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Confession of an 11% Leftist
by Bruce Hanify, Esq.
16 March 2004

The story of how a leftist transformed into a conservative, and why he has never looked back.

I have 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.

My first 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?

What if “the end justifies the means” was nothing less than a criminal conspiracy waiting for the right group of psychopaths to carry it out?


Without 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 stoned.

It occurred 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.

Sex betrayed 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 . . . .

Bought 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.

Okay, 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 face.

Patriarchally-induced penis envy, or a mean woman in an Audi?
Thus ended my second stint as a leftist. I’ve never looked back.
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.

Now, 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:

One: Markets are an accurate measure of supply and demand;

Two: All concentrations of power are at odds with individual expression; and

Three: Moral and spiritual salvation, no matter how desirable, cannot be secured through governmental means.

Most 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.

The real 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 those periods?

You guessed 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!

Now, 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 than posts!

Example 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.

You read 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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