He was a genial and ingenuous interviewer, and we enjoyed our discussion, which ranged from the Infidels’ responsibility in the face of Islam to Pastorius’ own 9/11 conversion: he was a liberal on 9/10 and a conservative from the morning of September 11th till he draws his last breath. His was an instant conversion and an irrevocable one.
At one point during his old liberal days, when sitting in a bookstore, he would grab a text of Chomsky off the shelves and sit pretending to read it hoping to impress some girl walking by. I’m not sure it ever worked, but what a charming story.
What is interesting in his conversion is that the narrative follows closely that of Neo-Neocon, Shrinkwrapped, Roger Simon, and many others. They simply turned away from “all that” and toward a harsh reality. As the Towers went up in flames, so did their intellectually fashionable and secure membership in the Liberal Club.
On the other hand, I don’t think this kind of change is commutative. I seriously doubt that any conservatives, blindsided by the horror of 9/11, saw the error of their ways and converted to the liberal point of view. Obviously, the liberal view rests on a foundation of “Blame America First.” That is not a foundation on which any conservative would choose to build, even when it is disguised as a willingness to be “objective” and above the fray when it comes to examining one’s assumptions.
Liberals appear to think that once assumptions are examined and found wanting, they will of necessity be changed. America makes mistakes and fumbles the ball, therefore America is not deserving of our allegiance. This is not an examination of conscience a conservative could make. Yes, our country does make mistakes; sometimes we even learn from them — and could do so much more easily and more frequently were it not for the interference patterns of noise generated by the chattering classes.
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Introspection demands space and a willingness to suspend judgment until it appears the facts are in. Liberals trip over themselves in their rush to judgments made on the basis of very few facts. They jump to conclusions, bruising themselves and the process of the intellect along the way.
Thus does Afghanistan become a Vietnamese quagmire within three weeks of our arrival there. Thus we had the projections of the brutal Afghan winter, the one in which thousands would die. Fortunately, global warming theories arrived in time to save that particular horror from occurring. And thus do we invade Iraq for the oil – as is obvious by the low prices at the gas pump. Or is it that the inept Bush administration cannot even steal efficiently?
A question for our readers: How many of you are 9/11 converts? How many were no longer ashamed of patriotism after the Towers fell? How many sought a way to express their sense of what it means to be uniquely American in the modern world?
Pastorius, as I said, is a genial and open fellow. He admits that the constant barrage of hatred directed toward him by those who disagree with his conversion experience has been wearing. Therefore, another question remains: For those of you who have found a way to stay strong in the face of such vitriol, what advice would you have for Pastorius on this issue? (See his blogs here and here.)