I wrote Jim Goad once when he was in prison. I told him I wrote him because I remembered how much getting letters meant to me when I was in the Marines and I figured prison was like that. He wrote me back a nice letter.
I was familiar with him through his seminal “Redneck Manifesto”. He is always interesting, and the intellectual journey he describes is I think one many have taken over the decades.
The thing I like best though is how he describes himself as not “prejudiced”, which means making a judgment before knowing the facts, but “postjudiced”- having a negative view of badly behaved minorities of the nation after having had the facts ground into his face.
I come from a family of New Deal liberals, but I never was one. I started out as a Barry Goldwater libertarian conservative and anticommunist. I fully believed in racial equality, the benefits of education and hard work to all those who would only apply themselves. I found traditional racism foolish and backward.
My dad was a scientist. My mother had been a secretary for scientists- a perfectly respectable middle-class occupation for a college educated woman of her day. And yet they believed things that on their face were perfectly ridiculous. They believed bad people, who hurt others, were misunderstood victims of society. I spent a lot of time around these people, and they were quite obviously just sadistic assholes who loved power.
Liberalism is largely a matter of self-deception, and willful self-deception at that. Liberalism is about the power of belief, and while belief has some power, reality has millions of times more. Most of what we call education is teaching people not to believe their lying eyes. The effect is highly corrosive, and not just on the left. People who resent being brainwashed with idiotic leftist ideas are vulnerable to slightly less idiotic conservative ideas. Keynesian economics is pretty obviously stupid, but the alternative we were provided with was monetary economics, which is only slightly less stupid.
Religion, Marx observed, was the opiate of the masses; but he allowed it was the heart of a heartless world. Political ideology is today’s opiate of the masses, from the unregenerate Marxism-Leninism of the far left to the constitutionalism of the populist right. But it has none of the ameliorative value of religion. Theory easily becomes a Procrustean bed, the facts to support it being cut or stretched as necessary to fit.
What would serve us well is a commitment to the truth, the plain facts as any undeluded person can see them. Our society is based on lies and wishful thinking of all kinds, and the time has come there is nothing to do but set them aside and face reality.