September 16th, 2009

Succinct summary of the change process

Now here’s a changer:

Some of the [Sept. 12] protesters had traveled farther than just the distance between their home town and Washington. Dr. David Levine, a psychiatrist from Rockford, Illinois, was Ramsey Clark’s volunteer press secretary when the ultra-liberal former U.S. attorney general ran for the Senate from New York in 1976. Now, Levine, wearing a faded NEWT GINGRICH 2008 t-shirt, was on the streets of Washington in a crowd of conservatives. What accounted for the change? “It started when liberals just stopped making sense to me,” Levine said. “I was listening to NPR, and nothing was making sense. So I started reading more and more conservative things, and here I am.”

Me too.

One of the ways in which Levine’s story is similar to mine, and to that of many other left-to-right changers, is that in his earlier days he didn’t read much in the conservative press. Once he started doing so, he realized that it made more sense than the liberal press.

That’s a pretty powerful experience; take it from me. And it’s one of the reasons liberals and the Left are so intent on reviling outlets such as Fox News, or even shutting down some of the talk shows on the Right if possible, in order to get followers to shy away from even listening to these information sources in the first place—or, if they do happen to listen, to automatically distrust and discount as partisan lies what they hear there. The Left correctly views media on the Right as dangerous to their cause, as is anything else that challenges the indoctrination and message control they otherwise are able to practice through the MSM and most of academia.

Here’s another guy who recently changed his mind about Obama. It would be rather difficult for the “racers” to call this particular man a racist, for obvious reasons—although I’m sure they could manage it somehow. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. They could probably start with his suspicious phrase “those kind of people,” which might be a code word for black—except for the inconvenient fact that the speaker himself is a black man:

“The company you keep tells a lot about who you are,” says Tres Berden, a truck driver from Newark, New Jersey. “With all of those associations of [Obama’s], from Rev. Wright to Van Jones — you don’t know those kind of people without being one.” Berden, one of the few African-Americans in the crowd, is a Democrat who now considers himself a libertarian. He voted for Obama, but quickly became disillusioned. “He isn’t the person he sold us,” Berden says.

[NOTE: If you’re interested in my take on that unrepentant Leftist Ramsey Clark, see this.

And if you’d like to see just what methods the Left uses to racially attack a black man who doesn’t support Obama, see this. And those letters he quotes from the Left aren’t pretend or projected racism; they’re the real thing.]

20 Responses to “Succinct summary of the change process”

  1. Cappy Says:

    That has been my experience. Now I have to endure truther relatives during the High Holy Days. Maybe I won’t.

    L’Shana Tova, anyway.

  2. br549 Says:

    Have you, Neo, or anyone for that matter, actually heard anything from any lead dog liberal as to what their end game plan is? What, at the end of the day, do they actually expect America to become? What is it, truly, that they want?

    If it is the Utopia their dreams are made of, how do they expect to support it? To maintain it? Do they actually believe they can just paint the nose and put on new wings and make socialism or communism fly this time? If everyone is taking, then who’s making?

    I’m not being facetious here, I truly do not understand how they think, and I have been trying for years.

  3. gcotharn Says:

    I had a similar experience: reading the left did not make sense.

    Approx 1991, Molly Ivins was hired, with fanfare, to write for the Ft. Worth Star Telegram. I had been wanting to understand politics, so I determined to read her column. She had no solutions, and some of her views doubled back and contradicted themselves. She was a funny woman, and I appreciated her for that. However, much as Jon Stewart does now, much as Ann Richards did: Molly Ivins used her wit to escape the box canyons into which her conflicting-with-itself logic would lead.

    Then, three weeks after his 1993 Inaugural, I realized Bill Clinton was a GIGANTIC CYNICAL LIAR.

    Then I heard Rush Limbaugh, and thought: I know they say he is crazy, but he makes way more sense than Molly Ivins or any of the Democrats. Then I read some of the people Rush Limbaugh referenced: National Review, Thomas Sowell. Then the internet became available, and I began connecting my slooow phone connection to lots of conservative thinking. It was good stuff.

  4. gcotharn Says:

    Also, beginning several years ago, I kept on the lookout for liberal blogs run by reasonable people. I wanted to ensure that I was not missing some reasonable arguments in favor of any liberal policies – any at all. ANY good liberal side arguments would be welcome. I don’t want to only understand the wrong side of an issue, and, it seemed, just based upon sheer numbers of people who were liberal, that there must be SOMETHING to at least SOME of their issue opinions. That many people couldn’t be wrong about everything? Could they?

    And of course they were, and are. When I would find a seemingly reasonable liberal blog, I would sometimes go modestly into the comment section and attempt a very modest and targeted question or assertion. Sometimes the bloggers would politely engage, and I would comment over a few months at that blog. The most reasonable bloggers I’ve found always were, in the end, unwilling to squarely address fact. Sometimes, imo, this was due to deception on the part of the blogger; sometimes, imo, this was due to psychological defense mechanism; sometimes, imo, this was due to extreme narcissism which precluded the blogger from ever admitting error or lack of logic in any instance. But, it always happened the same: I would see, over several issues over several weeks/months, instances where the bloggers absolutely refused to address fact/reality, and I would choose to leave the blog (sometimes to applause from a blogger who by now desired my departure).

    I did learn this lesson: before going into a discussion with a left person, one ought determine if they believe objective truth exists. They usually do not. I had two bloggers say the same thing: the only truth is that objective truth does not exist. There is no other truth; there is only your truth and my truth; there is only opinion. And that is how, in the end, many left persons and left bloggers justify their refusal to address fact which runs contrary to their preferred narrative.

  5. rickl Says:

    My own change came when I was in my mid-to-late 30s, during the mid-to-late 90s. I discovered Ayn Rand, and read everything she wrote that I could get ahold of. I was generally more impressed with her nonfiction essays (available in several collections) than with her more famous novels. They are shorter and more focused.

    The way I describe her influence on me is that “she systematically dismantled my most cherished beliefs, assumptions, and ideals and then proceeded to rebuild them on a stronger foundation.” That sounds pretty traumatic, but it really wasn’t. It was actually fairly painless, and I felt much better afterwards.

  6. Gray Says:

    I’m not a “changer”. However, an incident in 8th grade (1982) revealed to me that I viewed things differently than my teachers and couldn’t knuckle under like the other kids:

    We were assigned to read “Monsters are Due on Maple Street.” (What I now know is some high-grade Rod Serling red-baiting agitprop.)

    In it the aliens (the monsters) coerced, manipulated and used psychological warfare to turn ‘average racist gun-owning psycho Americans’ to turn on their neighbors so that the aliens could walk in without a beam fired.

    In the class, the (now I know) sever lefty, feninist teacher sneered “Now who were the real monsters?” And all the little sheep dutifully said “the racist average gun-owning Americans were the real monsters!”

    I raised my hand and stated: “No way, the monsters manipulated them. There were monsters. The monsters are the monsters!” Then the wrath of the class and teacher fell upon me. The teacher claimed I was juvenile and couldn’t understand the ‘nuance’ of the story. The class devolved into a shouting match with me yelling “The monsters are the monsters!”

    It was ugly. It was a true learning experience. I got into fist-fights with the little bastards for a week after that; was constantly ridiculed, even by the teacher, and got a low grade in that class, but I stuck to it.

    If you just keep your moral bearings and remember “the monsters are the monsters.”, liberal bullshit falls apart instantly.

    Just don’t forget: The monsters are the monsters.

  7. gcotharn Says:

    “The monsters are the monsters.”

    LOL. Words to live by.

  8. camojack Says:

    Stop expecting sense from the senseless; they operate from feelings, pragmatism isn’t part of the equation. 😯

  9. br549 Says:

    If the left becomes successful with intercepting the football, which is as far as they seem to think, I don’t believe they will know what to do with it.

    Even if they are sincere about health care, cap and trade, etc., the “unintended consequences” that would pour from those bills become “law of the land”, would destroy everything this nation has built.

    You see, my reply to that is no. Hell no. This cannot happen. I have children, I have a grandson. The left is pushing issues beyond any reasonable, negotiable compromise.

    The thing about building your own life within the confines of laws, is that along the way, you become the person you need to become to have what you have. If that makes sense. And there is no real and lasting way for an individual to do that – that doesn’t improve things for everyone.

  10. Janet Says:

    About 20 years ago, I had a colleague who confessed to me that he spent his lunch hour in his car listening to Rush Limbaugh. This man was someone I respected immensely so it created some dissonance in my then liberal mind.

    I had never voted for a Republican in all the years I was eligible to vote – from 1972 on. I couldn’t because, well, intelligent people were progressive. There was no need to find out what the other side had to say. But my friend’s choice of lunch hour entertainment started to make me think.

    In the next few years I realized that everything the intelligent, progressive people supported, funded, backed or managed either didn’t work or didn’t work well. Public education had devolved and results had stagnated, welfare had created a permanent minority underclass where people were being paid to break up their families and underachieve, abortion had become another form of birth control – I started seeing everything through new eyes.

    By 1996 I was voting Republican, but grudgingly. When 9/11 happened, I started reading everything I could get my hands on about world affairs and politics. Everything I believed in was considered “conservative”. Believe it or not, I had never realized that I had conservative views. I guess it was because I never read or heard anything about conservatism.

    I came full circle when, in the days after 9/11, I turned on Rush. I can still remember the utter shock I had as I listened. He was somebody who thought like I did. I found myself cheering out loud as he spoke. I couldn’t believe how spot on this guy was after all the years I thought he was an idiot. And I thought he was an idiot because I never listened to him, I just listened to his critics.

    I often think about that colleague of mine…he was transferred and we lost touch. I wish I could talk to him today and thank him for helping me to open up my mind.

  11. HappyAcres Says:

    Another “changer” here.

    I appreciate neoneo’s reflections on the topic. The commenters’ stories are also interesting.

    I wish we could have a meet-up and trade stories.

    In my own awakening, humor played a large role. I’d accidentally land on right wing websites and — against my will — their over-the-top ridicule of the Left would make me laugh. Think Ace Of Spades or TJICistan.

    It was a forbidden pleasure. After all, these were stupid people, and I fancied myself an enlightened intellectual. But they were having so much fun! It wasn’t grim. They didn’t have to consult the PC handbook before they spoke.

    thanks again to everyone here.

  12. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Gray, The monsters are the monsters. Simple. Cuts through a lot of BS. You saw human nature more clearly than the TV writer.

    The teacher may have been technically correct in that the author’s intent was to show that we are the monsters, but somehow I don’t think that particular lesson would have been chosen if the teacher didn’t agree with the scriptwriter on this.

    IIRC, the power goes out for no reason and later, machines turn off and on for no reason. The monsters create a nightmare, senseless environment and ordinary people react very badly to that. Quelle surprise, eh? One wonders how the scriptwriters would react if their lawnmowers turned themselves on for no reason.

    The extension of that reasoning is the Sophie’s Choice scenario, where the monsters attempt to make the ordinary person morally responsible for the monsters’ evil.

    Let’s bring this up to present day, as I think it is revealing. Peace-loving liberals make excuses for violent people around the world, trying to convince us that thuggish dictators, Islamists, and criminals would all be just fine if we hadn’t exploited/insulted/oppressed them so much. They thereby encourage the violence by giving it legitimacy. (They do this for self-serving political reasons, though they disguise that even to themselves – but that’s another story).

    Their hands are clean. They committed no violence. They got proxies to do it for them.

    The monsters are the monsters.

  13. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    AVI:

    My problem is not so much, as you put it, “Peace-loving liberals make excuses for violent people around the world, trying to convince us that thuggish dictators, Islamists, and criminals would all be just fine if we hadn’t exploited/ insulted/ oppressed them so much”.

    There’s also the other side of the coin: people unwilling to excuse their own side for anything, such as mentioning certain derogatory words, failing to support trendy causes e.g. global warming, and so forth.

    When the latter get demonized instead of the former, there’s something seriously wrong. (And one is tempted to ask the question: isn’t it possible that it’s the other way around? That disbelievers in global warming are simply misguided and under-educated, whereas the people who blow up schoolbuses and saw people’s heads off are evil and must be fought? Now that’s a liberal mindset I’d like to see more of.)

    respectfully,
    Daniel in Brookline

  14. IGC Blogger Says:

    Technically, I’m not a changer either, but I can remember listening to Bob Grant on the radio back in the day. Bob Grant was a talk show host on WABC 770 before talk radio was “cool.” It may be hard to explain by today’s standards and in today’s context, but it was a profound, almost surreal experience to actually hear someone in the media that didn’t follow the liberal line, and that in general thought about issues the same way I did.

  15. Gray Says:

    Peace-loving liberals make excuses for violent people around the world, trying to convince us that thuggish dictators, Islamists, and criminals would all be just fine if we hadn’t exploited/insulted/oppressed them so much.

    Precisely. That’s what happened in my class; the teacher and students were appologists for the real monsters while excoriating the actions of the victims.

    I’d like to time travel back and kick Rod Serling right in his pinko ass for causing me so much trouble in my 8th grade life.

    The monsters are the monsters.

  16. Nolanimrod Says:

    This is off topic, but I just read a post from Dr. Sanity that says if this health care bill passes in anything like its present form she’ll quit.

    You’re in the therapy biz. Do you have ideas about what it will mean for you?

  17. neo-neocon Says:

    Gray: great story about you and your class. I applaud your courage. It takes quite a bit to stand up to a whole group like that, especially when a child.

  18. Jamie Says:

    The monsters are the monsters is way too good to lose track of. Bloggers, to your keyboards!

  19. Gray Says:

    Gray: great story about you and your class. I applaud your courage. It takes quite a bit to stand up to a whole group like that, especially when a child.

    Thank you very much. Sometimes I think: “I can’t believe I did that”. It puts pressure on me not to let down my 13yo former self (and I haven’t!)

    The postscript is that my dad was very, very proud of me. (Dad was a “Changer”: Lifelong Democrat until Jimmy Carter.)

    Never forget: “The monsters are the monsters.”

  20. Zardoz Says:

    I discovered this website and was interested to learn about your “conversion” experience. I know there is the Churchill quote young people who are not liberal have no heart and old people who are not conservatives have no brain ( I’m paraphrasing) but in your case, admittedly knowing little about your earlier Liberalism, the conversion seems different, it is more specific, more total, more ideological. Is there not one aspect of the human experience that Liberals might not have a valid perspective on, are they fundamentally deluded. 35% 0f America? I should reveal at this point that my most cherished beliefs are those of Liberalism but I think that must mean something very different to me than to you. I associated it with fairness, tolerance, protection of minority rights and most importantly respect for the individual in society. Your talking about democratic socialism, which I have no problem with as long as it is freely chosen by democratic means. I drive on roads, go to public schools, and pay into social security. The extent of the public v. private control over the sectors of the economy I think is fair for public debate. As a contrarian I have given loads of pushback to professors, and people I’ve met on the left who I thought were wrong, naive, or with whom I’ve just disagreed with. I have never been treated disrespectfully, I have persuaded a few to admit the more moderate perspective or see the other side but this angry left exists mostly in the diatribes of a small percentage of so called intellectuals and the conservative media personalities that use them as strawmen. I side with Democrats more than Repbulicans mostly because of what I see coming out of the Republican Party and the conservative media. Anger, and mischaracterization. I vote against Republicans. Unfortunately most Democratic politician and all politicians for that matter are careerist and play a game that makes them easy to ridicule. Conservatives are concrete thinkers, we need concrete thinkers but the world does not always conform to our narratives. We are facing a new series of threats in the form of anti-modern forces reacting to globalization, and Anti Liberal forces in states like Russia, and China. foremost among them being radical Islam. We need supple thinkers who use their intelligence to meet these needs and we need to find a new unity in the West and Globally in which we can disagree without tearing each other down. I’m not sure your blog does that. You are very prolific and you know alot but are Liberals really the great enemy? Does the amount of Carbon in the atmosphere care about political affiliations or does the deluded fanatic. Is Obama to blame for everything. Look at the comment threads to your post and give yourself an honest evaluation of you impact.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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