Conservative Moments: “It’s in the air we breathe”

[interactive timeline]
Jeff Severns Guntzel
Senior reporter
Public Insight Network
Conservative Moments timeline

Conservative Moments: An interactive timeline

Since we published an interactive timeline of conservative moments last week, I’ve heard it over and over: Are you going to do a liberal timeline, too?

Maybe. But I see no reason the conservative timeline can’t stand on its own. This is a conservative moment in America. The full spectrum of conservatism that we saw during the primary season is muted with Mitt Romney now at the center of the conservative universe. We’ve resurrected that diversity using the stories a diverse group of conservatives tell about their formative moments.

There’s something else, too. Here’s Scott Johnson of the conservative Power Line blog:

“I think liberalism has been the Zeitgeist for a long time, certainly since I became a teenager in 1964. It’s in the air we breathe. If one is not brought up conservative, one will have to find a way on his own.”

Image: Cover of Ronald Reagan's 1965 autobiography

Image: Cover of Ronald Reagan’s 1965 autobiography

There was a sense among the people whom I talked to that they just didn’t see themselves in much of the media coverage of conservatives. “As a famous conservative [Ronald Reagan] once asked, ‘Where’s the rest of me?’” writes Johnson.

For many conservatives, the signpost along the way to their conservatism was a book. For Johnson, it was Edmund Burke’s “Reflections on the Revolution in France.” Johnson and Power Line have been our partners in this conservative moments project, posting our questions for conservatives and encouraging Power Line readers to share their stories. Many of them pointed not to some visceral personal experience, but to the intellectual roots of their conservative beliefs. I’ll be posting a reading list from the hundreds of responses we received, and I’ll add Burke to that list.

The intellectual roots of conservatism don’t often make it into political conversations. It’s a shame, and it’s something Jeffrey Lessard, a commercial real estate consultant in Bedford, N.H., addressed head-on. Lessard describes himself as a “fiscal conservative and a social libertarian (except for abortion).” Here’s what he had to say:

“What troubles me about the Conservative movement is we seem to have an increasingly important and vocal sect who reject the value of the intellect. And that’s troubling because we have such a rich intellectual history on which to rely.”

If you consider yourself a conservative, I hope you’ll see yourself somewhere in our project. If, after reading through the stories posted so far, you’re left asking, “Where is the rest of me?” please submit your story. You can do it inside every timeline entry by clicking the red “Submit your story” button. Or you can answer our questions right here – we’ve heard from more than 100 people since we published the timeline. We’re building this thing daily.