lookingforlissa

Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

“A mindset” continued

Posted by Lissa on August 1, 2008

(The first half is here.)

It’s not fun being on the right side of the political spectrum, folks.  At least not if you’re me. 

I miss a lot of things from my days on the left side.  I miss being able to make really passionate arguments and believe in them with my whole heart.  I miss the true confidence in my positions that I used to have, from a moral standpoint.

It’s especially difficult if, like me, you enjoy reading but don’t retain numbers well.  I might read a very logical, coherent, convincing article but be unable to use it in a discussion later because I can’t remember the details.  Trust me, there’s NEVER any danger of my losing the forest for paying too much attention to the trees.  It comes down to my reading an article or a blogpost, thinking “that makes so much SENSE!”, and *still* not being able to articulate my position on the discussed issue.

But once you flip, how do you go back?

Once you decide that most soldiers are upstanding, decent, intelligent people, and every soldier you’ve met nicely supports that assumption, how do you go back to thinking they are children who can’t think for themselves and are being exploited by the neocons?

Once you decide that the bigger government is, the more inefficient and greedy it becomes, how do you go back to thinking that all social problems would be fixed if we properly funded them?

Once you decide that the problem with education isn’t lack of funding — see the schools in DC — but a screwed-up union and an ossified system which disregards merit, how do you go back to “It will be a great day when our schools have all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber”?

Once you decide that affirmative action is generally not a good idea because race preferences are generally not a good idea, no matter what the context, how do you go back to supporting ethnic preference in government contracts?  (Clarence Thomas is the uber-perfect example here; I railed at him for decrying affirmative action when the only reason he had gotten on the Supreme Court was to be The Black Justice.  It NEVER crossed my mind that perhaps he was QUALIFIED for the job.  Witness my soft bigotry.)

Once you decide that some people — NOT ALL PEOPLE, NOT MOST PEOPLE, but some very small percentage of people — are poor because they won’t work hard enough to get un-poor, how do you go back to believing that, because there are poor and hungry in our country, our nation has failed?

(Note: These aren’t strawmen.  The ideas to “go back to” are ones that I believed, truly.)

And more importantly . . . if you could go back, would you want to?

The answer in my case is . . . well, yes, sometimes, I do.

I still shiver when I think something like that — some people are poor because they won’t work hard enough to be un-poor.  I wonder if it’s a callous, shallow, evil thought.  I would never say it around my friends who lean liberal, because I’m afraid that I would genuinely horrify them, and maybe rightfully so.  I would never suggest to them that maybe we shouldn’t have more welfare, we should have more personal accountability.  Some of these liberal friends are spending their lives and careers working with the underprivileged, and I think I would sound unbearably self-righteous and uncaring.  With them, I fall back to the old-fashioned attitude that it’s not nice to discuss politics or religion with company.

Which begs the question . . . why am I doing it in this blog???

Because I’m tired of reading all sorts of things I agree with and then not being able to form my own, coherent opinion on it.  Because I need to be more honest, instead of relying on assumptions.  Because I need help figuring out what I believe in, and why, and then articulating it.  Because as things go right now, I assume that my friends and family wouldn’t agree with any of my viewpoints, so I keep them to myself — where they do not get developed OR challenged.  And that’s not useful.

Finally, because I need to grow a thicker skin.  When I said in my “About” page that I’m a professional middle child, I meant it.  I pride myself on my “schmoozing” skills, in that I can get along with and entertain just about anybody.  But, conversely, I quake when writing things that I *know* my nearest and dearest think are wrong, wrong, wrong.  I don’t like rocking the boat, and I’m pretty thin-skinned when it comes to their approval.

I’m hopeful that by blogging, not only will I be forced to better develop my thoughts and positions, but I’ll be better able to handle the political discussions at home.  Since my flip, it’s been hard for me — I don’t want to tell everyone they’re wrong, since 1) it’s just my opinion, like they have their opinions, and 2) when I came home as a Poli-Sci student in college I was UNBEARABLY insufferable.  (I once snottily informed my mother that red wine does NOT go in the fridge, and was properly, and vigorously, put in my place.)  But I’m a very talkative person by nature, and when they all get to chatting about how stupid Bush is, I don’t know what to do.  And on the other side, it’s hard for my family, because these people genuinely love me, and sometimes genuinely worry that I’m becoming a more shallow, uncaring person.

With all of this pouring out of me, you might wonder why I say my blog will not be a political blog.  The answer is that I’m not smart enough or dedicated enough for that.  The good political blogs do it for a living, and they’re both educated and diligent enough to do a good job.  Or, you have blogs like Bookworm’s, who is so articulate, intelligent and logical that it’s a pleasure to read.  I can’t do that and so I’m not going to try.  (BTW, Bookworm is very educated and very diligent; she just doesn’t do it for a living.)

I’m going to try and do what interests me.  That means that I’m going to take notes on my daily life in the interests of keeping a daily journal, so that I can look back at what I was thinking at the time.  (If I’d done that back in 2003 to 2005 I’d have a much better idea of what, precisely, caused my flip.  Right now my family kinda-sorta thinks it was dating my fiance, which just isn’t true.)  That means tracking my progress in domestication, as I try to go from being a single young woman to a responsible married one.  That means keeping track of my hobbies, the brand-spankin-new one being guns, shooting and Second Amendment Rights.  That means posting about my cat, ’cause he’s an incredible doofus and adds incredible joy, and cat fur, to my life.  And, occasionally, it will mean political coverage that entertains me for some reason or another.  In other words, my blog idol is Breda, though she keeps telling me “not Marvelous Breda, or OMG Breda, just Breda!”  I kind of beg to differ.

Finally, I’ll confess to y’all what made me go through these “mindset” posts.  I got a note from a family member who very, very nicely,  and very, very gently let me know that s/he probably wouldn’t be reading my blog anymore, ’cause s/he felt I was wandering into an “icky” direction.  S/he also very, very politely asked me to reconsider aiming barbs at my family.  (S/he also congratulated me on having fun with my blog and encouraged me to keep writing what I wanted, so think three times before dissing this person in the comments.)  Folks, I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating — I love my family, they are intelligent, they are smart, and they are caring.  I don’t agree with them (now) about a lot of things, and that should be okay.  When I criticize things they believe in, it’s because I USED TO BELIEVE IN EXACTLY THOSE SAME THINGS and don’t anymore.  It doesn’t make me smart and them stupid; in fact, I know for dam’ sure some of them are way smarter than me.

I’m pretty sure that the problem is mine — remember how one of my goals is to grow a thicker skin? — since I know they don’t WANT me to feel like a leper during political discussions.  I don’t hope to convert them to my point of view, as that’s not my place.  My goal is that we can have a discussion where we both hear both sides, they ask me about my reasons and try to poke holes in them, I ask about their reasons and try to poke holes in them, and then we end by laughing and agreeing how politicians are ridiculous creatures in general.  And I hope that this blog both siphons off any ranting that I might be tempted to do and forces me to more diligently challenge and support my own arguments.  Lord, let it be so!

WHEW!  Okay enough with all that!  Thanks for listening, thanks for letting me get this off my chest, and the next post will be light and fluffy.  I promise!

UPDATE: BorePatch linked.  Thanks!

UPDATE 2: Neo-Neocon herself linked!  Thanks!

UPDATE 3: Tam linked!  Thanks!

UPDATE 4: Wow, the hits keep coming; welcome, everyone!  If you liked my “mindset” posts, you might want to check this one; also, I give credit-where-credit-is-due to my family here

UPDATE 5: To everyone who linked — thank you, very much!  Edudito, Smallest Minority, Snowflakes in Hell, Conservative Grapevine, and Trying to Grok.  Other links can be found in Part I, but any more that roll in will be noted here.  Namely, Firearms & Freedom, Cold Fury, American Digest, BabyTrollBlog and Opinionated Technie.  Thanks!

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49 Responses to ““A mindset” continued”

  1. Jay G. said

    Y’know what it sounds like, Lissa?

    Sounds like you need another dose of “Range Therapy”…

    🙂

  2. lookingforlissa said

    Mr. G, I read your post on the war between the sexes — it sounds like you might need some Range Therapy as well 😉

  3. JD said

    That is funny Jay G. . . . I was just thinking the same thing as I read this. . . .

  4. DirtCrashr said

    Me too and I once was also – I have to remember and understand just how fragile and small boat it is they have to rock. So easily done since it’s powered by flimsy but deep invective, and pride of delusion, blowing a wind to fill their own sails.
    Nowadays I actively preempt my Parents’ political jibes and “conversation.” It’s about the only rude thing I do, but if they start going off like Über-Moonbats as they are wont to it just makes me feel even worse…

  5. secretlivesofscientists said

    yes, you do need some “group” therapy 😉

    as in grouping of the bullet holes on the target. get it?

    I am sooo not funny.

  6. lookingforlissa said

    Thanks all 🙂 But really, the long-winded double-post WAS the therapy. I’m now back in my Happy Place

  7. Lass, you really can pound the keys to make it sound just right.

    ANOTHER “attagirl” from up north…

    I know where there’s a range…

  8. I spent the time reading this post thinking of an analogy for you. I got it. I remember one day a friend of mine who was a bit of an artist, and was taking to our High School physics class like a fish to water. He had a very detailed and well drawn diagram of a “Perpetual motion machine” of sorts that consisted of a series of pistons in a circles with magnetic repulsion used to continue the initial impulse. He went on-and-on how you could harness the power from this once you got it started.

    I was the jerk, I said: “It won’t work…” and then explained him how friction in the pistons would stop the motor, and any drive shaft or appliance attached to the output would stall it immediately and produce LESS energy than initially put into it.

    It was a simple, but key oversight, and he quickly realized I was correct, and he looked crushed, having spent all this time getting very excited only to have his dream dashed by reality. He is one of the reasonable ones.

    There are people who no matter HOW many unbiased sources I point to that show more gun control creates MORE crime…they’ll claim just the opposite is true and press on.

    What am I to do? It won’t work, and every piece of data I look at I can see supports my argument…or I can see the obvious flaws in it.

    Same goes with the Obama supporters complaining about the Economy. I point out that with taxes raised we’ll still have a bad economy, but less money to make-do.

    As you know in my blog I could be called a centrist, there are some ideas the GOP makes that I can’t agree with, but overall I’m a scientist first, a Republican second, and I’m a republican because all my research and scientific training shows me that 9-out-of 10 Republicans are on the side of ideas that may sound ugly, but I think are very likely to work, while Democrats 9-out-of-10 will be on the side of things that sound REALLY great, but are fatally flawed…or just too grand an idea to ever get off the ground.

    What can I do?

  9. Breda said

    Oh dear. I think I’m blushing. Thank you, Lissa.

  10. Ted said

    Wow. I’ve got snark, you have this. I’m SO jealous.

  11. secretlivesofscientists said

    “There are people who no matter HOW many unbiased sources I point to that show more gun control creates MORE crime…they’ll claim just the opposite is true and press on.”

    yup, they say something to the likes of “well, I’d still feel safer knowing that gun laws are tougher.”

    (says someone both you and me went to highschool with, lissa. I’m sure you are not surprised).

    operative word is “feel”. ugh. how can you argue feelings against logic and reality?

    Weer’d Beard, I work in the sciences, and I think you’ll appreciate a quote I overheard, regarding scientists.

    “science is like going to the dog park at the same time every day. You notice that the dogs have their little cliques, and they are only interested in sniffing the butts of other dogs in their cliques.”

    I think that even the most sound minded people will always prefer listening to someone who thinks like them. But yes, you are right, the good ones will listen to reason even when it disagrees with them.

  12. “Weer’d Beard, I work in the sciences, and I think you’ll appreciate a quote I overheard, regarding scientists.

    “science is like going to the dog park at the same time every day. You notice that the dogs have their little cliques, and they are only interested in sniffing the butts of other dogs in their cliques.”

    I think that even the most sound minded people will always prefer listening to someone who thinks like them. But yes, you are right, the good ones will listen to reason even when it disagrees with them.”

    +1 to this. A radio host once gave a great talk on the “False Majority”, probably the best example of this is the Global Warming debate. The UN Hand-picked a bunch of scientists based on their beliefs, then declared “ALL SCIENTISTS AGREE! THIS IS A PROBLEM.” I shook my head and recalled one of my professor’s lecture about how this is very possibly the start of a new Ice Age, and CO2 is a red herring.

    Of course a more bottom-feeding variation is the political blog that screens out anybody effectively arguing the other side of the issue.

    People feel a lot smarter and safer when all they is people agreeing with them, and repeating what they just said.

    Again “FEEL” is the operative word. And this poster comes to mind
    http://olegvolk.net/gallery/technology/arms/feelsafe.jpg.html

  13. Liberty said

    Hey Lissa – couldn’t resist offering some advice on this one:

    But I’m a very talkative person by nature, and when they all get to chatting about how stupid Bush is, I don’t know what to do.

    Agree with them. There’s nothing saying that since your beliefs are in line with being a Republican, that you have to drink all the kool-aid, memorize the Republican talking points, and counter-point them like Sean Hannity.

    I’ve had a discussion with a liberal friend of mine about Bush. He can’t stand him because of your obvious liberal reasons (uneducated, in the bag for saudi oil, Halliburton, torture, Katrina, satan incarnate, blah blah blah). I said, “I can’t stand him either.” I saw a glint of hope in his eyes that I had liberal views just like his. Then I proceeded to explain that I can’t stand him because of his refusal to go after state sponsors of terrorists, his desire to put Gonzalez or Miers on the Supreme Court (and DON’T tell me Heller would’ve come out the way it did if one of those two made it on there instead of Alito or CJ Roberts), and his unending desire to grant amnesty to millions of people who by crossing the border under cover of night have already broken laws of this great Country. Not to mention the fact that his veto pen has cobwebs on it.

    You don’t have to “know what to say”, you just have to know what’s right. You do. The words will come.

    In short, you go girl. 😉

  14. Ted said

    Liberty’s comments made me think that I blew today’s selection for Saturday Redneck.

    The song for you and your family is Toby Keith, “Love me if you can.”

    You may not like where I’m going
    but you’ll sure know where I stand.
    Hate me if you want to
    love me if you can.

  15. BRD said

    Lissa,

    Congratulations for announcing steps on what will undoubtedly be (at times) a troubling path, and congratulations on having a family that you love and loves you enough to really want to meet you half way.

    From experience, there are some things that have helped me keep my sanity when being a loud (and occasionally lone) dissenter in things political in my world. I hope they are of some use to you.

    1) Recognizing (and encouraging others to recognize) that on a really fundamental level that you all still have the same goals – better education, prosperity, health, happiness, peace and so on. People forget that political debate in this country is very heavily focused on means – not fundamental objectives. Remind yourself and others that nobody is intentionally advocating for bad stuff – it’s disagreements about methodology.

    2) Be as free with in pointing out the hypocrisy and silliness of your own side as that of others. People know that there are plenty of jerks and bad ideas on their own side of the aisle. Pointing that while failing to police your own side comes across feeling like a blanket assault on their worldview – not a pointed commentary about a specific (and possible valid) point.

    3) When engaged in or the watching of political argument, keep this in mind. As you rightly note, it would be somewhere between arrogant and absurd to argue to change the minds of any of your family members. However, it is worth having the discussions in order to help those who are undecided or who have doubts some ways of thinking about or expressing their concerns. Some may ultimately come to agree with you, but in most cases, it might give someone a way of understanding you that they didn’t previously have.

    4) Keep in mind that in all cases, you should argue or discuss not to convince someone that you’re right, but do keep trying to figure out how to explain yourself well enough that they at least can envision how you think a certain way, even if they don’t agree with you directly.

    I hope this helps, and while naturally I am happy to hear that you are in closer agreement with my world view, the big accomplishment is that you are approaching the concepts of politics anew, with a spirit of engagement and responsible intellectual freedom to be admired. I imagine that, over the years, this attitude will not only serve you well, but be a positive contribution to this particularly odd American experiment.

    Best of luck,

    BRD

  16. rickl said

    Hi, Lissa. I found your blog from Neo-Neocon’s link. There are a lot more of us “changers” around than you may realize. I think I’m probably somewhat older than you are, so good for you for waking up earlier than I did.

    Back in the mid-90’s I discovered Ayn Rand’s writings, and that’s what did it for me. She’s best known for her novels “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged”. The latter book is 1100+ pages and is big enough to stun an ox, so it can be rather intimidating. But I actually liked her nonfiction essays more, and they are much shorter. There are several collections of her essays that can usually be found in the philosophy section in bookstores.

    The best way I can describe her effect on me is that she systematically demolished my most cherished beliefs and assumptions, and then proceeded to rebuild them on a stronger foundation.

    Yes, I did lose many of my liberal friends along the way, but I’m partly to blame for that. There weren’t many dramatic histrionic arguments; rather we quietly went our separate ways. I do tend to be somewhat of a recluse anyway.

    And then a few years later I discovered cats. So everything’s fine now. 🙂

  17. lookingforlissa said

    Wow — again, thank you, everyone. (And don’t blush, Breda, you deserve it!)

    rickl, are you the one from RachelLucas.com? If so, you might be interested to know that the “It takes a village post” was in response to my email. (Hell, the rest of you might be interested too.)

    Anyone else a Rand fan? I read them both years ago and re-read them about once every year or two. Hmmm, now there’s some blog-fodder.

  18. Tam said

    Don’t let her fool you, it really is pronounced “OMG Breda!” 😉

  19. lookingforlissa said

    Ha! I knew it!

    Of course, now I’m saying “OMG Tam stopped by!!!”

  20. rickl said

    rickl, are you the one from RachelLucas.com? If so, you might be interested to know that the “It takes a village post” was in response to my email. (Hell, the rest of you might be interested too.)

    Yep, that’s me. I saw Rachel’s post earlier but didn’t read most of the comments. When I saw Neo’s post later, I didn’t put two and two together.

  21. Hi. I’m 33. I’ve never been a liberal, so I don’t have a conversion story.. but I am gay.

    There is an universal experience that us gay conservatives have and that is it much easier to be gay in conseravtive circles than to be conservative in gay circles.

    So unless I assert my beliefs (which I usually do..i dont let them intimidate me) I am assumed to be a Leftist by any random gay person.. they dont even consider that it’s possible that anyone could be anything different.

    A person I have great respect for is Tammy Bruce. Tammy Bruce is a lesbian feminist who headed the Los Angeles chapter of NOW in the 1990s.

    She was a Leftist in the heart of the Leftist Activist Mothership and her conversion happened for the same reason many of you stated… she realized she was being lied to.

    If anyone has time these are some lectures of her that I recommend

    http://www.c-spanarchives.org/library/index.php?main_page=product_video_info&products_id=200053-2&highlight=bruce

    The Left as Hypocrites
    Tammy Bruce talked about why her philosophy as a lesbian and a conservative doesn’t always make her welcome in feminist circles. She discussed other contemporary issues including conservatism, higher education, religion, and her criticisms of liberals. After her presentation she responded to audience members’ questions.

    Tammy Bruce is the author of The New American Revolution, The Death of Right and Wrong, and The New Thought Police.

    The event, called “The Left as Hypocrites: How They Don’t Practice What They Preach,” was part of a seminar on “Deconstructing the Left” that was held for college students at the Reagan Ranch Center.

    ==================

    And this speech she gave

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6225208845438591670&q=tammy+bruce&ei=4WeWSPezL6Ow4QL5iPyhBQ&hl=en

    Tammy Bruce – Contrary To Popular Belief – How Conservative Ideas Empower Women

    There’s a great part at the 1 Hour : 13 min : 50 second mark when a college Leftist calls her a Fascist. Bruce’s response is outstanding.

  22. MarkHB said

    Lissa,

    It’s not easy realising that your earlier preconceptions are just that: preconceptions. What you’ve been writing reminds me so much of when I started realising that the church that I’d been raised in, and that I’d always considered to “just be so” doesn’t make a lot of sense. There was a lot of painful self-analysis as well as major family ruction, and it’s not an easy time.

    Everyone’s mileage varies, of course. Not everyone has these periods of awakening, and nobody seems to have ’em in exactly the same way. It’s fascinating to read about you going through a similar process, though – and you’re sounding remarkably sane on it.

    Remember that not everything you used to believe is defunct, and that not every new insight is pure truth. In the end, this will give you a far stronger grip on reality than any purely doctrinary position. I look forward to following this blog for a long time to come.

  23. mike w. said

    “Anyone else a Rand fan? I read them both years ago and re-read them about once every year or two. Hmmm, now there’s some blog-fodder.”

    Yup, I’m a Rand fan as well Lissa. Although I do think her Objectivism is a bit idealistic, if for no reason other than the fact that humans are emotional creatures and are incapable of always being objeective.

    I’d recommend her 1st novel, “We The Living” if you haven’t read it. It’s a bit depressing, but quite good.

  24. Mitsu said

    Hi Lissa,

    All I can say is in reading your blog — I am a liberal, but I never believed any of the things you apparently believed. I don’t believe that social problems can be solved just by funding big government programs better. I’ve obviously never believed that soldiers were anything other than mostly honorable, upstanding people. I’ve never believed that there were no poor people who were poor because they didn’t work hard enough.

    Honestly, Lissa, I don’t know many thoughtful liberals who ever believed any of the things you think of as “liberal”.

    Furthermore, I believe in the power of the market. I think government regulation should be kept relatively minimal. And many other things which you apparently think are “right wing” views.

    But just because you’ve come to the correct conclusion that your somewhat extreme views of the past turned out to be wrong, that doesn’t mean you have to go all the way to the other “side”. There are more than two “sides” to politics.

    I am a liberal but I supported the Gulf War. And the Afghan war. And many other wars. Of course I believe the United States has a right to defend itself.

    I opposed the Iraq war not because I think it was a war crime, but because it was a waste of money and lives going after the wrong target. Sure, Saddam was a bad guy but there were many much worse guys and we don’t have infinite military power and money. We went after the wrong guy, and did it poorly. Many conservatives opposed the war on similar grounds (John Mearsheimer, Frances Fukuyama, the Cato Institute, and many other right-wing luminaries).

    You don’t have to become a Fox News aficionado to believe that some ideas on the right make some sense. Sure they do. I agree with some right-wing ideas. But, there are many reasons to remain a liberal.

    Government programs can’t solve social ills simply by virtue of spending a lot of money. But, targeted, intelligently designed programs can help. This has been demonstrated time and again. Simply spending lots of money doesn’t do much good — and there are limits to what government can do — but a careful government incentive combined with market forces can do what the market alone won’t do. Underregulated markets have melted down time and again, as we’ve seen throughout history and are seeing again with the mortgage meltdown.

    You are right to be tentative in your transformation, I believe, Lissa. There are many reasons to change the views you held before, but you don’t need to go “all the way” over to the other side. Being a liberal doesn’t mean believing the things you once believed. There are many more than two sides to the political spectrum.

  25. misbeHaven said

    “Once you decide that some people — NOT ALL PEOPLE, NOT MOST PEOPLE, but some very small percentage of people — are poor because they won’t work hard enough to get un-poor, how do you go back to believing that, because there are poor and hungry in our country, our nation has failed?”

    As I was reading this, I was reminded of my time as a TA in grad school. I had 1 student in my class that was flunking despite all of my offers and attempts to help him raise his grade, and I took it very personally. I thought I was failing as a teacher, and I was really devastated about it for a while. But the truth was (as he admitted to me) that he just didn’t care. It took me a long time to realize that it wasn’t MY grade, and that I just had to let it go, but realizing that allowed me to spend my time and energy on students that DID care.

    It didn’t make me uncaring or cruel to stop trying to force that one student to do the work necessary to pass. It just allowed me to concentrate my caring on the ones that were willing, and it allowed me to be fair to all of the students, by giving them the grades that they EARNED.

    Good luck!

  26. staghounds said

    Interesting to read, in light of David Mamet’s similar conversion.

    Most of what we call liberalism comes from three things- economic ignorance, political ignorance, and a belief that just the right expert can make it all better. I strongly suggest that you read “Eat the Rich” and “Parliament of Whores”, both by P. J. O’Rourke, to cure these problems and give you some real strength in your arguments. Plus they are funny, not Al Franken ranting but genuinely intelligently clever.

    And for inspiration, if you haven’t read him, try Bill Whittle, another former lefty on the web. I’d suggest Trinity to start with.

    Which brings up a question- has anyone ever converted the other way?

  27. Satanam in computatrum said

    Regarding how lost and adrift you feel:

    It is said that only when one recognizes that they know nothing, may they become truly educated.

    Best of luck on your journey!

  28. Intense. I remember when I gave in to the dark side… it was rather similar… a handful of small rude realizations, one followed by another, until one day I stepped back to look at my views and I asked “why am I registered as Democrat?” Of course, I stayed a D for a while, unwilling to consider I might have been completely wrong during those righteous(!) college years.

    Of course, my family has always been conservative. My dad is a big capital R, and my mom votes her conscience (which is too pragmatic to be liberal.) I grew up in WV, which is a union-run blue state, but the politics there never lined up with the North East, or California Dems (we love our guns and our individual freedom.) I guess it was just a matter of time before I smelled to coffee.

    Most of my good friends are still raging liberals, but I don’t worry about being “offensively conservative” to them. They are big boys and girls and can stand on their own intellectual feet if we have a disagreement about politics. More often than not we simply avoid the more intense topics… of course, I think it is because they hate it when I tear their arguments to shreds, but they probably just tire of hearing me rant.

  29. […] with good arguments, and reasonable discourse.  See this over at LookingforLissa, and also the second part.  There’s an old saying that you can get a lot farther with honey, than you can by […]

  30. aharris said

    It’s never easy to hold unpopular views and beliefs, but over the years, I’ve come to believe that any belief worth having is also one worth defending. If you can’t defend it, then how much do you really believe it? Of course, you’re new to this more conservative outlook, and it takes time to find strength in your convictions.

    However, I’ve found that when you’re ready, standing up for your beliefs does not have to be a confrontation. All you have to do is say what you believe and explain why you think that way. When someone disagrees, invite them to do likewise because too often we simply shut down our discourse when we find that we disagree with one another and give in to emotion. Try to reassure than that you really do want to hear why they believe as they do; if you can get them to go that far, you can then assess whether or not there can be a productive dialogue. If not, just agree to disagree without making it seem confrontational or important. If there is, try to keep the discussion as far from “right and wrong” or emotion and passion as you can and centered on ideas, facts, and logic.

    Understand that you may not get honest converstaions as often as you would like. Honest conversations run the risk for both parties of injecting a sliver of doubt into comfortable world-views and beliefs, but if we are all intellectually honest with one another, don’t we want to form a set of beliefs for ourselves that make the most sense? How can we do that if we don’t constantly challenge ourselves with the different beliefs of others?

  31. RA said

    1. Find new friends. Go to Republican, pro-life, NRA, etc. gatherings.

    2. Tell your old liberal friends why they are evil and corrupt. If they can agree to disagree you can still be friends. Liberals almost never do that.

    3. Explain its how they vote that matters.

    4. Generally you don’t have to tell them where to get off. They will run from you like a Democrat from a tax cut.

    5. Never compromise what is right to keep a liberal friend. You can only plant truthful seeds and hope they grow in the future. A thoughtful person will not change their world view in a moment. They will have to think about it.

    6. Those who defend their stances inspite of the evidence should be ridiculed and made fun of. You will never change their mind. The best you can do is make them feel uncomfortable or pain. They deserve it!

  32. Malika said

    I like your site. Good Luck keeping those old friends; didn’t work out so well for me. All the sudden I became a zombie and a group thinker and somehow the irony was lost that they believe this just because I didn’t agree with the group. Or maybe I was just a jerk with bad grammar. Either way, keep up the good work.

  33. My conversion occurred after holding my first child in my hands. In that moment, I was filled with myriad emotions: terror, unconditional love, dread, happiness, confusion, and hope.

    I started, for the first time in my life, to actually “think” about issues, and where I stood on them. I realized after holding my daughter, that I wanted to be the best father I could be; to teach her right from wrong, and how to be a productive member of society.

    The thing is, I realized that my previous views of right and wrong, good and evil, liberal and conservative, were undefined. Years before, when I had transferred to UCLA after years of bumming around, I struggled to pay my way through university with odd jobs and grants, loans, etc. At that point, I was just starting to think like a Conservative. During my bumming around years, I took pride in being apolitical. I thought pretty much like a liberal, only I didn’t realize it then. “Raise taxes to help the poor? Sure! Punish the rich for being so successful when I wasn’t? No problem. Stick it to The Man! America, bad. The rest of the world, good!”

    One incident in college was the catalyst for my inevitable conversion: I was sitting in the dorm cafeteria, eating my lunch, when a group of MeChistas surrounded me. One took the grapes off of my tray and asked me, “Brother, don’t you care about your brothers and sisters in the field? What about all the work Cesar Chavez did for us?” I’m half Puerto Rican, and I have dark hair and olive skin.

    I told them I had no idea what they were talking about, who Cesar Chavez was, and to put the grapes back. They pulled up chairs and started to do a full court press. I stood up and got some more grapes. When I sat down and started to eat them, one of the student activists reached for the grapes. I was furious at someone for the first time in my life. Like David Banner furious. I grabbed him by the wrist and told him I’d break his arm if he touched my food again. I was a bit of a muscle head at the time, and I could’ve done it.

    The MeChistas got up and moved on. After that, as I’d walk back and forth to class, I started really paying attention to student activist groups on campus, and what they were saying. What I began to see was just how intolerant, censorial, and radical they really were. This was in 1988, when political correctness was already metathesizing. I was too poor to concern myself with grandiose protests and pointless demonstrations of sophomoric outrage. I wanted to be successful and make something of myself.

    Years past. Flash forward to fatherhood. What the hell do I know of right and wrong. A part of me wanted to teach tolerance and compassion, but another part questioned what that really meant. Did it mean I show love to other cultures but hate my own? That’s what lib groups were basically always saying. Did it mean I had to make excuses for the shiftless, criminal, and uneducated people who needed/demanded assistance from others? I was poor. But I didn’t want government assistance in the form of welfare, etc.

    Yes, my conversion was long in coming; but once I started looking at FACTS, once I began to educate myself about politics, and unions, and eco-terrorists, the big picture became crystal clear. The IS NO compassion in turning Americans into State-reliant, entitlement-thinking welfare receipients. There IS NO need to tolerate a culture that doesn’t tolerate my own. Self-respect is more important than prostrating oneself in the name of multi-culturalism. One may not believe in one’s government, but one must believe in one’s country.

    All these realizations came as I became more and more Conservative. Now, I am VERY Conservative. I’ve actually started a blog, too. Me! Mr. Apolitical!

    So, I apologize for being long-winded, but I wanted you to know that there is NO going back. Once you see the Light, you realize how wrong you were. Perhaps The wisdom in the Bible DOES have merit. Perhaps America ISN’T the bad guy in the world, and IS great. Perhaps the rabid, dogmatic liberals I once admired were misguided. Perhaps, there IS a clear line between right and wrong, good and evil, patriots and subversives.

    So, now that I have learned for myself, analyzed for myself, and judged for myself, I have come a long way. Why the hell would I want to go backward after all I’ve learned and experienced?

    Why would you, lookingforlissa?

  34. jack said

    There’s a thing in all this that I find really sad. Your ‘conversion’ is talked about as being ‘to the dark side’ or as ‘adopting unpopular beliefs’–even the congratulations are tinged with this negativity.

    But nothing you’ve done is negative. You’ve opened your eyes, you’ve abandoned idiocy(and yes, liberalism is idiocy), you’ve decided to wolrk and act in the world in ways that conform with what actually works, what can actually be done, and what is actually human nature.

    What did I mean ‘liberalism is idiocy’? Well look at that Churchill quote–‘if you’re not a liberal when you’re young you have no heart, and if you’re not a conservative when you’re old you have no brain’–it pretty much says that liberalism requires you to think with a muscular pump in your chest. Not a whole lotta thinking going on there. Let’s pause to laugh.

    I realize what it’s supposed to mean, it’s about caring–but then it dips into that negativity by saying that when you’re older you shouldn’t care–you should think.

    Why, oh why wasn’t there someone smart enough to realize that the whole person combines the two? Care AND think.

    When you do that you tend towards conservative thought because that’s what we call the people who care and think–we’re just socialized by a society infatuated with youth into thinking the childish positions of the left are ‘caring’ and ‘good’ while the pragmatic workable positions are ‘heartless’ and ‘bad’.

    Churchills quote was not an endorsement of liberalism among the young–he was saying that kids are stupid and often believe stupid things.

    Conservative positions aren’t ‘dark’ or ‘unpopular’–they’re well thought out, caring positions that actually work for anyone who gives them a chance.

    Now a disclaimer–I was never a liberal, I’ve always understood that caring and thought are best used together. However, in my life I am surrounded by liberals. I am an artist, I am a pagan, I’m a bit of an all-around general weirdo. A huge portion of my friends like to sit around and expound on liberal lunacy–new aquaintances expect me to gleefully Bush-bash right along with them. And I don’t. Instead, I make them defend their positions. Nicely, friendly. But I don’t back down when they pounce.

    Here’s a sad fact. Your truly liberal friends will become more and more distant. They’ll have a hard time trying not to re-convert you so they’ll do other things. The ‘liberal’ friends who stick it out will probably ‘convert’ eventually, just like you have(with or without your help)or they’ll be big enough to agree to disagree(something that shows ACTUAL tolerance instead of liberalisms usual counterfeit). Don’t be discouraged.

    The positions you hold now will benefit them whether they agree with you or not. You have no need to try to convince them. Right is simply right, it doesn’t require cajoling.

  35. Laurie said

    I don’t think there is another conservative in my family besides myself and they all view me as an oddity. If I want to be on good terms with my family, I avoid ever discussing anything political. I have felt at times that it would be so much easier to just submit to the liberal ideas and go with the flow. Even though I’m a social liberal (I think that is what one would call it) and believe in gay marriage, a woman’s right to choose with limitation, and even amnesty for illegal immigrants with the right conditions, I agree with conservatives/Republicans on just about every other issue. I would never vote for a Democrat. I have learned to be able to formulate my views and arguments and to get confirmation on what I’m thinking by listening to the greatest conservative teacher ever – Rush Limbaugh. I wish you luck, and even if you cannot discuss your views with loved ones (because of them – not you!), I believe you will feel more and more comfortable with your own views as time goes on.
    PS My cats don’t mind a good discussion now and then and they never think I’m stupid for what I believe. Yah, it’s sometimes lonely, but dammit I’m right!

  36. […] Lissa’s is a road I’ve been on myself, and suspect many of you have as well: Once you decide that most soldiers are upstanding, decent, […]

  37. Sinetheo said

    I am in the same boat.

    I am still actually a registered democrat in the state of Florida and live in California currently and about to register as a republican.

    My family is hard core liberal. I was raised by a mom who admires Jimmy Carter and was told as a child the evils of Ronald Reagan and Reaganomics and how the whole world will end seen unless we have someone like Clinton in office … bla bla bla.

    My views changed when I began to take economics courses. I defended liberal marginal prosperity to consume argument but statistics have shown Reagan is what built the economy to where it is today where growth and personal ambition to move up the ladder.

    After being disappointed after the democrats took both houses in 2006 and AM radio I turned conservative.

    I believe in the free market. My views of government spending improving the lives of people has gone away. I think privitization of non public good functions is a good thing. Free trade will bring prosperity to Americans and foreigners who live in third world countries. I wish government paperwork and regulations would vanish. Most of all after working for the government it convinced me that I want to be a republican.

    I would miss my friends who are liberal and even my wife is disappointed in me as she leans democrat 60/40.

    Its how we are raised. As a result I am still sympathetic to Obama even though I support McCain and his policies. I imagine for the republicans reading this who were raised republican would get a funny feeling flirting and voting for democrats.

    Your not alone

  38. Gator said

    Welcome to the blogosphere. I started blogging not long ago because there were a few things I wanted to rant about. However, find myself spending much more time reading other blogs than writing my own.

    I found myself drawn to the gun blogs because they reinforce a core belief (which I’ve always held) that every person has a fundamental right to defend his/her self against those who would do them harm. Since the individual right to defend yourself and your family is closely related to the personal responsibility to provide for yourself and your family.

    I suppose I was more liberal in my younger days. My transition was a gradual one since I don’t recall any particular event or awakening that sent me over to the conservative side. It really wasn’t a big jump for me.

    Don’t find yourself always on the defensive, having to justify your position on one issue after the other. Make the other side explain theirs.

  39. unvarnishedtruth said

    You say “these aren’t straw men” but that’s exactly what you put across in every position. A silly, inaccurate picture of the “liberal” side.

    And I am not a liberal. But they do not advocate what you claim.

  40. I found your article very inciteful. I too find myself reading books and coming across convincing and logical arguments but have trouble retaining the details about them later. There’s soooo much information out there! Keep up with the blogging.

  41. geekusa said

    As a liberal, I am OH SO OFFENDED by your… wait, what?

    Actually, I look at a lot of the things my fellow libs say, do, and hold dear, and shake my head. It’s actually harder to be a liberal with a sense of perspective, methinks, but I do it, cuz I care. For example, I truly believe that affirmative action only makes everyone in your workplace look at the black guy and think “he only got the job ‘cuz he’s black,” regardless of how qualified he is. (Changing that sentence to read “african-american guy or gal” would just make it sound awkward – sorry, fellow PCers.) And, perhaps, it’s possible to believe that most soliders are decent, upstanding intelligent folks who also happen to be, at the moment, being used by the neo-cons. Most of the military folks I’ve met are neither morons or ubermensch-patriots – they’re just decent people doing their job. It’s their *job* I have a problem with, but try saying that to some (not all) of my fellow lefties.

    Same goes with Bush. I can say “look, he’s not evil or stupid, he’s stubborn and wrongheaded, and that’s worse,” but some of my lefty friends stop listening on “he’s not evil..” and automatically paint me as a member of the oppressive patriarchy. And, by the way, you’re completely right to say that a small percentage of poor people are poor because they don’t want to try. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying to help the *rest* of the folks, who are poor because they’ve been screwed over by life or fate or (hate to say it, cuz it’s such a cliche) some CEO somewhere, but yes, you’re right – some people are poor because they’re lazy. Now, *acknowledging* that fact seems like it’d be important if you’re going to come up with a real solution to poverty – why are they lazy, how can we motivate them, do we need to motivate them, and so on – but, yeah, you’re right, the knee-jerk reaction of some of my liberal brethren is to assume that every single impoverished person is a victim of white people and it’s all George Bush’s fault. Which is so very simple, isn’t it?

    I guess what I’m trying to say is: not all liberals think like that. I’m a liberal because I believe in a truly level playing field for all people, and at the end of the day, I’d say that’s what most of us really want. But, yeah, we can get very self-righteous at times. And we can look for easy answers to complicated problems. (On the other hand, no one on the left ever said that 9/11 happened because of lesbians and pagans. Thanks, Jerry.) You’re right to do this blog, though, and I look forward to reading more. What this world needs is nuance.

  42. MarkL said

    Welcome to real adulthood.

    I used to be a socialist when at university in the late 1970s. But I was doing engineering. One day, my sense of the ridiculous went into overdrive when some clown was expounding on the concept of moral equivalence and ‘how truth is relative’. Started questioning, analysing and deciding for myself. All of a sudden I was no longer in the socialist circle, where everyone had to think alike.

    So I joined the military. Which horrified my former associates, one or two of whom have actually never grown up. Is there anything sadder than a middle-aged late 1970s neo-hippy?

    Now I have grown children, and they have all been raised to ignore the spin, find the bias, look at the facts presented, check them, and work out things for themselves. At about 15, each has realised that the media is lying to them, and it horrifies them. All are independent thinkers who are very hard to trick for young people their age.

    Well done. You have made the grade.

    MarkL
    Canberra
    Australia

  43. bitemyace said

    regarding conversion the other way: no, not completly the other way. i was raised in a conservative family. then when i got out on my own i started to realize some of the fundamentals i had been taught weren’t true. such as the evils of drugs. no, i dont use drugs, unless you count caffeine and alcohol. but i started to see that the drug use itself wasn’t the problem, it was the prohibition and resulting crimeridden black market that was. researching into that led me, eventually, to the libertarians through the cato institute. the last 20 years have changed a lot of my youthful beliefs (conservative) into solid libertarian ones, such as pro gay marriage,(do i really need the disclaimer?)legalising prostitution, (again, no i don’t) and a host of other topics that are sure to bring on a loud argument after thanksgiving dinner. at the same time reinforcing some of those conservative beliefs, 2nd amendment,hell the whole constitution, free markets and free trade, limited government, etc.

    the largest percentage of libertarians i have met and talked to have a similar story, but some do come in from the left. at a guess i’d say 65/35. and not bragging or anything but it seems to be much more intellectual over here.(he says after making a post with no caps and bad punctuation,lol)just my$0.02

  44. […] Quote of the Day – Affirmative Action Edition Once you decide that affirmative action is generally not a good idea because race preferences are generally not a good idea, no matter what the context, how do you go back to supporting ethnic preference in government contracts?  (Clarence Thomas is the uber-perfect example here; I railed at him for decrying affirmative action when the only reason he had gotten on the Supreme Court was to be The Black Justice.  It NEVER crossed my mind that perhaps he was QUALIFIED for the job.  Witness my soft bigotry.) – lookingforlissa […]

  45. There’s a quite of few stories exactly like this one posted on the internet.

    All of them are nearly identical in the reactions others have to the person’s conversion.

    To you Leftists out there . how do you justify this bigotry?

  46. Nancy said

    I work for a great company that is outdoorsy, conservationist, always looking for the greater good… I work with great people, friendly, smart, fun to be around… but…

    Some folks are lean so far to the left at times you think they’ll fall out of their chairs. I try to stay in the middle, keep an open mind and when I start to lean to the right I try to balance myself.

    They are animated with their beliefs, so convincing with their arguments… I just stand there wishing I could body slam them with the thoughts in my head. For some reason I end up standing there like a deer in the headlights. eh…
    ~Nancy

  47. Cappy said

    Congrats to you, and good luck. Am in same situation myself, but many years older and many years more liberal B.S. to resent and never want to hear about again. Bad divorce and contentious custody fight with feminist court and their stooges, followed in the near future with end of custody for kid (she turns 18) leaves me never wanting to hear from those ghouls again. My middle sister Wellstoned my mom’s funeral. Have kept quiet about it for a long time but her slacker boyfriend (think FreeCreditReport.com commercials) is piping up now and I only want to invite him to a nice, hot cup of ShutTheFuckUp.

  48. […] economics and life in general have changed a lot in the last ten years.  (Two of my most popular posts deal with this very subject.)  I try not to take things TOO seriously; after all, I was 1000% […]

  49. Jenny said

    I actually came across your blog by accident, but your delightful disposition and almost-like-me personality made me stay and read. :o)

    I can relate to your struggles with “what party am I?” question. But I’m the opposite of you and a lot of posters. In a horrible tug-of-war, I’ve finally felt comfortable declaring myself totally and utterly Independent, or as I call it, “I don’t care what either one of you say, this is what *I* believe, so there.” I felt that I was so busy trying to conform to conservative or liberal ideals, I didn’t remember what *I* believed in. Suddenly it clicked (much like it did for you): There are just too many things conservatives and liberals think that I just cannot believe in or agree with.

    Now that I’ve rambled and thoroughly introduced myself as a crazy stranger just wanting to put in her two-cents, I just think it’s very big of you to look at the political spectrum in such a mature nature as you did/do. It takes a lot of self-respect to be able to search for your beliefs and “choose sides” based on that, instead of what you see on tv: the “Republicans are evil and crazy & Democrats are stupid and liars” syndrome.

    So kudos to you. You are the type of person that gives hope to the rest of us that government and politics can be civil and make sense.

    You and your writing are delightful. I shall be back often…You’ve even inspired me to start up my own blog…

    Cheers!

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