One of the great things about my day job is that I often get to talk to people about how they formulated their worldview, and why they believe what they believe. Over the past year I’ve heard some fascinating stories. However, thinking about it last weekend made me realize that I haven’t as of yet shared some of the more pertinent details of my own past with my readers. I think it’s only fair that I divulge some of the back story, if for no other reason than to shed some light on as to how I ended up where I am today.
Long story short: I wasn’t always conservative. In fact, years ago I just wanted to move out to California and write screenplays and make movies. I wanted to do the kinds of things behind the camera that Robert Rodriguez did. I wanted to write screenplays with snappy dialogue and memorable characters like a young Kevin Smith. I didn’t care about public policy for the most part because I was just interested in figuring out how I was going to be a Rebel Without A Crew.
Fresh out of the Army, I began attending classes. It wasn’t soon after 9/11 that my college professors would start lecturing me about the “real” military, which was so far removed from what I had experienced that I had no choice but to deem them all idiots…or liars. One professor was even bold enough to joke, “Only redneck Republican hicks who are happy to get a free pair of boots join the Army.” It was at this point that I decided to investigate all the colors of the political spectrum. After realizing that there were bright, vivid shades that were being blatantly ignored, I made it my personal quest to research them on my own. And so began the transformation of someone who would have considered himself a default Democrat into a card-carrying member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.
One of the most influential characters in my life, and he’ll probably never even know it, was Thomas Sowell. As I said, once my professors started lying to me about who joined the military and what life was like inside it, I took it upon myself to research conservative opinions I might otherwise be missing. Basic Economics, Applied Economics, and The Vision of the Anointed were all books that changed my life. Not only were the arguments within them something I had never been exposed to, but it showed once again that, at best, I was getting conservative straw men from the paid “intellectuals” who were supposed to expose me to history’s best and brightest. I didn’t mind that my professors were liberal, but I did mind that I was paying them (not with mommy and daddy’s money, but with my own), to essentially inculcate me. That didn’t sit well.
Had I not been in the military, there’s a good chance I would have believed what my professors had said (like many of the other young, impressionable kids). Perhaps I’d be living in Los Angeles right now, writing screenplays and working within the film industry. I’m not sure if other aspects of my personality would have eventually taken me down a conservative path, but it’s undeniable that the surreptitious way with which class was conducted changed my perception of liberalism.
For now, I hope this clarifies some of the questions I’ve been asked over the past year by friends I’ve met within the conservative movement. Right now I look at upper education as a place where tenured professors and administrators have their own pseudo-Weapon X programs, attempting to churn out liberal super mutants that will rule over the next generation’s political landscape. And, while the humble nerd inside me would never dare compare myself to Wolverine, I can’t help but think of myself as the mutant that went off the reservation. I’d say I’m more of a Deadpool type, but then again, I’m not for hire. My beliefs are firmly rooted in one camp… I’ll have to think about it, but if there are any other conservative comic nerds out there, let me know what you come up with. I’m sure I’ll eventually hear a good zinger or two from a liberal. If it’s even remotely tactful I’ll post it.
Until then, make mine Marvel.