Somewhere on A1A...

Friday, May 09, 2003

Builders and Defenders

Michael Totten's piece about Builders and Defenders had me spending way too much time yesterday reading all of the related linked articles and thinking. I've got a longer post in the works but I wanted to throw some options into the mix while I work through them for the post to follow.

In analyzing my own migration from the left to a more right leaner, I've thought of a few different models that might help explain the change I experienced. I think Michael's model is a great place to begin.

I'm enjoying the exercise and reading all of the discussion, but my main problem with the model is I just don't see many on the left building much of anything... Oh there are plenty of ideas about things to build but the details are usually lacking. The defenders is also an incomplete description, and I can’t say I would describe my move as going from builder to defender.

So, how did I change? If builders and defenders doesn’t work for my case what does? Is it the idea men and the detail guys? Maybe the thinkers and the doers? Or the dreamers and the doers? Artists and engineers? Humanists and Scientists? No matter how I think of it, it all boils down to a debate in America is as old as Jefferson and Madison, between the Idealists and the Realists. In my case, I want to look at the change that made me switch sides, why am I now a Neo-con and no longer a liberal? What questions must I answer to get at the root cause of the change? How would the rest of you Neo-cons answer?

Generally, why has there been more movement from the left to the right and not vice-versa? Is it because the idealism of our youth gets tempered by the world’s realities? A true lefty would argue that more education and more experience would lead us to be more left leaning, why isn’t that true? Why is there an assumption of intellectual superiority on the left? Has the left moved away from us or have we changed more? What's so attractive about the right? About the left? God knows there's a lot that's unattractive on both sides.

The differences are easy to see in the extreme, but what about the vast middle, the fat part of the bell curve? What are the defining issues and/or characteristics? Is there a model that works for those of us more in the ideological middle? I’d like to read some other stories from the Neo-cons out there. Is there a common thread? When did you cross? Are the ages common or is tied to events and dates? Are there common issues that pushed us? Is there a model like Michael's that works for most cases?

As you can tell, my thinking on the matter hinges on losing my youthful idealism. Coming of age as the Viet Nam war was winding down certainly affected me, how did it affect you? I'm tracing my steps to see where that idealism was lost and where reality started to take over. Are there specific events and issues that changed your perspective? Please join the discussion. ….. more to come….

other links: Joe Katzman
Kieren Healy
Charles Johnson
you can find your own way through the comments and their links.... and don't miss the comments


free hit counter