Disciples of Modern American Conservatism describe their conversions from the Left.
“ What drew me to conservatism years ago was the fact that it gave discipline a slightly higher status than virtue. This meant it could not be subverted by passing notions of the good. It could be above moral vanity. And so it made no special promises to me as a minority. It neglected me in every way except as a human being who wanted freedom.
Until my encounter with conservatism, I had only known the racial determinism of segregation on the one hand and of white liberalism on the other; two varieties of white supremacy in which I could only be dependent and inferior.
The appeal of conservatism is the mutuality it asserts between individual and political freedom, its beautiful idea of a free man in a free society. And it offers minorities the one thing they can never get from liberalism; human rather than racial dignity.
“Conservatism “seeks the discipline of ordinary people rather than the virtuousness of extraordinary people. The challenge for conservatives today is simply self-acceptance, and even a little pride in the way we flail away at problems with an invisible hand.”
(The above article was a writing by Mr. Steele printed in the Wall Street Journal.)
“I was a Marxist I guess for a decade from about the time I was 20 to 30 roughly. What changed my mind was not anything I had read. I was a Marxist when I went into Milton Friedman’s course at [the University of] Chicago and I was a Marxist when I came out of it.
What changed me was working as an economic intern in the government in 1960 and discovering what the government bureaucracies were like in terms of their motivations and how they do their job. I immediately realized government is not the answer. Life taught me. I think that is true for most people.
Most of the leading conservatives were not conservatives when they were young. Milton Friedman was a liberal, he even described himself in his autobiography as Keynesian in his thinking. Friedrich Hayek was a socialist. Ronald Reagan was so far left that the FBI was keeping an eye on him. So you run through the list — of course the whole neoconservative movement was on the left initially. And the same thing happened in Europe and elsewhere. A lot of the indoctrination that takes place in educational institutions begin to erode when people get into the real world and start thinking for themselves.”
(The above comment of Thomas Sowell was part of an interview by Caroline May at the Daily Caller in response to her question: “I read that you identified yourself as a Marxist in your college days. What prompted your change in ideology?)