a confession: I’ve gone leftist twice—once as a
teenager, and once as an adult. Both of my love affairs with
the Left were relatively short-lived—less than two years
each time. Since my political life began at age ten with the
Seattle Times and Time Magazine and an exhaustless interest
in United States history, that means I’ve spent four out
of 36 years as a leftist—approximately 11% of my political
life, if I give myself a full two-years credit for each devotion.
The actual percentage, I am sure, is less than 10%, but I wish
to err on the side of caution.
love affair with the left began at age 15, when I read The Communist
Manifesto. I thought then—and I’d be inclined to
think now—that TCM is one of the most invigorating books
I’ve ever read. I was hooked instantly; I was a Communist!
But, somewhere in the next 12 months, my wise and conservative
father tossed me a copy of Eric Hoffer’s Ordeal of Change,
and I experienced a cascading epiphany: suppose most, if not
all, injustices, blockages to progress, and general imbecility
of public policy were, in fact, caused by bureaucrats, “intellectuals”
and various nameless, faceless control freaks? Suppose people
who seek power cannot be trusted, even if their most ardent
desire is to erect a workers’ paradise? Suppose power
and social reform were, ironically, “mutually exclusive”
and could never produce the stated intentions of economic justice,
freedom and equality?
if “the end justifies the means” was nothing less
than a criminal conspiracy waiting for the right group of psychopaths
to carry it out?
fully realizing it, my days as a leftist were numbered. They
ended, in fact, one fine spring day in April, 1974, when I had
a sobering moment that completely changed my personal, and political,
life: suppose, instead of running down the streets screaming,
several prominent student groups had sent a delegation of polite,
athletic, scholarly young men to Congress to state their opposition
to the Viet Nam war? If that had happened, I could have believed
we were truly the rugged sons of the American frontier, the
light of the future. Americans. But we weren’t: we were
cowardly, ignorant, dirty.And
to me that the principle fruits of the great Sixties “revolution”
were brain damage, venereal disease, effeminacy, and general
ennui; conversely, the Sixties had done more to undermine the
foundations of this great country than any other single force.
I returned to my conservative familial roots with a vengeance.
But more on that later.
me the second time. I met what I thought was the woman of my
life. In looks, intelligence, and pure raw charm, she had what
I had always dreamed of and . . . . uh, yes. She had everything
I wanted in terms of what men generally want from women, and
she was pure leftist. She introduced me to The Great Cosmic
Mother, When God Was a Woman, The Chalice and the Blade. I must
have read a dozen of the prominent “goddesses” of
that time, including Sonia Johnson, the rage-filled lesbian
who, like all rage-filled lesbians, was interested only in promoting
rage-filled justice and lesbian peace. Yes, I got a full bath
in the waters of “matri-focal” advancement, and
I . . . .
off on a piece of it, to wit, the part about patriarchal religion
and culture running over the top of matriarchal societies. I
bought off on that because my reading of history books over
a 20-year span gave some credence to that series of events.
There was no reason to doubt that, in fact, patriarchal cultures
had slowly or, perhaps, drastically, run over the top of indigenous
matriarchal societies. So said Will Durant, Robert Graves, and
other notables. But then I followed my girlfriend the next step
and concluded that therefore society had gone bad, that the
badness of men had completely derailed the “holistic”,
inherent goodness of women, and that, well, things were just
bad. And they continued to be bad, right up to the cutting of
trees, and the destruction of the environment, and Republicans,
and corporate executives, and you name it: they were all bad,
and they were caused by patriarchy.
that’s the most embarrassing admission I can make about
my political life, but here’s how the story ended: I was
trying to cross the Safeway parking lot one day and a middle-class
yuppyish looking woman in an Audi damn near ran me down. She
had a very angry, very intolerant expression on her holistic
penis envy, or a mean woman in an Audi?
Thus ended my second stint as a leftist. I’ve never looked
Okay, confession time’s over. Be assured that I have spent
the rest of my political life (89%) as an unrepentant, outspoken,
unabashed, and unequivocal conservative.
if you’re a conservative, you’ve wasted a good portion
of your life trying to convince liberals of the basic triad
of conservative beliefs, none of which they can understand:
Markets are an accurate measure of supply and demand;
All concentrations of power are at odds with individual expression;
Moral and spiritual salvation, no matter how desirable, cannot
be secured through governmental means.
liberals trip up on the first principle. No matter how you explain
it, they cannot see that the root of political liberty is economic
liberty. They just don’t get that part.
Shifting up to number three, they likewise cannot see that such
wondrous goals as environmental salvation and racial harmony,
if they are to occur at all, can ONLY occur through market mechanisms.
Oh, you might have to tax a little here, and regulate a little
there, to tip the markets in one direction or another, but if
you don’t have a marketplace, you can’t produce
solutions, and that’s all there is to it. Lefties are
clueless on that one.
problem all lefties have is number two: concentrations of power
are at odds with individual expression. Let’s take an
example: Patriarchy. What happened when patriarchal tribes over
ran matriarchal tribes?
One concentration of power put another out of business. Now,
what do you suppose happened to individual expression during
it. If patriarchy overran matriarchy, then those who sought
to express “matrifocally” were squashed by their
tribal counterparts, the patriarchs, which raises a very disturbing
question about how much individual expression was permitted
during the matriarchal golden age. Could it be? Could it be
that the ancestral forebears of my Audi-cidal yuppie lady were
. . . . Cruel? Collectivist? Tyrannical? Uh, Bitchy? Could be!
here’s the real rub: If leftists hate church authority
so much; if they hate republicans so much; if they hate corporations
so much; if they hate the United States so much: What do they
expect to gain by replacing one collective with another? One
concentration of force with another? You guessed it. They haven’t
thought it through! I mean, they haven’t really considered
what they’re saying! I mean . . . . They’re dumber
after example comes to mind: they hate church teachings against
abortion, yet they’re willing to kill a fetus; They hate
the perceived corporate resistance to just and good environmental
policies, yet they’re willing to sacrifice lives and property
and enterprise to prove any number of points that have no scientific
basis (think Galileo’s struggles with the bishops the
next time someone harangues you about recycling); They label
any limited-government, low-tax conservative as homophobic,
racist, sexist, and Neanderthal, without the slightest reference
to how someone who champions individual expression could be
any of those things.
And then there’s political correctness, the ultimate exercise
in collectivist oppression of the individual. Always
willing to tax you another nickel, hit you with another regulation,
and take you to court for cutting the wrong tree or building
the wrong eave, they absolutely cannot see how they are being
brutal, how they are being prejudiced, how they are being .
. . . Homicidal.
it right. Homicidal. How many souls left the earth prematurely
in the Twentieth Century because of Communism? Misguided environmental
regulations? Morality abandoned?
How many divorces were churned up? How many incarcerations,
both in prisons and in mental institutions? How many children
abandoned to the courthouse steps, the social welfare agencies
and the streets, because “freedom” and “liberty”
came to mean liberation from all restraints?
Mr. Hanify is currently working on a book about growing up in the Hoh Rain Forest in the 1970's.
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