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Always To The Right / Never To The Left

01 February 2013 @ 09:01

Regular readers of these Dispatches know that I have a great admiration for Winston Churchill.

I believe he is one of the greatest men in History.

However, he is just a man and, therefore, not perfect [nor would he have ever claimed to be unlike a certain jug-eared Nancy-Boy I won’t name].

One of his most famous quips is this:

If you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain.

I have always been uncomfortable with this statement, because that was not my experience.  I have always been on the Right.  The worst I ever drifted off the reservation was when I flirted with Objectivism in the mid-1980’s — and that relationship never even got to second base.

Another reason this statement bothers me: people who make the journey from the Left to the Right never seem to fully free themselves from that original and perverse way of thinking [this is especially evident in the original Neo-Conservatives].

I’ve just discovered that M. Stanton Evans is more on the ball* in this matter than Mr. Churchill:

I’ve always felt that anyone who has his head screwed on right should be conservative when he is young and, as he gets older, become more and more conservative.


What was your experience [I sound like Dr. Helen now, I know]?

*That link will take you to a well-done review of Mr. Evans’s
new book: Stalin’s Secret Agents: The Subversion of


  1. 01 February 2013 @ 13:32 13:32

    I was raised in a Republican household. I am now far more Conservative than my Folks. Believing that electing Ford would be a disaster, in ’76, I voted for the “conservative” Carter for my first Presidential vote ever 😦 . I have never made that mistake again! I’ve learned to decipher Leftist media reports. LOL

  2. Andrew B permalink
    01 February 2013 @ 14:28 14:28

    I travelled a long way from my parents–Dad was a conservative-leaning Democrat, Mom was just this side of Communism. I discovered early that their world views did not meet the smell test. I guess it was when I was physically assaulted in junior high and then got a lecture from a liberal teacher that I should not turn in my attacker “because he comes from a broken home.”

    If her mission was to create a lifelong conservative…well, mission accomplished. I haven’t looked back since.

  3. 01 February 2013 @ 17:26 17:26

    I marched in the Moratorium Against the War in 1969. I was not very political at the time, more interested in getting a buzz and checking out the chicks, but I did vote for McGovern in the 1st presidential election I could vote in. I was casually on the left.

    I had an epiphany when Iran took the hostages during Carters presidency and have gotten more political and more conservative as the years passed.

    Look at David Horowitz, he is a commited conservative who is unafraid to go on college campuses and fight the left on their home turf, and he was Weather Underground and Black Panthers.

  4. The Rev. David R. Graham permalink
    03 February 2013 @ 14:40 14:40

    One day at supper with my sister and parents, when I was under twelve years, making it mid-1950s, the radio station my father made us listen to – so he wouldn’t have to hear us chewing – signed off. Usually we ate earlier and did not run into the sign off. In those days, it was common for radio stations to broadcast day time but not night time, and many started and ended the day by playing our National Anthem. When it came on I stood right up at attention and covered my heart with my right hand, as I did proudly in school every day. My father glared at me and hissed, “Sit down, you look ridiculous.” I regret to say, I sat down, utterly broken.

    During junior year at high school, making it 1959-60, I danced with Rand but we never kissed. I read Hegel from the sixth grade and so Rand was not a foreign feel.

    During the first year of graduate school – a deep blue one in NYC – making it 1965-66, I wrote a paper, for our course in Christian Ethics, supporting US military and commercial engagement around the globe, and in particular Vietnam, as a stabilizing influence in geopolitical ethics. The professor, who came to like and support me, remarked dryly that there are other points of view on the US in Vietnam.

    During the final year of graduate school and for a year following it, I worked with and wrote for a semi-prominent British-born Fabian socio-economist and his British-born wife, who was the intellectual power of their partnership. Had I been turned? I’ve never thought so. (Theology then was frozen by, on the one hand, fear of evil and, on the other hand, insouciance regarding it. I was looking for cheerful ways to transcend that closed loop, and this Brit had one.) But when he ripped up (literally) the guts of the book manuscript I produced for him – under contract to a toney publisher – saying no one would believe it – namely the extent of pollution measured just by reported accidents around the world – I informed him he was on his own and my name would not be on whatever book he published – and he did publish one, which went nowhere because it lacked punch.

    In the late 60s, when my circle of clerical associates were burning their draft cards in public, I did not join them in that act. When my graduate school classmates returned from the 1968 Democratic Party Convention with bandaged heads and arms, I gave them the stink eye and to this day have only contempt for them. I am an American Patriot, always have been, and that is obligation to the Mother Country, to protect and nourish her.

    My theological mentor – and personal blesser – described himself as a “religious socialist,” a term he and other theologians coined during their struggles – intellectual and otherwise – in Weimar Germany. By that they meant nothing like what we describe as socialism and very much what we could describe as intelligent conservatism, or what Bill Safire called “libertarian conservatism,” but religion-based with political effects rather than politics-based with religious effects. (Bonhoeffer: we do not say God is *love*, we say *God* is love. Stressing *love* subordinates God to man, religion to politics. Stressing *God* subordinates no one and no thing because God is the origin of all.) Freedom, liberty, is the the source, the substance and the goal of religion. A truly religious person is the only truly free one, and such is also a terrible rebuke and threat to subordinators.

    So, I don’t know. I can’t say I’ve been always right. I can say I’ve been never left in the sense of disloyal to my Mother Country. I did not fulfill my father’s wishes for me. My mother died without my presence or blessing. I had to earn a living other than in the field in which I trained and was most comfortable because it was polluted. I regret things I have done, mostly from weakness or unhappiness, but I have never felt that I should not have done them. And I have never been disloyal. So, I don’t know the answer to the question with respect to my life and career. Someone else would be better qualified to answer it. But it’s a good question and I have enjoyed responding to it. Thanks, as always!


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