Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, May 26, 2005

A Reasoned Desertion from the Left:
Keith Thompson's Odyssey

Keith Thompson has become disillusioned with America's Left. His disenchantment began long ago, he writes, but the break became clean after over 60% of the eligible Iraqi voters turned out to vote in January. He describes the process in "Leaving the Left: Out of the corner of my eye I watched what was coming for more than three decades, yet refused to truly see." I would love to quote the entire article, but here is a good selection.

I’m leaving the left – more precisely, the American cultural left and what it has become during our time together.

... Every anomaly that didn’t fit my perceptual set is suddenly back, all the more glaring for so long ignored. The insistent inner voice I learned to suppress now has my rapt attention. “Something strange – something approaching pathological – something entirely of its own making – has the left in its grip,” the voice whispers. “How did this happen?” The Iraqi election is my tipping point. The time has come to walk in a different direction ...

In the sixties, America correctly focused on bringing down walls that prevented equal access and due process. It was time to walk the Founders’ talk – and we did. With barriers to opportunity no longer written into law, today the body politic is crying for different remedies. America must now focus on creating healthy, self-actualizing individuals committed to taking responsibility for their lives, developing their talents, honing their skills and intellects, fostering emotional and moral intelligence, all in all contributing to the advancement of the human condition.

One aspect of my politics hasn’t changed a bit. I became a liberal in the first place to break from the repressive group orthodoxies of my reactionary hometown. This past January, my liberalism was in full throttle when I bid the cultural left goodbye to escape a new version of that oppressiveness. I departed with new clarity about the brilliance of liberal democracy and the value system it entails; the quest for freedom as an intrinsically human affair; and the dangers of demands for conformity and adherence to any point of view through silence, fear, or coercion.

True, it took a while to see what was right before my eyes. A certain misplaced loyalty kept me from grasping that a view of individuals as morally capable of and responsible for making the principle decisions that shape their lives is decisively at odds with the contemporary left’s entrance-level view of people as passive and helpless victims of powerful external forces, hence political wards who require the continuous shepherding of caretaker elites.
[thanks to MA for the link]
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