October 23rd, 2012

How long does it take to change from left to right?

Here’s one man’s answer.

My own answer, of course, is here. My transition was shorter than Swindle’s, although not short. I would say it was complete in about two years. And I did not have to go as far, since I was never on the hard left to begin with.

35 Responses to “How long does it take to change from left to right?”

  1. stan Says:

    I’ve never been on the left, but I’ve always been fascinated by the stories going back to Whitaker Chambers’ experience.

    When Powerline had just started, I exchanged emails with Paul Mirengoff a number of times. The three of them have said they were pretty far left in their days at Dartmouth, but I don’t believe they have ever really explained their journey to the right. One request that I had for him (that he ignored) was how, during their time on the left, they rationalized the real world record of communism/socialism of so much harm.

    I’ve still never seen a good explanation. It’s a lot like the transition we see Walter Russell Mead undergoing now. He finally sees the destructiveness of what he calls the Blue social model. He still has a silly, idealized view of how “wonderful” it used to be, but he recognizes that it clearly no longer works. Those of us will clearer vision understand what the founders knew — that Greece (or Chicago or California or Illinois or Rhode Island) is the inevitable result. The blue model uses government power to take from some and give to favored constituents. The corruption is inevitable because it is inherent in the model.

    I would love for someone to explain for me why they didn’t see the inherent corruption. What part of human nature did they deny? Why did they think that the experience of the Pilgrims was somehow an aberration? How many times does the experiment need to fail?

  2. Barry Says:

    For me it took a while:

    1994- Lived in Mexico for 6 months, realized US not so racist comparatively. How could such a homogenous (Mex) country be so racist/classist and ours really wasn’t/isn’t?

    1995-1999- Still very liberal but became a HS teacher and saw communism on a small scale-teacher’s unions. Everyone gets their spot on pay scale irregardless of how hard one worked or how good of a job one did.

    2001- 9/11

    2000-2003- Started paying HUGE taxes (50% and up) on sales commissions and started to question where it went.

    2004- Rathergate. Confirmed that media was corrupt/biased and it drove me nuts. As Dennis Prager says, “I don’t mind that the press is leftist, I mind that they pretend it’s not.”

    Go Giants!

  3. dtrumpet Says:

    Mine happened when I started asking the who, what, when, where and how of solving problems. It also helped when Leftists in academe kept pushing the middle to the Left in order to be “centrist” themselves. Most true classical liberals became neocons.

  4. Nyo Says:

    It can depend on the climate of the Right. Is it trending extreme or moderate? What can a new conservative do to keep that trend to the moderate side — maintain a healthy sense of self-criticism and tolerance for reasoned criticism.

  5. Don Kirk Says:

    Have you ever noticed that the political epiphany people experience in switching from Left to Right or Right to Left results in them landing the same distance from the center? An extreme leftist becomes an extreme rightist, and a moderate leftist becomes a moderate rightist. The psychology of the epiphany is fascinating, because it represents an internal revolution in identity.

    When Nietzsche experienced his epiphany, he switched from deep pessimism to strident optimism in his philosophy. Same with Reagan’s switch. May I suggest that the psychologies of pessimism and optimism are decisive in whether the epiphany is right to left or left to right, and those two psychologies are entirely the manifestation of how we grow to view human nature.

  6. ErisGuy Says:

    How long does it take to change from left to right?

    Got me. Everyone I knew went from (what I presumed was middle-of-the-road) to hard Leftists. Took 4-8 years of college.

    I was never a Leftist. As a child I visited the library frequently and was more than once reprimanded for visiting the adult sections of the library, wherein I read books on European history. Modern European history left me with a permanent distaste for socialism/nazism/fascism/communism.

  7. kolnai Says:

    Don Kirk -

    Interesting suggestions, but I have to take issue with a few things.

    Firstly, as an empirical matter most changers go from left to right (as we would guess from biology and the typical course of a human life). Secondly, most of the changers from left to right go from a kind of non-sentient adherence to soft left, Democratic party feel-goodism to a more hard-headed soft-right conservatism (like my step-mother). Thirdly, the minority who begin as far left and switch to the right almost never wind up being “far right” in the end (depending on how you define it, “far right” would be either extreme libertarian, i.e., anarchist, or else fascist).

    Hitler and Mussolini arguably made the swing from extreme left to extreme right (if we agree that fascism is right-wing), but other than them and their ilk I have trouble coming up with many examples. Most of the changers who have penetrated popular consciousness – Sidney Hook, Arthur Koestler, George Orwell, Whittaker Chambers, Irving Kristol, David Horowitz, Leszek Kolakowski, etc. – went from far left to a kind of nebulous neoconservatism, which is only “extreme right” in the addled brains of leftists.

    As for your final suggestion – optimism vs. pessimism – I might be inclined to agree that they are related to ideology generally speaking, but I’m not sure they tack overwhelmingly to one side or the other. For a long time conservatism was defined as and understood to be the pessimistic ideology, and not without reason. Chambers believed something like that. Roger Scruton argues for it today. I myself am of a pessimistic bent. Others, especially since Reagan, have taken to seeing conservatism as the optimistic ideology, in the sense that it seems to either belong to or make for happier individuals.

    This is a problem of defining terms. “Optimism” and “pessimism” are too general to be very informative, and after we say someone or some view is, say, “pessimistic,” we are immediately driven to ask, “About what?” My view, for example, is that BOTH of the positions I outlined above are correct – Chambers was right that conservatism is “pessimistic” about human nature (at least compared to the views of the left), while Arthur Brooks is also correct that conservatism correlates with happier, more optimistic individuals. It seems that the key thing is the dialectic between the pessimism and the optimism, rather than one or the other per se. The “pessimism” about human nature clears a space for conservatives to have realistic expectations about life and other people, such that we are not constantly disappointed and driven to cynicism and despair by their failure to live up to some heavenly ideal, thereby leading us, on the whole, to be happier about what we find day-to-day.

    In short, I’m saying that left and right are both optimistic and pessimistic, just applied to different objects. The left is optimistic about human nature, but pessimistic about life on an individual, day-to-day level. The right is basically the converse of that.

  8. Steve Says:

    kolnai, left, right and center are increasingly meaningless terms. The right is more libertarian (small government). And the left is more statist. How on earth would fascism (statism) be right wing?

  9. Trimegistus Says:

    Swindle’s article was very surprising. I had no idea there was ANY overlap between modern occultists and conservatism. Speaking as an atheist and a skeptic myself, I’m not sure that’s a Good Thing. I’d prefer to leave the crackpots to the Left. If you’re searching for spiritual truth, join a frickin’ church and stop gassing about what a special snowflake you are for owning a Tarot deck.

  10. kcom Says:

    Yes, I prefer collectivist vs individualist. And in that reckoning, Hitler and Stalin are two peas in the same pod. Both enemies of freedom. Whether that’s right or left, I don’t care.

    I have had discussions/arguments online with people who couldn’t believe I wouldn’t make a distinction between them. But, as they say, it’s a distinction without a difference and therefore a waste of time. If you make the state all-powerful, put people in prison camps, execute your political opponents, only allow one party, and otherwise remove all personal freedom you’re the same. And equally reprehensible.

  11. DonS Says:

    Barry Says:

    1994- Lived in Mexico for 6 months, realized US not so racist comparatively. How could such a homogenous (Mex) country be so racist/classist and ours really wasn’t/isn’t?

    I wouldn’t call Mexico homogenious. From a cultural perspective it is more mixed then ours is. It is a mix of Spanish and native culture. In the US, the model has been to assimilate immigrants to the core culture. Not so much in Mexico.

    Now, as to the racism/classism question. The US has derived from English culture, which already was a primitive democracy in 1607 when Jamestown was founded. Also, England evolved free market capitalism and protestant religion.

    Basically, the elements of political, economic and religious freedom evolved in England (and also with the Dutch) in the period roughly from 1400-1800.

    Specifically in a free market economy, equality is a driving factor. Economics drives the idea that what is important is the cash in your pocket, not your station in life.

  12. DonS Says:

    Hyack referred to fascists and nationalist socialists as right wing socialists.

    I think right vs left might not fit the US model. It isn’t clear that there is any true right in this country. The US right of Constitutionalism, liberty, and free markets isn’t a hard right by any European understanding of the term.

    The European fascists and nationalist socialists were really pragmatic socialists who realized that internationalism was a non starter at least at that point in time. Stalin later drove the USSR towards a form of national socialism, but the USSR was a more intrusive national socialism then Hitler’s version.

  13. thomass Says:

    Don Kirk Says:

    “Have you ever noticed that the political epiphany people experience in switching from Left to Right or Right to Left results in them landing the same distance from the center?”

    Nope. What I noticed is they tend to worry more about the left and want to warn people about it. Which tends to be enough to label people right wing nuts.

    When it comes to actual positions many are still squishes when it comes to conservatism (re: not very conservative) and/or they are against the welfare state since it doesn’t work not that it is morally wrong. So; if it could be made to work better…

  14. Artfldgr Says:

    lets test what i said…

    to those that converted from one side to another, i assert that you didnt change at all, your values are the same.

    what happened is that the side you thought and portrayed themselves as representing those values, were found to be lying and not representing them, but using the power you gave them in this belief.

    over time you learn that they do not actually represent the values, and so you change sides.

    you never change…
    your regard for them and the validity of their positions becomes known, and so, you move to a side that you realize represents you better.

    after reading over a hundred such books on it,way before these modern ones, and knowing others… this is what happens.

    its why the day before your friends like you and the day after they dont… they think to change sides is to change values… not to find out the representative has been misrepresentative.

    you can search all your life to figure out why these are the only people that change, and almost no one in therapy changes and gets “cured”.

    its easier to cahnge your regard in terms of something if the facts are not aligned with that something and you find out.

    when you find out your loving husband has been swinging from the rafters with sheep and various paid hookers and has a disease.

    did you change or did your regard towards him change when belief was shattered by reality?

    what you believed before was negated by facts which no longer support those beliefs. you being true to the desire to be correctly represented and not support your own opposition, means you have to change sides.

    so… here it is.
    for those that changed sides, what values in you changed that made you switch?

    i say most of you will say that your values didnt change… what made you switch was the discovery of the mismatch of your values and theirs.

    well? :)

  15. Artfldgr Says:

    How on earth would fascism (statism) be right wing?

    easy…. if its a number line and communism is zero… then EVERYTHING is to the right of that!!!

    so if zero is total statism, then fascism is a 3..
    anarchism would be a 100… (which then curves around back on itself to zero).

    the way the left expressed it, they pretend that freedom exists between zero and three, and the rest of the spectrum is not available.

    the concept they keep painting is that your on either one… center left… or your a two.. center right…

    and everyone is afraid to go more left than hitler because they dont know that PAST him and the statist number line, is limited constitutional freedom… a range between 20 and 75… (75 in the founding years where there was little law… 20 where it is now on the border of falling if it hasnt already).

    so in this way.. we move from 40 to 0.. the whole time, they crow. they are communists, and so are the zero point of statism. you cant have more statism than totalitarianism.. even if they dont use it… (its expressed by what you can do, not what you do since what you do is only a matter of choice… ergo, russia didnt change, it chose to live a bit differently as a prisoner acting to get a good behavior benefit.. )

    meanwhile, its interesting hearing americans talk about it and say it… because the US does not have a left bank and a right bank like paris does…

    i suggest that anyone who wants to see the actual traditional positions of this stuff in play prior to rampant marxism, watch an old movie.

    ruggles of red gap starring Charles Laughton (and ZaSu Pitts!)
    [it also stars a ruggles, which has nothing to do with the title as i have ever heard]

    In the comedy Western film directed by Leo McCarey, Lord Burnstead (Roland Young) gambles away his eminently correct English butler, Marmaduke Ruggles (Charles Laughton). Ruggles’ new ‘owners’, crude nouveau riche Americans Egbert and Effie Floud (Charlie Ruggles and Mary Boland), bring Ruggles back to Red Gap, Washington; a remote Western boomtown. When the butler is mistaken for a wealthy Englishman, he becomes a small-town celebrity. As Ruggles attempts to adjust to this rough new community, he learns to live life on his own terms, achieving a fulfilling independence as a result.

    The climax of the film is Laughton’s recitation of the Gettysburg Address (something that does not happen in the original story). This occurs in a saloon filled with typical American Western characters, none of whom can recall any of the lines but are spellbound by the speech. Newly imbued with the spirit of democracy and self-determination, Ruggles becomes his own man, giving up his previous employment and opening a restaurant in Red Gap.

    i beg to differ with them.
    the best speech in the movie is ruggles ot the bottom of the stairs pondering and reflecting on his existence and what it means..

    the whole of the book is here
    http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext05/7rgrg10.txt

    [by the way, my other favorite laughton scene is when he is with cary grant, and comments to cary saying something that all us less than beautiful men would want to say. i think its the movie the devil and the deep blue sea ]

    The supporting cast sparkles in Ruggles of Red Gap, especially Charles Ruggles who plays the endearing Egbert. It’s the “nouveau riche” Egbert who personifies the American spirit in the film. He accepts every person as his equal, never forgets a friend, and ignores any distinction between classes.

    and its his attitude that slams up against ruggles a third generation butler like jeeves…

    ultimately… the wealthy loan ruggles money, and he opens a restaurant and becomes his own man.. not the servant of other men. and on that staircase he muses that in england, he would be a servant, and like his dad, his son would be too… but here… in the US, where there are no classes, he ends up being a free man through the generosity and fairness of a loan from the “master” and others who believe in him as a person.

  16. Artfldgr Says:

    OMG…
    i know James Wasserman…

    back in the way back when Gardenarianism, Paganism, and Herman Slater ran rituals out of the Magikal Childe occult store in manhatten… i was their the day that slater ran down the street half naked with a athame in his hand…(at the time i was dating the social register deb who was into the occult and so on)… i was all in that world and lots of people knew me… oh and ya cant forget Samuel Weiser, and his book store…

    wow.. what a small world..

    oh.. if you dont believe me.. well, then check out who published his books.

    Book of the Law by James Wasserman
    ISBN-13: 9780939708314
    Publisher: Magickal Childe, Incorporated

    Herman Slater i think died of aids, but his ‘work’ still lives on.. i

    its not the first time i turned a page to see a photo of someone i knew in the past in strange circles…

    makes me remember Starwood….
    a long long time and far away….

  17. Cappy Says:

    As Database Administrators say, It Depends.

  18. KLSmith Says:

    My change was pretty slow. I was a default liberal that wasn’t very interested in politics. The Clinton/Lewinsky scandal was the beginning of my awakening. The unconditional support from almost every Democrat shocked me. I had voted for him twice but near the end of his presidency he and his lower lip biting phoniness sickened me.
    During the Gore/Bush election I lived in a state where my vote wouldn’t matter so I voted 3rd party as sort of a protest vote.
    Of course 9-11 was a life changing event for many of us. I was again shocked by the behavior of those on the left and became much more interested in following the news.
    As of 2004, my shift had begun in earnest but still wasn’t complete. I knew I wasn’t voting for Kerry but wasn’t sold on Bush. That was the only time I chose not to vote in a presidential election.
    Sometime after this I discovered good informative blogs (like this one) on the internet and my transition became complete.
    In retrospect, I wonder what took so long. But as we all know the liberal cocoon is pervasive in our society. If you’re not born to a conservative family or have conservative affiliations you have to work to free yourself. Or get mugged by reality.

  19. Occam's Beard Says:

    My change took place in about a minute (the conscious part; subconsciously, my doubts about The Faith had obviously been bubbling away in some cranial cavern for some time).

    I actually remember where I was at the time: walking through Sproul Plaza in Berkeley those many decades ago, looking at the various groups protesting this, that, and the other, the groups’ adherents looking like the denizens of the bar in Star Wars. Suddenly it struck me in mid-stride: this is crap. All of it. Total, unmitigated, unalloyed, crap. I’d been conned!

    The years of indoctrination as an undergrad had sloughed off, in a sort of intellectual molting, before I reached the other size of the plaza. I felt complete catharsis at the release of philosophical tension between what I knew was right and what others wanted me to agree was right. Perhaps that tension is what causes leftists so often to be so miserable.

  20. n.n Says:

    Once the principles are plainly stated, free from semantic games and a selective reality, then the conversion should be near instant. The right in America, and specifically the American concept of conservatism, is unlike that found anywhere in the world. It bears little resemblance to other conservative philosophies. It is a realization of classical liberalism, a relatively new philosophy, tempered by Judeo-Christian principles. It is an effort to discover optimal liberty capable of preserving individual dignity. In this discovery aspect it serves a similar function to the market which is mechanism to determine optimal pricing of finitely available and accessible products and services, and establish a “fair” distribution scheme.

    In contrast, contemporary liberalism closely correlates to hedonism, progressivism closely correlates to imperialism, and, libertarianism, in its crudest form, is comparable to classical liberalism.

  21. Don Kirk Says:

    A wonderful discussion provoked by the original post. May I just briefly address the commenters who addressed my comment:

    kolnai: Both William James and Nietzsche covered the dichotomy of pessimism and optimism at length, but to be brief: Repression of the individual reflects a deep, biopsychological distrust of human beings, and such distrust is easily found on both the religious Right and socialist Left wanting to control human behavior. The key is ‘trust,’ the all-important measure of good mental health, and we find trusting politics in the bifurcated center composed of center-Lefts and center-Rights. Also, although Mussolini clearly moved from the socialist Left to the socialist Right, even more clearly Hitler was never on the socialist Left. The Left’s optimism is committing social regress in the name of social progress, that is, the Left is actually pessimistic about human nature. The Right’s pessimism is attached by others who view the conservative’s value for well-established institutions as an unwillingness to embrace ‘change,’ when actually conservatives are famous for change: Ronald Reagan’s ‘Revolution,’ Margaret Thatcher, Nicholas Sarkosy, and especially the American Revolution. It is the ‘trust’ in the individual responsibility of human nature that makes the Right optimistic.

    thomass: If there are conservative “squishes,” their small numbers entirely decide Presidential elections.

    DonS: Fascists and National Socialists never were, and never will be, “pragmatic socialists.” Fascism and Nazism, just like Marxism, loathe ‘pragmatic socialism,’ truly believing all such pragmatists should be shot. That’s “shot,” as is, actually stand them against a wall and shoot them. Read Mussolini’s ‘Doctrines of Fascism’ and Hitler’s ‘Mein Kamp.’ They both rose to power by beating Left-socialists with clubs, chairs, whips, and especially, their fists.

  22. M of Hollywood Says:

    could we please just stop time and have the entire world read through and mull over this post, the link, and then all these comments? All the secrets seem to be stuffed in here, like cabbage in a large jar of Kim Chee from Costco. Let’s not let it just sit on the bottom shelf of the regfrigerator and go un-munched on: it’s all here. This post and the conversations that ensue could keep the world going for … well, forever.
    And wonder of wonders, in the midst of it Artflgr actually said “OMG.” OMG. And he actually seemed surprised by something. OMG to that. Plus (more importantly) I think he landed on an intersting way to view this “shift” – for me, at least, I didn’t think I changed, I think I thought that I just found my way home. It was an uncob-webbing more than a change.
    I loved the image of walking across Sproul Plaza, too, from Occam’s Beard. Well, I loved them all – every post.
    Please stop the entire world and cease all new posts until we can thoroughly digest all the nougets in this one. And do not miss the bas relief of Set (Seth) on the link to PJ that neo provides up top. It is an astoundingly beautiful image of Set. And look at the words around the circle to his right: rebellion to tyrants is obediance to God.
    It all just makes me want to fall on my knees or maybe better yet run outside and sing “Hallelujah.”

  23. M of Hollywood Says:

    Oh, it’s Thoth, not Set. I should have known. Thoth has always been my favorite. So nice to see him carved so eqsuititely.

  24. M of Hollywood Says:

    carved is not the right word and exquisite is spelled wrong.

  25. Baklava Says:

    Neo,

    I wonder why you haven’t seen an uptick in obama commenters.

    I’ve noticed an odd situation of an abnormal amount of african american defenders of Obama calling into Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Phil Cowan, Tom Sullivan, Hugh Hewitt (well maybe not Hugh’s show come to think of it).

    And they ALWAYS raise these points:
    a) We are turning the corner and you don’t want to go back to the policies that got us into this mess (I hate that vague statement and it drives me nuts)
    b) That Republicans blocked what Obama wanted (even though the first two years were a Democrat Senate and House and stimulus and DoddFrank and Obamacare were passed etc)

    It drives me insane also that there doesn’t seem to be a level of honest debate when these callers call.

    The host tries to point out the facts but Boehner’s statement always comes up but no point of fact on his statement matters nor does chronology.

    Anyways – it hasn’t translated to your blog thank goodness

  26. kolnai Says:

    “We don’t want to go back to the policies that got us into this mess.”

    I agree. Let us end affirmative action now.

    (Snap!)

  27. Gary Rosen Says:

    You were a lot faster than me, neo – I started much earlier but finished around the same time. To make a long story short (or shorter), I was like you typical liberal but not hard leftist. I first noticed the success of Reagan’s foreign policy and saw the swift collapse of the Communist regimes in the captive nations validating his anti-Communism. So even by the early ’90s I was starting to think of voting Republican. However I was put off by 1) the Arabist foreign policy of GHW Bush (though I realized he manned up when Iraq invaded Kuwait) and 2) a feeling that the Republican party had reverted a bit too much to its traditional isolationism after the Cold War ended, though I was not impressed by Clinton’s facility (or lack) in foreign policy. I *was* impressed by the way the economy took off in his second term but I have now rethought that.

    Maybe a subtle marker of coming change was that though I voted for Gore I was not angered by the outcome of the Florida vote and felt Democrats needed to accept it. At any rate my final break with the Democrat party came in 2004 when it was clear to me that what I call the “Michael Moore” wing of the party was now dominant – a total dealbreaker for me. Finally the meltdown/bailout/stimulus scenario in 2008 turned me pretty hard to the right on economic matters. I wouldn’t call myself a “Tea Partier” but I am very sympathetic. If there is anyone I detest more than Obama, it’s Bernanke.

  28. Baklava Says:

    My change was rapid.

    In 1991 when I heard an alternative point of view on AM Radio – I was hungry and listened to every host I could. The liberal hosts (I can’t remember the station in Virginia Beach, VA at the time) made no common sense.

    The conservative hosts made sense.

    More importantly, the facts.

    I went to the library 3 times a week that year because I wanted to verify what was true factually.

    I learned that Rush was right on so many key issues such as the government cutting tax rates in 1981 and yet the revenue went from 550 Billion to 990 billion in 1989.

    It probably happened that way because politics interest me greatly. I ate up many topics from economics to environment to racial politics and gender.

    I read Christan Hoff Sommers book “Who Stole Feminism” and Ward Connerly’s book “Creating Equal” and a whole bunch of other books on a wide variety of topics.

    You could call me a high information voter and I can understand how the country went for Obama the first time however I couldn’t understand the people I talked to closing their ears when I tried to talk to them. Did we have to learn the hard way??? Really??

    And what did the voters really learn? I don’t even know. If they truly learned conservatism I thought that was learned in 1994 with the first wave of Congress being won by the Republicans in 40 some years.

    I understand the Republicans “lost” their way and spent more than we all wanted – anyways I’m rambling.

    I’ve said to many that I consider myself a “centrist” however that puts me to the right of most Republicans and all Democrats.

  29. physicsguy Says:

    Late to the party… but in a nutshell: undergrad in the early 70′s, did the protests, even attended an SDS meeting. Early 80′s out in the real world and paying taxes. It helped that I now lived in Connecticut where money is wasted on the state level at a prodigious rate and I am paying for it. Early 90′s, went through a period of voting against any incumbent; I think that was the real turning period. Also, at that time was beginning to have hard leftist crap shoved at me by colleagues in academia which I saw as containing many highly hypocritical elements which has always driven crazy. After 9/11 transformation complete. Not that 9/11 was an epiphany, just was the final small push into real conservatism.
    Looking back, I really think the real impetus was working in academia. My fellow faculty are so hare-brained in their leftists views, that just to retain some sanity I had to become more conservative.

  30. Brad Says:

    Better screenshot this:
    Why am I not surprised that … (none / 0) (#7)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 03:27:55 AM EST
    … the Romney campaign would resort to creating the illusion that real Democrats would be supporting this serial bull$Hi+ artist. The entire GOP nowadays seems to be enthralled with the mendacious and infatuated with the absurd. Are the majority of white people in this country really this insanely stupid?

    Reply to This | 1 2 3 4 5

    http://www.talkleft.com/story/2012/10/24/03931/443#11

    This “Donald from Hawaii” fellow is a state representative for the Democratic party.

  31. Artfldgr Says:

    just a bit of stuff on the side given the news isnt much covering it, and others arent, and it would really make a big difference in the US election. especially given the guns and bayonetts bs.

    US aircraft carrier cruises disputed Asian seas
    http://www.boston.com/news/world/asia/2012/10/19/aircraft-carrier-cruises-disputed-seas/1bn7cZavhGP2enkx3HIIGO/story.html

    basically, china is using its new military muscle from its now soviet celebrated “Market Communism/Socialism”… (the western socialists see the controlled market of the Chinese communists as the answer to the failure of socialism production. ultimately, given that their production leads to power and that leads to acquisition by force, whats playing out is the inevitable war base)

    Now there is a game of chicken going on, but its not even on the election radar… and its not the only point.

    Turkey (as i said over 4 years ago) is now getting really into a hot conflict with syria, and its a conflict with a touch of genocide over religious beliefs.

    Damascus car bomb kills 13 in Christian quarter of old city
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2012/1022/1224325543674.html

    Turkish retaliatory fire has killed 12 Syrian soldiers -report
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/20/syria-crisis-turkey-idUSL5E8LK1E320121020

    Turkey’s military has fired on Syria 87 times, killing 12 Syrian soldiers and destroying several tanks in retaliation for Syrian shells and mortars landing on Turkish territory, a Turkish newspaper reported on Saturday.

    Turkey has been carrying out a series of retaliatory strikes against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces fighting rebels along the border since Syrian shelling killed five Turkish civilians in a Turkish frontier town at the start of October.

    [this kind of makes the morning pundit on fox talking about war as if it was a choice about costs and you can write it out or off budget at will and the world will not take advantage of it (yes, Obama supporter and token on two levels)]

    A New Iron Curtain
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/10/a_new_iron_curtain.html

    a new iron curtain is falling, and this one is a bit different. the dictatorship has realized that it need not have a supporting argument like communism, but is self supporting in its existence. ie. its existence is its own justification, and so needs accept no limitations, not even ideology. (this is what the past was, but with even less limitation over time).

    Putin flexes muscle in big test of Russia’s nuclear arsenal
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/20/us-russia-nuclear-putin-idUSBRE89J0EJ20121020

    President Vladimir Putin took a leading role in the latest tests of Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal, the most comprehensive since the 1991 Soviet collapse.

    ests involving command systems and all three components of the nuclear “triad” – land and sea-launched long-range nuclear missiles and strategic bombers – were conducted “under the personal leadership of Vladimir Putin”, the Kremlin said.

    An RS-12M Topol Intercontinental Ballistic Missile was launched from the Plesetsk site in northern Russia, and a submarine test-launched another ICBM from the Sea of Okhotsk, the Defence Ministry said.

    Long-range Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers fired four guided missiles that hit their targets on a testing range in the northwestern Komi region, it said.

    “Exercises of the strategic nuclear forces were conducted on such a scale for the first time in the modern history of Russia,”

    China’s increasing military spending unnerves neighbors

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/chinas-increasing-military-spending-unnerves-neighbors/2012/10/23/4b66a7ae-1d29-11e2-ba31-3083ca97c314_story.html

    The United States still spends four times as much on its military. But by some accounts, China is on course to surpass the United States in total military spending by 2035.

    [ever notice that they always compare the US to ONE country, not the array of those who self proclaim opposition together]

    The US will not have a viable economic partner it can borrow from. it will be a case of losing a war and imposing X, or imposing X to fight the war… and it wont matter who is in office as to that point, but it will matter critically on other points. even if the point is that second in command would be Biden…

  32. thomass Says:

    Don Kirk Says:

    “and such distrust is easily found on both the religious Right”

    I don’t know that the religious right really wants to control people. Lefties paint them that way but I don’t actually buy it (all of the big social issues dust ups in my lifetime have been started by the left). The distrust of people and the corrupting influence of the world on souls is usually presented as a truism or even fatalism. In the American context it tends to be a pressure release valve. Don’t hate people for being sinners, everyone is (you too) and that’s just the way of the world. Accept them with their faults. This is different than the left. Totally. They’re more ‘people are
    infinitely malleable Winston’ types.

    “thomass: If there are conservative “squishes,” their small numbers entirely decide Presidential elections.”

    Don’t they though? You have a layer of non conservative republicans and on top of that independents. They do have all the leverage. Take Mitt Romney. I like the guy (I just voted for the guy); but he is not a movement conservative.

  33. Trimegistus Says:

    It’s important to note that religious conservatives believe that sinful human nature is best reformed by (naturally) religion, whereas leftists want government to do it.

    The distinction gets blurry sometimes, though: there are religious conservatives (like Mike Huckabee) who don’t have any problem using state power to enforce morality. There’s a very long history of that — although it is not inherent in Christianity, despite what a lot of atheist morons seem to think.

    On the other side, I think we’ve all seen recently how leftists imbue the state or the party leader with what can only be called religious adoration.

    I tend to prefer religious conservatives to leftists, because at least the religious have a fixed code, whereas leftists believe that whatever the state or party wishes to do at any given moment is absolutely good. Or to put it in concrete terms: leftists have killed more people than theocrats ever have.

  34. Occam's Beard Says:

    OT

    Looking back, I really think the real impetus was working in academia. My fellow faculty are so hare-brained in their leftists views, that just to retain some sanity I had to become more conservative.

    Physicsguy, you’ll like this one. Once in the 80s, during a heated exchange with department chairman (an ardent lefty, in an institution known as a bulwark of socialist support), he said he was going to implement some much-needed reform I’d long been urging, and would do so “soon.” Annoyed at his mendacity, since I’d heard this many times before, I laughed bitterly and said, “Moscow will have a stock exchange before that happens.”

    He waved his hand and snorted, dismissing my statement as risible hyperbole.

    But Moscow now does have a stock exchange. And that department, which I left long ago, still hasn’t implemented the reform. So my statement turned out to be literally true!

  35. kcom Says:

    The question is, Occam, does the department still have the same chairman?

    Because that’s in the finest President-for-Life tradition of most Marxist countries.

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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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