Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A conversion story

A blogger has written a post titled "Dear Progressives: My Path From Left To Right". It's worth reading the whole thing, but I'll pick out some choice bits here. He begins by noting that once upon a time,
I was a liberal; a latte-sipping, NPR-listening, Salon-reading, organic food-eating, SWPL. I worked for the Clinton and Kerry campaigns. I gave to Greenpeace and the ACLU.

So how did he end up leaving the left? First, leftist beliefs went against normal heterosexual perceptions:
I always disagreed with radical feminist beliefs, and was frustrated by their insistence that men and women be psychologically identical, or that sexual attraction was learned, or that beauty standards were entirely conventional.

Second, as liberals pushed their theories into ever more radical territory, he found it difficult to keep believing:
When the left went from saying you should not harm homosexuals to attacking “heteronormativity,” that was a straw. It was just insane to me to claim that heterosexuality wasn’t the biological norm. When racism went from the belief that you should not treat someone badly because of their race, to an impersonal, omnipresent, invisible, malevolent force against which you must guard every stray thought lest you be lead astray–when it became witchcraft–that was a straw. When the Sierra Club sold out the environment over immigration, that was a straw. The way leftists obviously expanded the definition of emotionally charged words like “rape” or “racism” for political gain was a straw. The slogan “diversity is our strength” was a big straw. I think I first heard this phrase during the Clinton administration. I laughed because it was so obviously not true

He explains why he still found it difficult to break away from the left as follows:
It is so difficult to break from being a leftist because it is the entirety of your identity. White leftists believe themselves to be entirely self-created individuals and have no ethnic, racial, or religious identity. It is an amazing coincidence how these purely self-created individuals all happen to end up with the same tastes, styles, opinions, and political views. This is beginning to change as white liberals have come under attack and are starting to dimly perceive that they are a type, and live in homogenous enclaves like any other. Even then it really angered me that despite all being white, having all their friends be white, living in white neighborhoods, listening to music made by white people, having the organic, fair-trade, localist values that only whites have, they had the smug clear conscience that they weren’t racist because they had learned the right things to say in the right situations to throw off suspicion.

That's a good insight. He is observing, first, that if as a liberal you believe yourself to be entirely self-created, that your political identity then forms a greater part of who you are, as you have rejected predetermined communal identities. Shedding this political identity is then a very significant upheaval.

Second, he notes, as many of us have done, that despite believing themselves to be self-created individuals, leftists are actually quite good at forming homogeneous enclaves of their own.

Finally, he came to see that liberalism could not sustain the tradition that he valued:
This was the final straw, to see that all of the things that a kind must do in order to continue to persist are exactly what liberalism condemns. That if you have two groups, one of which refuses to do what it must in order to persist through time, and another group which does, the latter will inherit the Earth. In fact, the Earth will always be inherited by those groups who take the effort to persist...I wrestled with these implications for a long time, for over a year actually. But in the end I could not get over the conclusion that, whatever moral or political theory you prefer, it can’t, like the Shakers, lead to the extinction of those who practice it. Values have survival value. On the other hand, liberal values are “Deathwish Values,” they lead to the extinction of those who live by them, and can not endure through time. If you adopt liberalism, you go extinct. This is what is currently happening to all the ancient peoples of Europe due to their adoption of liberalism. The world will always be inherited by those who live by values that ensure the survival of their kind.

That was it for me. Seeing that liberalism ultimately destroys whomever practices it was the end. My goal really became the preservation of my kind and the defeat of the liberalism which rots and destroys. When I finally broke with the left it was quite a liberating feeling.


  1. It's funny you should pick this up, I bookmarked it a couple of weeks back when I saw myself in a lot of what he said.

    1. I suspect a great many of us started out much the same way, as liberal moderns (though my own "conversion story" runs a little differently).

  2. It's interesting, I've often thought that, within each of us who wound up non-liberal, there is a kernel of non-liberalism, a non-negotiable issue which, however narrow and specific, ultimately leads us away from liberalism once we realize liberalism is incompatible with our thoughts and feelings on the topic. For me, it was issues of personal morality, of the kind that the left says don't matter behind closed doors. For a time in adolescence, I considered myself an atheist, listened to the 60's and 70's rock that had been the music of my parents' generation's rebellion, and also was much more sympathetic to economic leftism--the left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore had a short-lived TV show, "TV Nation," which I remember watching, and cheering on Moore as he jeered corporate CEOs and powerful politicians, viewing them as big mean bullies who unfairly tormented us little guys. But even through all that, I never wavered in my sense that, to put it simplistically, "sex, drugs, and rock and roll" were bad. So once it sunk in that the left was the party of sexual liberation, vulgar entertainment, and subversion of traditional morality in general, it was a foregone conclusion that I was never going to be a liberal.

    1. Yes, the "kernel of non-liberalism" is a good way of thinking about it. I remember being neutral initially on some of the moral things - not committed to transgression, but open-minded. But I saw my more transgressive friends harming themselves with the lifestyle and so that put doubts in my mind. I also, at my core, always liked and admired the Anglo tradition in Australia, so when I saw what open borders was doing that was also difficult for me. But probably the big one for me was the woman issue. I was a romantically minded young man, wanting ultimately to marry and have a family. I came to viscerally dislike the emerging ladette culture. Finally, and this is just me, I couldn't help but notice that the fine arts (classical music, architecture especially) had half died during the twentieth century. That also made me think that something had gone wrong.