think of that. Because I'm obviously a sexist.
If I question the leadership of Aboriginal Australian's I'm a racist, even if a judge decides he's pack rapist.
The left are welcome to their utopia with Geoff Clark as leader and a population of Palestinian refugees being driven around on timley public transport piloted solely by women, I just hope its no where near me.
Hope the airbags mandatory on the public transport in this utopia are filled with pork-fat, otherwise some of the Palestinian women refugee bus drivers might achieve semtex-assisted martyrdom in solidarity with President Clark's persecution for having consensual sex appreciation deprivation.
And his dick out.
My long journey from the left to the right has a particularly fine pedigree. At Melb. Uni in the early 1980s I had the good fortune to take classes with the late, great, Frank Knopfelmacher. At the time I was unaware of his status as an arch-conservative.
Most of my fellow sudents thought that Frank was a terrible bore. I thought he was the most intelligent person I'd ever met. I learnt more from Frank than everybody else in my tertiary education combined. Needless to say, the rest of the academics in the faculty hated him. (Mind you, he was a somewhat frightening figure to deal with. To say that he didn't suffer fools would be something of an understatement.)
I think Frank recommended Arthur Koestler's "Darkness at Noon" to me, which is as much as you need to know about communism.
But it was a long journey, and I didn't identify as right wing until 9-11 (intersting how many people in this thread report something similar). Listening to my chardonnay-socialist friends run the "America deserved it line" made me furious, and GWB's response lifted my estimation of him about 1000%.
The fact is that conservative men like playing sport,are outdoors types and work out in the gym,and so are generally fitter, stronger, better looking, and have bigger dicks than lefties. They also enjoy womwen more and know how to show it.
Lefties by contrast, are either fags or are too dedicated to the cause to be interested in sex.
That's why most women end up in bed with right-wing men.
I hate these threads for bringing up bitter memories. My college career began at one of the top universities in the U.S., but that ended with me being bitter and angry after being fucked over by the PC police for something I wasn't involved in. I then went to a third tier school where one evening I discovered a book called "The Creative Society." The book is a collection of speeches by Reagan during the sixties. It shows what a radical he was. I entered the first school as a bourgeois Republican, then left a redneck university a radical, or classic liberal which is what Reagan is.
For the person who asked about famous rightists converting to the left, in Australia I can think of:
Interesting how Bill Hayden who was ALP leader to Fraser (until dumped for Hawke) has now gone the opposite direction to Fraser. Its like they met each other in the opposite direction.
Hey, Quentin, good ones. Was Big Mal ever really a rightist, though? I remember my parents thought he was the devil incarnate after November '75, but it's not really like he enacted any conservative policies I can remember. And didn't Robert Manne take Quadrant off into the left-wing bog, or was that after he converted?
So I'm still coming up blank on famous mid-life conversions to leftism, apart from those. I mean, the Left can have Pat Buchanan and Justin Raimondo if they want 'em. But it seems like most grown-up leftists were born that way, poor fellas.
I like Libertarian thinking but like others have a mix of both with a ever shrinking portion of what many on the left 'claim' to be ideals.
Margo Kingston converted from pinkodom to pixiehood. Does that count?
I'm moderate left. Read PJ O'Rourke found him humerous but not really convincing. Was more conservative when I was in hihg school up to yr 10. then left from yr. 11
What a great thread! I've genuinely enjoyed reading about our various visions on the road to Damascus! (Or Kabul. Or Baghdad). So this is my 2 cents worth. I was a cradle conservative - courtesy of my father, a farmer who still has a venomous loathing for the Labour Party and trade unions. Like a couple of us I got further conservativised(?) by PJ O'Rourke (personally I think his greatest contribution to my thinking was "Give War a Chance"). I lost any doubts about being a righty when I went to Uni and met all these terribly CONCERNED and EARNEST lefty students - all of whom had backgrounds considerably more wealthy and resourced than mine. Nearly all of them had been to private schools (me? State, State and full of hate...).
Oh, and I think the reason conservatives get more chicks is we're more fun. Think of it this way: Righties tend to care more for the individual than the "WHOLE COMMUNITY". And 'individual' includes me. So I don't have a problem with cranking up a Lynyrd Skynyrd CD and opening a bottle of Canadian Club and trating the neghbours to a drunken singalong at 2:00AM. The point I'm trying to get across here is that we righties generally don't give a rat's arse - and are therefore a lot more fun!
I still havent told my parents yet.
I still havent told my parents yet.
The fact is that conservative men like playing sport,are outdoors types and work out in the gym,and so are generally fitter, stronger, better looking, and have bigger dicks than lefties.
Um, I'm not disputing this, but how does working outdoors or exercising give you a bigger dick? I just want to know for...uh...curiousity's sake. Honest.
Was Big Mal ever really a rightist, though? I remember my parents thought he was the devil incarnate after November '75, but it's not really like he enacted any conservative policies I can remember.
Exactly, which is why my dad always refers to him as "Australia's second worst prime minister*". He had the biggest majority ever, had it in both houses and did diddly shit.
* After Gough Whitlam of course. Third is the unlikely candidate of Stanley Melbourne Bruce.
What I like about right-wingers is that they have a life outside of politics. They don't have to get involved in every protest that comes along, and they don't have to pretend to care about the gap between poor and rich, starvation in third world countries, the environment, bla bla bla bla bla bla. So I was a little surprised that so many of the comments on this post seemed to be about people's 'coming out' experiences.
As for myself, I don't really consider myself right-wing - I just happen to agree with the right-wing 80% of the time. At Uni, I was mildly left-wing, but never really got involved in politics. I was always sceptical about greenies, though. After Uni., I started reading Quadrant and the Spectator and O'Rourke and Hayek and a couple of other writers and my views became a little more definite.
I could describe myself as a contrarian - I'm at my most right-wing when people around me start spouting left-wing views that seem to me to have no basis in reality. I get angry, for instance, when people say that John Howard is racist and expect you to instantly agree, on the basis of 'Mandatory Detention' and 'War in Iraq'.
Incidentally, I was interested to see how writers had an influence on everyone. I expected O'Rourke and Ayn Rand; I didn't expect to see Chesterton get a mention, though I'm glad that he did!
Fraser had control of both houses for the first time in memory, came in with an agenda of conservative reform, did fuck all.
At the time I thought Malcolm Fraser was evil incarnate; now he's a sad opportunist git who was given opportunity on a platter and handed government to Bob Hawke (who wound up doing the nasty things that needed to be done, fucked the unions, deregulated the banks and floated the dollar).
Fraser was another limp-dick Harold Holt "compassionate conservative"; as much use as an impotency victim at a gang-bang.
People surpised at his "conversion" in later life should review his period in leadership.
The Liberal party in Australia has been dominated by "wets".
There is still hardly a true conservative bone among the entire retinue of parliamentary coelenterates.
One factor that's always pulled me to the Right is I'm strongly pro-life. As a leftie, this seemed to me an obvious call. Everybody gets taken care of, everybody gets protected, especially the helpless and innocent, right? Yet the Left has always said kill, kill, kill, it's only on the Right that I find fellow pro-lifers.
However, I didn't move across because of that, I was just frustrated and confused by it. There were two big, stunning shocks that moved me to the Dark Side.
The first was the Communist infiltration, takeover and destruction of the Nuclear Disarmament Party in 1985. The attackers were the Socialist Workers Party, a pro-Brezhnevite Soviet-oriented party. They regarded the Nuclear Disarmament Party strictly as a "host organism" for the growth of the SWP, and opposed the slogan "Disarmament East and West" openly preferring a Communist nuclear monopoly and the unilateral prostration of the West. This was not "peace" as I understood it.
It became clear to me that the hard left was utterly bad, and the soft left was soft, useless, and devoid of resistance when resistance was needed. All you do is sing Kumbaya while the armies of tyranny take you over. What's noble about that?
The second and of course even bigger shock was on 11 September, 2001. Followed by the hate-dance of the whole damn Muslim world, which I "knew" was impossible because I had grown up on Glubb Pasha and Steven Runciman's books, and I knew all about the crimes of us accursed Crusaders and them sternly noble and upright Muslims. I discovered that all my credulous reading of the "best" authorities had only made me a fool. Then there followed the comprehensive moral treachery of the Left. That at least I expected, but it was worse than I was ready for, and the total lack of honor revealed by the French, Germans and others was another shock - worse than I believed possible.
This made me think that good people and good friends are precious and rare. If you have someone you can trust, personally or even internationally, hang onto them, fight together with them, don't let them down. The simple mutual loyalty and good faith of good people is the most under-rated precious thing in the world.
What happened then is, George W. Bush, 100% pro-Life, American and Republican, did good things about the war, and did stuff to provide for the elderly and sick, and generally implemented all my moral beliefs, while (hiss-boo!?) Howard and Tony Blair among others supported him on the war. My basic moral principles about life and mateship and standing up for what's right, and also my patriotic interests, got summed up together, and they are currently slugging it out with the combined forces of that which I have found to be treacherous, false and evil in an actual shooting war.
(I see Communist North Korea as a fully paid up member of the Axis of Evil.)
How Manichean! How primitive! How simplistic! But I can't deny the facts. This is how it turned out.
I'm gone now, I could never go back. Their side is committed to Communism, and/or killing babies and helpless 'tards, and/or jihad, terrorism and flying planes into buildings. My side is George W. Bush and his friends, specifically including the Christian pro-life lobby, the neo-conservative hawks, J-e-w-s and capitalists beyond redemption. I am utterly proud my country is what Maureen Dowd calls a "poodle". I am going to vote Liberal, probably from now on, specifically for pro-war, pro-American, and pro-capitalist reasons. It's over.
Very interesting thread. I'm coming late, but still. I started my life pretty apolitical. I've never lived in America but was always interested in the GAME of politics, especially as it's played over there. I half-supported Ross Perot in 92 simply because i found it amusing that a millionaire would run for president just for the hell of it.
I was always somewhat libertarian, but in my late teens supported a little of the back-to-nature movement. I always found the Jabiluka morons to be complete idiots, but i did admire Reclaim the Streets as a way to have a good time and make a point about oil pollution. Then i got my first professional job at age 19. That was my September 11th. I needed to work. I needed to pay for my house, my transport, my food and clothes and everything. I was watching my friends in university protest every damn thing under the sun, whine about oil depletion and whatnot, and i realized they didn't know jack because they had no expenses and no responsibilities.
Much like the rest of you, i've been pushed FURTHER to the right as a result of the frustration i experienced with lefties. I have come extremely close to commiting physical assault when i'm accosted (every Friday) with their lame socialist rallies in downtown Brisbane. I respect that people have different viewpoints, but nothing irritates me more than having people get in my face about stuff when i'm just trying to do my job, do my groceries, go about my own damn business. September 11th, Michael Moore and other morons have pushed it deeper. Technically i'm fairly liberal - i support gay marriage and other civil issues, but i shy away from any association with the lefties simply because they're so offensive and rude. They're killing themselves and they don't even know it.
I come from quite a long line of traditional Liberals. Going from Liberal to left in college was easy.
While I was in college I became friendly with people who were Communists. I never became a Communist, but I certainly leaned that way.
I recall my Communist friends telling me that everything we read about Communist countries in the US press was a bunch of lies. They knew people in Russia, had visited Russia (so they said) and could tell me first hand that people were much better off in Russia than in the US. The literature they had spoke in glowing terms of all the Communist countries. The US was, in their eyes, the epitome of all that was evil and wrong in the world.
When I graduated from college I met people, via my place of employment, who had fled the Soviet Union. Got friendly with them and they told me what it was *really* like to live in the "People's Paradise", especially if you were Jewish. Also got to know a guy whose family had fled Cuba during Castro's takeover. Heard how 'wonderful' life was there as well.
So, now I'm an Independent. I'm a mixture of the political spectrum, depending on the issues. Probably middle of the road on most things. But I have a hard time defining precisely where I am politically, so I generally don't even think about it.
I've become much more conservative concerning defense and the military since Sept. 11.
Growing up I always assumed that Righties were racist, stingy, sexist oppressors. It wasnt till I started blogging (bout 8 months ago) that I realised that this wasnt so. Slowly I realised that I was probably Right wing all along I just didnt know it coz I thought that being Right was something else all together.
My last 2 years in high school I decided that I would be forced to vote in a few years so I better find out what I was . I decided that I better be a Lefty so I could save the world from evil.
First year of university I took an anthropology unit at the University of Western Australia. For those of you from WA you will know how Left that place is. The lecturer would try to get me to believe that it was white christian males who were the source of all the worlds troubles. I just couldnt quite swallow it. Althought i had almost convinced myself of the same crap previously, it was just such an easy knee-jerk "point the finger" answer. In the tutorial sessions the lecturer wanted to find out about all of our cultural backgrounds (without directly asking). He and the other students didnt give a shit about the 'perspectives' of all the honky students but would lapp up everything that the one Aboriginal and the Asian students had to say about everything. I was ignored almost completely in the group discusions. I felt like saying "hey, I'm a Jew that makes me different, I'm ever so interesting!". But I didnt and I'm glad I didnt bother. They judged me by the colour of my skin and they didnt deserve the priveledge of knowing me.
Sep 11 happened and I still had enough Lefty inside me to think that "why do they hate us? we must have wronged them" crap. Then it hit me that it WASNT because America made cheesy movies and gave the world fast food.
By the time the Iraq debate came around i was hanging by a thread to my old beleifs. It wasnt so much what Bush etc did but what the oppsotion failed to do i.e come up with a better idea.
So I jumped ship. And the folk here have been so nice :)
On reading, I'd suggest that those of you who want to understand the right/left divide should take a look at two shortish books by Thomas Sowell: A Conflict of Visions and The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy. Sowell argues that most political divisions--defence, welfare, abortion, justice, foreign policy, etc.--have their roots in the conflict between the same two incompatible world views, what he calls the "moral" view and the "tragic" view.
People with the moral vision favour the use of government as a positive force to impose justice and instil "correct" values into citizens. They see humans as perfectible, and corrupted by flawed social structures. Those with the tragic vision see humans as flawed and imperfectible, and are skeptical of sweeping changes which eliminate the good along with the bad. These distinctions aren't original to Sowell, of course, but he does a good job of linking them to contemporary political debates. Sometimes he's too socially conservative for me, particularly in Anointed, but that doesn't invalidate his argument. Excellent if you want to know what makes those "social justice" kiddies tick...:)
Mr Bingley: i'm probably in the same boat as you bsc; i've certainly mellowed.
I was Right from the start, and have only gotten more so with age. Still working on converting the tree hugging sis, tho'...
I don't know what I am: I'm solid right on defense and The War after 9/11; I so do not care if gays marry or people have abortions or whatever. What people do in their private lives, I implore them all, usually fruitlessly, should be kept private. Worship God, worship snakes, worship the tree in the backyard--just don't burden me about it.
Oddly, I'm rightest about common decency because of Henry James' works; simply put, there is evil and people commit evil when they use others for their own gain. I have seen liberals/leftists do this again and again--use other people's possessions for their own causes, other people's situations for their own stupid campaigns. I've noticed leftists are very happy about destroying other people's property--SUVs, land, money--but are outright hostile about anyone's touching what is "theirs"--any damn thing they own. I've witnessed leftists prate on about gay rights and such, but privately espouse the sexual abuse of anyone who won't "share" their sexuality. Leftists have no respect for anyone's welfare but their own.
Not to mention, so I won't of course, that leftists are usually pretty damn homely people.
One more thing. A November 2001 interview with Christopher Hitchens in Reason magazine. It seems like he speaks on behalf of a number of people here when he says the following:
The most politically encouraging event on the horizon -- which is a very bleak one politically -- is the possibility of fusion or synthesis of some of the positions of what is to be called left and some of what is to be called libertarian.
I was a latin American fascist at 11, dreaming of having my own island to rule. (Which I got in the form of the game Tropico.) Then I quickly ended up in the libertarian camp (though supporting of most Republicans) a few years later. Survived several PC lynch-mobs at University. It wasn't until I hit my late-20s that I became a theoretical anarcho-capitalist.
I was Right from the start, and have only gotten more so with age. Still working on converting the tree hugging sis, tho'...
sir, i resemble that remark. must i point out to you yet again that i have the ability to admit my errors? and as soon as i commit one i intend to display this talent for your obviously much needed edification. i am a far more kinder/gentler/thousandpointso'light kind of guy than i used to be. in fact, i am fast approaching my personal ideal state of enlightened despothood.
'tree hugging sis' is a burden that we must sadly continue to bear, however. *sigh*
on the subject of pj books, i learned all i needed to know about politics from "parliament of whores"; brilliant book.
Can anyone tell me which famous playwrite penned this...?
If at 20, one is not a communist
then, one is heartless.
If at 40, one is not a conservative
then, one is brainless.
jafa, certainly wasn't the chair of the philostophy dept. at Duke...
I was a young, liberal reporter with his first real job covering state and local politics. What an eye opening experience that was watching mostly decent people trying to do "good" things.
Most of the problems were a sort of "incompetence" and not just outright corruption. Perhaps incompetence isn't the correct characterization; it was ignorance, really, engendered by the limits of a bureaucracy in dealing with real world situations. The limits of power meeting the complexities of human beings. Hayek best explained it in his works. Rumsfeld's the "known unknowns" and the "unknown unknowns."
The limits of the state. Of power. Of government. And not just on a grand scale; but on a much smaller, localized one. Even in those "narrower" situations, law could not shift or change to match the changing circumstances.
And so I gradually turned to a more sceptical view of state power and the abilities of the state to fix problems. It's interesting, however, that the vast majority of journalists remain on the left. Why, I can't understand.
It's also interesting, in a different capacity, that one of the explanations on why actors and actresses are liberals is that they are used to having problems in their own lives solved with money. Whatever the situation, whatever the crisis, they have lawyers or agents or assistants whom they can pay to fix things.
And so when they discuss politics, they apply this view solipsistically to the rest of the world. Poverty problem? Give 'em money. Education problem? Increase school spending. Homelessness? Raise taxes.
Well, it's certainly fun reading about these enlightening moments. I personally think most of the older writers here have a perspective that sets us a bit apart. For myself it was growing up during the Vietnam War as the younger sibling of a brother and sister who went off to college, took on the views of the anti-war crowd, and created considerable dissension and not a small amount of hurt in our household.
I can recall vividly watching countless TV shows listening to celebrities state that the US was wrong for fighting a war against the communists.
I can remember listening to hours of lectures from my siblings recounting what they learned from their professors and declaring that our parents were as bad as murderers for supporting the war.
And I can remember listening to my parents discuss it all at the dinner table, and compare it with what they have learned while growing up in the Depression, going off to fight in World War II, and later trying to start a family in the Atomic 1950's.
I saw, I listened, I witnessed it all. Me and many other younger siblings of the 1960's Flower Children. And if nothing else, I think it helps us to discern what issues are important and what are not, and what is the right path to take.
And allow me to say that it is these somewhat bitter memories that make me take a interest in what Senator Kerry's experiences were after he returned from Vietnam. For me, it is relevant.
Dear Crusader ~
You were a miserable puke as a child, and have not improved with age. And it's recyling, not tree hugging.
You and the rude Mr. Bingley should treat your elders with respect, especially as they'd no choice in their siblings.
Jafa- I understood it to be Winston Churchill who said that, but I could be wrong.
My odyssey to conservatism began in the mid-1980s when I travelled throughout Asia. I came from a family of southern Democrats, so I can't say I was ever a lefty. (We were FDR, Harry Truman, JFK Democrats.) Anyway, during my travels it struck me that the only countries that weren't complete basket cases were the ones that had once been British colonies. The British had established and left working economies and legal systems. Strangely enough, I shifted even further to the right during law school. It was there I polished my critical thinking skills and came to appreciate how brilliant our Founding Fathers were. I also found myself arguing a lot with fellow law students who were feminists and other left leaning folks.-I used to send a couple of women into sputtering rages when I would mention I didn't want a woman to be president until she had completed menopause, because I knew there were a few days during the month I wouldn't trust myself to have my finger on the nuclear button (ah, what fun I had).
Also during law school I read a book by V.S. Naipul titled Among the Believers. It was then I understood Islamic Fundamentalism and Western Civilization to be on a colision coarse and I found myself becoming even more conservative.
I guess I should return to my job being an evil capitalist for a large corporation.
I think it was Disraeli who coined that particular phrase, though I could be wrong.
Nice to see I'm not the only one who never had to 'convert'--though I'm not sure if 'conservative' is the right term for many of us.
I made my transition from left to right as a teenager. When I first came to political awareness, my father was dedicated to “social justice” causes, and I spent six years as one of a handful of white kids in otherwise all-black neighborhoods in California and in Detroit. My schoolteachers taught that America had invaded South Vietnam because the oil companies wanted to exploit the offshore oilfields (!), and that the people of South Vietnam loved Ho Chi Minh and prayed to be liberated by the North. On the neighborhood streets and at school I was subjected to non-stop abuse for my skin color; I was called “honkie,” “white-boy,” “cracker,” and was regularly robbed and even beaten. I finally ended up at a private “progressive” school in the suburbs where I was taught that racism is “institutional” and that therefore ALL white people are racist, and it is IMPOSSIBLE for black people to be racist. For years I was happy to go along with this doctrine that was so starkly contradicted by my daily reality. It was so easy and comforting to accept the left-wing religion, to believe with fervor that white people are evil, that America is evil. If only you believed hard enough, it would be true, and simply knowing what was good! and what was evil! made you better than other human beings!
At some point, though, the disconnect between the teachings and reality became too great. Perhaps one defining moment was when my mother and I watched as a black man shot a black couple to death at point blank range in a public location and walked calmly away. Another was in April, 1975, as the TV showed South Vietnamese civilians clinging DESPERATELY to the landing gear of the American helicopters lifting off from the embassy in Saigon even as the “liberators” arrived. Although we didn’t know it at the time, on my birthday in that same month the new communist leaders of Cambodia began the total evacuation of Phnom Penh and the murder of a million and a half innocent human beings. None of my teachers ever even tried to explain how such things were possible in the left-wing paradise for which they hoped. Anything that did not fit with their liberal views COULD NOT EXIST AND MUST NOT BE TALKED ABOUT.
I know from experience how easy it is to go along with leftist beliefs, especially when you are young and want to fit in and to feel superior to others, but I also understand how deeply dishonest such doctrine is. I marvel now that a compassionate adult with any integrity can hold such beliefs.
I think it was Disraeli who coined that particular phrase, though I could be wrong.
Of course, it was an evil Jew! It all makes sense!
Actually, I heard it was WWI French PM Clemenceau.
I have to call myself a rightie because I'm a technocrat. And your average left-green type would like nothing more than to see the world reduced back to preindustrialism.
As someone who is only alive today because of Western technology and Western medicine, it'd be hard for me to feel any other way.
S'funny, I was raised conservative and spent a lot of time battling liberal indoctrination in public education. I thought I started to slip there for a bit, but apparently all the "liberal" ideals that I thought I was soaking up are actually the ones that make me a frothing neo-con.
On the day that the earthquake killed tens of thousands of people in Iran, I saw evil right-wing neo-con fundies remind each other to pray for the people of Iran and they cheered Bush for sending aid to the those in need.
I then saw the cranks at Democratic Underground talk frankly about the possibility that Bush had used a secret earthquake ray on Iran. The Kucinich fans were big on that idea.
"The timing of that earthquake is so suspicious. I wonder if Bush caused it"
"Take off the tin-foil, you IDIOT! Earthquakes happen all the time in Iran!"
"No, seriously, the US has top secret tectonic weaponry! Why else would Kucinich want to make it illegal?"
"Well, that Kucinich knows a lot more than I do, so I guess it might be true. . ."
"STOP BEING STUPID! THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS AS EARTHQUAKE WEAPONS! Oh God, you're making us all look stupid!"
"Hey, I don't think there is any way that Bush caused the earthquake, but you should be nicer to the others. All opinions are welcome here"
"I'm serious. It's all about directing energy and stuff. The earthquake ray is possible"
"No it is not! You must be a plant from Karl Rove, sent here to make us look bad."
Watching that taught me a lot.
Yeah... so anyway, I guess I'm comfortably conservative, in a revolutionary bring-the-despots-to-justice-before-they-kill-any-more-of-us sort of way...
I thought I was a RWDB when I was young. Coming from Qld I supported Joh Bielke-Peterson and even voted Joh for PM. This was of course because of the feral hippies who put themselves up as the Left Wing alternative.
But now I realize that the Qld nationals are in fact socialists. Rural socialists, who want government protection and subsidies for the farmers rather than the factory workers, but socialist at heart.
So I guess I've moved to the "right" since then.
But really, the whole left/right thing is pretty stupid. Is One Nation rightwing? Then why do they support nationalisation and protectionism like the Democrats?
I say I support less government and leave it at that.
My political views have changed but I haven't noticed any shrinkage or growth in any vital body parts. Am I doing something wrong?
I think a lot of it boils down to "Conservatives are leftists who were mugged by reality."
Other than a very brief period in my high school days, I've been conservative. For the most part my siblings have been, too. The only exception is my youngest sister, a product of an enducation heavy on leftist rhetoric and political science at Smith College. She's moderated her outlook a bit, particularly once she had to get a real job and found out how much her socialist paradise was going to cost.
Still, every so often she suffers a "college-years" flashback, at least until her two daughters pull her back into reality.
Amazing how that works, isn't it?
i feel for you DCE. Mrs. Bingley, a sensible minnesotian girl in all aspects of her most glorious character, found herself sorely tried during her college years at wellesley...
I never went off the deep end on the left. My father had an auto parts store so I understood, however dimly, that a society's wealth depended on real things, not just on good intentions. By the time I finished high school (1966) I had figured out that as Hubert Humphrey put it, the Viet Cong were not an Asian version of the ADA.
The furthest left I ever really got was membership in Social Democratss, USA, about which I remain entirely unashamed.
With respect to a post above, it was neoconservatives who were liberals mugged by reality, and I consider myself either a neoconservative or an unreconstructed Scoop Jacksonian.
And some of my drift rightwards was because of what Jonathan Swift called "a perverse Toryism" brought about by the excesses of the left.
I was a domestic policy lefty (but a foreign policy hawk) until I worked in public accounting for a few years, actually dealing with those wonderful government programs and the bureaucrats who manage them (Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) -- oh, the stories I could tell!
About that time I started listening to Rush Limbaugh, and it was all over, I turned to the dark side.
I was a domestic policy lefty (but a foreign policy hawk) until I worked in public accounting for a few years, actually dealing with those wonderful government programs and the bureaucrats who manage them (Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) -- oh, the stories I could tell!
About that time I started listening to Rush Limbaugh, and it was all over, I turned to the dark side.
I was an Army wife during the Vietnam War, and as such, occasionally had to run the blockade of sign-carrying peaceniks outside the base gates when I needed to go shopping. We were poor, but I thought my husband was serving his country. My moment of enlightenment came one day when I and my two young children drove past a young woman carrying a sign that said "Give peace a chance" and she spit at us. From that moment I knew it wasn't a matter of left or right. It was a matter of actually understanding your principles and living up to them.
Oh, hey, I've gotta add my $.02 here.
I was always a good little leftist, properly soaking up all the crud the schools pumped into me. I was horrified about nuclear power, global warming, supported affirmative action, blah blah blah. Then in '99 one day I was sitting in the garage of a new coworker. He had voluteered to help me fix my motorcycle, and we were putzing around and listening to the radio. A local conservative talk host was on, and I made a comment about what a knuckle-dragger he was. My new friend objected, which really, really surprised me. I realize now I had never come in contact with an actual conservative, at least not to really discuss issues with.
I probably left him frustrated that day, but over the next couple of years I started to listen to Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, and especially Dennis Prager, who is one of the smartest men I've ever heard. When Sept. 11 hit, I was well on the road to gaining my status as an actual person, so it just solidified me in my new views.
I now proudly consider myself a "neocon" (that dirtiest of words), except that I really do wish they could avoid raising spending in every single sector of the government. I thought that was the role of Democrats. I should know, I was one for over a decade.
I made the mistake of actually reading dissenting opinion. There was William F. Buckley's column in the newspaper, and I read a few for curiousity's sake, then more because he was a good writer and frequently funny, and before I knew it, he'd bludgeoned me out of my youthful liberalism with logic.
I'm an American by birth but both sides of my family are Texas Germans. I was born a conservative.
The Vietnam War/hippy period was really tough on me, I mean there was casual lefty sex on offer everywhere. When the social scene evolved and free sex was no longer on offer the left totally lost the little appeal it once had. If there are any young lefty females out there wanting to convert me ...
I have always been a centrist. Most would see me as being on the right. It isn't because I have changed basic views over fifty years but, much of the world skewed to the left. The far left is now sliding off the planet leaving me centered again.
I grew up in a family of “progressives.” I think my P.J. O'Rourke-style politics are in rebellion against stifling leftist conformity.
I'm a little late here, but I'd like to add that; no matter what you're current political philosophy, you can always tell who not to affiliate with, by seeing who is the most anti-semitic.
Nope, I'm not Jewish either, but hey, it works like a charm.
I'm a white Southerner, and a former hard-core liberal. Being a white Southerner, that made me the guiltiest of the guilty white boys when it came to racial matters. In college, I read The Nation and In These Times regularly, almost constantly, and got into vicious arguments with my Reagan-loving roommates.
However, real-world experience with the most ridiculous excesses of affirmative action you can imagine made me question its validity, and that led to me questioning most (but not all) of my liberal beliefs. The process wasn't quick; it took more than a decade. But I had fully crossed over to the right well before 9/11.
I'm now a moderate conservative with strong libertarian leanings. And I am finally happy.
My "conversion" started young. I was in the 7th grade when Reagan was shot, and my homeroom teacher was in joyous rapture over it. The shock of that experience, that someone in authority was gleeful over the death - she thought at the time - of the Prsident of the United States made me really examine some of the tings she was telling us (she taught 6th and 7th grade social studies).
I found that her beliefs that she passed on as "knowledge" were wide and very shallow, and was sent to the office several times as a "troublemaker" for diputing the idea that Hoover cased the Great Drpression, or that Roosevelt created a recovery. A few years later, I was assigned to do an essay in Government Studies to express why Mondae should be elected, I did the opposite and got an "F" on the paper. I was never so proud of a failing grade in my life.
I was called "hateful" and "klansman" in class once for stating that Affirmative Action as practiced currently actually encourages racism. My dad did not aggree with me then but held that I am entitled to my opinion on matters and I even brought him around on some of them when I was older and forced him to really examine views he held by default rather than by thought.
Today I am still a free-thinking conservative, never taking a stand on an issue until I've examined it's history and ramifications. This gets me into some severe arguements with friends, but the only friends I've got are those who aren't afraid of a good arguement.
How did I get cured of teenage socialism (i.e., pretentious idiocy)? Four years at The Evergreen State College.
I shit you not. The home of Rachel Corrie (and Matt Groening) provided me with an endless supply of negative examples. I also learned a little bit about how the world works, almost by accident, so bang went my socialism.
I never got into Rand, but I did discover O'Rourke (apparently he is the gateway drug of conservatism), and Paglia almost single-handedly got me to quit grad school. (Almost. She had some help from the school, the department, and the students.)
And how does a suburban teen get to be a socialist, you ask? Well, it all started back in the 80s when I heard this persuasive, impassioned speech on NPR. It was about nuclear war. The speaker was a woman from Australia....
Like a lot of other socially maladroit and immature teenagers, I was naturally attracted to the far left of "politics" (A religion of course).
In the workforce I encountered a WW2 refugee from central Europe who was a Nazi. Many spirited arguments ensued over a span of 20 years; I rejected his hatred of the Jews, but eventually saw a hint of something in his criticism of Communism.
After reading Victor Kravchenko, Solzhenitsyn, Dmitri Panin (Must read!), Robert Conquest etc., the scales fell from my eyes and a little of the real world intruded into my mind.
Unfortunately, for a while I fell into the leftie trap of having to have someone to blame, and of course it was "The Jews" who were responsible for the horrific crimes of the Soviets.
More mental readjustments followed when I found that this wasn't true and in fact Jews died at the hands of soviet communism, in numbers way above their proportion of the population.
Very glad to say, finally thrown off that insanity and now count myself as a strong supporter of Israel, democracy, civilisation, civil society, free speech, individual rights etc.
In other words, I'm a Conservative!
David Horowitz and Rush Limbaugh did it for me. Oh, and leaving England to live in the US. I dread to think what kind of person I'd be without the influence of the land of the free. The only time I voted in England I voted for the Green Party. AAAAAhhhhhh!!!!! Hallehujah I was saved, life is good.
I blame my freethinking ways on Robert Heinlein young adult novels. I read them all, starting at age 10 with Citizen of the Galaxy, still my favorite. I read Stranger in a Strange Land when I was 12, went from there to a fling with Marxism at 14, Objectivism at 16, and small-l libertarianism at 18. (I could tell Rand was a lousy writer, and Big -L Libertarianism hadn't been invented yet.)
(Most of Heinlein's later novels are bloated and almost unreadable, but the juveniles stand the test of time and can be enjoyed by adults.)
My big causes in college and beyond were feminism, environmentalism and multicultural understanding, and still are. But I was always somewhat on the outside of those movements because I wasn't a Leftist. (There is a perfectly good feminist, environmentalist, multicultural position based on entrepreneurship and advocating market economies, and some Leftists even take it sometimes, especially since the Soviet experiment went bust.) I have never had any problem being a hawk (Heinlein again). I liked Bill Clinton - he was socially liberal and relatively fiscally conservative (for a Democrat). (We forget Gore as VP was in charge of a fairly successful initiative to root bureaucracy and bloat out of the Federal government.)
So I didn't have a conversion after 9-11. On the contrary, I had been seeing more antisemitism from the Muslim and Leftist worlds after the intifada revived in 2000, and then came Durban, and then 9-11 wasnt' a surprise but something of a relief: now people will take this shit seriously. It's a shame it had to come to that.
For me it was Krauthammer. After 9-11 I was still sort of seeing it as a result of America's imperialism, but something wasnt right. Then I read a Krauthammer article in the back of Time magazine and was all like "Holy shit! That's exactly right!"
But here's what's amazing: The socialist bullshit is so thick in this country that an article by an American conservative was a revalation to me, a thing I'd never seen befor like a unicorn. For more, I had to go looking on the internet.
How fucked up is that?
And I notice alot of my 'liberal' freinds here in australia aren't liberal at all. Just cruising on the default leftist bullshit switch, it's all they know. When I start ranting about politics I can frequently see a sort of 'wheels turning' look in their eyes, the dawning of a "Yeah.. why are we kow-towing to these fucking medieval scum?" moment.
But I do meet real leftists too, and without exeption they are weak, stupid people employed by the state. IN EVERY CASE. I'm not joking, in every case so far.
One other note, recently Philip Adams ran an inept hit piece on Krauthammer, saying "Meet the delightfully named Charles Krauthammer.."
I thought "Too late, you revolting fat fuck, I already met him."
So many familiar things in this thread.
I was Southern Democrat, like my mom. My career-military dad is Republican.
On my 18th birthday my mom took me down to the courthouse and got me registered to vote.
My first presidential election was 1980. I couldn't vote for Reagan because he was Republican, while I was a loving and giving person. I couldn't vote for Carter because he was a wussy fool who'd let the Marielitos into my state, failed to rescue our hostages, and in general didn't have that little bit of ruthlessness that FDR said it took to be President. So I voted for John Anderson.
I said silly, lefty things for a couple of years in college. I remember somberly telling someone that it was said that President Reagan was the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back, but cut school lunch programs. Later on I was able to distinguish between personal and public funds, but at that time I thought they were the same.
What was the deal-breaker for me was the abortion issue. The demeanor of the pro-abortion females made me ill. They looked like they were having a big time when I'd see them doing their marches on TV, and I realized I wouldn't have any of them in my house. I won't be with people who can laugh and smirk about abortion.
I remember my dad coming home from two tours of Vietnam to my older brother and sister's druggy friends, and I too am very much enjoying seeing some of what went around coming back around to Kerry.
I have to admit, I'm not a RWDB, I'm a centrist. Paid-up member of the VCWC, in fact. (Don't call me a moderate, though!)
I've never been a lefty, and owe this to two things:
First, at age 11 or so, I suddenly realised that sometimes grown-ups don't know what they're talking about. This came as something of a shock.
Then, at around 13, I started reading my father's science fiction collection. A good innoculation of Robert Heinlein boosted my immune system against the evil commie germs.
Late 2002 and early 2003, my politics veered suddenly - not towards the right, but at least away from the left (which sent me off into political hyperspace). The sheer asininity of leftist opposition to the war in Iraq led me to write off the Left for good. There were valid reasons to oppose that war, but the Left studiously avoided those and went for the most nonsensical, slogan-riddled, hate-filled campaign imaginable.
Here's the difference between Right and Left as seen by a Centrist:
The Right are wrong (about some things).
The Left are insane.
And lefties have no sense of humour. They're so damned sincere about everything. Also, they smell bad.
My father was conservative and my mother apolitical, and I grew up conservative without realizing it. After college a friend gave me a copy of Atlas Shrugged and that started me on a twenty year reading binge. My biggest influences were Rand, Friedman, O'Rourke, Gatto, Paglia, Sowell, Illich. It wasn't until the aftermath of 9/11 that I finally figured out what liberals really are. Children. Frightened, envious, mean, self-absorbed children.
My daughter tried college and found college kids insufferable. So, she quit after one month, got a real job, got married, and attends night school. Anything to get away from the little beasties.
My family was Catholic pro-Kennedy, but never seemed to be really "for" anyone after November 1963.
My biggest "eye-opener" was the fall of the Soviet Union. For all the efforts of the Cold War, the collapse was simple and inevitable. Socialism does not work. No incentive for the individual to succeed eventually causes all sectors of the society to become more and more degenerated, until the whole thing grinds to a halt. That is what awoke me to the fact that the entire leftist ideology was never thought through to its logical ending.
An ex-boyfriend told me once that Clinton deserved to be elected because he "looked like a President". He explained that was all that was needed, the right look. I wonder if he has reconsidered since 9/11.
Dunno when I moved right. Relatives claim I once admired Jimmy Carter, but I have no memory of this (my age was still in single digits at the time).
Over the years, I started to notice that the places that had actually tried to implement the hard-left economic policies were basically $hitholes that had to build walls and post armed guards to keep people from leaving. That got me thinking about how the 'workers paradise' was a load of BS.
Then, around 1990 or so, the Goodwill Games were held in Seattle. We hosted a Russian for a couple of weeks, nice guy. He was one of the elite athletes, a gold medal olympic wrestler by the name of Soslan Andyev (mighta misspelled it). His reaction to a typical American middle-class life (particularly his reaction to my computer, a Mac 512k) made a hell of an impression. So did the car full of (presumably) KGB men who sat across the street one day. All day.
I was pretty moderate up through the 90s (altho extremely wary of the hard left), and was 'mugged by reality' like so many others on a beautiful day in September of 2001.
Now? A basic precondition of even considering to vote for anyone at the federal level is that I have to think that person takes terrorism seriously as a military matter and will fight to win. Depressingly few Democrats meet that criteria.
I'm still pretty moderate on social issues- I don't give a damn if gays give each other rings, think abortion should be legal, and think there is a benefit to society from some (but not all) social programs, and that seperation of church and state is a very good thing- but I'm _extremely_ hawkish on foreign policy. As in "Conan! What is best in life?" hawkish... and I don't think that is likely to change soon, if ever.
For a look at the bizarre world of mid-70s syudent politics, just look at my blog.
I've always been right-of-centre by Australian standards, which means a smidgin left-of-centre by US ones.
Despite the Vocal Idiotarianism of the Left, I've become less rightist as time goes by. Not every single thing the Left complains about is a pack of lies, just most of them. There are a few things that need fixing, and no fanatical-Rightist or Libertarian doctrinaire solution is good enough.
Recently I've even been hanging out with avowed Marxists, like Marxist.Org.Uk, people who like myself were agin Saddam Hussein (and Brezhnev for that matter) from the year dot.
'There is still hardly a true conservative bone among the entire retinue of parliamentary coelenterates.' - Habib, earlier, about Australian conservatives.
Australian conservatives are further to the left of UK and US liberal thinkers on many issues. Abortion? They'll run a mile. Too hard.
Wannabe conservatives need to unshackle their trendy internet cool 'RWDB' personae and do some hard yards.
i can time the precise moment when i turned an evil zionisto-imperialisto rightie to 23rd of july 1997, 9:23 in the a.m, when i descended from my porche convertible, grabbed a $5500 (that's american dollars, thank you very much) big bertha driver to dispatch a 2-month old stray baby seal that parked itself on my very own personal lawn. man, i still giggle when recalling the sharp, satisfying CRACK i got punting the skull of that worthless animal off my property.
i did get a couple stains on my armani suit, but there's like 50 left in my mansion.
I have to admit, my transition began with the introduction of this blog actually.
Ironic thing is, I stumbled upon it after googling information on Philip Adams.
Actually there was never a conversion whatsoever.
Third way liberal interventionism worked fine for me in Kosovo and Sierra Leone. Sept 11 ending Bush isolationism worked fine for me too.
I've really enjoyed reading this thread. In fact it's been so entertaining and illuminating that I am going to print it out.
And when I print it out, I'll have the satisfaction of being the last person to comment herein (probably - although there is a strong possibility some scrote will cruel it for me just for the hell of it).
My AUD$0.02 is that I was raised in a very conservative household - a sort of Alf Garnett / Ian Paisley hybrid but reacted at 17 and with the wisdom of reading the (now defunct) National Times and a university education became a leftie. I always had difficulties with it though and the more lefties I met sowed seeds of doubt in my mind. By 22 I was rejecting leftie orthodoxy but could never admit to returning to the Right. AT age 26 I started reading Quadrant, at age 30 The Spectator.
I'm somewhere like a paleo-nationalist now.
I still think Piers Akerman is a disgrace and a wanker. John Howard is a US arselicker. Most RWDB blogs sound like private schoolboy bull sessions at The Oaks.