Even as I start to write this article, I feel that the title of it is slightly misleading. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, who when asked why he left the Democratic Party to become a Republican, replied “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me,” – I didn’t leave the Left exactly, it left me. Bit by bit over the past number of years.
There are a number of reasons why this occurred but to explain how this political transition came about let me start at the very beginning: I’m from a working-class family and grew up in a small town in a rural, conservative county and attended local Catholic schools that were strict and demanding in ethos. Because I was one of the few people in my class that didn’t attend Mass every week and was a free spirit in nature, I felt like an outsider growing up.
Thus, I was determined to be everything my environment wasn’t. I dismissed all of Christianity as being a hypocritical, judgemental form of repression. A desire for money and material possessions was perceived as immoral and vulgar, with Capitalism symbolised by ostentatious greed. Conservatism was synonymous with narrow-minded bigotry. I thought that family values were antiquated notions to be ridiculed.
I first became politically conscious after 9/11. I despaired for America under George Bush. I thought all Republicans were jingoistic rednecks. This was fuelled by the fact that my mother idolised the Kennedys and was a fan of Bill Clinton. I considered all right-wing parties such as the Tories to be completely made up of privileged snobs who looked down on everyone else.
I became a bleeding-heart liberal who wanted to change the world, break any rules I didn’t agree with and thought that everyone should care about one another. I even joined a certain left-wing party to enforce those aims. Then, I was forced to grow up. As British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, once said “The facts of life are conservative.”
I left the aforementioned political party because just after a couple of years of membership, it became clear that its makeup and leadership were not what I thought. Once again, I felt like I didn’t fit in. I started to feel cynical about politics, especially progressive politics. Something I thought would never happen. The disillusionment didn’t end there which brings me to the main reasons why the Left and I amicably separated.
Freedom of Speech:
I always considered this to be a leftist value (particularly during the Iraq war controversy). Censorship was something that the Right engaged in. Not any more. Social justice warriors and elitists are on a daily mission to find offence wherever they see fit. Whether it’s about religion, gender or LGBT issues. They want to curb debate that may be difficult to hear, but is necessary for the advancement of society.
You can no longer say anything about this issue (other than how great it is) without being labelled a bigot or a xenophobe. If you state simple facts about how mass migration decreases wages, increases job competition and puts a strain on public services, you get shut down immediately. This leads to a festering resentment which culminates in shocks to the political system such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.
This is before we begin to touch on the safety element of allowing unfettered migration as we’ve seen tragically time and time again. Not to mention the preservation of a nation’s own heritage and way of life – when in Rome and all that. A country that can’t define and protect its own borders and laws can not call itself a country.
I am a result of immigration – my Irish parents lived and worked in London for many years where they met. I’m a TEFL tutor so I know first-hand about the benefits of people coming to our country who want to work and assimilate. Immigration can be positive, but only if done correctly.
This has been the biggest change in my way of thinking. I thought the feminist movement was the answer to all my problems. I thought it explained so much about the difficulties I’d faced as a working-class young woman. I felt empowered and independent. But it turned out to be a complete misconception as time went on. One particular issue that jars with me and modern feminism is Islam, in particular its treatment of women.
Liberal women often decry any criticism (and rightly so) of a woman’s attire as ‘victim blaming’ but are more than happy to turn a blind eye to other members of their sex either being forced or conditioned to cover themselves from head to toe with a burka. They say as it long it’s their own decision there’s no objection. They don’t realise that whether it’s free will or not, the burka and other religious garments like it are steeped in disdain for female liberation.
Finally, I no longer loathe Capitalism! It took some time, but at long last I admitted to myself that it’s Socialism that’s inherently immoral and counter-productive to a life full of liberty, prosperity and dignity. Yes, Capitalism in its current globalist form isn’t sustainable because it’s only working for the people at the top. Hopefully, we can return to good old-fashioned free markets ideals in the near future.
I can now say with a quiet confidence that I am a proud Conservative who accepts human nature in all its flaws, believes that individualism is what’s truly empowering and takes equal opportunity over equal results any day of the week.