Monday, May 23, 2005


Keith Thompson, in a column on Sunday, wrote of his leaving the American cultural left after over thirty years as a “card carrying liberal.”

A turning point came at a dinner party on the day Ronald Reagan famously described the Soviet Union as the pre-eminent source of evil in the modern world. The general tenor of the evening was that Reagan's use of the word "evil" had moved the world closer to annihilation. There was a palpable sense that we might not make it to dessert.

When I casually offered that the surviving relatives of the more than 20 million people murdered on orders of Joseph Stalin might not find "evil'" too strong a word, the room took on a collective bemused smile of the sort you might expect if someone had casually mentioned taking up child molestation for sport.

My progressive companions had a point. It was rude to bring a word like "gulag" to the dinner table.

I look back on that experience as the beginning of my departure from a left already well on its way to losing its bearings. Two decades later, I watched with astonishment as leading left intellectuals launched a telethon- like body count of civilian deaths caused by American soldiers in Afghanistan. Their premise was straightforward, almost giddily so: When the number of civilian Afghani deaths surpassed the carnage of Sept. 11, the war would be unjust, irrespective of other considerations.
I had a similar experience in 1993. I had grown up in a left-of-center household, and my mind was molded as a teenager by the culture to dislike Ronald Reagan, that conservatives were ridiculous people (Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties), and college only drove it home further. But in 1993, I had my “Road to Damascus” moments. President Clinton came on TV to say that he “tried and worked as hard as he ever had, but that he would NOT be lowering taxes, thereby breaking the campaign pledge for which I had voted for him. Then a few weeks later, I listened to Rush Limbaugh for the first time, and heard the views that I had always felt deep down but was taught to bury within by the liberals around me, espoused and championed. My transformation had begun.

Today I find myself moving back towards the center however. And while reading this article, something struck me. Politics has replaced religion as the way that people view themselves and the world. It is an imperfect model for a few reasons. First, because religion is based upon God, not on man. Politics as religion is the opposite. And as any honest religious person of faith can tell you, man is the LAST entity upon which to hold up as an ideal standard. See Psalms 118:8-9.

This is a topic I’ll need to revisit sometime…interesting concept I think. Stay tuned.


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