Join “Why We Left the Left”

The following is from Utah Libertarian activist Tom Garrison.

My name is Tom Garrison. I am putting together a book tentatively titled Why We Left the Left. I am looking to enlist folks who publicly identified with the left/liberalism at one point in their lives and have since evolved into libertarians. In an era wherein political divisions have hardened, it is instructive (and interesting) to read the stories of those who abandoned the left/liberalism and turned to the “free minds and free markets” of libertarianism.

For 15 years I had a “career” (along with a full time job editing a political science journal) as a democratic socialist in Santa Barbara, CA. I began political life as a typical McGovern liberal, moved left to become a democratic socialist, and in the late 1990s embraced libertarianism.

I believe my transition from leftist activist to libertarian, while not common, is instructive. Why would someone abandon a strong belief system, lose many comrades/“friends”, and suffer the loss of much of his social network? Why, because I grew to see that the left (and its handmaiden liberalism) lacked respect and understanding of the concept of personal responsibility; lying was an all too common occurrence that undermined the democratic process; leftists/liberals slavishly adhered to affirmative action preferences, quotas, and identity politics; and leftists/liberals—while embracing “diversity”—all too often display an intolerance for a real diversity of ideas.

I am approaching both public figures (e.g., John Stossel, Dennis Miller) and “average” folks who have abandoned the left/liberal path. What I request is the story of why they left the left/liberalism (in 500 to 5,000 words). Was there a seminal event that crystallized their thinking in a non-left direction? A slow realization that left/liberalism is not best for this country? Basically, why are they no longer a leftist/liberal?

While I have found 15 people (mostly through Internet searches) who seem to fit the left/liberal to libertarian transition, there must be thousands more. I need help identifying and contacting these folks. Are you a libertarian who fits this model? If yes, could you send me your name and contact address/number? If you know of others, let them know of my project and how to contact me. Any help is appreciated.

Links to my recently published articles with a Libertarian perspective:

“The politics of cats and dogs,” April 17, 2011, The Salt Lake Tribune

“Capitalism 101: Remember the Beanie Babies!” January 2, 2011. The Salt Lake Tribune

“Limited government: privatize liquor sales,” December 19, 2010. The Salt Lake Tribune

Contact me at:

Tom Garrison
126 North 2940 East, St George, UT 84790
Home phone: 435-627-1312