These days it may seem as though the entire nation is moving ever leftward. But on the personal level it’s actually much more usual for political change to go in the opposite direction: from left to right.
It’s not that uncommon an event, either — in fact, there’s a whole literature of political memoir written by left-to-right changers (such as David Horowitz and Norman Podhoretz, to name just two).
One changer closer to home is founder and former CEO of PJ Media Roger L. Simon, who talked about his own story ina recent speech in which he admitted that, despite his having written a book about his change experience, the how and why of political change is still a mystery to him.
Political change is something I’ve thought about long and hard because it happened to me, too, about ten years ago. In fact, struggling to understand and explain that change was one of the things that first drew me to blogs and blogging. I agree with Roger Simon that the vast majority of people are exceedingly reluctant to change their political beliefs and identification, and that was my experience, too; in fact, I’ve titled my own change story “A mind is a difficult thing to change.”
It’s not easy to come up with universals, because change stories differ in their personal details: fast or slow; solitary or interactive; sparked by things heard, seen, read, or personally experienced. But over the years that I’ve been contemplating my own story and listening to or reading those of others, I’ve come to see some patterns.
Rarely, if ever, are prospective changers actually seeking change. In fact their previous political positions on the left may be quite firmly and strongly held, and they would probably consider anyone quite mad who had the audacity to inform them of the transformation about to take place.