I've always been for freedom. It seemed self-evident, if you will, that people should be able to do whatever they liked, as long as they weren't defrauding or harming the person or property of another. If someone wanted to smoke a joint, host an orgy or carry a gun, exactly how was that harming me?
I still feel that way. That part hasn't changed. What has changed, is my understanding of who my allies really are in this fight.
I used to lean towards the Left, because I actually believed they stood for freedom. After all, they said they did. All my friends said they did. They were on the side of freedom, and those evil right-wingers were a bunch of fascists who were slavering at the thought of turning America into a Christian theocracy. And I believed it, for a long while.
But then things started not adding up.
I started my adult life broke and homeless. Once I finally started working my way out of it, I noticed that a whole bunch of my paycheck was going to the government. For what, exactly? Living in the hood, I saw tons of people doing nothing with their lives but living on government handouts. Why was my money being taken to fund those who refused to do for themselves? Where was my freedom to keep what I earned?
I saw the Left hollering about banning guns, when that was obviously a stupid, unworkable plan. None of the thugs and lowlives I hung out with, gave one thin damn about gun laws. The vast majority of them were already prohibited from owning guns(and the others just hadn't been caught in a felony yet), and they could find one within an hour if they didn't have one already. Why didn't the Left seem to care about my freedom to defend myself?
I saw the Left demanding smoking bans everywhere. Where were the freedoms of the bar and restaurant owners to run their businesses as they pleased? If I didn't like smelling smoke, I didn't have to frequent their establishments.
And so on. The more I examined the actions of my 'allies,' the more they seemed at odds with real freedom and liberty. So, I had a choice to make. I could continue to engage in cognitive dissonance, screaming about freedom when I knew, deep down, I was supporting nothing of the sort...
...or I could start thinking.
No one likes to admit they were wrong. No one likes introspection, because it involves taking an honest look at yourself, all your faults, failures and all the stupid crap you've done. It's humbling, and people don't like being humbled. But, as I've found out, it's the only way to progress as a human being, both mentally and financially.
See, the Left won't do that. Ever. Whenever they find themselves in a bad situation, they immediately start pointing fingers: It's my parent's fault, it's the Republicans, it's society, it's The Man, it's sexism, racism, this-ism, that-ism. It's always someone else's fault. Never once do they look in the mirror and ask, "Where did I go wrong? How did I get myself into this? What can I learn from this so I don't wind up in this situation again?"
But that's what you have to do. God (or, if you prefer, life) is an infinitely patient teacher. If we don't get the point, we just keep getting more of the same crap over and over until we do learn.
I realized that I was in dire financial straits because I worked too little and spent too much, not because The Man was keeping me down. I realized that if I didn't learn a trade of some sort, that I'd be stuck in these low-pay jobs forever due to my own lack of motivation, not because everybody should be paid a hundred dollars an hour to work fast food. I realized that I was in soul-sucking, miserable relationships because I was looking for the wrong things in a woman, not because all women were crazy bitches.
In short, I took charge of my life. Once I stopped being consumed with envy and bitterness over how much easier other people had it, or how much more they had, and started bettering my own situation, that's when my life started turning around. Yes, I started out low on the ladder, but it's not where you start that counts--it's where you finish. Once I figured out that my own behavior was the one thing truly holding me back, I set out to change it. And it took a while, but I went from homeless to homeowner in twenty-five years. If I'd done this earlier, who knows how much farther ahead I'd be?
But no one will ever look at their own behavior, if they're convinced that everything bad that happens to them is someone else's fault. The only way you can progress in life is if you take personal responsibility for your actions, good or bad. Blaming everyone else is a cop-out, plain and simple. Sometimes, there are circumstances that truly are beyond our control, but while you may not be able to control what happens to you, you have all the choice in the world over how you deal with it. You can learn from your mistakes, failures and catastrophies and overcome them, or you can sit on your ass and continue in the delusion that nothing you do will make any difference. In the end, it's your choice...but you're not free if you believe you're helpless. The two are polar opposites.
And that's how I finally figured out that true freedom lay on the Right. The freedom to do for yourself, the freedom to choose your own path, and the freedom to take the consequences of your actions and learn from them--these are all cornerstones of Conservative philosophy. Sure, there are some on the Right who want to tell others how to live, but they're not nearly as numerous as the control freaks infesting the Left. Outside of sexual freedoms and drug legalization(both of which I support), what 'freedoms' are the Left supporting? The freedom to teach your own children? The freedom to keep and bear arms? The freedom to keep what you earn? The freedom for a given church to have their own definition of marriage? The freedom to have as much salt or soda as you prefer? The freedom to have and express an opinion that goes against Leftist dogma?
Face it, folks--any Leftist who says they support freedom is lying to you. Freedom isn't safe. Freedom isn't convenient. Freedom isn't inoffensive. Freedom isn't supported by stealing from others, and it sure as hell isn't found in a welfare line. Freedom means freedom for everybody, not just you and those you agree with. Otherwise, it's not freedom--it's just a police state you support.
(And yes, that goes for the Right-wing control freaks, too. But at least they have some idea of what freedom is. The Left lost that a long time ago.)