Ronald Radosh--An Apostate's Journey : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread

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-- (, November 26, 2001



-- (, November 26, 2001.

I think that the story of someone's intellectual conversion over a lifetime is interesting. Naturally, I prefer Left intellectuals who move to the Right (especially Jewish ones, Jews are the best intellectuals after all) but I am also interested in the reverse.

Prominent conversions that readily come to my finite mind are:

Left to Right--

Some of the early National Review contributors who were former Communists, such as Frank S Meyer and Whittaker Chambers (Chambers' book Witness is a classic)

Norman Podhoretz and his wife Midge Dector

Irving Kristol (William Kristol's father)

David Horowitz (sort of a light weight, I include him because I'm lazy)

Right to Left---

Garry Wills (who was also an early contributor to NR)

Thomas Merton

There must be more, but my mind is blank (I don't count Ted Turner and Hugh Hefner as serious minds)

-- (, November 26, 2001.

I believe I went from Right to Left, I believe in making money, earning your own way, notbeing a parisite, until I learned not everyone is capable of doing the things I did. Some have things happen beyond their own control. Those are the people we should not throw out in the garbage. Actually, I think my "right" is the same, the American right has gone to such extremes that they put me in the "left" today.

-- Cherri (, November 26, 2001.

The terms left and right, liberal and conservative have fluxuated and changed throughout our countrys history.What is now deemed to be liberal was in the past considered conservative.Changes that are subtle and radical shape the definition of the terms, much the way the Whigs considered a faction within their party to be too liberal, causing the formation of the Republican party.

I read a book awhile back that chronicled the shifts in what is considered liberal and conservative thought in American politics, I was surprised at what things were labeled as liberal at the time is now considered conservative.It would seem that the terms and their perceptions are under constant metamorphasis and how they are discerned parallels the ever changing mores of America at large.

-- capnfun (, November 26, 2001. isn't that I don't understand this left/right's that the definition is changing all the time...? I like that one better, capn. :)

-- helen (wait@changing.definitions.again), November 26, 2001.


Actually, I think my "right" is the same, the American right has gone to such extremes that they put me in the "left" today.

A lot of people feel that way. You're not alone.

-- Stephen M. Poole (, November 26, 2001.

"I believe I went from Right to Left..."


Anita has informed me on another thread that you (and Doc) are not on the Left. Maybe your military background makes you suspect. Maybe your relatively recent conversion means you are not to be trusted. Maybe you are not using the correct code words.

You guys should work it out.

-- (, November 27, 2001.


The real problem is that you can't categorize people that easily. The classic problem child is the libertarian: where in the heck do you put THEM?

They tend to support small government, lower taxes and fee-based public services, just like the rightest of the right-wingers ... and then turn right back around and oppose (violently) prayer in schools, pro-lifers and any form of censorship.

How do you pidgeon-hole HIM? (Or HER?)

The standard labels don't always fit.

-- Stephen M. Poole (, November 27, 2001.

True enough, Stephen. As a left-wing radical, I actually have more in common with Libertarians than say the "Green Party". Don't get me wrong there. I still like to hug trees.

-- Anita (, November 27, 2001.

Anita, a tree hugger? I would have never thought...

I don't fit in any convienient pigeon hole. I have some Libertarian ideals, quite a few conservative, and even a few liberal streaks. Is there such a thing as liberal conservative libertarian?

Scratchin an itch...

The Dog

-- The Dog (, November 27, 2001.

I tend to sympathize with most libertarian positions, except not to impractical extremes.

What Stephen described was what I consider the difference between a fiscal and a religious conservative. The fiscal conservative believes in small government, minimal taxes, incentive/disincentive based programs with low bureaucratic overhead rather than mountain-of-red- tape micromanagement, fee-based services, etc.

The religious conservative is an altogether different beast. That one doesn't much care about the size of government so long as government acts (and enforces!) according to his dogma. And if it takes an army of bureaucrats to enforce silly blue laws, then so be it.

Then there is the social conservative, who does not believe in government support of any group, public insurance programs of any kind, or the kind of "help the helpless" subsidization Cherri seems to have fallen in love with. The social conservative's motto is "Root hog or die".

The point is that fiscal, social, and religious conservatism are mutually independent. The libertarian is conservative in all three respects.

-- Flint (, November 27, 2001.

Doh! I meant to say, the libertarian is a fiscal and social conservative, but considers religion an aberration of weak minds.

-- Flint (, November 27, 2001.


I was going to say, that I disagreed with your libertarian description, because of the religious conservative definition. To a libertarian, the smaller the government is, the better...

Watchin' Bush on TV...

The Dog

-- The Dog (, November 27, 2001.


I disagree. The libertarian as I understand it accepts that government must exist to perform essential functions that we can't do without, and can't do privately either. These include national defense, public safety, some physical plant operations (water and wastewater), the legal system, enforcement of competition and free enterprise, control of economic externalities like pollution, etc. There are also some things that could be done privately (make ALL roads toll roads, use deed restrictions rather than zoning, etc.), but government is probably a better bet.

The goal isn't to eliminate government, that's a bad idea. The goal is NOT to have the government engage in ANY social engineering.

-- Flint (, November 27, 2001.

To me a true libertarian is the most radical of political animals. True Libertarians believe in very limited government (if any) and therefore I have always considered them to be on the conservative end of the spectrum. But as with any "label" this is very misleading as any Libertarian is simply a human being who values have been set by a combination of upbringing and a mosaic of life experiences. Thus in the end they become as slippery to define as the rest of us.

As a side note I always thought that Unk's (who I believe has stated Libertarian tendencies) choice of Wild, Wild West as the name for his forum was interesting. Whether intentional or not he was defining a truly libertarian environment both as a time period in our country's history and as a forum within the Lusenet fora (had to work that one in for Lars, perhaps you would prefer forii). In the end you saw the furtherest extreme of a Libertarian philosophy, anarchy, though I would prefer to remember it as a benevolent dictatorship or some odd form of deity/cult worship.

-- Jack Booted Thug (, November 27, 2001.

The religious conservative is an altogether different beast. That one doesn't much care about the size of government so long as government acts (and enforces!) according to his dogma. And if it takes an army of bureaucrats to enforce silly blue laws, then so be it.


Your anti-religious bias is showing (again). It is not inconsistent for a religious person to be a Libertarian. The religious Libertarian wants government to stay out of religion; he is not a Talibanesque zealot who seeks to impose his religion on others by way of government.

Question: who are the new Puritans? Who is most vigorously attempting to legislate morality (in this country)? It is those high-minded PC folks who want to criminalize smoking, ban furs, yadda, yadda. These busy-bodies are creating the neo "silly blue laws". They do not originate in churches.

-- (, November 27, 2001.


Y' beat me to it. :)

-- Stephen M. Poole (, November 27, 2001.

It IS interesting to note the three different definitions of libertarianism by JBT, Flint, and Lars. It appeared that Mr. Poole was about to chime in with a simile of Lars' post as well. Political definitives in modern times appear to be difficult to quantify accurately.

Personally, I find the controlled information flow to the general public offensive to my sensibilities, and consider any organization privy to this endeavor deplorable, so political debate is not my forte in the least.

JBT, you said "benevolent dictatorship"... cracked me up...

Watchin' C-span...

The Dog

-- The Dog (, November 28, 2001.

Speaking from a Libertarian POV, I think being a Lib is somewhat a quagmire.I get to argue with both the left and the right as to why their favorite cause shouldn't be supported by the gov.In ways I'm Abbie Hoffman and in others I'm Ronald Reagan, sounds like a bad case of Bi-polar or a perfectly logical stance in the middle, which of course is right where the majority of Americans are, the media just hasn't informed them, yet.

What is the one party in American politics that refuses to take taxpayer money for use in their campaigns? Libertarian, of course.And that to me speaks volumes.

-- capnfun (, November 28, 2001.

(I don't count Ted Turner and Hugh Hefner as serious minds)

Oh I don't know why Lars.

Ted and Hugh are perhaps not erudite divisors and soothsayers of obtuse thoughts and theories, but to dismiss them as serious minds (At least serious minds of the 20th century) is IMHO a serious mistake.

-- Uncle Deedah (, November 28, 2001.

[It is not inconsistent for a religious person to be a Libertarian. The religious Libertarian wants government to stay out of religion.]

I consider these statements mutually exclusive -- a clear contradiction. Unless we posit that the alleged "religious libertarian" doesn't *really* believe in his religion, he just kind of has one, then how can he possibly support political policy that violates his religious beliefs? And trust me on this, I have it on good authority (including Stephen himself) that a *genuinely* religious person filters his entire life and perceptions through his beliefs. In truth, how could he possibly avoid doing so?

Those who truly, sincerely, deeply believe in a particular worldview can't even PICTURE what "staying out of it" might mean. It would be incomprehensible (and REPrehensible otherwise).

On the other hand, if you're talking about the social-club Christians who use church as an opportunity to show off their latest new car or haircut or brooch, and otherwise play low-key neighborhood power games, then I can see it. This isn't religion by my definition. These may well fall among the "social back-stabbing or grasping" libertarians.

-- Flint (, November 28, 2001.

I am also an Abbie Hoffman-Ronald Reagan splice here.

I can invert Cherri's statement for an accurate snapshot of my own predicament:

"Actually I think my (LEFT) is the same, the American (LEFT) has gone to such extremes that they put me in the (RIGHT) today.

How can this happen to us?

From the past: My husband was a friend of Jack Kerouak (dang how do you spell that?) and said the guy was a real liberal who turned into a flaming conservative as he aged. Died a flaming conservative, too.

-- Oxy (, November 28, 2001.

You're husband was a merry prankster.

-- Jack Booted Thug (, November 29, 2001.

Public school there, Cornboy? You're is a contraction for You are. Did you mean to say that? [Where are those nuns with the rulers when you need them?]

-- Anita (, November 29, 2001.


Yes, my faith informs my politics and my personal life and I have strong Libertarian sympathies (altho I call myself a Conservative). I support the First Amendmendment and I like apple pie. You are a bit out of touch if you think all persons of faith are Theocrats.

-- (, November 29, 2001.

It's the hick in me, either that or the benefit of a Big Ten education.

And quit calling me Corn Boy, you, you Galloping Gourmet. Go play with your Ben Wa balls.

-- Jack Booted Thug (, November 30, 2001.

Should the "B" in balls be capitalized there?

-- Jack Booted Thug (, November 30, 2001.

Your funny, Thug.

-- Oxy (, November 30, 2001.

What? You don't like being called "Cornboy"? I like to think of Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams when I use that term.

-- Anita (, November 30, 2001.

Well, in that case, you may continue to use the title.

-- Jack Booted Thug (, November 30, 2001.

Ah...Kevin Costner...the corn waving back and forth in the background. And to think that I'm "talking" to the Cornboy right now, right here. Who needs Ben Wa Balls? I LOVE fantasies.

-- Anita (, November 30, 2001.

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