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How I Got Here, Part II

I intended to write a follow up to yesterday's entry about social civil war, then promised myself I would just let it go. Then I dreamed about. If I dream about it, it must be weighing heavily on my mind and I would be just adding to my rising blood pressure if I ignored it. In the dream, I was stuck in a maze. The maze was made of stone and shrubbery, the walls at least ten feet high. All I could see above me was a sky littered with small storm clouds that were joining together to form a rather black sky. The walls of the maze were decorated with old, torn posters of Fidel Castro. Every time I thought I found the way out of the maze, I would be confronted by Michael Moore. At one point he was eating an Egg McMuffin and I asked if he was enjoying the Canadian bacon. He said it was a little too rough for his taste. Whatever. He still wouldn't let me through. The dream went on for a good twenty minutes after that, but you don't want to hear about that. Not really important. What's important is that I clarify my issues from yesterday. No it's not. It's not important at all because I really don't owe anyone any explanations for the way I feel. I'll just say to those that thought my entire post was about the Importance of Bloggers, you missed the boat. And to the one person who thought I should be grateful for my trolls because you don't get any comments: you're a complete idiot. Wait, there is one thing. I suppose a lot of people are wary of comments, so they email me instead. One person wrote: bq. You keep saying you used to be a lefty or a liberal. I know that 9/11 had a lot to do with you changing your views. But I've read your archives and I want to know how you can come around full circle like that. It's like throwing out who you used to be. Were you a phony lefty or are you a phony rightie? Again, clarification on that needed, but I'll wing it. Yes, I was a liberal. When I was seventeen, I marched in no-nukes rallies. Now I think that nuclear power is our future. You live and learn. I was a naive teenager who was sucked into the "movement" by older friends who preached their gospel to me daily. I was always uncomfortable in that group, as if I were a poser, someone who didn't really belong but was going along for the ride because it was supposedly the right thing to do. In later years, I went through several periods of self-loathing that stemmed from activities I participated in with these people. I never went to bed feeling self-satisfied like they did. Most of the time - even as recently as three years ago - I felt slightly dirty, as if I were doing something wrong or not being true to who I was. But I went on carrying the banners and talking the talk and using all the correct phrases and terminology and talking points. I could have made a movie: I Was A Leftist Robot. The thing about lefties is they want you to follow whole play book or none of it. You are either with them and their issues 100% or you're a pariah. When I bought an SUV, I lost my street cred. I went from a compatriot to a baby killer. I was shunned by a good portion of the society I belonged to. It was then that my cool exterior began to chip away. This was even before 9/11. I would have conversations with my father - a conservative Republican - and find myself agreeing with him more and more, though I would never tell him that. I would fight with him on certain issues but I didn't fight with a strong will. At some point, I realized that when I debated with my father, I was only reciting from a script. Were these really my core beliefs? I questioned myself and my motives more and more. I became increasingly uncomfortable with my own ideals. I would write something and then immediately feel ashamed about it. But I didn't want to step out of line. I didn't want to lose the friends I had and I certainly did not want to lose myself. If I admitted that everything I had been saying and writing and doing was done out of some sense of obligation and not with any true belief, then I would be branding myself a liar and a hypocrite. Did I really hate my country the way the rest of my clan did? No. Never. Did I think we were an evil people out to conquer the rest of the world? No. Would I give some more thought to being a vegetarian? No way. Would I get rid of my SUV in the name of the cause? Nope. Would I be a tree sitter or give money to the people who want to destroy a car dealership? Hell no. So umm...why are you calling yourself one of us? Damned if I know. The big thing at the time I was doing this soul searching was a G8 summit, or one of those world conglomerate gatherings, where people who were at the time my peers did a the protest-by-smashing-private-property thing. I wrote something that basically said those people were idiots. My peers were aghast. All these things, all this self doubt and internal questioning happened before 9/11. That fateful day was just a huge wake up call for me. Even then, it took several months before I would finally let go of the left and admit that I was more of a moderate or a centrist than a liberal/leftist. Once the conspiracy theories started and people started blaming America first, I knew I had to cut loose. If you've been reading here for any length of time, you know the rest because it all pretty much played out right here in public, preserved in bytes. An interesting thing happened to me after I shed that faux lefty skin I was wearing. I was finally at peace with myself. No longer walking around denying who I was and pretending to be something else, I was able to be happy with who I was. I hated myself when I was trying to fit in with people I should have abandoned when I was 18. I hate my thoughts, I hated the slogans I blindly followed along with, I hated the way I couldn't really hold my own in a debate because I was debating only with words they armed me with, I wasn't debating with my gut feelings. I don't deny my former politics at all. They're all here, in my early archives and the ones that aren't here you can find by digging around on archive.org. In fact, I'll gather them all up and put them in one place for easy reading. I will never deny my past. I'm uncomfortable with it and I am ashamed of many of the things I did and said, but I've never been one for revisionist history. I am who I am and I was who I was. I'm not here to please you or to seek your approval. I did enough approval seeking in my lifetime and I finally figured out that the only person whose approval I should seek is myself. A little late in life to be learning a lesson such as that, but better late than never. I feel at home now. I don't feel like a stranger in my own country. I don't feel the nagging self doubt, I don't feel the strings being pulled when I talk. And I don't need a playbook to debate anyone because all my talking points are my own. I hope that answers your question. [You can read more about How I Got Here at Part 1, from November 2002]


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Well said, Michele. I went through something similar when I was growing up, though I never got involved in rallies or the like. 9/11 for me was the final wake-up call that shattered my remaining illusions once and for all.

Well, I have a personal theory that Michele will never vote for a Repub for president. I don't know what could possibly happen between now and November to change her mind, but I just have this gut feeling that she either won't vote at all or vote for somebody besides Bush.

Call it a hunch.

I think Michele's shown a lot of courage in addressing serious issues.

My own first moment of apostasy was on the topic of abortion. You want to see hostility: Turn pro-life. Whew!

Part of my frustration with the left was it seemed so doctrinaire -- if I wanted dogma, I'd go to church. The church has more flexibility on failures to live up to its rules, anyway.

Plus, like most Americans, I have a "go fuck yourself" attitude when people tell me what to think.

Michele said it best "you live and learn". When Clinton went to war in Kosovo I supported his actions despite my distaste for his domestic leadership. For me, having lived in various parts of the world over the years I, too, 'lived and learned' that America is the symbol of freedom and liberty which must be defended and protected no matter the cost. No matter who is President.

For me, 9/11 was not a wake-up call it was a decades long 'in the pit of my stomach' realization that the decades long Carter policy of appeasement failed because it supported tyranny and oppression.

That being said, voting Republican is not a crime in America, to assume it is a crime is fascistic.

From what I have read, Michele is an American first and has an open mind free to vote however she wishes.

Michele.. I've been reading your blog for 3 months now. This is the first time I've written. Life is about changes and growth within. Far too many people become stagnated, set in their ways, and actually are frightened of "change" within. Bless you. I hope your continue your "personal growth within" for many more years to come.

Good post, Michele.
But, you can be sure that if you for whatever reason decide not to vote for Bush, or to become a Democrat, the right-wingers who support you now would turn on you in a heartbeat.

I grew up in the deep South and my parents were members of the John Birch Society. Until I went to college, and for sometiem after, I was very conservative. I had a confederate flag hanging form my bedroom wall, I was a junior member of the NRA. I voted for Reagan and (like Reagan) I thought apartheid in South Africa was not such a bad thing. yet I never considered myself a racist or a bigot. My heart was always sympathetic to people I knew who suffered, yet in my head I could not rationalize giving taxpayer money to anyone.
Looking back on that period, I realize that your surroundings have an awful lot to do with your political philosophy, and that one way to get a fuller perspective is to travel alot and live in a different part of the USA.

Reading Michael Lind's book Up from Conservatism in the early 90's confirmed my rationale for moving away from the Right to the Left, which is where my heart and my head now rest comfortably together.

Ultimately, everyone has to confront the old cliche' or go through life as a phoney: "To thine own self be true."

Michelle, you realized that those leftist beliefs being foisted on you weren't true to yourself, so you moved to the right. Likewise, some will move to the left. That's what freedom is all about - the right to be true to one's own beliefs.

Me, I was a conservative when I was a teenager because I saw the left as a bunch of phoneys. Nothing I've seen since has changed my mind. I've been true to myself all along.

Bravo! Many people go from left to right and/or right to left in a lifetime. Your situation, your personal feelings, your comfort level change. I personally have gone from (semi) far-right to moderate right a few times in my life. I've never REALLY crossed over to the left, but who knows? My uncle, who in his early 20's was a staunch republican, farther to the right than most, has crossed over to the liberal side. He's one of the best debators, most well-researched and spoken guy I know. I don't usually agree with him, but I listen. Change is part of life.

Funny thing is, I had a weird dream about Moron Moore last night, too.... how weird is that? Synergy with a Yankees fan... what IS happening to me??

Hmm, the whole lefty turned righty thing is interesting. You mentioned that you could have made a movie; well, someone beat you to it. It's called 'SLC Punk', and it's about this guy who goes from an all-out rebellious teenage punk, to a law school student. You'd probably get a kick out of it, and it's a nicely done film anyways.

It's funny... in 1984, I thought Reagan was great because, well, I was six, and he seemed to be protecting the country and making us do well. In high school, I turned into a liberal somehow (I blame MTV), and up until about 2000, I stayed that way. In the election of 2000, I voted for Browne and a bunch of Democrats (unfortunately, that included Bill Nelson of Florida, who, if he didn't support the space program so much, wouldn't be so bad).

Between 2001 and 2002, I went from being an apathetic centrist to a Dennis Miller Conservative... Conservative on economics, Liberal on some social issues, Libertarian on achievement.

And now I have no one to vote for.


I am still reading Michele's posts, for the past two years, and I have not turned on Michele nor do I intend to.

I am an American, I prefer to keep my mind open.

I have always found people who were real hard-core lefties when young (only to turn to the right later) fascinating. I do not understand why anyone could make that change, as it is so extreme. Refreshingly Michele is not making any excuses for being a leftie when younger. I rather loath converts to the right (any of its forms) who feel the need to make long-winded excuses to justify why they were left-wing when younger. I am glad they have seen the light and that is that.

For the record, I have gone from authoritarian/statist right (in my early teens) to libertarian/anti-statist. I used to have discussions about how I would rule a small Carribean Island as an "enlightened" depot. I got to realise these dreams, without anyone getting killed, with the amazingly good game Tropico. (Ok Junta! was pretty good to as a board game.)

The only that worries me is that many who comment on this site are still working in the inaccurate and rediculous left-right line paradigm. It does not work and never has done. Politics is much more complicated that a straight line.

I think that it's a natural progression for most people to become more conservative as they get older. Maybe it's because they become wiser, have more experience, or become jaded. Personally, I don't like labeling people since my views on different issues are much to complex to comfortably fit in a single "box." I do agree with you, however, that the liberal end of the spectrum is increasingly becoming a club where you have to be in it for everything or you're not in it at all.

Just one man's opinion.

The most interesting example of this left-to-right transformation I've ever read was David Horowitz' book "Radical Son" - highly recommended, and it is the one book that started my own such journey. He was hip deep in the whole 60s Berkeley Marxist thing, and after his pals in the Black Panthers murdered their own secretary to keep some embarrassing things quiet, and didn't appear too bothered by it all, he had an epiphany. Then when the Hanoi Janes of the world were exposed as actually being glad that South Vietnam lost the war, and therefore Communist symathizers, he said bye-bye. He lost many "friends" that way. Good riddance.

Sometimes I wonder how much people turned was a response to the 60s boomers overwhelming everything?

I was right when I was born and I'm right now, but more liberal than my parents.

I've always been pro-choice, but it's getting to be a very interesting discussion now because med tech is opening up an entire new world to prospective parents.

That and I still don't understand w/all the birth control options out there and I control my body slogans they're still getting pregnant. Seems to me that's not really being in control....

Hondo, you said:
I think that it's a natural progression for most people to become more conservative as they get older. Maybe it's because they become wiser, have more experience, or become jaded.
I've often thought (as I'm growing older and becoming more conservative on some issues) that as you get older, you simply have more and more energy invested into your life, your career, your dreams, your family and friends, spouse, children etc. To me it seems natural to become more conservative in an effort to protect all that. And in that process of 'growing up', you get used to making choices and sacrifices; generally, taking responsibility for your life.

I didn't see those values in the leftists I knew in college.

Michele, I had a similar transition, though not as intense as yours, it would seem. Once out of the military and into college, I felt at times I had to apologize for having been in the Army. It was weird. Honestly, though I've always been fairly intelligent, I haven't always had a strong sense of myself, which is why I allowed myself to stay in that environment that fostered self-hatred and guilt, rather than just saying "screw it, this is such crap" like I would (and do when I encounter it) today.

I remember this one time in college when I was preparing to go to a Grateful Dead concert. When I met up with my 'friends' they all stared at me. One of them came to me and, very gently, told me that I looked "a bit conservative." I laughed. I was wearing jeans and a white teeshirt, standard dress code for me, exactly what I like. Anyway, it's probably a dumb story but I remember thinking in that moment that I just didn't fit in with those people. It took about another year to realize that it went far deeper than the jeans and teeshirt.

I just renewed my drivers liscense and during the process I was asked if I wanted to change my voting party registration and I changed it to Republican, but that does not mean I will be voting for GW Bush. I find myself agreeing more with what the Republicans have to say. This war in Iraq is a sticking point for me though, and so is abortion. I am pro-life. I think Bush needs to give me an exit plan for Iraq, and then maybe he'll get my vote. Kerry and Edwards will never get my vote because of their view on abortion. Being left or right does not mean you can't think for yourself.

Michelle, I think you were always a non-lefty. You just adopted the thinking patterns of the group you wanted to be part of when you were growing up. By adulthood you had a thick veneer of left-liberal philosophies coating a your basically clear eyed core.

When you got older,were exposed to life realities, and became more involved with your family and less with your friends. The veneer grew thin and finally sloughed off.

We are what we are because of the people we associate with, and the people we admire. We subconciously tailor our thinking to make us fit into the group. It is the rare person who is immune from the influence of others. Thank God! If it were not for this capacity of individuals to become part of a larger animal, I doubt if the human race could survive.

My Dad always said that a fool's mind is closed, it's the wise man who can change his mind.

I took this to mean that rigid people will not process new data, and stay in the same mind-rut forever. They get very upset when life demands submission to new realities.

While flexible people are open to new ideas and incorporate them into their thinking. Thereby getting a better shot at happiness.

Be glad you're one of the flexible ones.

I can think of no single issue on which Michele is to the 'Right' of my own beliefs, a few on which we stand shoulder to shoulder and several that we disagree.
Kate, although some of those disagreements are on my core beliefs, I shall not turn on Michele, any more than I turn on my friends of differing religion. It's a sad world in which friendship depends on absolute agreement. I choose not to live there.

I was debating only with words they armed me with, I wasn't debating with my gut feelings

I think this is a most commendable realization, and is at the core of my feelings toward others' opinions. If I feel they are discussing something with me out of true, reasoned and deep personal feelings, I will listen intently to what they have to say, debating when I disagree and forming new opinions of my own if what they say has particular merit or is from an angle I hadn't considered.

When their opinions are a script -whether it be the Bible, lefty rag mags, talk radio hosts or what their friends have told them, I don't want to hear it. It always seems trite and repetitive and usually ends up being a circular argument.

Good for you to come to those personal conclusions. I've watched it play out and it has been a very interesting read. I honestly think, giving the divide in our country today, that your book that you keep threatening to write could be about this political shift you've experienced.

hmm. michele, i can pretty much follow along with you on used to be... now am... but i don't consider myself right or left anymore. I find much in the right to be as disgusting as much of the left. The demagoguery is what gets me the most- the attempts at manipulating my emotions to sway me to a cause. Ok well, i tend to be Vulcan about my emotions and would rather stab someone who tries to use them for their own cause than let them use them.

I walked away from my leftist clan because i think i just woke up one day and said, Screw the guilt, screw you and your "moral superiority" and screw you for for being a hysterical mob of psychos. And something big that was recent as 2001... much of what i was reading by the left was far too close to what i had experienced living with a group of white power skinheads in PHX AZ. It's hard to explain, but the mindset, down to the "it's the jews fault" greatly disturbed me. The left is blind to this aspect. Completely and utterly blind, and wilfully, i think, to what has happened to them. I think, too, that i finally acknowledged my true nature- that i want money and lots of it and that's not compatible with what the left preaches. (what they practice, of course.. a different story..)

and after not owning a TV for almost 9 years... i watch it now, and the election commercials just irritate me. I feel like i've been had. Someone's playing me and my emotions... with the pictures, the music, the voice-overs.. hell, even the timber of the voices on the commercials makes me want to smash the TV i happen to be watching. The Republicans are just as guilty of this as the Democrats, they just use different imagery.

and something else... what i was being told by the Clan of the Left and what i was experiencing often were not meshing. And the whole smelly hippy thing.. ick.

(sorry to leave such long comments. Greeblie is down and i have no venue right now of my own. heh.)

Michele, I think it's natural to feel more negative emotion toward the end of the spectrum that you've departed. The lies of the left pain you more intensely because you were one of those people. The lies of the right, in point of fact, are no better or worse than those of the left. Many of your newfound friends on the right would abandon you if you started speaking words they don't wish to hear, just as those on the left did, because politics matter more to the people on either extreme than friendships do. Those of us from both sides who are here just because we think you're a pretty cool person will be the ones who stick around, even when you happen to say something that we don't like.

Do any of you bother to THINK about politics?

Bothered to read Aristotle's "The Politics"? Or the Federalist? Marx, Hayek, Rawls, Mises, Machavelli, Burke, Smith?

I doubt it. You are as bad as any other political American running around with your head cut-off. Much like Bush/Kerry you are all style, no substance.

BTW- Unless you are in power, the impolite word for this condition is "serfdom."

Enjoy being a herd-animal. Smell you later.

I recently heard someone on TV say "If you're not a liberal when you're young, you have no heart. And if you're not a conservative when your older, you have no brain."

Oh, and I'd like to think that I had something to do with your shift to the right =)



Do any of you bother to THINK about politics? [Addition drivel deleted]

Heh heh. You're funny. Nope, nobody here but you ever thinks. Feel free to give us the benefit of your wisdom. We could all use a good belly laugh.

Lisa: The quote was originally spoken by Winston Churchill.

Mr. Chruchill had an interesting political career. Although he spent about 75% of his political career as a Tory (conservative), he "crossed the floor" and joined the Liberal party during the 1920's. Mr. Churchill felt that his positions remained the same, while the Tories, and then the Liberals, were the ones who changed positions.

Michele, I'm guessing it was people like Um Yeah that moved you to the right.

He had me at Right-Tard.

"Many of your newfound friends on the right would abandon you if you started speaking words they don't wish to hear, just as those on the left did, because politics matter more to the people on either extreme than friendships do."

Hogwash. Michele has argued about things and opinions that she holds that run counter to many 'right-wing taliking points' and she's not been abandoned.

I see 'right-wing' people disagree--severely-- all the time. I see people who disagree with this president appointed, by this president, to positions of power.

I don't and haven't seen that behaviour on the 'left'.

There are ideologies that demand orthodoxy. All of them are bad.

"Right-Tard". Hmm. Then again, Michele, I can understand wanting to close the comments...

I am not surprised that Brad "turned" liberal, because his upbringing is more "non-thinking right-wing" whose philosophy has been alienated by both parties.

Brad has the view that most Republicans are like his family, which has always been an fallacy (Yeah, Brad, Reagan thought that apartheid wasn't such a bad thing... sources please!). Bigots in the south are just as likely to vote for a Democrat "good old boy" than a Republican (Just look at the SC Senate race in 1998).

Raised in a "thinking conservative" family, a person may veer to the left in their youth. This usually because most liberal tenets seem very logical on the face of the subject, but with experience and knowledge, they become weaker arguments.

Personally, I may have had a few more "liberal-leaning" beliefs than my parents, but never really went heavy to the left like my sister, who is now back on the right side again (in this respect, I think this mirrors Lisa and Michele's political evolution).

That's not the real "Um Yeah" I bet.

Jack, you missed the point. A shift from liberal all the way over to conservative is a very different thing from conservatives tolerating a certain amount of disagreement amongst themselves. What I'm saying is that if events ever came about such as to compel Michele to shift back to being a liberal, many of her conservative supporters would leave. Many others would stay, of course, but the decision to stay would be based on personal reasons, not political affinity.

I find all the arguing over the left being worse than the right or vice versa to be thoroughly pointless. Extremists on either side are bad because they are unwilling to tolerate diversity and dissent. Anyone who believes that extremists on one end of the spectrum are horrific, while those on the other end are simply misunderstood, almost certainly IS one of the extremists.

Problem MikeR is that the liberals define anyone to the right of them as far right wing or extremist. Why don't you give me an example of who you believe to be a right wing extremist in the Republican party. The Republican party is not the party that would have been allowed to tolerate their leading Congressman to have had a house of prostitution run out of his home or their leading Senator having caused the death of a person by running away from an accident scene. Or another of their Senators having been a leading member in the KKK not as a naive young person but as a mature adult. The Republican party does not hold as its standard bearer a serial adulterer and disbarred perjurer. Conservatives have their bad apples but they are purged from within rather than promoted to leaders of the party.

I've always been a liberal, so I can't imagine what it would be like to switch to the dark side. But I did live in Boulder, Colorado (definitely a left leaning town) for a few years, so I can identify with some of the negative views of the left expressed here. My civics teacher in high school said that the extreme ends of the political spectrum are almost indistinguishable, and I still think there is a lot of truth to that. The people on the far left, especially the anti-science environmentalists, can really grate on me.

But what alarms me about current conservatism is the anti-intellectualism. If you listen to some of the conservatives nowadays you'd think being smart is a bad thing. There's a lot of anti-science rhetoric coming from the right, to the effect that scientists are deceiving the public about global warming, and that they're wrong about evolution. This is very damaging to America's ability to keep our edge in science and technology. If people are ridiculing scientific theories fewer young people are likely to pursue advanced studies in science, and this puts us at a disadvantage.

Aren't you conservatives embarassed that there are so many people on the right who don't believe in evolution? I mean, it's the 21st century.

"Aren't you conservatives embarassed that there are so many people on the right who don't believe in evolution?"

No. Why the hell should we be? We didn't create those people in a vat; we believe in something odd -- free thought. I might as well ask you if "you" liberals are ashamed that so many of your number think Michael Moore is some sort of beacon of truth for the Working Man instead of yet another rich capitalist raking in the dollars with both hands.

"But what alarms me about current conservatism is the anti-intellectualism"...funny..this is one of the things that worries me about current leftism. Where are the people who believe in magical crystals and astrology? Where are the people who reject GM foods, on the basis of no knowledge or analysis, even at the price of condemning thousands to starvation? Where are the people who reject science and logic as "Western" or "Patriarchal" or some such nonsense? Where are the people who have no interest in historical scholarship, because, y'known, it's not very "relevant"?

These sorts seem to show up pretty much on the Left.

Michele wrote in a previous entry:
I'm 40 years old and this is grade school all over again
That's what strikes me about some of the remarks from the left, such as calling Republicans "pubbies", Bush "shrub", "dubya", "chimp", saying he attacked Iraq because someone tried to kill his "daddy", and of course the occasional reference to people on the right "masturbating" to war reports and similar news. They gang up on people, they call names. Of course, some of their names are a tiny bit less juvenile: neocons, warbloggers, chickenhawks; but it's still name-calling. They can't seriously think this will change their targets' minds, so its only intent must be to demoralize. How noble. Honestly, I've just stopped listening to pretty much everything they say.

There is no doubt that there is an extreme right and an extreme left. The extreme right is based on orthedox religeous belief which is rigid in and based on the strict interpretation of the bible. The extreme left is based on anti-american ideologies that condemn capitalism, religion (Especially Christian) and all forms of materialistic progress that consumes world resources at the expense of a pristine, planned world order. Both of these extremes use techniques to control their members beliefs and do not tolerate any disention without a fight. The vast majority of people in the U.S. fall somewhere in the middle of these extremes and there has been a battle to conscript the most vulnerable to each of their beliefs. In recent decades, the extreme Right appeared to be making headway into national politics and was resoundingly rejected by the majorit of Amaricans. Today, we have a massive offensive of the extreme left attempting to move to the mainstream with books, movies and mainstream press accolades but the core of the country is not buying this trash just as they didn't buy the extreme right. Some may opine that we are on the verge of another civil war and we may have clashes at certain demonstrations, but the facts will eventually win the day. The extreme left have overplayed their hand and will pay in the ballet box. The issues of the day are too important to be left to propogandist film makers, opportunist book righters and frustrated news paper editors. THERE IS SERIOUS SHIT GOING ON IN THE WORLD and if we chose to close our eyes to the realities and blame those who work their F*CKING asses off to try to win, then we will indead all fail together and we deserve it. I have more faith in the American people to do the right thing at this historical crossroad.


But what alarms me about current conservatism is the anti-intellectualism. If you listen to some of the conservatives nowadays you'd think being smart is a bad thing.

Huh? Name some names and provide appropriate quotes. Last I recalled the large teachers unions (Like CA's) are decidedly leftist AND THEY are more interested in dumbing-down the curriculm as to having the "correct results" then in educating kids in the basics. Any time moderates or conservatives talk about merit pay for teachers, vouchers, etc as tools to get a moribund and dangerous public school fiefdom out from under such leftists the histrionics and vitriol peels the paint off the walls (of the school admin offices..the paint is already peeling in the classrooms).

And the Left is all about "feeling" irrespective of facts or reality. "Perception" is what counts for leftists. How are "feelings" pro-intellectual?

BTW, I would hazard as many "lefties" are into crystals, wicca and "alternative medicines" as those on the right who "don't believe" in evolution. Are you embarrassed..I mean it's the 21st century.

L.a.Y. yes I have read every one of those books. As well as Rand, Claustwitz, Sun Tzu, Boaz etc

That is probably why I am libertarian (who votes Republican if I like the candidate).

"But what alarms me about current conservatism is the anti-intellectualism." - Reisz Fischer

Anti-intellectualism on the Right seems to encompass a smaller slice than it does on the Left. 'Course, that depends entirely on how one defines "anti-itellectual":

If one looks at what you stated in the sense of "anti-science", "anti-logic", "anti-factualism", and "anti-critical thinking", as Andrea and a few posters seem to be reading it, then I'd have to say there's a far greater degree of anti-intellectual behavior on the Leftist side.

If one describes/defines it as being opposed to the psuedointellectualism that comprises "intellectual in most of our academia and media today: reliance on talking points, adherence to failed theories such as Marxism, adherence to social engineering at the expense of means testing, logic based on "feeling" rather than critical thought - then yes, "Anti-Intellectual" is a label I'll wear proudly.

Noam Chomsky, Moore, a majority of Berkely Academics, et al fall into the classification of "Educated Idiots": they have data, but no practical ability to turn it into useful thought.

I'm anti-Educated Idiot.

"If you listen to some of the conservatives nowadays you'd think being smart is a bad thing." - Reisz Fischer

Being "smart" without having any common sense or practical experiental means testing of ideas is a Bad Thing. Convince me that being "smart" as an end in itself is intrinsically a Good Thing, sirrah.

My dad always taught me that it's not how smart you are, it's what you can accomplish with it.

"to the effect that scientists are deceiving the public about global warming," - Reisz Fischer

That's probably because, wellll... quite frankly, there are a lot of agenda driven scientists who're decieving the public about Global Warming. Do some actual research. I have.

[And no, I'm not going to link you - Alltheweb.com is your library card: I am no one's secretary or research assistant]

"If people are ridiculing scientific theories fewer young people are likely to pursue advanced studies in science, and this puts us at a disadvantage." - Reisz Fischer

I would say that if scientists are discrediting their fields by producing junk science and agenda driven rather than results driven research [research to "prove" a point rather than to theorise from the results], they they're doing more damage to the credibility of science as a whole than a few Creationists. Most people already accept that the creationists are a bit "off".

"Aren't you conservatives embarassed that there are so many people on the right who don't believe in evolution? I mean, it's the 21st century." - Reisz Fischer

Quite frankly, no it doesn't. Although I'm a libertarian, not a conservative, so their mileage may vary.

I "believe" in neither creationism nor evolution. Color me an agnostic:

1) Creationism is a Model, not a theory.

2) Evlution is a Scientific Model, not a theory. Theory is a misnomer there.

"Belief" has nothing to do with it. Factual analysis does. I can "believe" in an ability to fly by flapping my arms if I wish to, but if I do it off the edge of a 30 story building, gravity's going to have other ideas.

In case you're not familiar with the diference between a "model" and a "theory", Reisz, I'll outline in brief:

A Theory can be labratory proven and/or falsified under scientific conditions. A proven theory will always return identical results under identical conditions.

A "Model" is a contrivance that describes a set of phonomenae that cannot be proven or falsified.

Evolution and Creationism are both models: 1) they cannot be falsified - you cannot recreate conditions of creation or evolution [as of yet] in a labratory and prove that they do NOT occur. At best, you can "prove" that you don't have the means to falsify. 2) They cannot be proven in a labratory: you cannot recreate primordial soup, for instance and have a primitive organism spontaneously form under the conditions that are presumed to have existed at the beginning of life, and then watch it evolve into more complex organisms. Neither can you observe an act of divine creation and capture it on instruments as proof of creationism. {neither Galapagos nor viral research nor GM constitute proof of evolution for instance: they're proof of selective breeding. Nor is the Bible proof of creationism - it's a circular evidential chain]

Both are models. Both are ways of describing a set of phonomenae that cannot as yet be fully duplicated or observed.

Personally, I give more weight to the Evolution Model as a descriptive, because evolution has a far greater weight of circumstantial evidence that creationism. But until someone can evolve a one celled organism into a complex multicellular organism under reproducible lab conditions, it's a model. And until God comes down and demonstrates Creation, creationism is a model with only one bit of circumstantial evidence.

I'll stay agnostic on both, thank you. I'm not much given to taking my science on faith. ;)

By the way... Reisz Fischer is an interesting name. Mind if I ask it's antecedents?

I was comforted to know that I wasn't the only one who grieved for an entire year after 9/11. I was changed drastically on that day as well, although I was already a Condervative/Republican. What happened to me was that suddenly the tragedies that happened on the news was no longer nameless, faceless stories, but my brothers and sisters, and and I am touched by their pain. On 9/11 I lost my detachment from world events.

Did "Ironbear" really post that long, rambling post in order to convince us that his NEW definition of "THEORY" and "MODEL" is more explanatory than those accepted by generations of very smart people and sharp writers??? Even Karl Popper would fail "Ironbear" (for religous blithering).