February 17th, 2012

Leaving the fold

The process of political change, aptly described by Ace:

It’s called a paradigm shift. It’s going to seem a little weird and scary at first, but it will also be thrilling and ultimately liberating.

A lot of things that have bothered you for…years — which haven’t seemed to make sense to you, because your brain was screening the truth from you — are suddenly going to make a lot of sense indeed. And you’re going to be kicking yourself for not seeing it sooner, like an optical illusion that suddenly changes from a lady’s face to a candle.

I think it’s a great description of a process I know well. But Ace, what’s with this “lady’s face to a candle” business? I always thought it was either two faces to a vase:

Or maybe a young lady to an old crone:

But you get the picture.

ADDENDUM: If you want to view more optical illusions, go here. This is a great one I’ve never seen before. Close up, it’s Albert Einstein. But back away a few feet from your computer and—well, you’ll see:

So, what did Einstein and Monroe have in common, besides this picture? The easy answer is that they were both Jewish, Einstein by birth and Marilyn by conversion.

But wait, there’s more. Letters a rabbi who supervised her conversion wrote that [emphasis mine]:

…Marilyn[‘s] desire to become Jewish was self-motivated, although her relationship with Arthur [Miller] was clearly an influential one.

“She indicated that she was attracted to Judaism by being impressed with Jewish people that she knew, especially Mr. Miller,” the rabbi writes. “She said that she was aware of the great characters that the Jewish people had produced and that she had read selections from Albert Einstein’s Out of My Later Years… She indicated that she was impressed with the rationalism of Judaism — its ethical and prophetic ideals and its concept of close family life.”…

She often identified with the ‘underdog’ and at the same time had an enormous respect and admiration for intellectuals. … besides Arthur, her ‘hero’ was Albert Einstein … [who] represented for her the great scientist-humanist-Jew-Socialist-dissenter … “

So that Einstein-to-Marilyn-and-back-again portrait isn’t quite as odd as it seems after all.

26 Responses to “Leaving the fold”

  1. libertywolf Says:

    I am going through this incredible change now, and have found your blog to be a great resource and support. Well, I’ve been in “it”, the transformation of politics, for three years now and probably before. So, this is not new, but it continues and it is profound.

    It is a paradigm shift and very difficult for my leftist friends to fathom. I do feel liberated from something however, and feel stronger and better able to create my life as productive and whole.

    The biggest issue now is my friends, some of whom have become former friends. I don’t decide to leave the friendship – they do, and I am hurt and astonished. But, I guess that’s part of this process and I am coming to accept that it might be the price I pay, and something that cannot be avoided.

    Not all my friends are checking out, but well, it has changed everything in my social world. I come from the same world as the well-known “zombie”, the Bay Area, and was more of a radical leftist in my younger days. So, it is a huge change!

    All to the better and – growth is never easy.

  2. Curtis Says:

    You do know of Robin-of-Berkeley, libertywolf?

    Also, NASCAR. Enough said.

  3. blert Says:

    Myers-Briggs mapping says that Albert and Marilyn would be a perfect married couple — a real ying and yang situation.

    Indeed, they were specifically called out in this regard, IIRC.


  4. libertywolf Says:

    Yes, I read Robin from time to time and sometimes regularly. She’s in a similar position although I think she’s becoming more of a social conservative than I am. I am kind of a “social moderate”. In the Bay Area though, even “social moderate” can be grounds for fightin’! I know there are libertarians there, and even a few Republicans (18% of SF is registered Republican, which is hardly anyone), but I have rarely met them. “Coming out” has been some task. Robin is a comfort to read, and I wonder if she will make her escape one day. Living there, especially in Berkeley, is like living in a very strange leftist land, it is hard to take. And, Berkeley, has BAD HAIR! SF has better hair, even if there are tons of radicals. Hah – : )

    Now, I am in Denver, for the time being, but still drawn to California. At any rate, I will check out this NASCAR idea, yes, one way to meet like minded folks I presume?

    I am very pleased to have left the left though, even for all the trouble. It has made me a better person, and — I feel as though a veil has lifted.

  5. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    The biggest issue now is my friends, some of whom have become former friends. I don’t decide to leave the friendship – they do, and I am hurt and astonished.

    This shouldn’t be that surprising to you: politics is personal. And to the left, conservatives are either stupid or evil or perhaps stupidly evil. No enlightened person could ever willingly follow a conservative path.

    So the choices are: you’re stupid or evil. And they probably don’t think you’re stupid.

  6. neo-neocon Says:

    libertywolf: glad you found the blog.

    I know what you mean about the friend thing. It’s been years since I dealt with it as intensely, because almost everyone I know is aware of my politics at this point. But at the time it was all happening it was a big big deal and very painful, and I lost a number of friends, in addition to some friendships becoming more distant. It was pretty much all on their end, not mine.

    There are quite a few posts specifically on that topic here.

  7. Artfldgr Says:

    Reading the article kind of shocked me as the contents of whose waking up…

    I wonder if he will sit there and realize that his whole career has been helping the same people to the same ends the way that Bella Dodd did and realized what its about…

    (at least the same direction towards the same ends with similar rhetoric so far. whether they draw up short or not is unknown. though a whole bunch of stuff is law that is unequal, as Hayek pointed out would have to be done to pretend equal outcomes. in effect they make for crippling outcomes)

    I guess people are wondering…
    why this antisemitism again?

    forgetting the core of the ideology and who it things makes capitalism, and the parts of history most dont know (so their ability to understand why is clouded), there is a simple reason.

    Communism technically ended in 1995.
    What replaced it? capitalism? not really.
    all over the world MOST countries are a kind of mix of capitalism, and socialism. none are capitalist… their playing with the markets, helping big companies is corporatist… third way…

    I think Hayek said it best…

    “Fascism is the stage reached after communism has proved an illusion.”
    ― Friedrich A. Von Hayek

    those that know the history or were part of it know what is being misrepresented in the majority of cases to the good people who are told what will work and not what would offend them, alienate them, or turn them against them. such is the idea of lies and using people.



    so there is little surprise, except to those who were operating under a false impression or with missing history, or history that lies and outright denies it.. and they dont dig deeper.

    maybe Alan D is one of those?

  8. Artfldgr Says:

    On second thought.. i dont think he is converting, he thinks they strayed from the definition… not that he is operating under a false definition or a twisted one

  9. Artfldgr Says:

    your title made me go check for an article..
    which fold did she leave?
    Bella Dodd — From Communist to Catholic

  10. Artfldgr Says:

    Maybe we should send Alan D a card reminding him about the “Ship of the Damned” turned away from Miami Harbor… (or FDR quota answer)… I suspect he has selective amnesia given his books…

    Saving the Jews Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Holocaust
    D——-, Alan M.; Weinberg, Gerhard; Rosen, Robert N.

  11. libertywolf Says:

    Thanks for the redirect to those links on your blog Neo, and I am in the thick of the friends leaving and “finding out” but I am beginning to feel more resigned to it. They’ll just have to accept it, or not. It is astonishing though, although – -as I R Darth Aggie (love that name!) states, they either think I am stupid or evil and yes, they don’t think I’m stupid! (I’m a published author, and — someone they relied on to be one of them, and — to represent leftist ideals). More on my blog, as time goes on. That would be the same as Liberty Wolf. I am coming out gingerly, but I am coming out! I have not linked my memoir to my blog, but I will.

    In some ways, this is the hardest thing I have ever done, and once anyone learns anything about me, they will find that fairly astonishing I think. But, again, I am so glad to see this blog and to know — I am not alone out there!

    It would be great if Dershowitz would become a changer and really – time will tell.

  12. Adagny Says:

    liberty wolf, this blog was a comfort and support to me several years ago when I went through similar change spasms, and I suspect a good number of the other good folks here also. Who could resist a handle like neo-neocon?

  13. libertywolf Says:

    Adagny, I agree! Yes, and I thank neo for being a port in the storm. Hopefully, we can all pass that on in our journey, one way or another, to others.

  14. SteveH Says:

    I think i’ve evolved to cut my liberal friends some slack over these past three years. I guess i’ve come to realize they just suck at the counter intuitive thought processes which conservatism is chocked full of. The biggest example being, if you love your fellow man, you’ll make damn sure he isn’t handicapped through coddling and over concern.

    The liberal mind just can’t get there. And i don’t think 99% of them can get there if you guaranteed them people’s lives would be better off.

  15. vanderleun Says:

    Ladies face to a “candlestick.”

  16. Sergey Says:

    I would like to update von Hayek statement to nowday reality:
    “Fascism is the stage reached after social democracy and welfare society have proved an illusion.”
    Europe is reaching this stage really fast. This will be a valuble lesson for USA.

  17. Promethea Says:

    libertywolf . . . Welcome to our little world of changers. I’ve found it has given me a new life because the “conservative” or non-statist side is so full of interesting people. The liberals, as you already know, are extremely predictable and shallow.

    BTW, Bookworm Room is also a good blog run by a changer with a very liberal husband. Also check out Dr. Sanity, a wonderful blogger who now writes occasional essays on liberal mental issues.

    SteveH . . . It took me several years, but I finally came to terms with the idea that most liberals *cannot* change. Their worldview is tied up with their being liberal, no matter how dopey the ideas.

  18. foxmarks Says:

    I’m in the midst of a change, too.

    “Conservativism” is poorly defined, but I seem to be moving away from it. And part of the problem with conservatives is that they then presume I must be going left. That’s silly, if you could be inside my mind.

    I despise Progressives and their agenda of comprehensive control. Yet, conservatives have stopped fighting them. They talk a big game, but they’ve failed. For decades.

    Reagan had great personal qualities, but his record isn’t that great. He got played. And if Reagan failed to achieve the liberty-minded goals of which he spoke so well, conservatism has no hero. It is an impotent ideology.

    The right would be wise to become more self-critical. Deeply, philosophical self-critical. Not the finger-pointing litmus test kind of crapola that we see during campaigns like the current one. No candidate that conservative respect is making arguments from principles. They’re all just slogans and haze.

    Walter E. Williams says he is pushing back the frontiers of ignorance and showing the moral superiority of liberty. That’s where I want to be, where I want to go.

    I want a New Right.

  19. rickl Says:

    Heh. I’ve been all over the damn place. I remember having an Archie Bunker t-shirt when I was a teenager, but by the time I got to college I was a radical leftist. During the 80s I voted for all sorts of minor party left-wing candidates because I was convinced that the Democrats were too moderate.

    By the mid 90s I had discovered Ayn Rand and devoured her writings, and became a Libertarian. But the LP lost me after 9/11 with their isolationism and their ignorance of the menace of Islam. So I reluctantly switched to the Republican Party, thinking that they might be amenable to libertarian principles, but now I’m sick of them too.

    I don’t know where to turn now. I’d volunteer for a Mars colony, but they probably don’t want smokers on their spaceships.

  20. Ymarsakar Says:

    For those undergoing a world perspective change, Neo-Neocon can certainly provide knowledge and resources.

    I think Robin will make her escape from Leftist criminals, if she can learn lethal force applications in Hand to Hand, and learn how to shoot humans dead with a firearm.

    This, alone, will completely separate her from the Democrat fold. While many Democrats hypocritically grab firearms so they can “defend” against what they call right wing nuts, in reality, they have zero training with such firearms and no standard of safety at all. It’s just something they have to make them feel more powerful, like any urban thug around.

    The Einstein illusion is a well made “composite” picture, taking advantage of human memory and visual centers that “fill in the banks” for details that cannot be seen.

  21. Ymarsakar Says:

    And that’s exactly why humans fall prey to propaganda. They see what they are made to see, when they don’t know the truth concerning the detailed malice of the Left.

    For example, eye witness testimony is notoriously unreliable because people begin to make stuff up to fill in their memory gaps. Unless you get their statement a few minutes after they see something, and you have at hand someone trained in observation and memory recall, the “witness testimony” isn’t worth much by itself.

  22. Ymarsakar Says:

    Foxmarks: The answer lies, and was always there, in the Constitution. A party based upon strict adherence to Constitutional elements is all that is needed. Not “conserve”. Not progress into some new utopia.

    Pick the one thing that can and will destroy the Left, if powered up: the US Constitution. The number one enemy of the Left isn’t Sarah Palin or any Republican politician, or even Leftist traitors of the fold. It is the US Constitution.

  23. foxmarks Says:

    Ymarsakar: I go around touting strict Constitutional textualism and “conservatives” attack me.

    rickl: I have bounced around, too. Although I was never a lefty and I have never read Rand. The libertarians are too pacifist and atheistic; they know the morality of liberty but forget the duties implicit in society.

    Optimum would be Madison’s Constitution with government of narrow, defined powers limiting Congress down to City Council. And fund the necessary evils by a Georgist Land Value Tax, paid from the bottom up.

  24. Ymarsakar Says:

    I think some people may have assumed that being conservative makes you a better person. Certainly in comparison with Leftists that is so, but comparing anything to black will make it seem lighter.

    The point is, conservatives are not naturally superior people. They have just as many flaws as the other person, you just don’t see them much in politics. Until now, that is, given the unique circumstances the Left has put this nation in. Stress fractures are showing, and when stress hits people, their worse side comes out.

    The only people that you can count on as being more developed and superior, are those who went from Left to anti-Left. Those people have had to grow and mature. But you can be a conservative, not because of your choice, but simply because that was the culture you were brought up in.

  25. Sergey Says:

    To make some necessary correction, this morphing of Einstein into Monroe is not an optical illusion but more complex phenomenon called bimodality of sensory perception. It involves not some specific pattern of visual perception linked to procession of visual input in retinae or optical cortex but general features of pattern recognition of any sensory input, that is, more deep and universal cognitive functions. Auditory signals like speech recognition are subject to the same bimodality of interpretation.

  26. Artfldgr Says:

    Distributed memory in a neural net will respond to distributed vague images and elements…

    where the kinds of things we think about consciously about matching are not distributed and so handle hard compares easily, but such foggy ones with huge difficulty.

    Illusions are proof we do not live in the real world but in a model of the real world we keep internally and exist in.

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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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