#2 Lots of progressive heroes were jerks
Paul Johnson’s Intellectuals is a seminal book in the formation of many young conservatives because it reveals (with a glee unmatched only by its pop trash counterpart, Hollywood Babylon) the truly disgusting lives of some of the left’s great heroes, from Rousseau to Sartre.
Today we also know that Sacco & Vanzetti were guilty, as were the Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss. There really were Communist agents in the State Department. Rachel Carson made stuff up. The Kennedys were jerks. Hollywood lied about the Scopes “Monkey” Trial. Many of the most iconic images and “facts” about the Vietnam War have been twisted beyond recognition.
Basically, it hurts to learn that “everything you think you know about the last 100 years is wrong.”
But it’s liberating too — as long as you don’t try to go it alone. I’m a loner by temperament, but can attest to the fact that meeting like-minded people has buffered the bitterness I’d have felt otherwise.
I’m still ticked off that I wasted my most physically and mentally energetic years on nonsense. (I contracted a crippling chronic illness shortly after I left the Left, and was bedridden for a while. By the time I went into remission, my twenties were over.)
However, I did learn a lot of things (about how the Left thinks, and how “social change” “works”) that have stood me in good stead.
Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book has sound advice buying shotguns, for example. And if you ever need a tee-shirt tie-dyed, you can always call me.