Winston Churchill is often attributed with saying something along the lines of "If you're not a Liberal at 20 you have no heart, if you're not a Conservative at 30 you have no head". I guess I never had a heart, but I always had a head. When I first became interested in politics as a teenager I knew I was not a Leftist.
I grew up in a working class family in three working class suburbs in the north of Melbourne. Even in the 1970's and 80's it was multicultural, Australians, Italians, Greeks, Yugoslavs and Turks, and at school there were some Lebanese. The smallest street I lived on had only 6 houses in it, Greeks, Australians, an Italian Husband and English Mother, Australians, Yugoslav and Italians. The only Asians were at the Chinese restaurant and the darkest people I knew were Greeks, some of whom looked Indian more than European.
Violence was rare and crime was primarily property crime, although property crime was quite high. People lived side by side and shopped at the same shops and were friendly in the street, but at the same time each socialized in their own clubs and churches. The Turks I should add were very secular, I didn't even know they were Muslim until I was a teenager. At school there were ethnic tensions but often between other ethnic groups, but in hindsight rarely did it amount to much.
I first came to know about politics in the early 1980's, during what historians now call the Second Cold War, when tensions were high between the West and the Communist world. I knew we had enemies and I knew that some people in my country gave much aid and comfort to those enemies. A big controversy at the time were nuclear weapons. I always wondered why they protested American nuclear weapons but never the Soviet or Chinese ones. I also wondered why the media always showed the anti-Vietnam War protesters as the good guys. What became clear to me was that they had picked a side and it wasn't my countries side....it wasn't my side either.
I knew from an early age that I was a Patriot, and living amongst other ethnic groups I also knew I was Australian. That I wasn't Greek or Italian or any other nationality and I learnt at an early age that they weren't Australian. Don't get me wrong I didn't hate any of these people as I said earlier they were in the main friendly and good people, but they weren't my people. They were foreign people who lived in my country.
Around the same time I saw something happen that was quite strange. Many of the Greeks, Yugoslavs etc. who worked with my Step-Father had enough money to return home, in most cases they hadn't been home in decades. Before they left they were very strongly Greek or Yugoslav but when they came back their attitude had change completely. When they came back they started calling themselves Australians. They had found out that their homeland had changed, just as everywhere else had, that the things they didn't like about Australia were often the same or worse back in the old country and that the life they had here was much better then the life they could have had if they had stayed. This change in attitude helped a great deal as they assimilated.
But the Australian Government wasn't happy with that, no they wanted more immigration and from more countries. The reason so many people point to Australia as a Multicultural success story was because most of the immigrants were European and in time they assimilated. Starting in the 1970's the Australian Government has decided to bring in primarily non-European immigrants and to encourage them not to assimilate. While at the same time having a large unemployment problem. Nearly all of the current problems with immigration can be traced back to this starting point.
So from as early as I was interested in politics I knew I wasn't on the Left, that must mean that I was a Conservative. And I probably would have called myself such, although now that I look back on it I also had a lot of Classical Liberal ideals. On the Conservative side I was a Monarchist, made much easier by being born in a Constitutional Monarchy, I was always sceptical of Feminism, I have always thought that a womens highest calling was as a Wife and Mother. That being an accountant was more important always seemed wrong to me.
But I also had a number of Classical Liberal ideals, I was a Civic Patriot, I was seduced by the idea of Equality, I knew I didn't support Communism or Socialism so I thought Free Trade might be the answer and while I was never a Crusader I accepted Global Warming. Last and I now realize the worst was that at the back of my mind was the idea that one day there might be a perfect society. I admit it is such a compelling idea that what you believe might one day result in perfection. But it's also at one and the same time a stupid idea because common sense and your own person experience should tell you that such a thing is simply not possible. What I find interesting is that I could see that in the ideas of others but not that it also lurked in mine as well.
Although I was never a Liberal Party supporter, I remember seeing a very small article in the newspaper, sometime around 1985. It was about the Victorian State Conference who had voted that they wanted Capital Punishment brought back, but not a single Liberal Member of Parliament would support it. Even as a teenager I saw that the Liberal Party didn't represent it's members and if it didn't support them it sure didn't support anyone who wasn't a member.
My first real taste of reality was when I left school, as it is for most of us. Unemployment awaited me as it did for so many. No job, no hope of a job and no women. The truth is that a man needs a job to hold on to a women. He needs money, he needs hope and he needs a future. But for the working class men of my generation we faced the twin challenge of immigrants getting the lower down jobs and women getting the higher up jobs. It would be a rare man who has not had a period of unemployment. And with unemployment comes hopelessness and loneliness and poverty. For some that poverty is much more than a lack of money, I was lucky as I never went that low.
I had jobs and unemployment and I went as an adult to University to get a degree that taught me alot, kept me busy but that never helped. That is this generations burden, the worthless degree. I had a long term relationship that ended many years ago. I've had my share of ups and downs. But I kept quite close to what I had always believed.
Over time I got sick of the constant lies I kept hearing. That we needed more immigration because it helped the economy, but it wasn't helping me and I didn't see it helping anyone else in the unemployment line. That the real problem with Multiculturalism was that Whites were racist, that we were not tolerant, hold on 1/3rd of Australia's population was born overseas and we aren't tolerant! You would have to be a complete moron to believe that, sadly we have many more complete morons than we really require. It's also abit much to be constantly told how discriminated against women and immigrants are when they get the job that you require, and this keeps happening decade after decade. Until 2006 I accepted Global Warming without really thinking about it and one day my Mother is watching the news and she says "Another story on Global Warming!" and to my own surprise I replied "It's probably not even true". After that I started to think about it and I remembered all the horror stories we were told when Global Warming first started being talked about and how that time was now. But the oceans hadn't risen, the polar bears weren't extinct. In short they lied.
In 2010 I was very upset about the direction Australia was heading, so I decided to look on the internet to find some kindred spirit. I found Oz Conservative and contacted Mr. Richardson and we met up. Since then we have stayed in contact and see each other a few times a year, first with the Eltham Traditions and now with the Melbourne Traditionalist. But as I read more of his site I realized I had things I wanted to say and he was very supportive. He told me that one thing that would happen was that I would do alot of thinking and that it would really clear up my thinking. I was sceptical but he was right, my thinking is much clearer, things I had only vaguely thought about I had to deeply think about. I had to make sure that the things I wrote made sense to both me and to my readers. In doing that I came to understand Liberalism alot more and I came to understand Conservatism more. I realized what they had in common and where they differed. It finally ended most of my Classical Liberal ways, I won't say all as we are bathed in Liberal from birth.
So have I always been a Conservative? The answer is no, but I'm there now.