(Repost) Why I am a Conservative.

In this repost, my favorite blogger answers that age old question—“what does a black man have to conserve?”

From Liberal to Conservative
by La Shawn Barber

Despite America’s ugly history of the enslavement of my ancestors, I love this country and marvel at the blessing of being born here. I appreciate every day the freedom I once took for granted. While I think America’s culture is on the decline, our form of government, rooted in individual rights, is still the best in the world.

Like many of my black peers,I grew up believing conservatives were rich white people trying to take away our “civil rights” and send us to the back of the bus — which wasn’t consistent with reality, of course. I wasn’t oppressed and neither was anyone I knew. I didn’t have to walk through “Colored Only” entrances and wasn’t otherwise prevented fromdoing what I chose to do.

I was a middle-classkid who came of age in the 1980s when affirmative action was in full bloom. I felt deserving of the extra points and consideration I got just for being black. My parents, who grew up under legal segregation, weren’t so fortunate — or so I used to believe. I was angry and thought my indignation was righteous. The indignation led to a sense of entitlement, and I assumed whites owed me something. I was angry about slavery, residual racism and the sense of superiority I perceived about them.

At some point I began to think differently from the majority of blacks I knew. It’s difficult to say what caused the shift. Getting older and wiser definitely helped. For example, despite the rich tradition of the black America, Democrats seemed fixated on black victimization and downplayed black achievement. The media propped up “black leaders,” (Jesse Jackson, et al.) who purported to speak for “the community.” The emotional rhetoric was angry, defeatist and counterproductive. I grew increasingly embarrassed by their 60s-style of protesting and complaining and concluded that post-Civil Rights leaders were woefully out of touch. Immigrants coming to the U.S. from all over the world could seize opportunity, yet black Americans, a preferred group, couldn’t?

Writer John McWhorter captures my own thoughts on race politics in his book, “Authentically Black.” He writes about a “double consciousness” and contends that while blacks speak of empowerment and individual responsibility in private (amongthemselves), they play the victim in front of whites, who must constantly be reminded of America’s racist past and present, an impediment to black success. Consequently, whites must be kept “on the hook.”

Slowly I wandered away from a they-owe-me attitude to an I-owe-myself outlook. I tuned out angry and disingenuous “leaders,” as well as race-baiting and patronizing white liberals. As my distaste for race politics increased, an appreciation for individualism, which trumped my identity as a member of a racial group, increased.

As I read more history, the uniqueness of the American experiment becamemore obvious. For instance, although slavery existed throughout the world for millennia and still exists in parts of the world today (Africa, for example), it was the Western idea of freedom and rights of the individual, incompatible with human bondage, that prompted the United States to abolish slavery. Being proud of this heritage is incompatible with the liberal agenda.

Liberals, obsessed with non-existent constitutional “rights” (the right of privacy to abort babies, preferences based on skin color), seem to have little use for the enumerated ones (freedom of association, freedom from discrimination, private property). While they favor special rights for certain groups (blacks, homosexuals), conservatives favor constitutional rights for all citizens. Individuals, not groups, are protected by the Constitution.

Each of us is responsible for our successes and failures and accountable for our own actions. We are not owed a living, a college education, healthcare or special favors. The opportunity for success in America abounds, yet white liberals and so-called black leaders tell us daily that it’s virtually impossible for blacks to succeed without government help.

In retrospect, my transition was a natural progression from youthful naivety, idealism and anger to a mature acceptance of common sense and moral values. Soon after adopting a politically conservative ideology, I became a Christian.Not all conservatives are Christians, but conservative principles — promoting marriage and family, sanctity of life, personal responsibility, self-restraint, self-reliance (the non-spiritual kind) — are biblical values. Liberalism stands in opposition to these values.

Along my liberal/conservative journey, I found it perplexing that other blacks didn’t seem bothered by such patronizing rhetoric. To me, it was far worse than anything I imagined white conservatives to be. Moving to the right had a lot to do with an outright rejection of racial strife and class envy.In my assessment, liberal ideology is devoid of dignity of the individual, and it promotes mediocrity, failure, self-pity and immorality.


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