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Considering the Readers' Questions and Concerns
In Dissent, Number One Hundred and Twenty-One
by Brian S. Wise
8 July 2003Question mark

Answers to questions on why some liberals convert, the viability of conservative groupies and other burning issues.


If you have ever enjoyed this column, you have Rachel Alexander to thank.
         
Though it has never been said publicly, I should say that I did not write a word in the time between the Tragedies and the end of 2001, having been shaken beyond expectation by the attacks and subsequent World Trade Center collapse.  In late 2001, Rachel wrote to say there was a columnist spot available at her new website (IntellectualConservative.com) if I was interested. Ultimately, my wanting to help Rachel get her internet legs under her outweighed what was, by then, a notable depression.
           
Rachel and I had been fair acquaintances for a few years before the creation of the website, so the amounts of trust that can foster themselves in similar working arrangements for the most part existed before this version of the column gained any momentum.  This trust lead to a deeper involvement in the website than most columnists have, an extension of which being the ability to peruse protected information; what interests me are the number of people regularly reading this column, and how others arrive at the site, through various search engines.  At least once a day I see that someone reached the site by rather curious or humorous means, searching for answers for their various questions or concerns.  Perhaps many more of you carry these questions around in your heads, and so I will answer them, just in case.
           
One -- June 28, from Google: “Dennis Miller, conservative or liberal?”  Fine question.  It is popularly thought that Miller was hard Left in the years before the Iraqi War, and there is certainly some evidence to support the claim.  But any longtime fan of Miller’s (i.e., someone who has followed him and enjoyed his work since the old Saturday Night Live days) will be able to tell you that while a lot of the older material was Left, a lot more was neutral (having nothing to do with politics), and another fair percentage came at the expense of the Left.  In other words, he went where the joke was.  Today it can be said Miller is much more Right than ever, and people are starting to see it, at least two having arrived at the website by typing “Dennis Miller, fascist” into the Google search engine, on 30 June and 01 July.
           
Two -- 30 June, from MSN, in a similar vein: “Why do liberals change to conservatism with age?”  Two-and-a-half weeks ago in this space, it was explained that many liberals convert to conservatism (or garden variety Republicanism, I hasten to add here) for their own reasons, one common denominator often being “those things appealing to liberalism are found to be … illogical as the world is experienced firsthand.”  There are such things as older, content liberals, content in the sense they see nothing in their lives worth regretting, no matter their personal difficulties.  Upon closer examination, what you will often find is that contentment takes the place of an intimate knowledge that decisions have repercussions, or that they should undertake better decision making. 
 
Consider the recent Gallup poll suggesting that only 56 percent of American liberals consider themselves patriotic, a small number compared to conservatives.  I contend the disparity comes in the fact that many, many liberals blame America for the mistakes they and others have made, seeing no other alternative so long as it involves personal change.  Goes the reasoning, because things are not going well here and there, America at its core is corrupt and must stand singularly responsible for not only the ills here, but those of the world.  Conservatism inherently understands (or should where it does not) that America has its problems, but that one should carefully and logically distinguish between an individual’s faulty decision making and the country’s troubles.
 
Three -- 03 July, here is someone concerned about how Man treats his fellow Man, searching Google for a way to purchase a “Mean People Suck” bumper sticker.  Try any shopping mall or record store, you will find one eventually.  In the meantime, might I interest you in a “F**k Stupid People” sticker, by Sik World Productions, like the one that currently rests in my wallet?  (Mine is uncensored, obviously.)
           
Four -- 02 July, from Yahoo: “Do leftists have nice chicks?”  As a former Leftist I say, Yes; yes, they do.  I lament that there is no such creature as the conservative groupie, while knowing that even if there were such things, they would dress too well to be forthrightly identified.

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