Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Apostasy Pieces: Don't be that guy

So Little Green Footballs has disavowed the right. The best take is Matt Frost's—"I'm saddened and concerned by the debased state of concern trolling"—but I have a submission for second-best take. (No shame in losing to Mr. Frost.)

Ten words: If you write an apostasy piece, you have no honor. Exhibit A, Marty Beckerman:
Every day I wake up with the same thought: "I used to be such a goddamned idiot."

I am a former Republican. And I wasn't merely the libertarian, live-and-let-live, fun-at-parties kind of conservative whose primary concern is balancing the budget; I was a spiteful, narrow-minded, fire-breathing paranoid lunatic who questioned the patriotism and morality of my liberal fellow citizens. Recognizing the error of my ways has done wonders for my mental health but left me with constant, unremitting remorse; I really want to go back in time and kick my own ass.
Apostasy pieces are never about delivering your former comrades from the grip of dreadful error. They're about showing off how much more enlightened you are, using your misspent youth as a prop for credibility. I've read apostate tell-alls that I thought were true, but I've never read one that made me think I'd like, or trust, the author if I met him.

Sometimes it's hard to tell what loyalty demands of you. Whether to turn your klepto brother into the police, whether to make a play for your best friend's girl after they break up—these are tough questions. But if your old ideological compatriots ever did you a favor, ever took you into their circles or into their confidence, ever gave you a damn cake on your birthday, then you owe it to them not to write the hit piece. You owe them. That's a no-brainer.

UPDATE: If you're visiting from the American Scene and want background on this loyalty fight, check out these two posts, All Politics is Tribal and Loyalty Reconsidered. Nerds can check out I Love Justice, But I Love My Mother More.

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