April 30, 2004


Regarding the stupid Gonzalez boy, who decades from now might still be apologising for his vile article, reader Geezer writes:

Thank God there wasn’t a net around when some of us was spoutin’ off way back when ...

Ain’t that the truth. My own childhood leftism involved the standard “destroy the state” yowling, as well as loathsome, almost Gonzalez-like opinions about anyone in uniform -- indeed, about anyone not on the Left. It’s time to confess, people! Reveal in comments your hideous pre-Internet statements or ideas. Anonymity, obviously, is encouraged ...

Posted by Tim Blair at April 30, 2004 05:48 PM

Nope never did, youth is no excuse.

Posted by: Gary at April 30, 2004 at 06:05 PM

I never voted Labor even when I was a leftie (which lasted approximately ten minutes in April 1977) because I lived in the electorate with the largest Labor majority in Australia and even in my greenest, most naive youth I knew politicians in safe seats are often lazy and should not be encouraged.

Posted by: ilibcc at April 30, 2004 at 06:06 PM

* In my teens, hoped Dukakis would become President - thought he was 'interesting';

* Had a picture of Paul Keating standing in front of a cleverly cropped sign saying 'king' in my room;

* Once argued Carmen Lawrence "should be Australia's next Prime Minister";

* Refused to pay compulsory 'student administration charge' and was threatened with exclusion. Wrote long Jerilderie letter on libertarianism and freedom of association to the powers-that-be. Oh no, wait...the union didn't regard me as a left-wing bro for that.

Ya gotta laugh...

Posted by: CurrencyLad at April 30, 2004 at 06:18 PM

I barracked for Carlton.

Posted by: Tony.T at April 30, 2004 at 06:19 PM

I was right when I was born and I'm right now.

Posted by: JohnJo at April 30, 2004 at 06:20 PM

I worked for McGovern in 1992 and sang Kumbayah at Communist Worker's Party picnics.

Of course, I was 8 at the time so I have an excuse.

-- Erik

Posted by: Erik at April 30, 2004 at 06:30 PM

I pray thee, let us not skip so lightly over such a momentous point in the life of one not so momentous:

1 - shook Reagan's hand in '89 (upon his visit to our B-2 site at Edwards AFB, CA)
2 - shook Gingrich's hand in '97 (following the Great 500 yr flood of Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota)
3 - rec'd personal reply from the right honorable Sean (for some reason, Tim's server won't accept his last name, but it's not 'Colmes!) in '99
4 - rec'd personal reply from Andrew Sullivan in '04
5 - thoroughly dogged by Michele of "A Small Vicotry" in '04, and rightly so!

Da,-da-da-da,-da-da-DAH!: provided spark of genius (and much coveted acknowledgement thereof) from the wondrous Mr. Blair, a personal hero - Apr, '04.

I may now die quietly, peacefully, secure in the knowledge that my life, such as it was, wasn't totally misspent in Bud Lite, baseball, and Bugs Bunny cartoons.

Dubya in 04.

Posted by: geezer at April 30, 2004 at 06:37 PM

When I was cleaning a draw at home this week, I came across an draft essay I wrote in early high school on Bush senior's decision to go to war with Iraq. I might fisk it some time.

Posted by: Andjam at April 30, 2004 at 06:42 PM

Fergot to mention I'd subscribed to "Mother Jones" and "Nuclear Times" after voting for RR in '80 and 84, all the while loving the big cowboy with all my heart... Voted for Jesse J. in the '88 primary for NJ, and for Duk-ka-ka in the '88 gen election, mainly out of disgust with Quayle...came back into the fold in '92, but by then, it was too late. What schmucks we wuz back then!!

Father, forgive us, for we rarely know what the hell we're doin'...

Posted by: geezer at April 30, 2004 at 06:50 PM

well, i'm only twenty, so i've thankfully never had the chance to vote for a democrat. back in elementary school, we had a mock election, and i voted for clinton because i thought bush already had a chance to be president and that it was clinton's turn. x_x

in my high school mock election, i voted for gore (was in the minority, my classmates had better sense). i was also...pro-gun control and pro-choice. *hangs head in shame*

Posted by: namechanged at April 30, 2004 at 07:02 PM

I cringe to recall this but at a Young Liberals meeting when I was a freshman at Oxford I recommended that all advertising be banned. I think they thought I was taking the piss (at least I hope so), but I was deadly serious.

When still in my 20s, and certainly too old to believe something so insane and wicked, I remember expressing the view to university colleagues that the US had caused more human misery in the world than the Soviet Union. I got jumped on properly.

Soon after, I became an enthusiastic convert to the right. I think it was my own experience of the intellectual dishonesty and personal unpleasantness of the left that was the catalyst. Enquiry was highly selective and used only to support pre-established positions. They thought they were thinking critically but it seemed to me that they were more slaves to their prejudices than the poor benighted middle class Tories they so despised.

Posted by: rexie at April 30, 2004 at 07:06 PM

I wore a Vietnam Moritorium badge and handed out leaflets to support Jim Cairns anti-Vietnam campaign in 1969(?). Though I was at school I had a friend who was a card-carrying Communist, in the same ALP branch as Jack Mundey. I remember he took us to a Soviet Poetry Night, where we listened to the great Soviet bard Vosnisenski regale us with tales of the corrupt West. We carried copies of Mao's Little Red Book during the Cultural Revolution, and admired a movie called 'If' in which the students all took up machine guns and massacred their teachers.
Youthful folly, and useful idiots unfortunately.

Posted by: otherbrian at April 30, 2004 at 07:20 PM

I'd tell you, but Lileks already wrote all about it today. The only bit he left out was, when Sting moaned that he hoped we knew the Russians loved their children too, I felt it. "Sting knows. Sting . . . understands. Sting for President!"

In retrospect, I was obviously reacting to such nutters as if I were a Jesus freak who'd just found Him preaching from the turntable.

Distasteful memories, all right.

Posted by: ilyka at April 30, 2004 at 07:35 PM

Considerded goining Resistance while at uni (groan)whilst my flatmate was state leader/president/commissar or whatever. Changed my mind when he recounted he lead a party that glued the locks of Guruda Indonesia Airlines at Perth Airport to protest Indonesian occupation of East Timor and donated money to the IRA.


Posted by: Antipodean at April 30, 2004 at 07:39 PM

(Shivers) Ooh....

Let's see -- I thought guns were icky. Wrote a smarmy essay about how icky guns were. If I find the diskette I saved it on (if I saved it) I may fisk myself someday.

Voted for Clinton, twice. Not so much out of liking for his person -- I never went that far -- but because I was a Democrat and all my friends were voting for him. (Own mind? What's that?)

I can't think of anything else at this early hour, but I'm sure there was more, especially from the 80s. See Sting comment above.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at April 30, 2004 at 08:14 PM

My list of crimes is long and odious. I promoted rampant drug use, opposed the first Gulf War, and got arrested at a "save the forests" rally. And that was before breakfast.

Posted by: EvilPundit at April 30, 2004 at 08:22 PM

I used to be a loathesome opinionated arsehole. Now, I'm a fucking sweetheart.

Posted by: Endgame at April 30, 2004 at 08:30 PM

Yankees Go Home! US out of Rota and Morón! (Southern Spain)

Columbus what did you do! Why did you discover them!

(About 14 years old... boy, was I stupid)

Posted by: Golan at April 30, 2004 at 08:35 PM


I was a member of the 'Young Communist League'

I was a card carrying member of Greenpeace

I actually voted for Michael Foot (UK Labour) when I was at Uni. aaaaaarrh! the pain!

I though CND was a good idea. Heeelp aaarrhg, no more please, the shaaame.

If it was left and green I supported it... then I grew up.

Posted by: Dog at April 30, 2004 at 09:05 PM

I voted for the Greens in the senate in my first Fed. election.

I used to think Phillip Adams was Australia's best commentator.

I used to think the USA was responsible for Saddam invading Kuwait.

Thankfully, I grew up.

Posted by: Tex at April 30, 2004 at 09:14 PM

I, um... I... That is... Uh...


There! Happy now?!


Posted by: Pixy Misa at April 30, 2004 at 09:20 PM

I threw a funeral urn over the White House fence during an Act Up protest in the Eighties. (although the methods of protest now make me cringe, I still feel the Reagan administration was woefully negligent regarding Aids early on)

I threw paint on a fellow uni student who was wearing a "Support our Troops" shirt during Gulf War one.

After GW Bush was elected in 2000, I vowed before friends that I would not accept him as president, and that I "would never listen to a word that passed through his anus mouth" and I would violently snap off the television or radio if he appeared.

Then September 11th happened.

Things changed.

After all those years, I grew up. Which doesn't mean I became a Republican (conservative quasi libertarian in fact), but things certainly changed. My past now seems like a distant and embarassing dream.

Posted by: Praecox at April 30, 2004 at 09:39 PM


You still look like a hippy.

Posted by: Gary at April 30, 2004 at 09:43 PM

I...voted for Jimmy Carter.

There, I said it.

Posted by: ushie at April 30, 2004 at 10:01 PM

I used to read "nexus" and "new dawn" magazine...

Posted by: MC at April 30, 2004 at 10:07 PM

i used to buy french wine.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at April 30, 2004 at 10:17 PM

1. I threw somebody else's medals on the Whitehouse lawn and claimed they were mine.

2. I commited war crimes while I SERVED IN VIETNAM.

3. I told people I was black but I'm not, I'm Irish.

4. I learned to speak French because I wanted to look down on Texans.

What was I thinking?

Did I mention I served in vietnam?

Posted by: Anonymous at April 30, 2004 at 10:19 PM

I once spoke to someone who had voted for Guogh Whitlam.

Posted by: Kate at April 30, 2004 at 10:24 PM

Pre-internet, was there ever a pre-internet?

Posted by: BM at April 30, 2004 at 10:26 PM

Hey Anonymous - not sure who you are but shdn't # say "Told people i wanted to be black, but i'm not. Told people i'm Irish, but i'm not. Actually from Jewish ancestory, but that wdn't get me elected in Mass so..."

Just saying.

Posted by: hen at April 30, 2004 at 10:44 PM

I once supported the ALP during the Hawke and Keating years (but I was too young to vote for them). When I went to uni, I was given a badge saying "socialism sucks" by the Liberal club and I've never looked back...

Posted by: Art Vandelay at April 30, 2004 at 10:44 PM

ok, I left out the worst bit...I once thought Peter Garrett and his nuclear disarmament party spoke sense.

Posted by: Art Vandelay at April 30, 2004 at 10:50 PM

Ushie: I voted for Jimmy Carter and George McGovern.

The horror ... the horror ...

Posted by: Brown Line at April 30, 2004 at 10:59 PM

I was baptized by Fr. Phil Berrigan, the (late) supra-anti-Vietnam priest (he and brother Daniel were incarcerated for burning draft records during the war), and whose anti-American jeremiads and bad poetry were a template of things to come.

Thankfully, it didn't take -- I discovered Solzhenitsyn and Dostoevsky at a relatively young age (17) and learned of the horrors of socialism and communism \from those great men and so came to regard leftism as somewhat more evil than the devil. PLus I had the good fortune to grow up in the rural South, an inherently conservative region so was somewhat innoculated from the limp-wristed fatuous nonsense the old hippies at the local college went around shouting. Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard helped as well.

Posted by: James H at April 30, 2004 at 11:04 PM

Nothing much to confess, thank goodness. I remember wearing a peace button to school in ninth grade, but by the time I finished high school (1966) I'd worked out that the Viet Cong were not an Asian version of the ACLU.

Posted by: Alex Bensky at April 30, 2004 at 11:09 PM

When I was attending the University of Missouri, Rolla I joined the local GDI chapter for the nearly-free beer at their frequent keg parties. Our one and only charity that we supported was Planned Parenthood.

That's the closest I've ever came to anything leftish. :0

Posted by: Brent at April 30, 2004 at 11:35 PM

I have never been left of right and I never will be. I have always harbored a loathing for smelly, hippies waving signs. I have always held that the world will be vastly improved once all the baby-boomers are dead.

Late Term Abortions for Boomers Now!"

Posted by: Bubbles at April 30, 2004 at 11:58 PM

When I was 16 I bought a copy GREEN LEFT WEEKLY of some smelly bum. Was so impresed with it that I subscribed for 10 issues. I got through about 3 o fthem before I realised that it was bullshit. Still I wasnt yet a Righty, just knew I wasnt a Commie. After Sep 11 I remember saying something like "watch Bush go and do something stupid now". But on the bright side I turned right at the age of just 21 so I only got the chance to vote Labour once. That is, Labour representative and Democrats for the senate. I feel so dirty but ut gets better every day.

Posted by: Dead Ed at May 1, 2004 at 12:12 AM

I once ate organic sushi off Germain Greer's naked body while she and Margot Kingston blew Philip Adams while he used a rolled-up picture of John Howard to sodomise a smiling Peter Garrett, who was at that very instant casting a semen-stained vote for Bob Brown, who was himself busy burning a flag and putting his arm around the Queen.

This all happened while the six of us (seven if you include the Queen) were chained, naked and defiant, to the base of a ten-thousand year old Tasmanian tree of some sort, in some sort of damp Tasmanian wilderness. Protecting it from "the Man". Right on!

Anyway, as it turned out, we had chained ourselves to the wrong tree (possibly even the wrong forest). Ganga, yeah? Right. We weren't found for three weeks, by which time Margot Kingston had chewed through her chains, Germaine's external genitalia, Philip's sense of shame, Peter's lustrous locks and the part of his brain responsible for making people say and do relevant things, Bob Brown's machismo, and now she was hungrily eyeing my charming naivete.

Rather than put up a fight (and at the time I found her a sexy and deep-thinking woman...), I let her have her way. The shame! When she was quenched and had gone, I turned numbly to the Queen, and uttered the only words I was thereafter capable of muttering:..."Your Majesty"...

Posted by: Endgame at May 1, 2004 at 12:17 AM

I read that book - "Marxism for beginners" many years ago and thought it made sense - the pain and shame runs deep. However I have since come to my senses and now regularly eat baby seals for breakfast and put out the eyes of kittens to qualify as a RWDB.

Tim you complete me.

Posted by: Rob at May 1, 2004 at 12:18 AM

I feel like this is a confession here. I was a leftie many years of my life. My 'freinds' think I'm a right wing facist for pointing out the dangers of Islamic facism. Last night an encounter with my 'friends' said that Jews should live in other places because they are causing grief in the arab world. As a daughter of a auschwitz survivor on my fathers side and my mother who had to flee Egypt in '56 due to being a Jew and knowing that majority of the Israeli population were refugees, I am heartbroken to hear this. I cringe at myself.

Posted by: Melanie at May 1, 2004 at 12:18 AM

Used to support Clinton; now I vote Republican.

Used to have bumper stickers on my car that said "Celebrate Diversity" and "Eat the Rich"; now my one bumper sticker says "Fight Terror/Support Israel."

Used to not read anything political while spouting the leftwing party line; now I read 20+ political blogs a day and feel much better informed.

Used to read _Utne Reader_ and _Adbuster_; now I read _National Review_.

I still read _Spin_, but I don't know who half the bands are anymore.

The great thing is, I'm richer and happier with my life now, and that's not unrelated to the fact that I don't buy into perpetual victimology, intellectualism, pissiness, and faux-poverty anymore (and in case anyone thinks I'm boring and suburban, I live with a death-metal musician, hang out with pagans, and have a pet snake).

Posted by: Kimberly at May 1, 2004 at 12:26 AM

I supported Dukakis back in elemantry school.

Posted by: aaron at May 1, 2004 at 12:29 AM

Read books about Lenin. Read books about Trotsky. Actually read the Communist Manifesto. Read my mom's copies of Mother Jones (back when she was almost a commie rather than just mildly socialist). Then came the Iran hostage crisis. Thank God for Jimmy Carter, he made it possible for my first vote in a presidential election to be cast for Ronald Reagan. Haven't looked back since then.

Posted by: Jonathan at May 1, 2004 at 12:31 AM

I didn't learn to type though.

Posted by: aaron at May 1, 2004 at 12:31 AM

When I first heard of Michael Moore I thought he was a satirist. Now I think he's a great punch line.

Posted by: BC at May 1, 2004 at 12:35 AM

My family was very much into politics. We watched the nightly news while eating dinner and discussed the issues. Both my parents have held local elected offices. Republican of course. I just voted by absentee ballot yesterday for my dad in a primary. Even when I was young and before it was fashionable to call the media "liberal mouth pieces", I could see the bias..so I have pretty much always held the same views.

I did briefly call myself pro-choice--until I actually became pregnant and had a baby. I realized you weren't just aborting a tissue mass. I joined the military under Reagan..I loved that guy.

Posted by: KellyW. at May 1, 2004 at 12:36 AM

By the way..I was two blocks away when Reagan was shot. I was in DC on a Republican youth trip..Washington was crazy during that time and I got to witness it. What a dark day that was. I got to meet my senator, Dan Quayle during that trip, he took us to some boring sub-committee meeting.

Posted by: KellyW. at May 1, 2004 at 12:45 AM

I, ummmm, uh, er, ah, well.....voted for Clinton.


Dubya in '04!

Posted by: JeffS at May 1, 2004 at 12:49 AM

I murdered the Tsar and his family.

Posted by: Harry Hutton at May 1, 2004 at 12:49 AM

I joined the Viet Nam Veterans Against the War in 1971. If you guys tell anyone I will find out who you are and hunt you down. (and yes I am a right wing wack job now and comment frequently here.)

Posted by: John Q. Citizen at May 1, 2004 at 12:54 AM

Don't be so hard on him, Tim, he said he's sorry:

"I mean no disrespect to the family of Patrick Tillman, and I would be very hurt to learn they were hurt by my comments. My intent was to open a debate on whether or not serving the in U.S. military is a de facto reason for considering someone a hero."

Posted by: DaveG at May 1, 2004 at 12:55 AM

I subscribed to the Utne Reader once. And I worked on John Anderson's presidential campaign in 1980 (it was a U of I thing). My lefty cupboard is pretty bare since I read Ayn Rand before Karl Marx.

Posted by: charles austin at May 1, 2004 at 12:59 AM

It's always about "starting a dialogue" with that crew.

Anyway, for my part, I was captured on Austin television saying that I thought Dukakis would be the best choice for America. This was mere moments after a Jesse Jackson appearance on the University of Texas campus.

That was about the extent of my moonbattery. Not so much seditious as it was stupid.

Posted by: Steve in Houston at May 1, 2004 at 12:59 AM

I murdered the Tsar and his family.

What? Are you saying that you killed the Tsar and his ministers? Can you confirm the rumor that Anastasia screamed in pain?

Posted by: Tongue Boy at May 1, 2004 at 01:04 AM

I recall tearing the "W" off of a "Nixon Now" bumper sticker in 1972 and wearing it around my high school, thinking that I was quite clever at the time. I then went on to college at Kent State University (this was five years after the shootings) and jumped feet first into the radical politics still going on there. If I'd jumped head first I would have hurt myself as it was pretty shallow water. I even voted for Jimma Carter in '76. I recall talking with Alan Canfora, one of the Kent students wounded on May 4th and readily agreeing with him that there was no reason for anyone to be paid more than $50,000 a year. My friends still make fun of me for the crap I used to spew at them back then.

Posted by: DanG at May 1, 2004 at 01:06 AM

I thought Bruce Springsteen was a god. I saw the no nukes concert and bought into that crap for a while. 1989 when the wall fell, I finally saw the light.

Posted by: mishu at May 1, 2004 at 01:08 AM

I was in elementary school and junior high when Reagan was President, and I was 100% convinced he was going to destroy the world.

The USSR was just misundertood, of course. (They hated us as much as we hated them, and who were we to judge them?)

The flip side: in a "Democracy" (civics) class in Grade 10, we were asked whether we felt positively or negatively about certain symbols. I was the only person in the class who admitted to "negative" feelings about the Soviet flag, leading to much laughter. (This was around 1989, when Gorby was single-handedly saving the world.)

Posted by: Damian P. at May 1, 2004 at 01:15 AM

I encouraged people to watch Michael Moore.

Posted by: zeyguy at May 1, 2004 at 01:17 AM

I wore peace buttons during 'nam.
Incense. Tie-Dye. Guitar. Folk songs. Peace march.
Didn't trust anyone over 30 (except my boyfriend who was 38).
Hated Johnson, hated Nixon.
Hated our troops because of that guy who testified in Congress.
I thought Carter was the sweetest man who ever lived.
I liked GHW Bush but was terrified of Reagan.
I was sure Clinton was lousy in bed. :)
I thought Ruth Bader Ginsberg was god.
I thought the ACLU kept us honest.
I was disappointed in 2000 and couldn't watch Dubya live.
Now I love the man. Dubya in '04!!
Kerry? My gawd HE'S the same guy who testified in Congress and made me hate the troops! Why would he even want to bring back those memories?

Posted by: Syl at May 1, 2004 at 01:22 AM

Subscribed to Mother Jones, and Utne Reader, AND voted for Anderson. But I was in the military all that time, so it's cancelled out. My family had too many friends who had left Russia, Cuba and Vietnam in dramatic circumstances to permit me any enchantments about Communism, though.

Posted by: Sgt. Mom at May 1, 2004 at 01:24 AM

I watched a John Pilger documentary and thought thta it was so great that someon ehad an 'alternative' view.

Posted by: Dead Ed at May 1, 2004 at 01:24 AM

Oh, where to begin...Joined the campus "peace & justice coalition", protested against an illusory military invasion of Iran during the hostage crisis (our mantra was "No Blood for Oil" if you can imagine that!), wrote on the back of my draft registration card that I considered myself a conscientous objector and a pacifist, attended the 10th anniversary observance of the Kent State "massacre", thought Reagan was the anti-christ and that Carter was rightwing, associated myself with the Socialists Workers Party, was recruited in a clandestine meeting by some communist fellow (which thankfully I declined), worked as a canvasser (fundraiser) for an anti-nuclear organization whose name I can't recall, voted for Mondale, thought that white people (and in particular Americans) were to blame for all the ills of the world and generally believed every silly bit of leftist dogma that ever existed.

Posted by: MB at May 1, 2004 at 01:26 AM

Oh good Lord....do I -have- to confess?

Ok, here goes:

I attended many peace protests calling for unilateral nuclear disarmament. I was known for chanting 'Om' in the middle of the school commons with a group of equally hairy peace-loving latter day flower children. I honestly loved Jimmy Carter and thought all Republicans were greedy criminals. I subscribed to Mother Jones, Utne Reader, member of Sierra Club and Greenpeace, and thought Reagan was the anti-Christ. I was pro-choice, pro-gun-control, anti-Republican on every issue for the simple reason that if the Republican's liked it it MUST mean it was bad for children and other living things.
*hangs her head in shame*
I got better!
I have been happily Republican since the middle of Reagan's second term and feel soooooo much better now. It's like waking from a nightmare.


Posted by: Vicki at May 1, 2004 at 01:27 AM

Re Anastasia: Oh, yeah, she howled all right. We butchered her like a goat.

These days I like to think of myself as a compassionate conservative.

Posted by: Harry Hutton at May 1, 2004 at 01:28 AM

One thing I didn't mention before -my previous comment - with my confrontations with my 'friends' was that they had hatred in their eyes. Their voices were loud as they felt supportive to the Iraqi insurgents. I thought they were going to punch me in the face and I wasn't wanting to argue with them. I thought I knew normal people!! I wish they had the outrage for the genocide going on in Sudan as we speak. Or for the thousands of women being killed in honour killings. btw here is a great site: http://malaysiatoday.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Melanie at May 1, 2004 at 01:30 AM

I voted for Adlai Stevenson.

[God, the shame of it.]

Posted by: Theodopoulos Pherecydes at May 1, 2004 at 01:31 AM

I thought Bob Hawke was the answer to Australia's problems. I admired Helen Reddy. I owned Redgum albums. I played in a bush band. I worked as a volunteer at a public broadcaster. I thought SBS was a good idea. I paid to see Australian films. I admired modern Australian art that wasn't done by Geoffrey Smart. I took part in demonstrations. I played benefits (while in an awful band that no-one would pay to see). I worked for government, and thought I was doing some good. I completed a humanities degree at an Australian university. Is that enough self-flaggelation? I feel so dirty.
(PS I also own some Goanna and Mopp And the Dropouts albums...boo hoo; I cannot live with this hideous past. Then again, i haven't drowned any campaign workers like Ted Kennedy, so I must be OK).

Posted by: Habib at May 1, 2004 at 01:40 AM

Once, someone I know gave me a Michael Moore book, "Downsize This," becasue they thought I might like it. BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT I MIGHT LIKE IT! The horror.

Posted by: Matt in Denver at May 1, 2004 at 01:42 AM

Oops, missed out campaigned for the ALP in two elections, was a mamber of the socialist left (resulting in regular fist-fights at Trades Hall in Brisbane where meetings were held), was a national union delegate for the ACOA (now what the fuck they call themselves, the public service union); I was an unregenerate commie, until they stopped us working 10 and an half hour shifts.
My transformation was immediate- if a union doesn't want what it's members want, why are we in a union?
I went back to reading Milton Friedman and joined the real world. (Sorry for the bandwidth, Andrea. (And the bastard who voted for Carter should find the nearest sawmill, insert his head and do the right thing).

Posted by: Habib at May 1, 2004 at 01:51 AM

I.... listened... to.... NPR!!!!!!

Oh, horror, horror!....

Posted by: Katherine at May 1, 2004 at 01:52 AM

I used to go into empty classrooms in my high school, write TROTSKY LIVES! in huge letters on the blackboard, leaving this for others to find (the thought of their puzzlement amused me).

But I disliked Stalin, because he arranged for the assassination of Trotsky in Mexico by Ramon Mercador, who seduced a homely girl to gain admittance to the compound then waited for the opportunity to plunge an icepick six inches deep into Leon Trotsky's brain.

And the homely girl committed suicide out of guilt.

Trotsky's concept of the "permanent revolution" was of some inspiration to Mao, and I used to admire Mao as well. Don't recall precisely why.

Posted by: miklos rosza at May 1, 2004 at 01:52 AM

I used to think the ACLU wanted a better America. And I would donate money to them.

Everyone, I'm sorry.

Posted by: mike at May 1, 2004 at 02:29 AM

Melanie said:

Last night an encounter with my 'friends' said that Jews should live in other places because they are causing grief in the arab world.

Um, like Israel, maybe?!

Posted by: Big Ramifications at May 1, 2004 at 02:32 AM

Tongue Boy: I presume you also rode a tank, held a General's rank, while the Blizkrieg raged and the bodies stank?

My Sympathy...

Posted by: CurrencyLad at May 1, 2004 at 02:34 AM

I thought taxi drivers couldn't run.

Posted by: Mark Latham at May 1, 2004 at 02:36 AM

I am the Green God Almighty come to lead you poor plebians to the future- we only have to wait for the Venusians to come and generate unlimited power from their bottoms; if that doesn't happen, my mate Jim is here with some nice cool-aid.

Posted by: Bob Brown at May 1, 2004 at 02:40 AM

I was always more of an anarchist than a commie.

I protested the arrival of GHWBush in Portland, wearing a "The Fascist Bastard Returns" t-shirt, with a collage-art image of the 41st President with a Shickelgruber mustache. There were perhaps 400 of us that day in spring 1992.

I was not fully in the spirit of the event, as I was carrying a "Re-unite Gondwanaland" sign, which read on the other side, "Free the Lagrange Five". I was sort of a dada-ist anti-central-government-ist, just trying to act up and generally discourage Federal involvement in the affairs of Oregon.

Such protests are videotaped by the Secret Service. When I spotted the cameraman on a rooftop, I started a chant of "Jump!", which delighted the other protestors, and genuinely amused the local police.

The ugly behavior of the other protestors pretty much put an end to that part of my life. If you ignore a cop's reasonable request to not walk onto the train tracks four or five times, he's going to arrest you, and there's no point in screaming about police brutality. If you climb over a fence to get onto private property to be more visible when you burn your flag, you can expect to get chased down and maced. This seemed totally clear to me then, and I was shocked that it wasn't clear to the others in attendance.

Posted by: Marko Feng at May 1, 2004 at 02:43 AM

I never had a left wing phase myself, I think it was because when I was growing up Maggie was PM and despite how nice she seemed all her critics were nasty hate filled shits.

Posted by: Ross at May 1, 2004 at 02:48 AM

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned...

Was a member of the Progressive Student Alliance and the Democratic Socialists of America at Kent State in 1982-83...but by 1984 I was working for John Glenn's presidential campaign, which goes to show there's always hope, even if not for John Glenn. I voted for Jesse Jackson in the '84 Ohio primary, mostly out of irritation at the way the Glenn campaign cratered. Also because while the country would have imploded in about four seconds of a Jackson administration, the State of the Union address would have been entertaining.

I was in a band that put out an EP in '85 with a song on it called 'Not Proud of the USA'...you know what, though? Even though the lyrics make me cringe now (I didn't write it), that song still kicks butt.

I voted for Clinton twice, but I'm not as ashamed of that because I figure if the Republicans weren't smart enough to nominate Jack Kemp instead of the empty suits they trotted out there (never mind that one was an incumbent), they deserved what they got.

Posted by: Ken Hall at May 1, 2004 at 02:55 AM

I thought The Wretched of the Earth was, like, a really great book, man.

I also belonged to PETA. And Greenpeace. No, I don't know why.

Posted by: Ann at May 1, 2004 at 03:01 AM

I couldn't vote in 1988, but that didn't stop me from loudly praising Dukakis at every opportunity. After Jesse Jackson's speech at the convention that year, I called the Rev a "great man".

I wised up not long after. But the stains on my soul will never go away.

Posted by: FindlayBoy at May 1, 2004 at 03:02 AM

Marched in quite a few protests against the Vietnam war. (I still think that was a bad war, but now for a different reason ... we didn't fight it. With the Russian threat, I guess we couldn't.)

In college became friendly with a few people who were Communists and thought they had lots of good ideas. Helped sell some of their literature. Believed them when they told me our, Western, press lied about conditions in Communist Russia. Believed Communist Russia was an ideal society.
Believed Socialism was a GREAT idea.
(Thank God I woke up from those delusions!)

Wanted to live in a commune when I got out of college. (Never did.)

Supported McGovern for president. (I live in the only state he carried.)

Posted by: Chris Josephson at May 1, 2004 at 03:02 AM

Marched in quite a few protests against the Vietnam war. (I still think that was a bad war, but now for a different reason ... we didn't fight it. With the Russian threat, I guess we couldn't.)

In college became friendly with a few people who were Communists and thought they had lots of good ideas. Helped sell some of their literature. Believed them when they told me our, Western, press lied about conditions in Communist Russia. Believed Communist Russia was an ideal society.
Believed Socialism was a GREAT idea.
(Thank God I woke up from those delusions!)

Wanted to live in a commune when I got out of college. (Never did.)

Supported McGovern for president. (I live in the only state he carried.)

Posted by: Chris Josephson at May 1, 2004 at 03:04 AM

I loved Michael Moore's first movie and I laughed at my parents every time they cancelled Newsweek because they got sick of the bias.

I voted for Bob Dole when I was 18 but felt guilty about it.

Posted by: Matt Moore at May 1, 2004 at 03:09 AM

I once sent an email to Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell. Although to be fair it was a torrent of abuse.

Posted by: wardytron at May 1, 2004 at 03:13 AM

The first vote I ever cast for anyone for President was for, God help me, Sargent Shriver (Illinois Democratic primary, 1976). I've never been able to bring myself to admit it to anyone until now.

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek at May 1, 2004 at 03:13 AM

only the Jews will understand this one...

I once went on a Habonim Dror camp.

Posted by: Dead Ed at May 1, 2004 at 03:13 AM

When I was attending Berkeley in the early 80s I participated in a protest march venting indignation about El Salavador or Nicaragua. I looked on the whole thing as sort of as a right of passage. As we were marching up Durant Avenue, the chant du jour was "El pueblo unido jamás será vencido", that is, "The people united will never be defeated". Not taking the whole march thing too seriously, I started chanting "A taco, burrito, I want an enchirito". Funny thing was that the crowd around me started chanting the same gustatory slogan, much to the chagrin of the true believers.

My point: a lot of protesters at these demonstrations are there for the fun of marching and hanging out.

Posted by: Berkeley John at May 1, 2004 at 03:14 AM

I've only ever been on one demo, but it was quite fun - it was a "free Nelson Mandela" demo. And very soon after he was indeed released. But has he ever written to thank me? I don't know why I bother sometimes.

Posted by: wardytron at May 1, 2004 at 03:20 AM

I volunteered for Ted Kennedy's presidential campaign in '80 (thought Jimmy Carter was too far right).

I also dropped microdot in a Unitarian church basement before a nuclear freeze rally.

I also wore "Ronald Ray Gun" and "Bedtime for Bonzo" t-shirts.

Ugh. Time to take a shower.

Posted by: iowahawk at May 1, 2004 at 03:22 AM

Dead Ed: I was also in Habonim Dror - I lived on Kibbutz Kadarim for 6 years. I think every one really wanted to believe that the Palesinian Authority wanted Peace with Israel. No one ever took notice of what they were saying in Arabic because we wanted peace so much. I'm not embarassed about that. We tried, they lied.

Posted by: Melanie at May 1, 2004 at 03:29 AM

3 years ago, I had an illicit affair with a fine boy from Canada, or was it Michigan? His name was Michael. He was a portly, small man in glasses. Unshowered and unshaven, but his unkemptness was his exotic allure. He would rant for hours about big money corporations and out of control gun use and I would just nod and stare into his beady, soulful eyes lovingly. We would put on our Che Guevera berets and march against Bush and his Cabal, and their "fictitious" administration. Oh Michael was so passionate. He was a man of the people, but he was a lover first. He spoke of someday becoming a filmmaker, but I never believed him. I saw him as a revolutionist, a man who can inspire whole lands, like France and Belgium! Alas, like all affairs, this had to come to an end too. We both knew it would never work. I let my chubby, noisy, goose fly our love coup. Now a member of the right, I will never forget my passionate affair with “the left”.

Posted by: Pierre at May 1, 2004 at 03:54 AM

How lame am I?

I thought Carter was a spineless boob (at the tender age of 16) and voted straight Republican ticket ever since 1980.

Joined the Army, via ROTC, in 1986 as I thought it would be a good way to serve my country (OK, I also thought it would be great not having to actually look for a job after college).

I have never leaned left on anything.

I'm just glad most have you have come to my side. It's called "the Right" for a reason.

Posted by: Black Oak at May 1, 2004 at 04:13 AM

You want embarassing? Here's embarrassing:

In high school I did a senior project on Noam Chomsky. Noam frikkin' Chomsky. And it wasn't a debunking.

My "Chomsky" phase thankfully lasted only a few months, due to my seeking out contrary viewpoints. I hasten to add that I am not and never have been a member of the Communist party. When I was 12 I did think it would work "in theory", but this at no point turned into support for the USSR. Frank Zappa's autobiography was an early anti-communist influence for me, I kid you not. And I'll always remember the first time I met someone from East Germany. It was after the wall fell, the first words he said to me were: "If you wore that shirt in East Germany you would be shot." I was wearing a shirt from a Catherine the Great museum exhibit which had a small and not very prominent hammer and sickle on it. Last time I wore that shirt.

Posted by: dorkafork at May 1, 2004 at 04:49 AM

I once listed, in point form with a succinct explanation, the advantages of Fiscal policy in federal economics.

I know, I know.

In my defence, I'd like to point out that I was 16 at the time, it was for my TEE economics exam, and that I listed the disadvantages right underneath.

And that's the story of my brief flirtation with Leftism. Thank you very much.

Posted by: Yobbo at May 1, 2004 at 05:22 AM

Was it Winston Churchill that said "If your not a liberal at 20, you don't have a heart. And if you're not a conservative by 40, you don't have a brain."? That about sums it up for me. So, I'd rather think that perhaps I have both a heart and a brain, rather than dwell on the young and stupid things I said or did when I was young and stupid!

Posted by: rdoy at May 1, 2004 at 05:32 AM

I am ashamed to say that for many years I was an ardent member of Canada's Liberal Party, though in my defence I was the most conservative Liberal they ever saw. I did it all, helped write legislation, campaigned relentlessly for their candidates, held dozens of executive positions...it was only in 1995 or so that I began to see that my conservatism wasn't exactly meshing with the party.

Odd that Ronald Reagan was my hero as a youth and yet I was a Liberal...

Posted by: Steven Martinovich at May 1, 2004 at 07:04 AM

I too used to take Chomsky seriously, and even quoted him to people. I can forgive myself because I was 21 and working full time at a Pizza Hut in Watseka, Illinois at the time. Chomsky explained to me why my self-centered, whiny disaffection was completely justified./sarcasm

A change of scenery and heavy doses of PJ O'Rourke and slightly heavier authors (especially Hayek) made my jettison that Leftish crap like so much space-junk.

NOTE: Watseka, Illinois is not really all that bad of a place to live, I'm just trying to make a point is all.

Posted by: hingohongo at May 1, 2004 at 07:38 AM

As a first year Arts student, I was all up in arms about ANZAC Day, and what about all the womin/womyn/wommin who were raped in wars, and how all those old men marching were just duped murderers and rapists.

I took General Philosophy at uni and thought the French feminists like Irigaray, & I cant remember any others now, were really 'subversive' because of the very fact they were so indecipherable and so French.

I went to a Spartacist meeing but that was because I had a little crush on one of the guys.

Posted by: or something at May 1, 2004 at 11:14 AM

I dated a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party. (These folks thought that Mao was not communist enough - go figure. IIRC they thought at the time (1978?) that only Albania had a "real" communist sytem going.)

I even sang the Internationale at a meeting I attended with her. That is, I sang the few words I knew.

Shame on me. But, I was horny and she was reasonably cute. Never got anywhere serious with her, though.

I credit youthful Heinlein reading for my relative immunity.

Posted by: OldFool at May 1, 2004 at 11:28 AM

Most of you did your bad stuff happened before you knew better, but shame on me, I was a card carrying Republican with a picture of Reagan on my mantle.

In law school, I had just broken up with a girl and a friend suggested we attend the 1989 Reproductive Rights Rally (kinda like the one they had in DC last weekend.) The idea was that the place would be crawling with chicks who'd wanna bond with guys who cared about their uteral rights as much as they did and hopefully get laid.

I won't say if I was successful at achieving the goal (I was), but I felt guilty afterwards.

Not for any ethical reasons (afterall, I was training to be a lawyer) I was actually ambivilent on the issue (I like to say I am pro-abortion but not pro choice just to piss everyone off.) Problem was I was officially part of a rally that touted every left wing kook cause that predominated at the time (Transgendered Against Apartheid was my fave.) As a result, when they said 200,000 people attended, it pained me to know that if my friend and I had stayed home, they would have had to say 198,998 were there.

Damn me. Damn my soul to Hell.

P.S. Did I mention I DID get laid?

Posted by: HerkimerGuy at May 1, 2004 at 12:00 PM

At 13 I was telling family friends who had snuck out from behind the Iron Curtain about how great communism was. They were too polite to mention the gulags and instead just told me about the architecture - unfortunately it wasn't enough to turn me, then. Nobody told me. Political studies at school (a state school) meant watching Stone's JFK and thinking about what we would do if we were prime minister. History didn't exist and I still can't use punctuation correctly. TV current affairs was all dodgey tradesmen and cats stuck up trees - the only "real" news was on the ABC or SBS. It was ten years before I discovered Adam Smith, Hayek and Mark Steyn, stopped making excuses and took down the Che poster. Sad, but I think I was one of the lucky ones. The brightest of the kids I grew up with are now very successful graduates but think that Moore is a credible journalist. The tradesman and retail workers likewise. It's so sad.

Thanks for the chance to fess up. This is better than my AA meetings.

Posted by: Tem at May 1, 2004 at 01:23 PM

My first political act was to go door to door passing out literature for Ted Kennedy in 1980.

My only excuse was that, being 7, I had very little choice in the matter.

After that rather sad start I quickly turned right to the eternal horror of my Irish, Catholic, Democratic family. To this day they still refuse to accept that I really am a Republican.

Posted by: forgive me... at May 1, 2004 at 03:39 PM

i read the age once

then i didn't

i lived in the people's republic of moreland once

then i moved

i was married to a sulzberger once - very, very distant relative to arthur

i divorced the bitch

what do i do now? shoot him?

Posted by: ilibcc at May 1, 2004 at 03:46 PM

forget that last line, it's there in error

Posted by: ilibcc at May 1, 2004 at 03:47 PM

I've always been a bastard so I have nothing to confess...........

Posted by: Lloyd at May 1, 2004 at 04:03 PM

I subscribed to the Nation and Mother Jones back in the mid-80's. Still getting junk-mail from every left-of-center organization on the planet.

I'm still a liberal, though a hawk on foreign policy.

Posted by: S.A. Smith at May 1, 2004 at 04:43 PM

Man, did I just completely miss childhood?

Posted by: Aaron at May 1, 2004 at 04:53 PM

I said that the ultimate race war would be here by the year 2000, and that the streets would flow with the blood of every nigger in the U.S. Then I realized that I was an asshole.

Posted by: Fletch at May 1, 2004 at 05:02 PM

Seems Lileks is in a confessional mood too. Don't know if anybody's already linked to this, but I'll link to it again!

Posted by: TimT at May 1, 2004 at 06:22 PM

In the 60s, I referred to my parents and their friends as "bourgeoisie." I believed that "Hair" was great art.

I had a mantra.

I gave $$ to NOW, Greenpeace and belonged to the Sierra Club and NARAL.

I voted for Clinton, McGovern and Carter.

I thought praying was stupid, but meditation was like, really cool. I went to an all-night chanting session at Swami Muktananda's ashram. I sttod in line for a very long time to receive "darshan" [a personal blessing] from him.

I was macrobiotic.

I came to my senses sometime during the second Clinton Administration, and in 2000, cast my first Republican vote.

Posted by: Joy at May 1, 2004 at 11:42 PM

Habonim Dror? That's for pussies! I was a member and leader of the quasi-communist Hashomer Hatza'ir (young guard).

Posted by: fatima at May 2, 2004 at 01:53 AM

I used to read the Toronto Star.

I was a member of the Young Liberals.

I lapped up Mr. Robert's snide anti-US comments in the Cold War unit of grade-ten Social Studies. Also, Mr. Lawson's repeated insistence that Ghandi's nonviolence would solve all the world's armed conflicts.

I snickered at the Cadet Corps.

My friend's dad ran a hockey camp in Minsk and would bring back, at my request, Commie propaganda posters that I thought were really cool.

I had two (2) Lenin t-shirts.

Oh dear.

Posted by: Reformed at May 2, 2004 at 02:25 AM

These are great stories. I really want to drink with some of you people.

Posted by: HerkimerGuy at May 2, 2004 at 03:08 AM

Whoa. Okay. I voted NDP (socialist Canadian party) practically without fail until they actually won in my province. They went on to alienate their labour supporters by suggesting that the budget stood a chance of being balanced if gov't workers worked free "Rae Days" once a month. (Bob Rae was the NDP premier.) The unions turned on them with a vengeance, and a Tory gov't got in after the subsequent election. It wasn't the socialists that disappointed me, as much as the unions.

I have an excuse - my grandfather as a CCF treasurer in the 30s. I guess that was the only time you could be a socialist and feel really good about it. My excuse is much flimsier.

Went to college. Working-class student who could only afford it thanks to generous gov't grants. (Hey - it's Canada.) Asked some classmates why we were reading all of these Lenin pamphlets published by Progress Press (Soviet publishers) as part of course work. "Isn't it basically a discredited ideology?" Middle-class to a head, they turned on me like hungry ferrets.

Used to think Michael Moore was pretty right-on. Used to make fun of P.J. O'Rourke. Used to make snide comments about our American neighbours, while lapping up rockabilly, jazz, country & western music, etc.

I was a confused knob. What can I say.

Once worked for a leftist co-op. Mostly because I needed a job, and they'd worked out this way of taking gov't money to pay us while we only did half the hours required. Most of them were paranoids and control freaks.

Worked for a leftist free weekly for twelve years. By the end, I was known as "the fascist". Don't know why - I only wanted to know why the management/owners, who were making a fortune, didn't want to pay us a fair rate for publishing our photos on their website.

I could go on. I'm so terribly, terribly sorry.

Posted by: rick mcginnis at May 2, 2004 at 04:04 AM

Okay, in order - I voted for John Anderson, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Clinton (twice), Gore...

... then I read "A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924" by Orlando Figes...

... and then September 11th came along.

Both straightened me right out - although I'm not right-winger as much as I'm a hard-core anti-Leftist.

Posted by: Percy Dovetonsils at May 2, 2004 at 05:12 AM

I cried for the poor students in The Strawberry Statement when they were beaten up by "the pigs". I voted Labor (sob) – blame my father, please, he was a staunch Laborite and Father of the Chapel (printing union rep).

Posted by: BruceT at May 2, 2004 at 10:58 PM

Descriptions of my days of shame be here: HERE

Posted by: Seppo at May 2, 2004 at 11:56 PM

i was a lefty in high school, but after reading michners book on kent state i wanted to shoot the students too.
right after graduation i joined the air force and went to SAC for my first assignment.

Posted by: JOHN at May 3, 2004 at 04:16 AM

I drove up with a boyfriend and a bunch of people from FSU and marched on the Pentagon in a "U.S. out of El Salvador" protest back in 1981.
While I was there I was there I also played knock-on-the-door-and-run at the Soviet Embassy.
And I toured the Smithsonian.

I payed twenty bucks and got a weekend in D.C. You can't beat it.

Posted by: Donnah at May 3, 2004 at 04:30 AM

I went to a Redgum concert AND bought their albums. My political and musical sensibilities have come such a long way since then, thank god.

Posted by: mike at May 3, 2004 at 05:47 AM

In 1980 I said I wanted Jimmy Carter to win.
Of course, I was 6 years old and(I think) was saying it only to be contrary to my parents, who backed Reagan. I certainly didn't know anything about either candidate at the time. That was as far left as I have ever gone.

Posted by: Bill at May 3, 2004 at 07:13 AM

The first election I voted in was '76. I was a strong Democrat, was angry at Ford for pardoning Nixon, and Jimmy Carter was the Democrat nominee. It was an obvious choice: I wrote in Frank Church.

Posted by: Ken Summers at May 3, 2004 at 09:52 AM

I took a class on Global Environmentalism and although I was the most skeptical person in the class (I was already on my way from Republican to conservative), I pretty much bought a lot of the shit. The only two points which alleviate my shame were that I think I blew apart the professor's "Environmental Racism" BS Theory and I got him to admit that he ate beef regularly and was a consumer of fossil fuels.

However, I was able to shake G. Gordon Liddy's hand by shoving aside the black militant chick who was checking him in at the N.O. Hilton. Also voted for Bush, Dole, Bush, Jindahl.

Posted by: DrZin at May 3, 2004 at 10:43 AM

Thanks to TimBlair and Geezer for the most enlightening experience of my life - but I do think you guys/gals are having a lend of yourselves suggesting there was some higher? moral motive to your youthful wanderings. The left was subliminally liberationist - but now we're old and a bit worn - and Dubbya the love drug of 21C. Don't ya feel a wee bit cheated.

Posted by: rola at May 3, 2004 at 10:45 AM

I had sex with that woman.

Posted by: Bill at May 3, 2004 at 12:26 PM

In my final year I was Dux of English Literature at Scotch College Melbourne - as my prize I actually chose Noam Chomsky's "Deterring Democracy" - which was embossed with the school crest, and handed to me on speech night by the late Sir Arvi Parbo, a former chairman of Western Mining and BHP. Of course I've kept it because it was a prize for something worthwhile, but I've wished many times that I hadn't been so influenced by "Light Night Live" in my choice of book.

Posted by: Ben P at May 4, 2004 at 04:52 PM

actually I'm not 100% sure that Sir Arvi is not still with us! sorry!

Posted by: Ben P at May 4, 2004 at 04:58 PM