My own conversion experience was hardly as dramatic as hers, because I was never really a hard leftist. I hated politics and considered myself an anarchist, because that’s an easy way to float by in college. You don’t have to think anything through and you get to be cool. I did nonetheless have a soft spot for some of the harsher Marxist critiques of “the system,” but I would never have voted for a Democrat – I never would have voted for anyone.
Lets just say I felt very “at home” with leftists – far, far leftists – culturally and intellectually (I liked French postmodernism and Foucault and crap like that).
But my turning point, when I started to become both politically aware and conservative, was when a friend of mine tried to hold a debate between the three Republicans on campus and about 35 of the 3,000 socialists (my college was extremely leftist). After the debate – which I sat through in utter disgust, listening to the crowd boo and hoot and hiss and curse every time the Republicans tried to speak – one of the Republicans had the tires on his car slashed and “fascist” carved in his car with a knife. He left the school not long after.
I remember realizing at that point that my options had been whittled down fairly cleanly.
I wasn’t an anarchist, because I had this sense of propriety and good form. Somebody, I thought, should have made the crowd shut-up. I realized then that my respect for human decency was far more essential to me than my disrespect for ALL authority. Tying those two thoughts together – cultivating human decency by having a cultivated sense for genuinely oppressive authority – is essential to conservatism.
I also realized I wasn’t a leftist because no ideas that had to be defended LIKE THAT could be worth defending.
So by default I said, “OK, if I’m going to learn about politics, then I’m going to start with the people who deplore displays like the one I just saw.” And then I read Thomas Sowell and David Horowitz. They explained very well what I saw. And that was that.
I had thought these people were just nice hippie communist buddhists. Individually they often were. But when the locusts brushed wings… I’d seen no fury like it.
I share with other gay conservatives the experience of rarely if ever being personally attacked or demonized by other conservatives, even deeply religious ones who hold no brief for men-with-men. They will make their case strongly, but hardly ever with personal rancor. On the other hand, the common first response from liberals, gay and straight, is anger. And the ad hominems (and one or two death wishes) are about twelve seconds behind.
For a Five, the commentor's remark that most hits home: no ideas that had to be defended LIKE THAT could be worth defending.
In my more tricksterish moments, I have enjoyed watching the faces of liberals who praised cultural diversity and then froze when I sang the praises of Nebraska and Wyoming --"so different from the big cities on the coasts"-- or when they announced their independent open-mindedness, grimaced at my suggestion that the death penalty should be more widely used against serial rapists and multiple murderers*, to really show how much we value women and innocent human life.
*Did you know, by the way, that when Arnie Schwarzenegger's Austrian home town named a stadium after him, it had to be changed when California executed multiple-murdering thug Tookie Williams? There were protests in the streets.