My name is Dylan Brown, and I figured before I start writing any analysis of elections and policy, it’d help to understand how my ideology formed. I’m not going to do the standard bio because I’m not that interesting, though I will talk about my political journey and how internet culture helped shape it.
There were three formative events in my political journey. The first was in 2013 when Edward Snowden leaked classified information showing that the US government had been spying on American citizens illegally for years. I was 14, before this I was apolitical like every 14-year-old, but that really changed after Snowden’s leaks. I grew up online, so privacy was deeply personal to me, I was angry, and so were online conservatives.
I began to fall into the conservative rabbit hole that we’re now aware of on Facebook and Youtube.
It started with regular conservatives like Ben Shapiro, but it quickly became more extreme. By 16, my subscription feed became populated by conspiracy theorists and channels who’re now labeled alt-right like AMTV, Infowars, and the doomsday channels that I now laugh at. They were against endless war and government overreach like me.
Still, nearly every discussion I’d get into eventually got to some form of racist or anti-Semitic theory like holocaust denial or race IQ. Even at my most impressionable, this never caught on with me, though more mainstream conspiracy theories did (FEMA camps, Agenda 21, and chemtrails, among others).
It took years for me to realize that these ideas were ridiculous, and I owe my enlightenment to Donald Trump, oddly enough. His campaign was so critical in my shift. I watched many of these anti-government conspiracy theorists fall in line behind a New York billionaire and realized that they didn’t believe any of it because if they did, they’d have been against him on principle. The other thing that happened was nothing; Obama left office like a normal President, no FEMA camps, and no gun confiscation. This served as proof that “Sandy Hook truthers,” and others, had no idea what they were talking about. Now, I expected the people around me to acknowledge that we were wrong and reflect. Evidently, I was naive. They pushed ahead, insisting that they were right in most cases, and in many just ignoring the error. I started to question everything in a way I hadn’t before; things that had become core values were now under the microscope.https://casinoreviewcanada.com/casinos/bondibet-casino/
I remember one incredibly enlightening conversation with a group of people in this community on New Year’s Eve. They were talking about a series of violent crimes committed by a Muslim man in Australia. They went into their usual rant about the “elites” planning a war between Christians and Muslims by forcing refugees into the West. So, I asked if it could be a false flag to raise tensions. They brushed the question aside and said: “No, Muslims are more violent.” It was then that I realized that at the base of all this questioning, was racism. I was naive again, I had been genuinely questioning things without that preexisting bias, so I thought everyone was. I distanced myself from the “truther” movement.
This freedom allowed me to look for new sources of information than the right-wing blogs that populated the conspiracy corner of the net. Now, this didn’t make me a leftist, but it did make me reflect and realize I was only a conservative on policy, by association. I didn’t agree with conservative social values, and I was a noninterventionist. So the natural ideological home for me was the libertarian movement. Philosophically, I was in agreement with their ideas and thought that personal freedom was the most important thing.
Then I came across an interview with Bernie Sanders. He wasn’t a social authoritarian, and he wasn’t one of the hawkish Democrats I railed against, so I listened to him, and I found that I shared many values with him, he was against the corruption on both sides and fought cronyism. Sure, he called himself a socialist, and that freaked me out, but he wasn’t the type of socialist my Libertarian friends talked about. They spoke about authoritarians who wanted to curb personal freedom. From where I was sitting, Bernie was fighting for those personal freedoms and against violations of civil liberties.
My core values have stayed the same through this ideological journey: Personal freedom, and equality of opportunity. The only thing that’s changed is how I feel we can get there.
Appeals were made to me through various left-wing outlets (TYT, Secular Talk, Majority Report, etc.), and the argument they made was that real equality of opportunity couldn’t exist without certain universal guarantees, like education and healthcare. I’ve found this argument persuasive, how can someone who couldn’t afford higher education have equality of opportunity with a wealthy person of equal aptitude? The philosophical argument against taxation is still a persuasive one to me, but I’ve reached the point where that argument doesn’t hold as much weight as the practical case for taxes.
This is all an effort to show you, the readers who I am, and my perspective. I’m a former conservative who also believed in some conspiracy theories, now, at 21, I’m an average social democrat. I understand if learning what I used to think makes trusting my analysis difficult, and I won’t make any excuses. I’ve grown, and I hope that’s a point of view that interests you.