My thousandth column was published sometime this year, not sure exactly when. At about 800 words each, it hasn’t amounted to a million yet; that’ll take another four years if I keep it up. It all started with letters to the editor when I felt strongly about something. Then I published a few opinion pieces in a Catholic weekly newspaper, then a few in a big daily which was first to pay me. In 1992, I began publishing every week and lately I’m asking myself why I keep doing it. The money is nice, but it’s not a lot. Other ventures pay much better.
It’s probably because I write about whatever I want. Mostly it’s been politics and world affairs, or social issues, or history - whatever is most on my mind any given week. Sometimes it’s a personal issue, but there are some personal issues about which I’d like to write but cannot do so publicly because it might hurt others, or because I haven’t come to enough resolution on them to make any sense in print. Should they resolve themselves, they’ll likely emerge here.
Various editors have suggested that I write more of this kind of column or that kind, but I’ve resisted, and I guess that answers my question. I only write what I feel like writing, and I’m likely to continue as long as I can do that.
Early left-winger days
When I started in the mid-to-late 1980s, I was still pretty liberal. If I’d stayed that way, I would likely have gotten bigger checks because most big dailies are liberal, but I changed. I was moving right while New England was moving left. Readership diminished. I’m still changing, and don’t expect to stop until I stop breathing.
Ira Rubenzahl, one of the Alinskyites I worked with in the 70s today.
An old friend from Massachusetts happened upon my blog last year and was shocked that I’m so conservative now. We both worked a couple of years with Saul Alinsky, red diaper baby “community organizers” in the early ‘70s. He’s still a proud leftist and loyal Democrat. He didn’t ask me why I’d changed, and I didn’t ask him why he hasn’t. Perhaps we’ll discuss it someday.
Alan Solomont, another of the Alinskyites I worked with in the 70s today.
Until fairly recently, I felt ashamed of my left-wing activities in those days, but I realize now they were essential to constructing my world view of today, especially now that my country is being run by the kinds of people I worked with then. It’s not just the president and secretary of state, it’s thousands of bureaucrats, judges, and other functionaries appointed over the years. I understand how they think.
Liberal, anti-nuclear-activist days
To sum up a few of the differences between them and me within an 800-word, op-ed column, generalizations are necessary, so here goes:
They’re nihilists. I’m a theist. They believe the universe happened by itself. And humans? A few chemicals mixed together in a primordial sea and became a cell which reproduced and evolved into us. There’s no meaning, so don’t waste time looking for any. The laws of physics are absolute and nothing else exists. I believe God created it all and He is absolute. Laws of physics are secondary instruments of His spiritual will.
They’re relativists. I’m not. I believe in objective truth, but since I’m as flawed as every other human, I perceive it imperfectly.
They’re utopian. I’m not. There can be no perfect society this side of heaven. My former Alinsky associates think they can manifest utopia with big government. Mine is a tragic view. That is, we can never achieve perfect happiness in this life. The best we can expect is episodes. As government grows, those episodes become fewer and farther between.
They’re atheistic, or, at best, agnostic. I’m Christian. More so, I’m a Catholic Christian. My church is the oldest, continually-functioning institution on earth, but it’s imperfect too because it’s comprised of flawed humans like me.The recent conservative me at CPAC with Erik Erickson of Redstate.com
Both Communism and Nazism have been manifestations of their thinking. That the Catholic Church and capitalism were enemies of both is not coincidental. The 20th century was dominated by the struggle between and among these competing belief systems. Hundreds of millions died and that struggle continues, smoldering, into the 21st. Neither Communism nor Nazism are dead. Both had been in remission, but are re-emerging in parts of the body politic with ubiquitous application if Alinskyite euphemism.
Even when I was a leftist, however, I was pro-life, although today that would be considered oxymoronic. I always knew abortion kills innocent human beings. Abortion epitomizes the leftist, nihilist, atheist, utopian mindset. Protecting it is the primary objective of today’s Democrat Party. Redistribution of wealth and income is second. Big government is their vehicle for both. The November election will be pivotal to the continuing struggle.
Writing this column - putting ideas into logical sequences of sentences and paragraphs each week - helps me work all this out. I do it more for myself than for you, my readers.
Labels: change, growth, liberals, politics, writing