The First Crypto-Conservative/Neo-Conservative Carnival

Welcome to the July 4, 2006 edition of the first crypto-conservative carnival. Because submissions focused on neo-conservatism (I guess all the cryptos are in hiding), I decided to make that my focus too — and I’ve learned a lesson for the next carnival, should I have one.

From Joe, who is that rare bird, a neo-con in San Francisco, we get insight into one of the big transformational impetuses for many neo-cons — growing up and experiencing real responsibility:

Although I am actually an “out” rather than a crypto-conservative.

One of your posts requested tales of peoples transformation from liberal to conservative.

Over the last 5-6 years I have made a steady march from very much leftie (cops are bad, big corps are bad, our govt should control things, people are stupid) to very much conservative (our social structures are there for a reason, cops have a tough job, corporations give us the material basis for our lifestyles, people are generally smart and good and govt should mostly leave us alone).

The turning points? Marriage, followed by children. Both of these events brought significant personal growth and gave me new eyes with which to view society.

Once I started down the path, a growing awareness of the corrosive (and widespread) effects of multiculturalism, political correctness and cultural self-loathing hurried me down the road. One way to look at “conservative” is to “conserve” as in “protect” and I think this country and our values are worth protecting.

My beloved friends are all still very liberal. So you can only imagine the conniptions that I can inspire with lines like: “For his foreign policy alone, George Bush will likely be one of the great Presidents of this century”.

sputter, sputter

Another brave neo-con in San Francisco is columnist Cinnamon Stillwell, who often writes at the San Francisco Chronicle. (I distinguish her here from Debra J. Saunders, the wonderful conservative columnist at the Chron on the ground that Saunders doesn’t seem to be a neo-con so much as a lifelong con.)

At BlogWonks (dedicated to “Demolishing the Matriarchy One Teradactyl at a Time”), Pete pens (types?) a great essay about his conversion from liberal thinker to conservative. His post really struck home for me because it describes so accurately my own thinking at the end of the 1970s, including that now embarrassing vote for Carter.

Erp, who often takes the time to leave her enjoyable comments here, shows how the shelter that the modern media gives its annointed darlings prevents us from seeing them as they really are. Her political transformation took place in a time when the media wasn’t quite so protective:

In 1960 as a young mother staying home with two little people under three, I watched the democratic national convention on television. There was little organization. Cameras picked up the action and Huntley and Brinkley supplied the color. Politicians hadn’t learned yet to play to the cameras so all their machinations were hanging out there for all to see. The Kennedy goons were a disgrace and LBJ’s ruthlessness was brilliantly exposed on camera.

So I didn’t have to convert, I became an anti-Democrat by default and through the years, my first impressions were confirmed. I am a naturally independent logical thinker, so socialism and collectivism are anathema. I registered as a Republican (my first vote was for Eisenhower) and support most of the conservative agenda. I admire Bush and marvel that he can withstand the worldwide fusillade against him 24/7.

I also lived among liberals in New England college towns and walked the fine line while my kids were in public school and our livelihood was determined by the worst of the moonbats. Now that we’re retired and my kids are grown with kids of their own, I’m free to be me.

Jack, of News Snipet ‘Blog fame, has only recently gone all the way to severing his ties to the Democrats (although, as is true for many of us, he has a jaundiced view about the Republican party’s health too):

With this latest immigration fiasco I am finally cutting all ties to the Republican Party (with the exception of our governor, Mark Sanford). I know what people say about “not voting” for a Republican is a vote for a Democrat, but I have to look at myself in the mirror every morning, and have come to the realization that both of these parties have damaged our nation exceptionally. Given that, there will never be positive change as long as we continue to accept the “lesser of two evils”.

Anyhow, I thought I owed you an explanation as lately my posts at the News Snipet have been rather negative towards Republicans. I do not have the faith that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the rest of the “conservative” pundits have that this party can turn itself around.

Barney Quick, who blogs at Bent Notes, got the pleasure of listening to a loony Leftist. He was so put off by the guy’s polemics, that he set about educating himself and switched political allegiances:

It was 1986. I had become involved in our local Unitarian-Universalist congregation through some bohemian friends. I myself was still rather bohemian, but I’d become curious about just who these Sandinistas were and so I’d read Shirley Christian’s book, Nicaragua, and found out that they had been hard-core Communists since their inception in the 50s. One Sunday, our guest speaker was a guy from the Peace Fellowship (that met at the local Presbyterian church). He and his wife had just come back from a “fact-finding” mission to Nicaragua and El Salvador and he was full of ravings about the FSLN’s establishing of a “poor people’s democracy.” He went into what a wonderful thing liberation theology was. I was getting hot, visibly squirming in my seat. I lit into him during the Q&A session.

The whole thing motivated me to join the Indiana Council on World Affairs (which within two years made me president) and get a master’s degree in history. Along the way, I subscribed to National Review and Commentary. I read Witness by Whittaker Chambers and The Road To Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek.

I’ve never looked back. I just wish I could have all those years back that I spent in tofu-and-sprouts land.

My Bubble Life submitted an interesting post about the donkey and elephant images that characterize the two major parties in America. He thinks that these images subliminally affect who we are and who we want to be when we ally ourselves with a political party.

There is one major crypto-conservative, neo-con player out there, of course, and that’s Neo-Neocon. She brings incredible insights to her blog, both because she’s smart, and because she’s not averse to talking about her journey from liberal to conservative. And, as I do, she keeps her identity a closely guarded secret.

It’s no secret that some of the most vocal conservative bloggers and thinkers started life on the Left. Only recently Catherine Seipp, writing at the National Review Online did a whole, tongue-in-cheek article about her decision to switch parties. Other famous blogging neo-cons are David Horowitz, who uses FrontPage Magazine to get his message across; Charles Thompson, at Little Green Footballs (although I wonder if he wasn’t always more on the libertarian side); and the guys at Power Line, who often discuss their 60s past. Michael Medved, the writer and talk-show host is a famous neo-con, who is happy to talk about his transformation from Left to Right.

This is a good place to mention a conversation I had with a colleague a few days ago. As you know, face to face, I keep my political views to myself. The likelihood of changing anyone’s mind in my community is slim to nil, while the possibility of ostracism and attack is fairly high. We were having a great time talking about work, family and community, when he let slip that he, personally, is pro-Life — although he doesn’t feel the government should have any role in the woman’s decision. With that political opening, though, we began talking and it turned out that he is, in fact, quite conservative. He believes that Capitalism is the best weapon we have in spreading Democracy (which is why he thought the Iraq war was a bass-ackwards approach to liberating that country). His problem, as is the problem for so many who, when pressed, will admit to conservative views, is that he’s had a lifetime of hating Republicans. To switch allegiances, and to pull a different lever in the voting booth, simply isn’t something that comes easily to him.

I’m going to round this out with a reference to my own article, at The American Thinker, called “Confessions of a Crypto-Conservative Woman,” simply because that’s a distillation of all my thinking about publicly announcing a change in political allegiance.

Thank you to all of you who helped me out with this carnival. As I noted at the beginning, if I do one again, I’ll do it as a neo-con carnival.

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