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« "Dammit, Sissy, I really need to read you daily" | Main | You don't suppose Rush Limbaugh reads this blog? »

January 27, 2006


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Touchy feely isn't the real world. Mushy people will not be adored by those who have their own agenda. They will be trampled underfoot and eliminated or made to contribute to the goals of the resolute ones. I am thankful for poeple like Neo who can wake up to reality.

I went through a similar conversion, by writing a book for and with a conservative. An original-thinking culture warrior, as well as a national-security, good-vs.-evil, "freedom isn't free" conservative, a neuropsychiatrist who has done Theravada Buddhist meditation daily for about 30 years, a believer in "self-command" and Burke's “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites.” He just . . . convinced me.

The book was called A Return to Innocence, and was retitled Dear Patrick in paperback. It was based on letters he wrote to a teen-ager.


I've felt myself going through a similar evolution in recent years, partly because of the terrorist threat and the inadequate liberal response to it, partly because of participating in a centrist-conservative corner of the blogosphere (Amba, Althouse, etc.) And lately I've been identifying with Neo's stories of her change. What gives me pause is the attitude conveyed by Goomp, "Touchy-feely isn't the real world." Well, of course there are times when a gentle, forgiving response is inappropriate to reality, but it's in our power to seize the times when it could be made appropriate. There needs to be a balance between the necessity for self-protection on one hand and the aspiration to -- yes -- a kinder, gentler world on the other. As Nick Lowe wrote, "What's so funny about peace, love, and understanding?"

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