Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. I’m a Liberal

 

I have been following the military career of Spencer Rapone, the West Point graduate who wrote “communism will win” on the inside of his cadet cover and wore a Che Guevara t-shirt under his uniform. As I predicted in an earlier post, the Army cashiered him, albeit a year later. He said that he wanted to rise through the ranks and change the Army from within.

Why am I so interested in this guy? Well, some forty plus years ago, that was me.

Hi, my name is Joseph Feather, and I’m a liberal.

I’d always had a fondness for the military and police and came up with the bright idea of joining the US Army and later the police department to change them from the inside. In military school, I enjoyed being a gadfly., which earned me a lot of pushups and a lot of disdain from the guys* who were a lot more serious about their military careers than I was. I also got my first taste of leftist nastiness when I went to my church youth group in uniform and was called a “baby killer.”

I was rabidly anti-gun in high school and enjoyed arguing with the guys who had gun racks in the back windows of their pickup trucks. This continued into college when I saw a debate on television about gun control. The gun control side was being made by Senator Edward Fredo Kennedy, making arguments that even the true believer I was at the time realized were lame and cliched. The conservative on the panel was not only running rings around him logically, he was black! I didn’t get his name, but looking up black conservatives**, I came across the name Thomas Sowell. After reading a few of his books, many of my ideas and opinions were radically transformed.

For a number of reasons, I decided the Army was not for me***. I got a degree in police science and was hired out of college. Still somewhat left-ish, I discovered that the police department was one of the most inclusive organizations in the country. White, black, hispanic, Native American, Vietnamese American, male or female, gay or straight, no one gave a darn as long as you did your job and could be counted on as backup. I also discovered that the various “minority communities” lobbied to have members of their tribes join the Police Department, only to then turn them persona non grata as soon as they became officers. I quickly understood the only thing that needed to be changed from inside was me.

So, who is more liberal, Rapone or me? (Hint: Look up the definition of liberal in your Funk & Wagnalls.) I was open to new ideas, and gradually adopted them as the evidence became overwhelming. I’m still that way. Rapone has maintained his adherence to a failed ideology despite overwhelming evidence of its failure. Oh, well; maybe someday he’ll become a little more open-minded and liberal.

* Mine was the last all-male class at the school.

** Like, how many of those could there be? I saw a picture later and realized the debater was Walter Williams.

*** To the immense benefit of the Army.

There are 23 comments.

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  1. JosePluma Thatcher
    JosePluma

    Ooops. It was July 26th here when I posted this.

    • #1
    • July 26, 2018, at 12:15 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  2. Arahant Member

    JosePluma (View Comment):

    Ooops. It was July 26th here when I posted this.

    The servers are on California time, and you know what slackers they are. They’re going to bed when decent people are getting up for work.

    • #2
    • July 26, 2018, at 2:51 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    I have never liked that the Left consistently has to change the labels they use for themselves because their ideas are bad and poison the labels. It wouldn’t be so bad if they stuck to terms they invented, such as Socialist, Communist, or Progressive. But, instead, they also have to steal words that mean the exact opposite of what they are, coöpting and tainting those words for generations. I’m a liberal. People like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, the Clintons, et al. are most certainly not.


    This conversation is part of the ongoing Group Writing Series under July’s theme of Understanding. We still have one more open slot in July, the 29th, unless you understand time travel, in which case, we also have the 11th and the 23rd.

    In August, our very broad theme will be based on the word/name of Will. You do not yet need a time machine to sign up for any of those slots.

    • #3
    • July 26, 2018, at 3:02 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  4. OldDanRhody's speakeasy Member

    JosePluma: I discovered that the police department was one of the most inclusive organizations in the country. White, Black, Hispanic, Native American, Vietnamese American, Male or Female, Gay or Straight, no one gave a good G– D— as long as you did your job and could be counted on as backup.

    This was also my experience in the Navy – at least, as I saw it. There was a minority of holdouts (i.e. White men who didn’t like the variety), but I was happy to experience the mix. In any case, if a man did his duty, he was OK Furthermore, I learned some things about myself that I needed to know – things that I wouldn’t have been aware of without that sort of setting.

    • #4
    • July 26, 2018, at 6:12 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  5. Franco Member
    Franco Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Excellent, thanks!

    I’m a sucker for conversion stories, currently binging on #Walkaway videos on YouTube.

    • #5
    • July 26, 2018, at 6:15 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    JosePluma: I decided the Army was not for me***.

    The Army is for everyone, but not everyone is for the Army.

    • #6
    • July 26, 2018, at 6:31 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  7. RightAngles Member

    My conversion was similar. In college, I was an enthusiastic Leftist. I was at every rally, every protest. I have pictures of me in the newspaper at one of them. I’d go home on vacations from school and lecture my poor Republican dad on all the ways he was Keeping the Black Man Down. By age 23 or so, I began to be disenchanted and to see them for what they really are.

    Each time one of our goals was met in the form of a law getting changed etc, I’d look around at my friends expecting them to be happy and jubilant, but they never were. Instead they were already casting about for some new cause, a new reason to march and block traffic and feel self-righteous. That’s when I knew that their stated agenda is never their real one.

    As I had each little epiphany, I didn’t dare tell any of my compatriots, and that in itself strengthened my realization that they are the tyrants and the closed-minded ones. By age 28, I had no respect for anyone past their mid-20s who still espoused leftism. It’s something you’re supposed to grow out of.

    Thank God my father lived long enough to see me come to my senses.

    • #7
    • July 26, 2018, at 7:15 AM PDT
    • 21 likes
  8. Joshua Bissey Coolidge

    Arahant (View Comment):
    I have never liked that the Left consistently has to change the labels they use for themselves because their ideas are bad and poison the labels. It wouldn’t be so bad if they stuck to terms they invented, such as Socialist, Communist, or Progressive. But, instead, they also have to steal words that mean the exact opposite of what they are, coöpting and tainting those words for generations. I’m a liberal. People like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, the Clintons, et al. are most certainly not.

    I don’t see why we should let them have “progressive,” either. Unless you’re defining “progressive,” as “wanting to progress to new forms of serfdom, totalitarianism, and social and economic decay,” they’re not progressive at all. This country was founded by progressives, who declared a novus ordo seclorum. Slavery and powdered wigs notwithstanding, they promoted real progress in the world. As long as we hold to the Founder’s vision, the Right are the real progressives.

    • #8
    • July 26, 2018, at 8:28 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  9. Arahant Member

    TheSockMonkey (View Comment):
    I don’t see why we should let them have “progressive,” either. Unless you’re defining “progressive,” as “wanting to progress to new forms of serfdom, totalitarianism, and social and economic decay,” they’re not progressive at all. This country was founded by progressives, who declared a novus ordo seclorum. Slavery and powdered wigs notwithstanding, they promoted real progress in the world. As long as we hold to the Founder’s vision, the Right are the real progressives.

    But the Founders understood human nature and did not believe that it could change. That is the “progress” that our totalitarian friends believe in. If only they get the “right” person in charge, all will be sweetness and light. Personally, I don’t want the progress or Progressive label, I just want to say I’m a liberal and not have to qualify it with “Classical.”

    • #9
    • July 26, 2018, at 8:35 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. RightAngles Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    TheSockMonkey (View Comment):
    I don’t see why we should let them have “progressive,” either. Unless you’re defining “progressive,” as “wanting to progress to new forms of serfdom, totalitarianism, and social and economic decay,” they’re not progressive at all. This country was founded by progressives, who declared a novus ordo seclorum. Slavery and powdered wigs notwithstanding, they promoted real progress in the world. As long as we hold to the Founder’s vision, the Right are the real progressives.

    But the Founders understood human nature and did not believe that it could change. That is the “progress” that our totalitarian friends believe in. If only they get the “right” person in charge, all will be sweetness and light. Personally, I don’t want the progress or Progressive label, I just want to say I’m a liberal and not have to qualify it with “Classical.”

    I’ve said many times we should reclaim the name Liberal. They should be called the Libertines. We are the open-minded ones, not them. They’re the ones who want no morality we can all agree on, because to them, morality is relative. They see nothing wrong with having indiscriminate sex, exposing young children to homosexuality, nothing wrong with men wearing lipstick and a dress. This is not my idea of “progress.” Progress is inventing the automobile. They are nothing but libertines.

    They’ve always cloaked their causes and behavior in emotionally appealing terms to mask what they really are. “Liberal” sounds so much nicer than “libertine.” “Progressive” sounds so much more appealing than “Social Engineer Trying To Bend Your Behavior To Our Will.” They’ve been unwittingly unmasking themselves a lot lately. Let’s tear the mask all the way off.

    • #10
    • July 26, 2018, at 8:48 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Good for you, Jose! I love your story and so appreciate your honesty and admire your transformation. I’m beginning to think there are a lot of people out there who would come around if they would only allow themselves to be exposed to new ideas. You’re proof of that. Thanks!

    • #11
    • July 26, 2018, at 8:51 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Congratulations on making the picks list on Power Line!

    • #12
    • July 26, 2018, at 11:13 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  13. JosePluma Thatcher
    JosePluma

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Congratulations on making the picks list on Power Line!

    Thanks! I didn’t even know that was a thing. 

    • #13
    • July 26, 2018, at 12:08 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  14. JosePluma Thatcher
    JosePluma

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Congratulations on making the picks list on Power Line!

    I felt pretty good about that until I read what Toby Young had to put up with:

    The Public Humiliation Diet

    • #14
    • July 26, 2018, at 3:29 PM PDT
    • Like
  15. Kozak Member
    Kozak Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Rapone is no liberal.

    He’s a Communist.

    • #15
    • July 26, 2018, at 4:38 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. barbara lydick Coolidge

    I think the term we should use to define ourselves is a classical liberal – which I am a proud one.

    • #16
    • July 26, 2018, at 4:50 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. RightAngles Member

    barbara lydick (View Comment):

    I think the term we should use to define ourselves is a classical liberal – which I am a proud one.

    Yes! See, here’s my plan: We change our party to The Classical Liberals and we rope in millions of dumb lefties who won’t realize who they’re voting for.

    • #17
    • July 26, 2018, at 4:52 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Arahant Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    barbara lydick (View Comment):

    I think the term we should use to define ourselves is a classical liberal – which I am a proud one.

    Yes! See, here’s my plan: We change our party to The Classical Liberals and we rope in millions of dumb lefties who won’t realize who they’re voting for.

    Duh, can’t I be like, an alt-Rock liberal instead. I don’t like that classical music.

    • #18
    • July 26, 2018, at 5:03 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Arahant (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    barbara lydick (View Comment):

    I think the term we should use to define ourselves is a classical liberal – which I am a proud one.

    Yes! See, here’s my plan: We change our party to The Classical Liberals and we rope in millions of dumb lefties who won’t realize who they’re voting for.

    Duh, can’t I be like, an alt-Rock liberal instead. I don’t like that classical music.

    Nah, prog-Rock liberal dude! No symphony, Electric Light Orchestra, and the party color will be crimson, King Crimson.

    • #19
    • July 26, 2018, at 5:27 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  20. Arahant Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    Nah, prog-Rock liberal dude!

    What can I say, I was faking it. I am more of an Early Music Liberal. Baroque is alright, and I will listen to new stuff, like Mozart on occasion.

    • #20
    • July 26, 2018, at 5:29 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. RightAngles Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    Nah, prog-Rock liberal dude!

    What can I say, I was faking it. I am more of an Early Music Liberal. Baroque is alright, and I will listen to new stuff, like Mozart on occasion.

    Nothing good came after Mozart. Maybe very early Beethoven.

    • #21
    • July 26, 2018, at 5:35 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  22. Arahant Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    Nothing good came after Mozart. Maybe very early Beethoven.

    There are good pieces, but most of them need the right mood for listening.

    • #22
    • July 26, 2018, at 5:37 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Good for you, Jose! I love your story and so appreciate your honesty and admire your transformation. I’m beginning to think there are a lot of people out there who would come around if they would only allow themselves to be exposed to new ideas. You’re proof of that. Thanks!

    Neo-neocon began writing about her own experience in 2005, in a series of posts starting with “A mind is a difficult thing to change.” She posited that “changers” are rare.

    But all clients who come to a therapist want to change–or, at least, they pay lip service to the fact that they do. So they start ahead of the game, because they are strongly motivated, motivated enough to pay a substantial sum (or have their insurance pay it) to a total stranger to whom they also must tell their deepest–and sometimes most shameful–secrets.

    Political change is different. I think it tends to happen against one’s will, often very much against one’s will. The changer is dragged kicking and screaming to a different point of view by something–but what?

    • #23
    • July 26, 2018, at 5:37 PM PDT
    • 2 likes

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