I hadn’t heard about Why I Turned Right, a book of essays edited by Mary Eberstadt, until I happened upon an item on Powerline. Looks interesting: The contributors are a formidable bunch (Peter Berkowitz, Joseph Bottum, David Brooks, Danielle Crittenden, Dinesh D’Souza, Stanley Kurtz, Tod Lindberg, Rich Lowry, Heather Mac Donald, P.J. O’Rourke, Sally Satel, and Richard Starr) who reveal why they became conservative.
A Powerline review notes:
“The essays I enjoyed most were by those who turned right as a result of studying or working in a discipline that isn’t (or, rather, that shouldn’t be) political. I’m thinking in particular of Heather McDonald and Sally Satel, whose movement started when they were studying comparative literature and practicing psychiatry, respectively. (I could also include Peter Berkowitz and Stanley, who have studied many things — some political, some less so — and been influenced rightward in all instances).”
The always original Dr. Sally Satel is quoted:
“My Hill experience gave me a startling insight: Liberals and conservatives seemed to have mirror-image approaches to paternalism. Liberals made intrusive laws for the competent while conservatives preferred to rely on individuals to make their own decisions. Conversely, conservatives preferred intrusive laws for the incompetent to whom liberals applied a hands-off policy. Liberals were comfortable with public health paternalism: intrusive nonsmoking laws, taxes on unhealthy products, strict risk-averse EPA and FDA regulations. . . .Yet, when a person was incoherent, defecating in the streets, or freezing a limb off in the part, then — and only then — did the principles of autonomy apply.”