My Journey To Conservatism
If you know my background, I would be the least likely to be a conservative. I am an immigrant, of Asian heritage, grew up in NYC, attended public school and attended a City University with mostly liberal professors. That's only half the story. To understand my journey to Conservatism, you will need to read the rest of the story.
When I was in high school back in the late 1960's, I had a social study teacher who was teaching us about Karl Marx and his philosophy. To a naive student, new to political views, it sounded great. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs". It made so much sense at the time.
After entering CCNY and the school of Engineering, I was immersed in technical studies. As part of the curriculum, we had to take some philosophy and psychology and economics introductory courses. It is then that I learned about human nature and how it fits into our society.
My career choice of engineering is guided by my belief in the best way to help society is through technology. Technology has brought us improved food production, faster and better transportation, better communication thru cell phones and the web and more power in nuclear and fossil fuel and solar and wind power. Yet all that has not changed our human nature one bit. We still have wars and tyrants and oppression through out our world. Why is that? What did we have that they don't?
After I graduated and after working for IBM for a while, I took a graduate course at Marist College. The course was part of a MBA program and the subject matter dealt with over population. I remember doing research for a paper on population and the burden it places on our global resources. This was in the late 1970's with the oil crisis under Jimmy Carter. We were dealing with a decline economy and hyper inflation. My paper, which was the elite thinking at the time, said the real solution is to limit populating in the third world. It receive high marks by the professor and needless to say, it was all bunk. Hindsight tells us the decline of the 1970's was not due to a limit of our natural resources but a man made problem due to poor policies.
My Eureka Moment
It was the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 that brought me into politics and actually understand how politics have a direct effect on all of our lives. I also made the final connection between economic principles and politics, how they work hand in hand. I began to study various proposals and seeing which one worked and which one were harmful. During this period, I also read a lot of books by conservative thinkers. My conservatism started to crystallize and ever since have only grown in my conviction. I am convinced that conservative principles is the only solution to many of our ills.
There are many but here are some of my top Conservative thinker.
- Ronald Reagan
- William F. Buckley Jr.
- Milton Friedman
- CS Lewis
- Ayne Rand
- EF Schumacher
Here are some talk radio hosts that I've listened to. Besides being excellent talk show hosts, they are also excellent writers and have published numerous best selling books.
- Bob Grant
- Rush Limbaugh
- Mark Levin
- Michael Savage
Here are a few Conservative Media -
- Drudge Report
- FOX News (O'Reilly Factor)
- FOX Business Channel
I don't want to give the impression that I only watch or read these media. I keep an open mind and do follow other news sources such as the New York Times, CNN and Time magazine and others. Over the years, I have noticed the "bias" in main stream media and have found some to be better than others.
Some Glaring Examples From History
Here are three examples of why Capitalism and Conservatism are superior.
(1) East and West Germany were divided after World War II in 1945. West Germany adopted a Democratic Republic government and East Germany became a Communist country under the influence of the Soviet Union. If you look at the geography and the demographics of both nations, you will find they are very similar. So what happened in the span 50 years since? I had a first hand experience in seeing the contrast. In the 1990's I had an opportunity to visit Wittenberg, Germany for work. This was shortly after the re-unification of East and West Germany. I landed in Berlin and found a thriving metropolis with construction every where and plenty of goods. After driving some distance into the former East Germany, I saw buildings in various state of disrepair. People dressed very plainly and the facilities are like third world. This is the direct result of not having private ownership.
(2) Compare Ronald Reagan vs. Barack Obama Administrations. Reagan was a Conservative and Obama is a Progressive. The differences between the two are dramatic and same with the results of their policies. Here is a side by side comparison by Inside Gov. Also, the same site rank the list of 13 modern Presidents (Obama #10, with 51.93 and Reagan #4, with 62.74).
(3) Rudy Giuliani vs. Bill de Blasio as mayor of the greatest city in the world NYC. Rudy was mayor of NYC from 1983 to 1989. In that period of time, he cleaned up NY and reduced crime rate and made the people proud to be a New Yorker. While Bill de Blasio in a few short years took NYC backwards. I wrote a hub on this topic recently. Needless to say, Rudy is a Republican conservative and Bill is a Progressive socialist.
Where Did We Go Off The Track?
That's a deep question and requires much explanation. I will give you my summary of the few top factors.
Election campaign finance is one factor. Our elections are being perverted by big money coming from PAC and lobbyists from K Street affecting both political parties.
The Supreme Court has made some controversial decisions that changed the makeup of our country.
The Secular groups such as the ACLU and others have worked to remove God from the public square with dire consequences.
Crony capitalism have led to inequities in income and abuses on Wall street and contributed to the economic crisis.
The Federal Reserve have become a political entity that are not serving the people.
All of the above led to a distrusting public and an apathetic electorate. The current participation rate is only 58.2% of the voting public in 2012. It just seems election don't matter. Things seems to get worse regardless who is in power.
What Is My Motivation?
At this stage of my life, what is my motivation? Why do I put my self out there? What do I have to gain?
I have done well in America. By all measures, I am the American success story. I have lived the American dream. My family are well off (upper middle class). I have nothing to gain anymore. My only motivation is to help others especially the young to succeed in life. My only fear is that the America I grew up with will no longer be here. With the changes in our country, our rising debt, our stagnant economy and lack of good jobs, the freedom and opportunity are diminishing.
The only solution I see going forward is to adopt conservatism principles. Both individually and collectively, conservatism will bring us back to prosperity. That shining city on the hill quoting Ronald Reagan...Best hope for Mankind.
My road to Conservatism is probably not common but then again I don't know if there are any common paths. In this 40 years of journey, I witnessed 8 administrations, Democrat and Republican. Having voted for both, I considered myself an independent thinker. My journey is paved with life experiences and seeing the effect of policies by various administrations.
As a student of history, I am astounded by the brilliance of our founding fathers. Over 200 years ago, they were able to come up with a concise document, the Constitution, that has served us well down through the ages. Moreover, it has guided us to be the most prosperous and strongest nation on the face of the Earth. It is no accident that we are who we are.
May God continue to bless the United States.
Some of My Other Related Hubs
- Conservative Principles Defined
My definition of what a Conservative believes.