Thursday, June 14, 2007

Conversion Experiences

Pastorius, from IBA and CUANAS, invited us to be on his radio show last night.

He was a genial and ingenuous interviewer, and we enjoyed our discussion, which ranged from the Infidels’ responsibility in the face of Islam to Pastorius’ own 9/11 conversion: he was a liberal on 9/10 and a conservative from the morning of September 11th till he draws his last breath. His was an instant conversion and an irrevocable one.

At one point during his old liberal days, when sitting in a bookstore, he would grab a text of Chomsky off the shelves and sit pretending to read it hoping to impress some girl walking by. I’m not sure it ever worked, but what a charming story.

What is interesting in his conversion is that the narrative follows closely that of Neo-Neocon, Shrinkwrapped, Roger Simon, and many others. They simply turned away from “all that” and toward a harsh reality. As the Towers went up in flames, so did their intellectually fashionable and secure membership in the Liberal Club.

On the other hand, I don’t think this kind of change is commutative. I seriously doubt that any conservatives, blindsided by the horror of 9/11, saw the error of their ways and converted to the liberal point of view. Obviously, the liberal view rests on a foundation of “Blame America First.” That is not a foundation on which any conservative would choose to build, even when it is disguised as a willingness to be “objective” and above the fray when it comes to examining one’s assumptions.

Liberals appear to think that once assumptions are examined and found wanting, they will of necessity be changed. America makes mistakes and fumbles the ball, therefore America is not deserving of our allegiance. This is not an examination of conscience a conservative could make. Yes, our country does make mistakes; sometimes we even learn from them — and could do so much more easily and more frequently were it not for the interference patterns of noise generated by the chattering classes.
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Introspection demands space and a willingness to suspend judgment until it appears the facts are in. Liberals trip over themselves in their rush to judgments made on the basis of very few facts. They jump to conclusions, bruising themselves and the process of the intellect along the way.

Thus does Afghanistan become a Vietnamese quagmire within three weeks of our arrival there. Thus we had the projections of the brutal Afghan winter, the one in which thousands would die. Fortunately, global warming theories arrived in time to save that particular horror from occurring. And thus do we invade Iraq for the oil - as is obvious by the low prices at the gas pump. Or is it that the inept Bush administration cannot even steal efficiently?

A question for our readers: How many of you are 9/11 converts? How many were no longer ashamed of patriotism after the Towers fell? How many sought a way to express their sense of what it means to be uniquely American in the modern world?

Pastorius, as I said, is a genial and open fellow. He admits that the constant barrage of hatred directed toward him by those who disagree with his conversion experience has been wearing. Therefore, another question remains: For those of you who have found a way to stay strong in the face of such vitriol, what advice would you have for Pastorius on this issue? (See his blogs here and here.)


Pastorius said...

The only thing I would correct in this account is that I didn't pretend to read Chomsky. I actually did read his work. However, usually I couldn't truly understand a word of his cryptic subversions of reality.

The website Anti-Chomsky has done an remarkable job of chronicling the surrealistic world of Chomskyean delusion.

KG said...

9/11 wasn't only a profound shock and a call to battle for Americans.
All over the world people realized that this was an attack on civilisation itself and that we had to stand with our American friends or lose this fight.
And I believe we are losing this fight because our leaders are selling us down the river by slow degrees, from insane immigration policies to deferring to the lawyers when rules of engagement are formulated.
It doesn't matter whether or not we, the people want to fight.That decision has been taken out of our hands.

Pastorius said...

I think our decision to fight matters much more than you are giving it credit.

We can bring down our own governments. And, perhaps, we must.

If civil war it must be, then so be it.

Francis W. Porretto said...

The old saw is that a conservative is a liberal who's been "mugged by reality." Facts are what they are; in that sense, truly, the conversions of which you speak are entirely non-commutative. For, as Bertrand Russell wrote, a man can be kept ignorant, but he cannot be made ignorant.

(On a lighter note, what's purple and commutative?)

anti-uffe said...

I'm not American, but Danish, and yes, major events of the last few years have certainly pushed me away from whatever leftist identity remained. I guess my 9/11 moment was the Motoon crisis, which finally drove home the point that I had come to gradually realize up until then: the left and our "culture radicals" (equivalent to your liberals) were unable to put the blame firmly and without any pussyfooting on the 'victim' group of their preference, the Muslims. Always, always the blame would at least have to be partly attributed to 'us'. I became more and more angry witnessing this.

Lunch break over, will just add that I'm in a continual process of taking stock, what is left (!) of my old identity, what on the right do I not agree with (e.g. American preoccupation with nudity and sex), how many contradictions (cognitive dissonance) will I have to live with?

Wally Ballou said...

An abelian grape (I cheated and looked it up). Wow, what a nerdy joke.

KG said...

Very erudite. Francis is. :-)

KG said...

"If civil war it must be, then so be it."
Civil war may be the best outcome we can hope for, Pastorius. Better that than a slow slide into dhimmitude.