Thursday, February 02, 2006

How to become an ex-Democrat

One of the things about co-authorship is that you don't get to speak in the first person singular. And so there was never any place to mention that I used to be a Democrat. I was a born-and-bred hard-core partisan yellow-dog Democrat, though never a real liberal -- I was what we used to call a "Sam Nunn Democrat." I was disappointed when Nunn declined to run for president in 1992, and even more disappointed when Nunn retired from the Senate.

During the 1980s, when it seemed all my friends were supporting Reagan, I actively supported Mondale-Ferraro. And in 1992, I was totally for Clinton-Gore. But by 1996, I'd become so disillusioned that I voted for Harry Browne on the Libertarian ticket.

One of the things that influenced me most in leaving the Democratic Party (of course, like another ex-Democrat, Ronald Reagan, I felt that "the party left me") was the books I started reading. These included Robert Bork's Slouching Toward Gomorrah and Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind, as well as some older titles I found in used bookstores, like William F. Buckley Jr.'s Up From Liberalism. And, of course, that classic shatterer of statist worldviews, Atlas Shrugged. (The Atlas Shrugged Effect inspired the title of Jerome Tuccille's history of the libertarian movement, It Usually Begins With Ayn Rand.)

Now, I certainly hope that DONKEY CONS will inspire some Democrats to break their mind-forged manacles, but if this book doesn't do the trick, I've started to develop an online syllabus to help guide doubting Democrats to freedom:

"So You'd Like to Become an Ex-Democrat."

The list is a work in progress, so if you want to suggest a book I should add, please e-mail me.