The following is a collection of personal testimonials as to why individuals became conservative after being brought up in a liberal enviornment. You can view the original Quora question here.
Posted by PJ Fitz
on June 12, 2017
I used to be a liberal. I mean, really liberal. I campaigned and canvassed. I rallied. I dated girls who were vegans and didn’t shave their pits. All was well. Except for one thing…. we were losing arguments. Conservatives on campus seemed to really have their shot together and they were formidable in debate. The people in my circles seemed to always fall back on some tired slogans, retreat to race or make shot up.
As I started to read more broadly, I found the conservatives were just plain smarter. Better writers, better grasp of history, better at maintaining logical and coherent strands of thought – especially the libertarians. The thing that finally turned me was abortion. While I was still “pro-choice” at the time, I was feeling a little creeped out by the company I was keeping on that side of the debate. So militant. So closed off. When pushed, so extreme in their views. I could understand a pro-life person making abortion their #1 issue. If you believe a baby is being murdered how could any other issue get in front of that one? But how could pro-choice folks be so monomaniacal about it?
In the end, my view of abortion moved from “it’s just a clump of cells” to “it’s PROBABLY just a clump of cells… but… what if we’re wrong?” That departure from orthodoxy got a cold reception on campus and it was at that point that I decided to separate my self-image from my politics and jump over to the side with the better arguments (and grooming habits).
Posted by Doug Bell
on June 20, 2017
I grew up in a completely liberal environment. My father was a liberal dean at a liberal college in the 1960s. We lived in on-campus housing. My mother is left of my father politically. I am the oldest of three children. My sister who is 15 months younger than me is somewhat of a social justice warrior, and my “oops” sister ten years my junior is politically left of everyone else in the family. Most of my parents’ friends were liberal while I was growing up. The liberal viewpoint was all I knew growing up.
I never fit in. There was too much illogic.
For starters, I could never reconcile why people that worked hard and were successful were vilified yet the homeless that didn’t even try to work were worthy of my parents’ money. I wanted to be successful someday and I was a hard worker. It seemed like the better you did, the worse you were regarded, and the worse you did the more worthy of attention—even when doing worse was a choice.
Then there was this idea that the government should take care of people. But the more the government took care of people, the worse they did. People who took care of themselves were better off, so why would you want to be dependent on the government? People living in housing projects and on welfare were a mess. The entire message was wrong. The poor people from ghettos that worked their way out of the ghetto were much happier and more successful than the people living off government largess.
When I went off to college, I saw programs like affirmative action messing up more people’s lives. Minorities that got in on merit were constantly having to overcome the assumption that they got in on the color of their skin. Minorities that got in based on the color of their skin largely failed in school because they couldn’t keep up. It was insane, and that’s before considering the people that deserved to be there on merit who were displaced by the failing students who weren’t deserving.
In college I started to realize that liberalism is more about doing things that make the liberal feel good about themselves—make the liberal feel like they are a better person—than it is about making other people’s lives better. Largely, liberalism enables people to be less than they are capable of being. Self reliance is the key to a satisfying life, and everywhere I looked, liberals were taking that away from people.
Then there’s the just plain mean, nasty intolerance of liberals. They don’t want to debate their ideas—understandably—they’d much rather simply silence contrary views. They go about doing this by marginalizing dissenting voices so they can dismiss them by slapping a label on them and avoid addressing the content of their argument.
Liberals have made an art form out of silencing and marginalizing. It’s called political correctness, and it’s a cancer on society. It’s downright Orwellian—it even has its own Doublespeak language with terms like trigger words, implicit bias, safe spaces, hate speech and microaggressions. Political correctness erodes personal liberties and encourages Group Think. Political correctness feeds into the identity politics favored by the left to divide people into groups and pit those groups against each other. I just couldn’t square liberal illogic with my penchant for critical thought.
I finally began to realize why I never fit in. I’m a classical liberal, which means I’m a contemporary conservative.
While my views are more libertarian than conservative (I’m an atheist for one thing), I believe government has a role in maintaining a level playing field. Agencies like the FDA, EPA, SEC, etc., while often heavy handed and over regulating are necessary for the public good. Libertarianism taken to its extreme isn’t workable. Besides, the Libertarian Party is feckless—they never get a seat at the table because they lack practicality.
So I’m a libertarian conservative and registered Republican because that’s where logic and critical thinking landed me.
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