Often, I ask people how they got to be conservative, or right-of-center. Often, they say, “I found Rush Limbaugh. I listened to Rush Limbaugh.” I wonder whether conservatives in the political class know how much we owe to Rush. I wonder.
Your comment about how people became conservative made me think of my moment of clarity.
I was living in Kalamazoo in 1988, on the north side to work on racial reconciliation, voting for Jesse Jackson, paying (literal and metaphorical) dues as a member of the NAACP. I knew the only reason America was great was because we killed the Indians and took their stuff.
But I wanted to get educated, so I was slowly working my way through a masters in history. I took a readings class on the French Revolution. It was taught from the statist perspective. But as I went through that class, I began to see that my own political commitments were lined up with those who brought disaster on France. I finally saw the differences between the French Revolution and the American War of Independence. And I came up with one enduring truth: that our common good depends upon the wisdom of the ages, and not upon state planners, no matter how brilliant. My professor did not appreciate the impact his course had on me.
Then I read Kirk’s The Conservative Mind and started listening to Rush.
Now I teach philosophy and practice law in Texas, and am grateful that, even though I never voted for Reagan, I’m a Reaganite. A fierce one.