For my write-up today on Tim Pawlenty’s Courage to Stand, I’ll highlight something that Pawlenty says on page 67:
“My siblings were in a starkly different place from me politically during their early adult lives. My brother Steve was a union steward, an organizer who passed out union cards, got union authorization for workplace representation, even picketed. My older brother, Dan, was a union member at an oil refinery. Later, he went to work for a city and was part of the union there, too. Over time, both of them saw the shortcomings of the liberal agenda and started to be open to other arguments.”
I can identify with this passage because I myself had strong ideological convictions yet came to the point where I became open to other arguments. I was a conservative, but I got to the point where a number of conservative arguments rang hollow to me—-the notion that tax cuts for the rich will trickle down and create a host of jobs, the argument that the American health care system is so good because emergency rooms are required to treat everyone (as if that is adequate, and does not contain problems of its own), etc.
Pawlenty does not detail (at least in this passage) what problems his brothers had with “the liberal agenda”. I can only speculate. Perhaps they concluded that unions were flawed, with their bosses, and other factors. Maybe they came to distrust government, or to believe that runaway government spending creates a lot of debt, which would even hurt the little guy whom they championed. There is enough human nature on all sides to convince people to be open to other arguments. The situation many of us are in is trying to decide which imperfect policy is better.